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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” (https://www.davidtianphd.com/blog/), 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 (https://www.facebook.com/groups/manupcommunity/) and answers based on his experience coaching tens of thousands of students around the world for over a decade.
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Should You End Unpleasant Relationships? Or Is Matthew Hussey Wrong?
David Tian Ph.D. shares his thoughts on Matthew Hussey’s advice on relationships.
We want our relationships to succeed, David Tian Ph.D. shows us how.
In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. explains how we can handle unpleasant relationships.
David Tian: Boom, stop! I’m David Tian, Ph.D., and in this episode I answer the question: Should you stay in an unpleasant relationship? My thoughts on Matthew Hussey’s advice. Welcome to Man Up 234. Masculinity for the intelligent man. I’m David Tian, Ph.D., and this is Man Up!
Hi, I’m David Tian Ph.D. and welcome to Man Up episode 234. For over the past 11 years now, I’ve been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success, happiness and fulfillment in life and love. Let’s just get into the question. This is a question that was originally sent to me from a post by a dating coach named Matthew Hussey. He’s a dating coach for women, mostly. So his demographic is almost opposite of what mine is, but it’s still relationship advice. So, he wanted my thoughts about that quote, and the thing he forwarded to me was also liked by Lewis Howes. Lewis Howes is the author of Mask of Masculinity. So, sort of the same ecosystem as far as advice goes.
So, the advice that was asked, or he’s asking my advice on the advice of Matthew Hussey, which is, “If a guy makes your life more difficult, more stressful, more unpleasant, it’s a bad relationship. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the flower underneath is if you can never see it through the weeds.” Okay, so that sounds really nice and it’s sort of nice in the way that Marilyn Monroe’s famous quote is nice, her famous quote of, “If you can’t handle me on the bad days, you don’t get me on the good days.” Or something along those lines. So, it sounds nice and all the people who want to like stick it to their ex-partners say, “Yeah! I’m not at fault at all. It’s all your fault. And you made my life difficult, so fuck you!”
There are a lot of people who like this advice, especially people who are in abusive relationships or who stayed too long in toxic relationships. However, this is actually not mature advice. I don’t know that much about Matthew Hussey and his work, I’m sure it’s good, he has a big following among women. This is like two sentences in a big quote card on his Instagram may be taken out of context as far as his corpus of work. But just in and of itself those two sentences can be quite misleading as far as advice goes for like, “What you should do if you want to succeed in relationships.”
My fuller answer is over four hours of a free course called The Secrets to a Successful Relationship. It’s based on lots of clinical psychology. It’s not like I’m originating the advice I’m giving there. I’m drawing from lots of different sources in clinical psychology to give you the truth in what clinical psychology says about marriage and long term relationships. You can get access to that by clicking on the link that you’ll see wherever we post this video. There’s a teaser, like it’s the first part of the course, and that’s for free on YouTube. That’s the fuller answer to what I’m going to get into. I’m going to give you a little snippet. The bigger answer is in the video. You can find it on YouTube and on our Facebook, and it’s called: Is Love Enough? Why Passionate Relationships Become Toxic. Just Google: ‘is love enough david tian’ and you’ll find it, and that’s the first part of the free course. So, I would Matthew Hussey and whoever espouses this kind of attitude, and let me repeat the quote again.
“If a guy makes your life more difficult, more stressful, more unpleasant, it’s a bad relationship. It doesn’t matter how beautiful the flower underneath is if you can never see it through the weeds.” Actually, it does matter. Because you’re not perfect. You judge, you arbiter, you evaluate her. And what you learn is that, you’re an imperfect human being as well in process. You’re still growing. You’re still maturing. I mean, it’s pretty easy. If you live past 30 years old, it’s pretty easy to just look back on what you thought was like the die hard truth or the rock solid truth like ten years ago, or what you thought in your teens and how you’ve changed your mind.
Hopefully, you have grown. You’ve learned new things. You’ve changed your mind. You’ve broadened your mind on things. And I just need to look back like three years, or five years. Every three years or so, I go through major life changes, and transform my thinking.
I like to think of it as evolving. But you know, ten years from now, I might look back on what I’m doing now and think, “Man, that was pretty immature.” So you try your best, you do your best given what you have at the place in which you find yourself and with intellectual humility, epistemic humility that you don’t know everything, you’re not God. So because of that, you realize that your judgment of another person is going to be necessarily imperfect and flawed. So, the secret to a successful relationship… Well, the premise to the secret, the first part of the secret is that you’re still in process.
I’m mostly talking to dudes here, I guess. So, she is also in process. She might be immature, so less mature than you. And at that moment in her life, she is messed up. So, you might think, “Oh, screw it. I don’t want to meet somebody like that.” But no matter what, if you have passion, there is going to be conflict. There are going to be times when on your side, your subjective side, you’re going to be thinking, “You make my life difficult. You make my life stressful. You make my life unpleasant.”
And then if you follow this advice from Matthew Hussey, you’ll say, “This is a bad relationship.” Actually, no. This is an opportunity to learn. Now, the evaluation of whether it’s worth it to stay in this relationship and try to make it work is a separate one. That’s a judgment of character. But in the moment, it’s so easy to think, “My life is unpleasant.” If you quit every time something was unpleasant, you would never succeed at anything. If your workout is difficult, is stressful, or is unpleasant, then it’s a bad work out. Wrong. Anything in life that is good for you that will make you exceptional, that’ll make you extraordinary, it’s different from the ordinary, it’s going to be hard and you have to stick with it.
You have to judge independently whether it’s worth sticking it out, and that’s a character judgment on that person. And character judgments, you need to look over the span of time. Is there a recurring pattern? Are they showing positive change, and is it a positive trajectory upward of them growing and maturing? That will all have to be taken into account. In fact, I have another free course on this, Relationship Red Flags, that gives you the beginnings of how to evaluate, whether somebody is ready and is at that point in their lives when they would be successful at a long term relationship.
So, you can get all that by the way by clicking on the link to join the master classes. They’re free. It’s my way of getting you into my ecosystem. So, maybe you’d say, “Hey David, you give good advice, maybe I’ll go buy something down the line.” So, full disclosure. I try to put out all this free stuff, so that’s there for free as well. If a guy makes your life more difficult, let’s change it to girl. If a person, if your partner, makes your life more difficult, more stressful, more unpleasant, it’s a bad relationship. No, that’s not true. All this says is, if you have a difficult time with her, or a stressful time, or your relationship is unpleasant at that moment, you need to examine that. You need to sit with her and figure out, “Why is it like this? Is it me?” And, how much of it is our dynamic?
And in the Secret for Successful Relationship course, you’ll learn, like clinical psychologists say, the reason why you have chemistry in the first place is the reason why you will have fuck ups later on. And you’re going to be triggering each other back and forth. And if you don’t figure out that dynamic, which is in you, by the way, half of it is in you, having to grow out of that, you’ll never succeed. You’ll probably see this in your own life. You have lots of passion at the beginning of a relationship if you did, you know, a honeymoon period, and then it devolved into bitter arguments.
There’s so many movies that depict this. A good one is Alfie with this unstable fling that they decided to move in together, and then it just blew up. That’s because Alfie was too immature and she was too immature. But if they mature, then it could work. How do they know where to mature? Because there’s so many areas of blind spots that you can’t see, because they’re blind-spots. How do you know? You know by the conflict. It’s sort of like, “How do you know where your weak spots are in the work out?” When you can’t lift anymore, when there’s stress that you can’t handle, when there’s a challenge you can’t lift. And if you just lift, “Everything’s fine.” You’re never going to grow. There’s no muscle growth. There’s no progress. So until you hit that limit break through, you’re not actually growing.
So, if everyone takes this advice, then they’re never going to grow. They’re actually just going to stay in these honeymoon relationships and keep breaking them off. So, I mean, it sounds really nice. Basically it’s like, the advice comes down to, if the person is… Here’s another example. I’ve heard of this. If that person makes your life ever go, on the quality of your life, like your happiness scale, on zero to ten… If you are, let’s say seven out of ten when you’re by yourself, happy, and that person makes you 6 out of 10, drop that person. That was the advice that was given, like, dump that person. And that’s horrible advice because that means, that’ll pretty much guarantee that you never stay in a relationship past three to five years. Or you say, “Okay, I’ll stay in the relationship,” but then the passion goes away and just basically live as best friends.
That person who gave me that advice gets surrounded by having basically — they’re basically like swingers. They just have sex with consensual partners. Basically, they’re polyamorous. So, that’s one way to go. For those who don’t want to do that, who want to actually see if they can find a successful monogamous intimate relationship, the moments at which you think to yourself, “This person’s making my life difficult, stressful, and unpleasant, but there’s a beautiful flower underneath it.”
Those are the times, those are the moments when you can learn the most about yourself and about you in relationship with the thing that you were attracted to before. Those are the clues, those are like the when Hansel and Gretel gets lost in the forest, which is being sort of like you’re lost in the forest now. Those are the breadcrumbs that you can follow to take you back to your growth, take you forward. Actually, that’s where the analogy breaks down, to take you forward, to take you home, to take you to the next level. So, it might be that that person is just a psychopath or personality disordered person that will either never succeed in a relationship. But even then, the challenges, the times like, when that person, you’re like, “Man, my life’s difficult, stressful and unpleasant.”
That’s your moment, that’s your opportunity to pause, reflect, and become more self-aware, and figure out like, “Why were you with this person in the first place? Why was there chemistry between the two of you in the first place? What did you overlook? Why were you attracted to the person?” That was like the most important question. What does it say about you? What can you learn from this? It basically is the overall question. So, there you go. I would completely disagree with this advice, just taken point blank or taken at face value. If a guy makes your life more difficult, more stressful, more unpleasant, it’s a bad relationship, not necessarily. Doesn’t matter how beautiful the flower underneath is if you never see it through the woods, not necessarily.
So, you’d be in the relationship because you did see something at the beginning but now shit’s getting hard. And every time shit gets hard, you quit. Well then, you’re always going to be quitting. So, the secret to getting out of this, the secret to using this and learning from it as that opportunity to change, to grow, to mature, to develop is in my course, the free course The Secret to a Successful Relationship. You can see the first part of it for free on YouTube and Facebook. And if you just Google this or YouTube search it, the title I’m trying to remember is: Is Love Enough? ‘is love enough david tian,’ and you’ll find that preview. So, go watch that, let me know what you think. Let me know what you think of this video.
Also, join the private Man Up Facebook group. We’re like 23,000+ strong in there, in the group. Some good advice in there. Also, if you want to ask me a question, post the question in the group, and that’s how I choose what questions to answer in the Man Up episodes. I haven’t done a Man Up in a long time. We were out in the US for a while and back in Bangkok right now. And we’re out in the US for my sister’s husband’s memorial service and just a lot going on in my personal life, so not as much work video.
So, I shot a new course that we released, it’s called Core. So, those who want to up their masculinity, that’s the best first course to take. So, I recommend to check that out on our home page. You can see Core, C-O-R-E, and we’re soon going to be releasing Freedom U, my flagship course, which is a live, online course. So, look out for that. Lots going on in the company, in the team. But as far as Man Up goes and we shoot more of these coming up, welcome back to Man Up. And I’ll see you inside the man up Facebook group, see you inside the group. David Tian, signing out. Man Up!