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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.34 – How Do You Have A Successful Relationship If You Have An Active And Busy Lifestyle

How Do You Have A Successful Relationship If You Have An Active And Busy Lifestyle

  • David Tian Ph.D. tells men what they can do if they still feel lonely despite of being busy.

  • David Tian Ph.D gives advice on how you can actually have more free time.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. discusses what sustainable relationships are made of.

In episode 34, I answer the question of: How do you have a successful relationship if you have an active and busy lifestyle?

[Intro music]

Masculinity for the Intelligent Man. I am David Tian, Ph.D., and this is: Man Up!

[Fade music]

Welcome to Man Up, I’m David Tian Ph.D. and this is episode 34 of Man Up. I’m in Korea filming on my own again. A little bit nervous about that, I always prefer to have my crew here but I got to do it because I’m travelling so much. So this is answering a question from the Facebook group, the Man Up private Facebook group. A question from Luke, “First off, thanks for the great advice on your YouTube videos.” So here’s the question, it is – I’m not going to read the whole thing, “I’ve been talking to a girl online for a little over a month and we went out on a couple of dates in the past weeks however we both lead very busy lifestyles.

I work two jobs and do volunteer work at a youth center.” Very good. “And her work as a surgeon has her on long and odd hour shifts. Even though I like her and she’s into me and we text and talk a lot, the fact that we can’t meet up as much as we would both like to worries me as I don’t know if it will work or if I would like this in the long term. Any ideas and tips on how to help people with active and busy lifestyles can manage a healthy relationship not just hooking up. Thanks and keep this up.”

Hey, man, great question. Thank you for that question, Luke. I know exactly what that’s like. I’m in a new country every week. I, in ten minutes, have to run to catch a shuttle bus to the airport to Canada. That’s kind of a long flight. And then I’ll be back in Singapore then to Phuket and then back to Singapore, then Bangkok, then Shanghai, then Bangkok, then Singapore and then it’s Christmas. That’s like a month and a half for me.

At least you two are in the same city. Now, here’s the deal, if you are genuinely busy and it’s not like you’re lying at home on the bed and just like, “Oh, I wish you would see me or something.” If you’re genuinely busy, and it sounds like you are, you work two jobs and do volunteering. She’s a surgeon and has odd shifts and long shifts. Then you’re busy with the time – you’re doing things that you chose to do and that’s good. And that means that you’re not just idling around. So this is either a red herring of a question or there’s something that you really want to ask that you didn’t really ask here.

My question back to you would be: Are you lonely? Because it sounds like if you’re working two jobs and volunteering, you don’t even have time to be lonely. If in the spare time you do have, if you’re schedules coincide maybe 50% of the time, that’s great. And the other 50% of the time, get some friends. If you’re so busy, like really busy. If you’re so fucking busy then that’s great and that means that you don’t need a relationship. If you’re so busy that you don’t even have time for a relationship then you have shown to yourself that you don’t need one.

Now, if you feel lonely while you’re doing your job then fucking quit one of those jobs so you can have a relationship because relationships take time. If, however, both of you are happy in your jobs and after working during the week maybe you’ve got 8 hours of spare socializing time where you’re not just vegging out – because if you’re introverted in any way you’re just going to – when you’re done a long day at work, you kind of want to spend some time alone, maybe an hour of just vegging out in front of the TV or something.

If you’re an average person and you’re working really hard, you get 8 hours a week. 4 of those hours you should be spending with your friends because everybody should have friends even when you’re in a relationship. Have some friends. So you spend the 4 hours with friends then you have 4 hours a week with her. That’s half your free time. That’s quite a lot.

And make that 4 hours count. Make it really count. Make sure that you’re doing something you really, really enjoy. And it’s maybe like a year into the relationship you can just the two of you kick back and watch something on TV or some shit like that. But up until that point, do something special in those 4 hours, something really, really enjoyable. Like treat yourselves to something really, really nice. Something maybe that’s pampering or something adventurous, make those 4 hours count because you only have, what, 8 hours of free time anyway. I think that’s significant.

Now, is that the basis of a long term relationship, like a serious, deep one? No, but you don’t have time for a deep, serious relationship anyway, so what the fuck you talking about? Unless you’re not really asking the question you really want to ask. So busy people will have to grow with their relationships slower and that’s not a bad thing, at all.

I think people rush into relationships in the modern world too fast, anyway, because they’re brainwashed by all the crap from Hollywood and Korean dramas and shit. The movies are great in the courtship phase, those are great movies. And then the couple gets together and the movie ends. That’s where the hard work begins. That’s when the real stuff happens.

People think, “Oh, all of the drama is in the courtship.” Well actually there’s a lot of drama in the courtship but you have to do it in a sustainable way. Sustainable relationships don’t generally exhibit the pattern of intense, short courtships followed by very long relationships. Not in the modern world when it’s so easy to back out of the committed relationship now. That sort of thing might have worked in the 1800s when Jane Austen was writing about it because it just could be much more difficult to divorce but not in the modern world.

So do it sustainably. There’s nothing wrong with doing four hours a week because you have 8 hours to spare. That’s quite a big chunk of your time already. And just make sure that those 4 hours count. If you’re so busy that you’re working all these jobs that means that you’re making some extra moolah and you can hire a lifestyle concierge. I have one, I use Quintessentially, they’re great. I get no affiliate commission mentioning them, at all. There’s many of these concierge companies, I use Quintessentially.

And you can basically just tell Quintessentially here are the things I want to do, give me a list of the top 5 ways to do that here in the city. And then you just pick one, they make the reservations all the way down the line. Saves all this time and then the two of you just show up and have an amazing 4 hours. That’s the basis of a good one year relationship and hopefully after that one year you’ll be able to free up more time if you want to get serious about it. It’s just a matter of apportioning your own time. So, time management.

So there we go. This is Man Up, I’m David Tian, Ph.D. Make sure you join the private Facebook group. Click the link and join the private Facebook group. We approve requests about every day and you can ask your personal questions to me personally and I’ll give you an answer personally. All right man, this is Man Up.