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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.157 – What To Do When She Wants A Break To Find Herself

Girlfriend Needs To Find Herself

  • David Tian Ph.D. suggests activities that you can do after a break-up.

  • David Tian Ph.D. explains the reason why a woman might want to break up with you.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. shares how we can really move on from the break-up.

David Tian: Boom! Stop. I’m David Tian, PhD. And in this video, I answer the question: What to do when she wants a break to find herself? Welcome to Man Up Episode 157.

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

Hi! I’m David Tian, PhD. And for over the past ten years, I’ve been helping hundreds of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success in life, love, happiness, and fulfillment. And welcome to Episode 157 of Man Up. It’s been a while. I actually just checked. It’s been almost three weeks since the last episode. A lot of guys have asked if I’ve stopped doing them on purpose, and I don’t know what to say except my parents were visiting Asia from Canada last week. We’ve been doing a lot of work, research, development, R&D and product development in the company here.

For example starting today, I’m starting a 21-hour coaching weekend group event. I’ve been spending a lot of time planning that, testing that, and it’s all going to be part of new product launches coming out next year, new programs in relationships and lifestyle, in masculinity, and we’ve been testing those for over two years. Just those and specifically but many components of them for many years beyond two years, more than five years, at least for each of those components.

So, I’m really excited that finally everything’s starting to come together, and hopefully we’ll be able to release the full version early next year. That’s been what’s going on over here, but I’m back on it. So for December and going forward, we’ll be back to the three times a week filming schedule. Just to let you know. Thank you for tuning in, and for watching, and for being in the group. A lot of guys are still joining the group and catching up with the old episodes.

Also, I’ve been filming a lot of new free courses in the Man Up free course catalog, what we call the primer, the Man Up primer. You can get access to the free courses. There are many that have been there for a while, how to turn her on, how to start conversations with women, how to get out of the friend zone; so many. And I’ve just recently added – we’ve been experimenting with long-form video. The last one I did was over 75 minutes and that was on attraction versus love, and that’s in our channel. You can go see that. Just click on this channel and you can see it.

So, that’s been something – I actually put that out last week. And we also shot another one, it came out to almost two hours. But since it’s been a while since I’ve been filming video, a lot of my time has been in R&D, reading, research, working one-on-one with people. So, getting up on stage and giving a talk, I was stumbling, it wasn’t as smooth as I wanted. So, I’m not sure we’re going to release that version of it, but we’ll be filming the full weekend this weekend, so it’s another 21 hours of video content for our vault.

Anyways, that was for the new idea, which is to do longer keynote talks, release those, so look out for those coming up. But I want to get back, definitely, into the Man Up episodes again. So, post your questions in the private Facebook group and I can answer those.

So as I was saying, in the Man Up primer, we recorded a new course on… Part of the reason why I did lovers as attraction is because it’s the necessary information or knowledge in order to make sense of the new free courses I made on how to recover from a breakup and how to get your ex back. So, we’re still filming the ‘How To Get Your Ex Back’ next week as of this filming, but we’ve already done how to recover from a breakup, and it’s good enough. I probably will continue to add to it, but you can access that free course by just joining the Facebook group. Inside the Facebook group, you can click on the cover image and there will be the link next to it.

You can also go to the pinned post, you can see the links. So, it’s very simple. Join the group, access the free courses, and they’re right there. Pretty simple.

So, I got a question here. Another break up question. This one comes from Fred. I’ve been working really hard, coming down with a little bit of sinuses, a little cold. It’s so ironic that in Singapore, indoors they just crank up the air conditioning so much, so it’s like it’s freezing indoors, you go outside and it’s hot as fuck. Anyway, I just don’t understand that.

Anyway, so a question. Let’s see. It’s a long question. I’m going to start in the middle of it.

“She decided a relationship was not something she could juggle anymore.” This was a girlfriend of a year and a half with him, with Fred here, “She decided she needs a break and needs to find herself. To be fair, she had just gotten a new job along with the one she already had and barely had any off days. On top of all that, she had school as well. Our relationship was perfect to me. Never fought, always honest and kind to each other, surfed together, did everything together, no complaints, no cheating and great communication.”

“Initially, she told me she still loved me, she just needed time and space. About a week later on her birthday, I sent flowers to her work… it went well. A few weeks later, after some exchanging of text, basically pouring my heart out, she decided that she wanted to sit down for dinner and talk about it.” Ooh yeah, like you put on everything out there and she’s like, “Let’s talk.” It’s always a bad feeling.

“She did just that, and it ended up with me just explaining how I feel and how I give her all the time she needs. I’m still here for her and I’m waiting.” Oh man, that sucks. How long did you say this was? A year and a half. Oh wait, you were dating for a year and a half. It’s been about three months since the breakup, okay.

“She didn’t say much but I could tell that she was tearing up a bit. She says she needs more time and she was only so silent because she was absorbing everything. Since then, it’s been nothing but ups and downs of emotions, feeling some helplessness, loneliness, and the other emotions you’d imagine. I’ve had some friends creep her Snap and stuff, not often, and they tell me that she’s hanging out alone, not really anything that would suggest there being someone else. They might just be saying that to keep me from feeling worse.”

“I haven’t been drinking, but I did pick up smoking again after three months of quitting. I’ve actually been very active running and going to the gym, but you can only run and work out for so long. The nights are tough and I stay up wondering in agony, “Where did it go wrong?” Do you think she just needs time? Should I take bigger strides to move on? I just want some insight.”

Alright, great question, Fred. I feel for you. A lot of takeaways from this question. One thing you can do is go to the private Facebook group and get the free course on how to get over a breakup. That’s filmed fresh. Now that I think about that – the system in how to get over the breakup is an immediate system. In other words, what you should do right now to get you over the breakup, so you’re not obsessing, you’re not in agony as you say, you put it very well, you just sit there and — “The nights are tough and I stay up, wondering in agony.”

So, we want to fix that so you’re not in pain so much. But the longer term fix is to actually progress in life, move forward and pursue your dreams again. I covered that in that free course, but obviously that would necessitate a much bigger program, right? So, just so you’re aware, you’re on the right track with working out, that’s great, but I understand. If you’ve been working out this whole time, continuing with your work out, the same work out especially in the same gym, actually won’t help. It’ll actually just make it worse.

If you switch your workout around, if you’ve been doing a bodybuilding type of workout, switching to an HIT on a more regular basis, or switching to yoga, or switching to MMA, or submission grappling or something like that, would really help you, would really help you, rather than the same old thing. Especially if all of those anchors are there in the gym and in your particular routine. You want to change up as much of your routines as possible, as much of the locations, and surroundings, and environment as possible. That would really speed up that process of moving on.

Here’s a lesson that was covered in How to Get Your Ex Back, is if you want to be more attractive, one of the best things you can do is to actually make progress in your life, and move on, and not be attached, not be needy towards her in the old relationship. That’ll actually make you more attractive to her.

But in this case, I don’t think that’s the issue. I don’t think, just based on what you’ve said, that the issue is that she’s lost attraction for you. I think the issue is, it sounds like you guys are in your 20s. I didn’t see the age here, but just the way you write, Snapchat and all that, sounds like early to mid-20s, possibly up to 28 years old. And if that’s the case, then this is very common.

One of the big problems with the Millennial generation and the generation after that, is that everyone’s walking around feeling like they need to be superstars. They need to be great; like they have greatness within them. And now, with social media, and Instagram, and Snapchat, the ability to look into people’s lives and to think that social media profile is an accurate representation of real life is very dangerous because it’s often not an accurate representation.

That’s one of the issues. It’s creating this envy and this fear or missing out that’s so prevalent, and this idea that I have to make something of myself even though you’re still in your 20s and all of this. It’s actually created a lot of discontent, because the elite by definition can only be – however you define it, however selective you define it – can only be that top. And while you’re still searching for your thing, you have this dissatisfaction with your current state.

Here’s one of the big problems with Millennial happiness, is in a consumerist culture, in a status-anxiety culture, which is even more exacerbated by this, “I’m a special snowflake”, Millennial thinking. And I shouldn’t just pick on Millennials. It’s just an easy term to pick on, but it’s always been there throughout all of modern history, this idea that “I have to be great, I have to be special to be somebody. I have to be great to be worthy of affection and approval and validation to be somebody” is a very dangerous thing because people are actually going for that greatness out of a discontent, a dissatisfaction at a very deep level with themselves.

So, instead of finding their passion and what they really enjoy, they’re trying to find what they can be great at. Instead of what you enjoy or support what you’re great at. And sometimes, if those two things come together, you’re blessed. And if it’s something that the market needs and wants, then you’re definitely in bliss. So many people are just looking for greatness and looking to find, “What is my life about?”

This is a very common thing. In the 1950s, this wasn’t such an issue. Before the internet, before it was so easy to peer into other people’s lives, it was easier to be contented. So, the adaptation principle is something that most people – they lead their lives completely ignorant of. No matter how much pleasure, no matter how many goodies you get, no matter how many Lamborghinis or whatever you get, you’re still going to be dissatisfied with your life. You’re still going to be unhappy.

If you’re unhappy before the Lamborghini, you’ll be unhappy after the Lamborghini. The Lamborghini will give you six days of happiness. It’s sort of like what I’ve heard from all of my friends who have yachts, boats, is that your two happiest days of getting the boat are the day you get the keys or the day you acquire it and the day you sell it.

It’s those things. We get way down by this, especially if it’s some long-term thing, right? Like, “Oh, I’m not going to be happy until I make that billion dollar company.” Then again, you’re in your 20s, so you can fuck up your whole decade and you won’t even be my age yet, so I don’t have that much sympathy for you, but that’s the situation.

She’s looking for herself, and this is so common. It’s like Eat, Pray, Love shit. A great illustration of this before the social media world, in the internet world, where it’s easy to pry into people’s lives, and they get a very distorted view of other people’s lives, and then make yourself feel by comparison like you’re missing out, and that creates that discontent that makes you question your whole existence and the way you’re leading your life.

Whereas that wasn’t the case so easily in the 50s, but there’s a great movie called Revolutionary Road that describes, that depicts, Kate Winslet, Leonardo deCaprio, in a marriage that lack the passion – and then they went apart from each other to find meaning.

Kate Winslet’s character is a great illustration of trying to find herself, having that quarter-life crisis or whatever it is, tertiary life crisis. It sounds like this is a case of the girlfriend has her own issues. She needs to work through her own problems, and it could just be depression. There’s not enough information to diagnose that, but clearly it’s one of those issues where she feels like she’s lost in terms of that psychological sense of meaning.

She needs to figure out how to meet her own needs of how to feel alive again through passion. And that’s not something that she can find in you. I mean, that would be dangerous for her, to actually find her meaning in you. She needs to find it for herself, and there’s nothing you can do.

I’ve counselled people in this situation way back, thinking you could actually speed up that process like a parent helping the kid find his way. And if you treat it like trying to help your kid find a major in university, it doesn’t work. You, people, us, we have to go through that process and struggle through it ourselves when we confront that meaninglessness of life and try to figure out what our purpose in life is.

To be really intelligent and wise about it, as you grow and develop, your purposes, the things that you have passion in and you find meaning in will evolve over time. And that’s just a part of growing. So in a way, it’s a good thing that this generation is struggling with that, how to find meaning in life. It’s just unfortunate that they’re looking in the wrong places.

It doesn’t sound like – just by the way you’ve described it – that she’s doing anything proactively to discover her meaning. So, there are many ways to discover your purpose. So many guys have asked about that. I can’t believe it. It’s one of those things that we need to do more SEO on, like purpose in life. I started out as a dating coach and now I’m giving life purpose advice, but I’m okay with that. We’ve been working with that for two to three years already in live events, some of these 20-hour events.

I’m an academic by training, so I’m reluctant to release information or to teach things that I haven’t rigorously tested. I think by next year, maybe second quarter of next year. By then, I might feel confident in releasing a life purpose product or the program in which we walk you through how to discover your life purpose but still testing that.

But you know, a lot of it – you can do it the old fashioned way. You don’t have to do it the way I’ve been teaching it, and that could just be through life experience; trying out lots of different things. It takes longer, but the Eat, Pray, Love thing of traveling and going into new environments is a good thing. A lot of that bullshit is unnecessary, but that will help if you just go out, travel, explore new experiences, meet new types of people, see the world and get out of your little village, your little bubble of existence. That’s never bad. That’s never a bad thing; to travel and then see new things, and experience new adventures, and meet new types of people. It’s always a good thing.

So, I suggest Fred, that you do the same. I suggest that you switch up your workouts radically. Take new sports. I suggest as a man you do some MMA or submission grappling. What I like about submission grappling is you can kind of go all the way, because you can tap at any point. Whereas if you’re striking, you could really do some damage. But you can’t go all out.

But even just switching out your workout. If you’ve been doing a bodybuilder workout, try an HIT workout. If you’ve been doing that type of fitness workout, try yoga more times a week. Just switch it up. Go to a new gym. You got to get some new anchors. And I cover all of that in much more detail in the How to Recover from a Breakup free course. It’s in the Facebook group. Join the Facebook group and you can get access to that right away.

“Do you think she just needs time?” Yes. It’s not she just needs time. She needs time but she needs a lot more. She needs therapy. I believe everyone needs therapy, but she especially needs therapy in this point in her life. She also needs to explore more and evolve, challenge herself and grow. And maybe when she comes out of that first phase of growth, maybe the two of you won’t be compatible at that point. You need to let her grow. If you truly love her, then let her discover for herself who she is and create that sense of identity for herself. That’s just part of those things.

It’s sort of like letting your child grow up. That’s what you got to do. You got to let them go.

“Should I take bigger strides to move on?” Hell yes. You have no choice there. Yeah, you got to take bigger strides. You can either do that or just wallow in your self-pity for years. And I’ve known cases, guys writing to me, who have not gotten over their ex in two, three, four years, because they haven’t taken active steps to grow. It sounds like she hasn’t either and that’s scary. She’s just in that discontent. You must take action. You must try new things in order to move forward. You must invest in yourself, and explore your interest, and hobbies, and preferences and travel. Experience new things.

And I go into a lot of other suggestions in the How to Get Over a Breakup free course in the Man Up primer. So by the time we post this, it should be up in the Facebook group.

So, join the private Facebook group. Click the link. Join the group. We approve requests multiple times a day. I will see you in there. Until then, David Tian, Man Up!