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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.111 – When Should A Man Settle Down And Commit

When Should A Man Settle Down And Commit

  • David Tian Ph.D. describes the limiting belief in the situation.

  • David Tian Ph.D. explains why the problem is experiential knowledge.

  • In this Man Up episode, David Tian Ph.D. discusses why men need to grow and level up and how can that be achieved.

David Tian: Boom! Stop. In Episode 111, I answer the question of: When should a man settle down and commit?


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

Hey, this is David Tian, Ph.D. and welcome to Episode 111 of Man Up. For the past ten years, I’ve been helping tens of thousands of people in over 87 countries attain success in love and life. And here I am in Ubud, Bali. A look at the pool, the resort here… I wanted to show you this infinity pool. Pretty cool. See the background there? Pretty cool. Pretty nice resort. There’s a nice view over the valley. It’s kind of tough to see from here, but okay. So, I’m going to go sit down now and hopefully can keep that pool in the background. Nice background, so you don’t have to just look at me the whole time.

It’s been a pretty crazy couple of weeks. I was in Gold Coast and I actually filmed an episode there. Oh, the sunlight is hitting, right, now… Anyway… Oh, the sun’s back. Okay, this is probably better. I’ll have to stand here. And then I went to Hong Kong for a week for a conference. I actually shot the Rise Up video there, but it’s been crazy. Sessions, both cases, full days, so it’s nice to get a little R&R out here by the beach. Well before this, I flew in for a buddy’s wedding; beautiful wedding at the Alila Uluwatu. And actually, going later this week to the Alila in Ubud.

Ubud’s one of my favorite places in the world. I’m trying to make it out here three/four times a year. I love it here.

Okay, so answering a question from the private Facebook group from Brendon. Brendon from the private Facebook group asks, “At what point should you stop engaging in short-term relationships for fear of never being able to commit?” It’s a long question, but let me see if I can get to it. Well, I summarized most of it. In terms of short-term relationship, he means anything from a one-night stand or a short-term relationship that runs its course after one of the people leaves the country or has planned to leave the country. And he says this is the current situation he’s in.

He said he started out being really bad with women, and over the last five years got a lot more experienced, dating different girls, building self-respect. And now, he’s actually developed an avoidance to commitment. This is a problem, he says, as he eventually wants to settle down. “Right now,” he says, “I don’t think I have the emotional maturity to be in a serious relationship as I still desire sexual abundance, but I also don’t want to be stuck in the stage of wanting variety forever.” He’s also concerned how it will affect future relationships. He doesn’t want to continue telling girls, “I’m just looking for something casual. Somehow, I don’t think it’s as simple as waking up day and saying, “Well, I’ve had enough.””

Okay, so to answer the question: Why not? This seems like a limiting belief. Why can’t you just wake up one day and say, “I’ve had enough?” In fact, that’s how all change happens. You wake up one day… Well, it’s not so much you wake up one day. But at some point, something triggers like, “I’ve had enough. That’s it.” And it’s always just a moment in time, just like that, boom. “I will never put up with this again in my life” or I look in the mirror and like, “I’m never going to be that fat again in my life. I will not put up with this. I will get that six-pack” or whatever it is. The moment of decision is like that. It is literally a moment.

So, why not? This is a limiting belief: you thinking it has to be hard. Getting to that point of decision may take a while, just like many people who are obese or who continue with some addiction, just keep at it for a while. But there’s just a point, a moment in time, when enough is enough and it changes. It’s as simple as that. But the moments leading up to that moment are going to take some time. So, right now, Brendon, you’re not ready. I think somebody else has a question like this. I think partly because Man Up and a lot of my answers have been more focused on fulfilment and happiness than on sexual gratification.

So, there are a lot of guys who come in out of the PUA world. And one good thing about that world was that it shows them that it’s possible to change your personality. It shows them that it’s possible to change something that most people think is an unchangeable part of yourself. But they know that that’s not true, that they can actually change that. So, they come into the group and that’s good, but then they find, from my attitude, from my answers, from some of the others guys on the group, their attitudes and answers, that happiness and fulfilment cannot come from pursuing just sex.

You get pleasure, but pleasure satiates necessarily by definition. So, it’s sort of like trying to find happiness and Krispy Kreme donuts. It might taste good in the moment but it’s not going to satiate you for the long-term; just give you immediate gratification. But there are some guys who are not ready for that. I mean, they’re not there yet. And my answer to that would be… In the past, I’ve been coaching for over ten years, and in the past I used to think I could speed up for some guys that process of maturing; that I could speed them up to mature faster. But that was a mistake, I think everybody has to go through it themselves.

So, it’s one of the reasons why there are prodigies in math, prodigies in factual knowledge kind of stuff, but there are very few, if any, real prodigies in maturity or wisdom. You won’t find an 11 year old who is as wise as a wise 70 year old, because they can know things theoretically, and they can do the music, or play piano like a wizard, they can do the math and all of that. But to have the emotional maturity requires actually emotionally going through the process themselves. The problem is experiential knowledge.

And this is something I’ve written about in the context of Chinese philosophy, experiential knowledge is trumping theoretical knowledge in almost any case. In fact, you’ll find that now in the new economy, the world rewards experiential knowledge and theoretical knowledge is just a commodity. So, nice and sunny out. I’m getting distracted by this great weather but my face is real dark now because of the shade. So, that’s my answer.

You just got to keep going. At a certain point, and it might last you months, maybe even years of being disillusioned, dissatisfied… Basically, the way to get to the next level, to evolve to the next level, to level up is a process where you go through an exciting time of new growth and new learning. And at a certain point, you get satiated. And then satiation is followed by disillusionment. Satiation followed by disillusionment, discontent… Is this all there is? Is there more?

And at that point, then you’ll be looking for the new thing, the next thing. And hopefully if you have a mentor, he can point you at the next level. But if you don’t have a mentor, you might spend forever. It could be years or forever trying to find the next road. So, you get satiated, then you become disillusioned, and then you become confused because you don’t know what to do next or where the next thing is. And a lot of people just stop there.

But if you have a mentor or if you have guidance, then you go to the next level which is breakthrough. Then you breakthrough to the next level, and then it’s exciting learning all over again. And that has to repeat itself every few years, for me anyway, for me to get to the next level, to level up. So, no matter what level you’re at, there’s always another level. So, in terms of relationships and women and all of that… Right now, you’re in the Playboy level, and some guys never grow out of that and they end up actually really sad. It’s a really sad case.

I still see guys that I used to go clubbing with ten years ago, who are still posting clubbing stuff, hanging out with clubbing people. Basically, their lives are basically like clubbers. And you know, ten years on, and in a way they work in order to club; they work in order to have enough money that they can go clubbing, buy the bottles and tables. And that’s really sad. I mean, it’s sort of like somebody who works in order to buy Krispy Kreme donuts. I mean, it tastes great in the moment, but you don’t want to make your whole life purpose about Krispy Kreme donuts.

You don’t want to make your whole life purpose about drinking and having sex, because you’re basically nothing more than a zoo animal. You can imagine an enlightened alien race. I was talking about this with my girlfriend. Imagine an enlightened alien race watching human beings in clubs as if they were zoo animals. Like, you could see it behind a glass, you cram all of these human beings in there, Homo sapiens, and you feed them. And you watch them fornicate, and get drunk, and have fun, and then pass out and shit, and eat, and then come back and do it again, right?

So, you just need a zoo enclosure. You can see these enlightened aliens going, “Hmm, what an interesting way, these cute things…” And in a way, those who have evolved to the next level view that kind of existence in that way. I mean, that’s one of the closest ways I can explain it by analogy to how I view a lot of that now. And sometimes, I want to enter the zoo and play with the animals, right? Maybe it’s fun. Sometimes, I do want to eat Krispy Kreme donuts, but it’s not the purpose of my life and it doesn’t bring fulfilment.

But you won’t know that when you’re starving and you’ve been starving for however many years, and now you find… You know, you’re starving out in the dessert, just so happy just to get water, and then somebody brings you to a five-star hotel, a buffet breakfast or whatever buffet, and you can go crazy. And you just keep going crazy, you’re like, “Wow!” And in a way, there are many other areas of my life where I’m a beginner at. So, I get excited about the beginner stuff, but I know I can see how some of the advanced guys that I look to associate with in those other areas would see and experience the same physical phenomena differently from how I process it. And eventually, it’s a good roadmap to see their lives and what experiences they went through to get to that point, that that is probably what I will need to go through in order to get to that level.

Everyone’s a little different though, so maybe your period of time leading up to that point where you say, “Enough is enough, and I want to settle down and do something”, could be short or it could be long. So, it really depends on where you’re coming from and who you are.

Alright, man. So, that’s the quick answer. I kept it under like ten, 11 minutes now. So alright, that’s Episode 111. And until then, until next time, Man Up![MUSIC]