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For over a decade, David Tian, Ph.D. — a uniquely qualified therapist, life coach, and former university professor — has coached tens of thousands of people from over 87 countries to achieve happiness and success in their relationships, dating, psychology, and lifestyle.

Dr. Tian has been featured in international media, as well as co-hosting a radio show on national radio and a weekly dating advice column in a national newspaper in Singapore.

The show, “Man Up: Masculinity for the Intelligent Man” (, is David’s way of helping as many people as possible enjoy empowering and fulfilling lives, while contributing to the global understanding of masculinity in modern times. In the show, he takes your questions posed in the Man Up private Facebook group ( and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.

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“The Man Up Show” Ep.189 – How Do You Change A Materialistic Woman?

What Is A Materialistic Woman?

  • David Tian Ph.D. tells us what happens when we are living in a bubble of materialism.

  • David Tian Ph.D. explains why some men are attracted to materialistic women.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. talks about why we need to break from materialism.

David Tian: Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD. And in this video, I answer the question: How do you change a materialistic woman? Welcome to Man Up Episode 189.

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I’m David Tian, PhD., and this is Man Up!

Hey.I’m David Tian, PhD., and for over the past 10 years, I have been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness, and fulfillment in life and love; and welcome to Man Up Episode 189. The sun is setting.

Here we are at the beachfront pool. It’s one of many pools here, and I’m taking this time out to shoot this video for you in the private Man Up Facebook group. I’ve got a question here from Lester.

It’s actually quite long because there are many comments as he followed up with the original question. I’m just going to focus on the original question. Oh yeah, go ahead and – brought us some drinks. Maybe just put them there? Thank you.

Alright, Lester. I’m going to read out part of this because his wording is very important here, and the overall question is about, “How do you change someone else?” How do you change your wife in this case.

And before I get into the question, there are three parts to the answer. The first is the bubble. So, pay attention to how Lester is in his bubble of his own.

“Hey guys, awesome community we have out here.” He’s a friend of the Man Up community. “I have this really simple question.” Thank you. “How do you deal with a girlfriend or a wife that is overly materialistic? We all had that other half who measures success absolutely in terms of material things.” No, we haven’t. This is very presumptuous. “We all had that other half.” Nah.

We don’t all have that other half, but he thinks we do because he’s living in his bubble. Your peer group is the number one predictor of the quality of your life; the people around you, the people you spend the most time with, and the people that you would adjust or adapt the way you are in order to keep their connection.

And obviously, Lester is feeling the extent of how much he is willing to adapt and adjust to how he is in order to keep the wife or the girlfriend’s connection.

Now, we’re not going to go much more into the personal issues here with Lester, but let’s talk about in general how a lot of guys are chained to their wives or girlfriends when they become more enlightened and the wife or girlfriend is not, and they see now that she’s materialistic, for instance.

That’s just one way that she could be different from you. And you say, “Oh no, shit.” It’s sort of like – take a more extreme case, she turns out to be a Nazi supporter, and you at the beginning were just wishy-washy on Nazis.

You know, maybe it’s Austria or Germany in 1948 and then you’re like, “Ah, I don’t really know how I feel about this Hitler guy.”

And then he fucking takes over, and then he starts making you do all this shit that you didn’t like in the first place, that you weren’t sure about, now you’ve got to be forced to do it, but then it turns out the wife is really into this shit and you’re like, “Woah, what the fuck?” That’s sort of the situation, right? There’s some ideology that he doesn’t agree with but that his wife is really hardcore into and that he was wishy-washy at first on it.

But now, all of this peer group – the entire country of Germany – it seems like is supporting this Hitler. Lester’s entire peer group, his bubble, is supporting materialism and he thinks, “Oh, I guess we all support materialism.”

He’s assuming that the people in the group are like him, but we’re not. This is a very – by the way, Lester is Singaporean and he’s in the Singapore bubble.

Whenever you’re in Singapore, you’re already in a bubble, and a lot of Singaporeans don’t know that because they are in a bubble. I try to get out of Singapore as much as possible because I got to break that bubble.

After a while, it fucks with your head. Living in Singapore for too long fucks with your head. Just to put it out there, man. I know I’m probably offending a lot of people, but you fucking know it.

I’m not saying anything that’s controversial, but I don’t give a fuck. I’m not in this country anymore. I am in beautiful Bali right now try to find me.

Alright, so he says, “How do you…” And by the way, if you’re Singaporean, you would know where he’s coming from. The comments, the answers to his question, were not from Singaporeans so they didn’t know.

And so, they are saying, “You know, people can be materialistic. You got to give her – figure out why she’s materialistic. Was it her Dad who spoiled her?” Maybe those are all factors, but it’s just that he’s in this certain segment of Singapore, not all of Singapore; now he’s in Hong Kong, a certain segment of Hong Kong; would be like that certain segment of Shanghai; would be
like that certain segment of New York. All of the major financial centers, it’s like a concentration of materialistic people.

But because he’s in his bubble, he thinks everyone is like this. That’s the shocking thing here. I’m not going to be attacking materialism.

That’s too easy, alright? And also, I don’t think it’s necessary for most guys in Man Up, but I think the most interesting thing is he’s asking about materialism and how to change people, but the most interesting thing is, from a pedagogical perspective, is the bubble; that he’s in this bubble and he assumes that the majority – 99% of people – are thinking this way.

No, they don’t think this way, Lester. That’s the biggest takeaway for you. Remember how I used to say they come in with question, and it turns out there are five other questions that are deeper and more interesting, more important to answer? This is the question he thinks it’s the question, it’s just a superficial way into the actual answer.

Alright, I’m only in the third sentence here. “We all had that other half”, okay.

“How much you love her depends on the bags that you’ve gotten for her, what your anniversary means to you depends on how expensive a dinner it was, what you are to her depends on your income, how successful you are at work, and what you got. Whether you are worthy to bring up her child depends on whether you can afford expensive tuition or send your kid overseas for college.” Like, seriously, right? But Lester thinks this is just normal. He’s like, “We’ve all had that other half who is like that.”

Are you fucking out of your mind? The thing is, Lester went to a university, did this philosophy degree, and he did all of these philosophy courses; and the thing is, like, have you forgotten every fucking thing you’ve…? There’s not a single philosophy course that would back up any of the shit.

Actually, every philosophical thinker that you read, you would’ve read that would be in any responsible philosophy course, syllabus, would be attacking a lot of what this represents.

For you to still be in this bubble is astounding, but I get it, because part of you – the reason you’re in that bubble is because it mirrors the way you are.

You’re either wishy-washy on it, on a part of you, because of your parents. That’s the first bubble you’ve got, and then your school system, your society, your upper-middle class upbringing. That’s not the top class, because the elite don’t give a fuck about these things.

They know how meaningless they are, but the upper-middle class that aspires to elite, they are the ones who are in the most dangerous position.

You will not find happiness no matter what. With this type of attitude, she will not find happiness, you will not find happiness, your parents will not find happiness.

Even if you get X amount of money, you think that’ll bring you happiness? The science proves it won’t. The science proves that you will still be grasping for more, for more, for more, because that fucking thing never ends. The bigger, better deal is always out there.

You always will be comparing yourself, “Am I enough? Am I enough?” No. You’re never enough if you ask that question.

You are never fucking enough, and that’s the trap. Let me just get to the end of this so we move on to the second part of it, second part of the answer.

“I know David has touched on this on some of his videos, including focusing on the moral angle, how a good, compassionate kind of person you are versus what you have.” Thank you for listening. “Instead of purely material things”, no, duh. “We all know, however…” What’s that? It’s the fucking bubble he’s in. “We all know, however…” No, we’re not on your side, Lester.

We’re not in the bubble with you, Lester. We’re just like, “This is ridiculous”, right? “We all know, however, how hard it is to get women to think that way.” Woah, now he’s throwing in like ‘all women’, right?

So not only are you materialistic, you’re a misogynist too. That’s alright, man. You’re just in your bubble of materialism and misogyny, alright.

“We all know, however, how hard it is to get women to think that way, and part of me believes that this is somehow connected to the notions of power and influence.” Of course it’s fucking connected to produce the power and influence, no fucking duh. I’m not going to even bother, it’s just so fucking obvious, right?

“How do you overcome that, or is it even possible at all?” It’s pretty obvious, right? He’s got the bubble problem. But then on top of that, he’s asking the question he wants to ask is, “How can I change my wife to be less materialistic?” You can’t. You don’t.

You shouldn’t, alright? Because look, I’m quite open-minded about your value system.

You want to be a Hitler supporter? Hey, I’m not going to be your friend. I’m not going to support you, but you know, you go over there and we’re going to kick your ass, put you in jail or whatever, do whatever we can to defend ourselves against you.

But you know, in a way I’m like, “Okay, you want to debate about ethics? We can do that.” But if you’re not going to debate about ethics, “No, I’m just going to kill you. I’m just going to beat you up and get the fuck out.” No, I’m going to defend myself. So right now, he’s trying to change her. It’s too late, dude.

The reason why you’re attracted… How could you be with this woman for that long and only have it come up now? See, the thing is, he’s in his bubble. So he thinks all women are like that so he gave up. He gave up his values.

Look, Lester, I know you also have those values. You also are materialistic, but you don’t want to admit it because you went through these courses about philosophy and so on, and you think you should be better; you should be thinking better. And you should, but you don’t.

That’s the only way that you could countenance being with a woman like this or being with anybody like that, is because you accept it, because it’s a mirror of you. You attract the energy you put out. You attract the values you put out.

You naturally will attract people who agree with you. That’s the natural thing. Unless you start seeking out for debating purposes, people who disagree with you.

But the natural thing is, you’re going to find like-seeks-like, and you have found your ‘like’. And to a certain degree, you think this as well. You feel like you should be able to measure up. I know a lot of the guys at these universities in Singapore, they work really hard.

They work really hard because they want to make mommy proud, and they want to make the society proud, and they want to check off all of the boxes, tick-tick-tick, “Yes, I am a model citizen.” And then at the end of that they’re like, “How come I’m not happy? How come girls aren’t sucking my dick all the time? Because I fucking earned that shit.”

And then he hopefully will come out of their naive bubble and realize the world doesn’t give a fuck. The world doesn’t give a fuck. The world, the market doesn’t give a fuck what your degree is. They don’t care, and all you got is you now because they’re not going to applaud you because you got a bunch of grades or some money.

If you can’t find happiness in yourself and you’re looking for it from other people, adulation, admiration, approval, affection from others in order for you to feel happy, then you’re fucked. It’s a trap.

You’re dead. You’re done. If you can’t find that love for yourself within yourself, if you can’t feel that you’re enough by just you being enough, by you telling yourself you’re enough instead of realizing that you are living up to your values, what is this called? Integrity.

When you have integrity and when you have met your own needs, then you will find happiness and fulfillment. Right now, you’re hoping that your wife will tell you that you’re enough, that’s why you got into that relationship in the first place.

And now, you’re fucked because you started a family with her, you were in this relationship with her, and now you’re going to backtrack, why? Because your prefrontal cortex is going to tell you that – well, your unconscious is going to tell you you can’t get out, you’re too afraid, you’re too afraid to leave the bubble now, your comfort zone; you’re too afraid but it’s fucking you up.

It’s a poisonous bubble, but you can’t escape it. You don’t want to. Your unconscious mind is too afraid to escape it, to escape the Alcatraz, of your fucking jail cell of your mind. And so, what do you do? You have to rationalize that it’s okay. It’s okay to live in this toxicity.

And you know what will happen? For all of those people who are into psychology, who understand the deep truth of psychology, and who are 20 years ahead of the curve? You’re welcome for helping you get 20 years ahead of the curve, by the way.

For all of you who understand psychology, you know what’s going to happen. He’s going to pass those limiting beliefs and that toxicity to his son, and his daughter, and to the generations beyond because he has been – those have been passed down to him by his parents and by his peer group, and by the people that his parents would attract into their peer group, and people that you would attract into your peer group; the toxicity continues.

It’s multigenerational and you are passing it down. So Lester, will you stand? Will you fucking stand? Will you fucking say this is enough? Will you be like Gandalf of the Past and say, “Thus far, and no further”, and fucking put your fucking stake in there, and break that fucking bubble, and finally get the fuck out.

Now, you have physically left that toxic place, alright, but are you going to mentally leave it? If you’re with this woman, the reason I say you can’t change her is because you cannot change other people unless they want to be changed; not any way permanent.

Like, maybe you can trick them for a little while. Maybe you can do some voodoo hypnosis influence stuff, but that’s going to last maybe five minutes, five days, five weeks, and that’s it; she’s going to go back, the power of the personality is incredibly strong, much stronger than any influence tactics or techniques.

Especially if you do use them, you have to keep using them over and over and it’s incredibly tiring. It’s not effortless.

It’s not natural. It’s tiring. It’s artificial. So, you’re trying to like – your happiness depends on changing that girl.

It’s not going to happen. You can accept it and live in this toxicity and pass it down to your kids. But if you have the integrity and you want to break out of the bubble, you’re going to have to ask yourself a very hard question: “How bad do you want it?” It’s a tough pill to swallow, man. These conversations that scare you are the ones you actually have to have.

That’s the second one, right? You can’t change people unless they want to be changed. The first one was about the bubble, and the last one is about materialism. And you know what? I don’t think we need to go further into that.

I think anybody that I’m appealing to here already sees how toxic this is and how ridiculous it is, and the science proves that beyond a certain amount of money, you’ll find diminishing returns for happiness, and then you’ll find negative returns for happiness.

Money is great. It brings you freedom. It brings you freedom to go and do what you want to go and where you want to go, and do what you want to do. But beyond a certain point, it’s empty and it’s meaningless.

You’ve got to find that for yourself: self-esteem, love, meeting your needs for growth and contribution. These are all where the real path lies. You have a choice right now.

You can either stay in that toxicity, stay in your bubble, just keep convincing yourself and rationalizing your shitty bubble, your poison that you will die from and that you will die emotionally from first before you physically die, and then you will pass it onto your children, and they will die, and they’ll be the same as you. Or you can break free from it, and that is difficult.

It is hard. I feel for you, man. That’s a hard choice and I’m not the one who is going to – don’t blame me, man. I’m just – because the first thing you’re going to look for is blaming and scapegoat, so don’t make me the scapegoat. I’m just telling you the truth. The only way out is for you to confront the hard truths and take that hard conversation.

Okay, on the beautiful, wonderful, uplifting note, I’m David Tian. Signing out.

You got to see the private Facebook group. Get into the private Facebook group. You will see Lester’s question. You will engage with all of us and you get your questions answered.

Join the private Facebook group, and until I see you in that group, Man Up!