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“Hi David,

Why do we crave women we’ve only just met? And why are we depressed when we get rejected when asking for a longer relationship? What's behind it, and how do I tackle this situation?

When I meet a new girl, I’m happy and I jump around — my life is full of joy. I think about her all the time, and I’m in a needy state… even though the chances for a long-term relationship at this point are still miles away.

So, how do I control my feelings in a healthy way? A way so I don’t get destroyed if she rejects or friendzones me?


That question came in from Listener Ronnie.

And in today’s episode, I reveal how to eliminate the feelings of anxiety and neediness when dating women. I also share WHY you crave women you’ve just met, and a few unconventional methods to overcome your pre-installed traits.

Listen now!

Show Highlights Include:

  • How learning to seduce a 9 or 10 by giving her “the look” still leaves you needy and anxious for her approval (2:54)
  • Why believing a girlfriend will “complete you” sabotages your long-term happiness and fulfillment (3:21)
  • Ever crave for a woman you’ve only met for a short time? Why is that? The answer is at (6:43) Do you feel depressed when rejected by a woman—even one you’ve only known for a couple of weeks? The answer is also at (6:43)
  • How to feel unending bliss—and live a life full of joy—by left-swiping women on Tinder who are spontaneous (and add fun to your life) (7:20)
  • Why the “Twin Terrors” force you to self-sabotage on a date—and act like an emotionally manipulative victim. Most men suffer from this their entire life… do you? (9:26)
  • Over 40 and feel like you have to perform in order to feel worthy of love? The answer is at (11:07)
  • The 4 different “attachment styles” which points out why we need to constantly check if she’s replied back (20:40)
  • How to terminate neediness when meeting a woman by using a depth gauge and a compass (authorized by the Navy Seals) (24:59)
  • The “abundance theory” superpower which eliminates neediness with one tap of a button on your phone (and here’s why this mindset will obliterate any hope of a successful long-term relationship) (26:50)

Does your neediness, fear, or insecurity sabotage your success with women? Do you feel you may be unlovable? For more than 15 years, I've helped thousands of people find confidence, fulfillment, and loving relationships. And I can help you, too. I'm therapist and life coach David Tian, Ph.D. I invite you to check out my free Masterclasses on dating and relationships at https://www.davidtianphd.com/masterclass/ now.

For more about David Tian, go here:

Emotional Mastery is David Tian's step-by-step system to transform, regulate, and control your emotions… so that you can master yourself, your interactions with others, and your relationships… and live a life worth living. Learn more here:

Read Full Transcript

Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast, where we answer key questions in relationships, attraction, success, and fulfillment. Now, here's your host, world-renowned therapist and life coach, David Tian.

David: Welcome to the Masculine Psychology Podcast. I'm David Tian, your host. In this episode, I answer a listener’s question about neediness and about anxious attachment, and I share some of my own journey about how I got over those issues for myself.

Alright, so let's get right into it, and I'm going to be reading out the question and the subsequent comment, and this is coming from Ronnie Morell. He writes, “Hi, David. Will you ever make a podcast telling why we sometimes crave for a girl? We only have met for a short time and we get totally depressed when we get rejected when asking for a longer relationship. What's behind it and what to do to better tackle the situation?” [01:02.0]

Then I asked for some more clarification and he replied, “When you meet a new girl, you're happy and jumping around. Your life is full of joy. You're thinking of her all the time. A really needy state, even if you have just met her and chances for a relationship are nearly impossible. How to control your feelings in a healthy way so you do not get destroyed when getting a rejection or that she just wants to be friends?”

Okay, so off the top, if I were just a dating coach, there are lots of tactical things that I could share with him, especially strategies and techniques, tactics, and so forth, to get out of the friend zone and things you can do to never be put in the friend zone. I cover these in my free masterclasses of which there are over 13, 14 at now, and you can get access to those for free by going to DavidTianPhD.com and entering your email. You can also go directly to the sign-up webpage, DavidTianPhD.com/masterclass, which you can also find from the homepage top navigation. You can also get access to the masterclass through the assessments on the homepage at DavidTianPhD.com. [02:16.0]

But I'm not just a dating coach and this podcast is not just a dating-advice podcast. It’s primarily a psychotherapeutic podcast, and the reason for that is because I believe that the psychotherapeutic approach is far more important, better for your mental health, long-term happiness and fulfillment, and doesn't just address the surface-level issues with superficial solutions that dating advice would do, but instead goes deeper to the sources and the origin, the roots of the underlying unresolved issues that are causing the surface-level problems. [02:54.8]

So, if you don't figure out what the deeper issues are behind your neediness, then even if you learn to hide your neediness, to cover over it with seduction tactics or something along those lines, in the end, you're still needy. It's just that you're better at hiding it or pretending like you're not, and you're just delaying the inevitable crash that will come because no other human being can meet your needs fully one hundred percent in any kind of healthy way.

And that is the big lie that immature men, which is most men—so there's no shame in being immature or being called by me to be as immature. It just means that you have more growth left—immature men believe the lie, the myth that women will complete him or that there is “a” woman, “the one” who will finally make him feel alive, fulfilled enough, significant enough, happy. [03:55.6]

They mistakenly think that the couples around them-- This is a very naive view that I’ve commonly encountered among immature men, men who haven't been married before or haven't had any long-term relationships. They look at the couples around them and they think the majority of them, I don't know, 80 percent of them are happily married, happily coupled up, and live a life of unending bliss. And the reason they are able to live a life of unending bliss is because the man and the woman meet each other's needs fully and perfectly, and they feel understood and complete, because the other person completes them and they want that.

Okay, hopefully, just by the way I’ve described that, you know that that's complete and utter B.S. A healthy relationship can only happen and be sustained and grow if each of the partners is complete in himself or herself, without needing the partner to complete them. They are able to meet their own needs to a high level and they're able to meet their own needs so much that they have extra love to spare, and that extra love and compassion and care, and so forth, can then be shared with the partner. [05:06.8]

But the person has to be his or her own primary caretaker of his or her own parts of his or her own self, so a healthy relationship can only come from an overabundance of these needs being met already by that person. Tony Robbins puts it well when he says a relationship is where you go to give, not go to get.

Immature guys have believed this lie, that if they just get the one, then they'll finally be happy, they'll finally be complete, and what they're doing is primarily looking to get from the woman. Okay, so I’ve done episodes in the past on neediness, I’ve done quite a lot, so I don't want to repeat much from those episodes except to say that neediness is a state that you get in when you're unable to meet your own emotional or psychological needs, especially your needs for love, your need for connection, your need for worthiness or significance, your need for security, and for some, love avoidance, or those who have an avoidant attachment style, your need for variety. [06:10.0]

These are all normal needs. There's nothing wrong with the needs themselves. It's how you go about meeting these needs or what you require to meet these needs where the problem lies. Then, of course, bringing in now another layer of complexity, which is your parts, your various inner child parts, your protected parts, and I’ve covered that. Especially from the framework of IFS therapy, I've covered that in quite a few past episodes.

In this episode, I'm going to speak more directly to Ronnie's question to bring it back as a way of reminder, he asks, “Why do we sometimes crave for a woman that we have only met?” Just met, he says, for a short time. He describes it in this way. “When you meet this new woman, you are happy and jumping around. Your life is full of joy. You're thinking of her all the time, a really needy state, but you've just met her,” he says. “And the chances of a relationship at this point are nearly impossible,” he says. Then for his experience, when he asks for a longer relationship, he is rejected and then depressed, and he wants to understand what's happening. [07:15.7]

Here, obviously, what's happening is neediness, which is already named, and the neediness is because he's unable to meet his own needs to fulfill his life. He is waiting for a woman to make him feel complete and happy and joyful. There's something even deeper going on, because what he is experiencing when he gets that way, seeing the girl as his sort of savior for his otherwise-- The contrast is his life isn't happy. He's not jumping around on a regular basis. His life is not full of joy. It might be this kind of blah kind of existence.

As an aside, I’ve made a Man Up episode on a very common variation of this, which is the nice guy or white knight who gets attracted to what cinema studies calls the Manic Fairy Dream Girl or the Manic Pixie Dream Girl, and you should be able to find that video on my YouTube channel or on my website DavidTianPhD.com, or if you just do a Google search, “David Tian Man Up white knight syndrome” or “manic fairy dream girl.” [08:16.8]

In that pairing, this “Manic Fairy Dream Girl” sort of manic woman, kind of like a fairy in terms of this adventure and spontaneity, lightens up, brings the color to the life of an otherwise kind of geeky or nerdy kind of introverted man who otherwise has a kind of blah existence. Classic versions of this are the (500) Days of Summer movie and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

By the way, I cover all of these issues, the white knight syndrome, the neediness, and I addressed them directly through guided meditation work that is founded and grounded in psychotherapeutic approaches, multiple ones, in my course, Rock Solid Relationships. If this is something that you want to tackle directly, in addition to getting a good therapist, I would also recommend, and I’m biased obviously, but I would also recommend my Rock Solid Relationships course, which goes really in depth and provides a lot of just follow-along and kind of do-it-for-you guided-meditative exercises that will lead you through the healing process. [09:20.2]

But back to Ronnie. He's dealing with even deeper issues than her just bringing joy to his life and that's because he suffers from what we all, as human beings, have had to deal with at some point in our lives, and most people are still grappling with and have not actually handled well, which I call the twin terrors, and these are the fear that you're not enough and the fear that you won't be loved, and you could actually combine them into the fear that you're not enough for love.

It is out of that fear that you're not enough for love that we then split off into our adaptive strategies, and the three most common ones are the pleaser, of which the achiever is a subset. So, the pleaser, the rebel, and the recluse. The recluse, the one who withdraws, like the loner strategy. [10:10.8]

Those are three ways to get the love that we need from our primary caregivers, which, for most people, are our parents, to get that need for approval, the need for love, the need for connection, the need even just for their attention. We adapted how we were in order to get that on a consistent basis, and this level of kind of obsession about a woman that you have just barely met comes from actually not having your needs met consistently or fully by those formative caregivers.

That is, even the strategies that you tried out, and very likely, we've all tried all three of those strategies, where we just withdraw to ourselves and then hope that they will come and get us, and then that doesn't work, so then maybe we rebel, we throw a tantrum or something. Then that still doesn't work, and then we then please them and then maybe we please them by achieving, and that's the common achiever strategy. [11:07.2]

Some achievers actually then become very good at achieving, as a result, and consistently get attention and approval, and so forth, so they have some degree of security, and they know that as long as they perform well, they'll get what they need. Then they perform very well and they do this consistently, so then they don't notice their neediness until their 40s when they hit this midlife crisis and they wonder, “Am I only what I achieve? Am I only my performance? What if I don't achieve much? Am I not worth it and do I have no intrinsic value?” and then they hit that existential crisis, and I’ve dealt with that and other episodes.

Moving back to Ronnie now. It's very common for non-achievers to never actually have those needs met, but then they stick with one of those coping strategies anyway. Or in my case, as an achiever, it's very common that in your childhood, you did get attention and approval, but you didn't really get that much. I remember the very first time, I think, as a 5-year-old, I finished a book that was more than 100 pages and I was very proud of myself, I remember this, and it was like a cowboys book, like cowboys and Indians and that sort of thing. This was the ’80s. Actually, yeah, it would have been early, very early-80s. [12:15.8]

I went and told my parents the morning that I finished it. I remember I finished it in the morning, and they were still in bed, and I went into the room and I said, “I finished this book.” I was expecting this outstanding applause or whatever, and they were just like, Oh, good, and then they just moved on. We just then had, I don't know, pancake breakfast or whatever. I was a little bit like, Oh, I need to do more. Looking back, I realized, back, as in my late-30s, I realized that my parents were under-rewarding in order for me to not seek reward as my motivation, but to enjoy learning and growing for its own sake.

But that's not the lesson that I took away from it. The lesson that I took away from it was “I need to do more,” and I did do more. My oldest sister and I, in the summers, we went to the library, and for every book we read, we got this red apple sticker and we had it on the library board with our name. [13:07.1]

Then every time we finished a book, we had to go to one of the librarians and they asked us five or six questions about the book to prove that we read it, and then they would put this apple up there, and we would kill it. By far, the two of us were trouncing all the other kids in the neighborhood. So, my parents’ lesson was completely overwhelmed by the school system and the wider Western approach to education, which is more of the carrot approach.

Anyway, so what I felt was, no matter how hard I worked, I wasn't getting the accolades and the approval that I wanted, that I craved, and that can happen even with very well-meaning parents like mine. There are unlimited situations in which the lesson the child takes away is that he's not enough just in how he is for love, for connection, he's got to go and do something else. And even when he goes and does that, pleases the mother or the father or whatever, it's still not enough, because even then the message is you're valued because of what you do, not for who you are, and in that sense, you're not really being valued at all. It's the thing that you've done, and you can swap out somebody else who does the same thing and they ought to get the same reward, the love, connection, approval, whatever it is. [14:16.8]

It ends up being that you grow up still with the twin terrors, even though in the moment for the short term, you're able to dampen your fear by coping momentarily, and that'll work for, I don't know, an hour, a day, a month, until it comes back again, the doubt, the fear, the terror, as I call them, that you're not enough just in who you are, that you're not enough for love, and that even when you do whatever it is that you do to get your needs met, you get under-rewarded, like you’d get a little bit of attention or some attention, but it doesn't fill you up, because, ultimately, the message is still that you have to perform. This is called performative self-esteem versus healthy self-esteem. [14:58.6]

Performative self-esteem is when your self-worth is dependent on how you perform, your performance. You have to keep doing. It's like this endless treadmill. You’ve got to keep running. Healthy self-esteem is where you believe that you have worth intrinsically just because you exist, worth in terms of being enough for love.

I have covered this very important distinction that a lot of the world messes up and, as a result, they're all walking around with very low self-worth and believe that that's how it should be, because the world conflates being enough for love and being enough for other things, like being enough to win the trophy, and instead of dealing with it and separating that there is this trophy and it is not all of you and not all of you can win the trophy. Instead of dealing with the difference between being enough for love and being enough to beat the top person out of the field of 30, they just give 30 people a trophy. [15:49.7]

No matter their physical strength, for many men, emotions are too much for them to handle. It's why they can't give women the deeper levels of emotional intimacy and connection that they crave. It's why they fail to be the man that modern women desire most: a man with inner strength, a man who has mastered his emotions.

Find out how to master your emotions through David Tian's “Emotional Mastery” program. The Emotional Mastery program is a step-by-step system that integrates the best of empirically-verified psychotherapy methods and reveals how to master your internal state and develop the inner strength that makes you naturally attractive, happy, and fulfilled.

Learn more about this transformational program by going to DavidTianPhD.com/EmotionalMastery.

That's D-A-V-I-D-T-I-A-N-P-H-D [dot] com [slash] emotional mastery.

Being enough for love versus being enough for that particular woman to like you, which is her right and her choice, and is incredibly subjective, but what happens here with Ronnie and many others is, how you put it was, “You get totally depressed when you get rejected when asked me for a longer-term relationship.” He says he gets destroyed when getting a rejection or hearing that she just wants to be friends. [17:13.0]

This is what happens when you conflate being enough for her to have sex with you or for her to be sexually attracted to you and being enough for love. That's why there's this huge overreaction to it, versus this is one out of 8 billion people who just don't want to have sex with you or just don't want to be in a relationship with you, and that shouldn't be that hard to understand. But it feels like it's a judgment, like a global judgment on your worth as a human being, because we in the world have conflated these things and we haven't kept them clear.

The reason is the message that we got growing up was that we had to do things to be enough for love. We had to adapt. Again, the most common adaptations were the pleaser, the rebel, the recluse, right? We had to do something we had to adapt. For many of us, we had to please our parent figures in order to get their attention, approval, love and connection. [18:05.0]

It's a really tricky case for parents, because you don't want this kid to be spoiled and you can't let them get away with anything, so you do have to discipline them. But how do you discipline them without them getting the message that you don't love them when they misbehave? And most parents have no clue how to do that. They just see what other parents do and they just do it, and usually through punishments and so-called discipline, and it's inevitable even with these well-meaning parents who are often just overworked and haven't taken a whole course on parenting or read many books about it. This is something that I am doing now and I know for sure. The previous generation didn't have this level of support that we have now, and hopefully, in 20 years, there'll be even more support and understanding for how complex a child's emotional and psychological structure is. But, hey, mistakes are inevitable, so we just put aside a therapy fund for our kid. [18:56.0]

You can have very well-meaning parents who, through their responses, communicate this lesson, or the lesson that you interpret from it or you take away from it as a child, is that you're not enough for love just the way that you are. You have to do something else. And then that really reminds you of school, right? Because you're not enough for the A unless you get all the answers on the test right or the majority of them, so that this performative thing is getting reinforced all over the place.

That's just how this sort of meritocratic or capitalistic world works and most kids didn't have that explained to them by their therapist or their counselor that this distinction between being enough for love, that inherently, intrinsically they are already enough for love, and the other messages of if you want the trophy, you're going to have to win the race or they're not just going to give it to you, and if you want the A, you're going to have to know this material and get the answers right, they're not just going to give it to you. [19:54.0]

But because we conflate these, we confuse what's at stake, and that's why it's so devastating when a woman that you've just met and almost nothing in your life is really riding on this, it's not even that you're desperate for sex, but that her rejection of you means that not just that she rejects you, so you're going to have to try again with another woman, but that you, it's like a global value evaluation of you, you are not enough.

Because when you're trying to get it from this woman, what you're trying to get is your need for love and your need to be told that you are enough, confirmation that you're enough, and you're handing over to a woman you've just met the keys to your self-esteem, and she throws them away.

Okay, another framework to understand what Ronnie is sharing here is attachment styles. Attachment styles are such basic science. It's really well-understood. I mean, it's like a consensus approach or view in psychotherapy, there's so much research backing this up. I devote an entire module in my course Rock Solid Relationships to attachment styles and I lead you through an assessment so that you can discover your own attachment style, and what Ronnie is describing here sounds very much like an anxious attachment style. [21:05.7]

The important thing about attachment style, just in case you don't know about it, a real quick crash course, studies have been done on babies as young as six months and up to 18 months and beyond and they track them longitudinally, and what they do is they bring a mother with her child into the lab and then they separate them. The mother leaves the room and they have the child all hooked up to sensors, so you can tell the heart rate, and so forth, and what they found is when the mother leaves, most children, this is just normal, become activated. They get anxious.

The distinguishing factor is for differentiating between anxious and avoidant and secure, and anxious-avoidant, the mixed attachment style, is what happens when the mother returns. When the mother or the caregiver returns, does the child quickly settle down? If the child quickly settles down, this is marked as secure. If the child continues to be anxious and acts as if the child is still afraid that the mother will just leave, then this is a classic anxious attachment. [22:06.2]

If the child pretends like doesn't didn't even notice mom, then this was classified as avoidant, and what's interesting about the avoidant-attachment-style children is that their biomarkers were still elevated. They sound like they didn't really care. They just acted like they didn't care, probably because they've learned that mom doesn't respond when they do go to her, so “Screw you, Mom, I'm going to rebel here and show you that I don't care, even though I do.” They're all anxious underneath, the avoidant and the anxious attachment. It’s just what they show on the surface. So, this is important for those who come out as avoidant, in case there are any avoidants listening.

Then the mixed style is sort of the worst of both worlds. Sometimes you display avoidance, sometimes you display anxious. You're still trying to figure things out.

Now, this will come up for Ronnie when he does get into a relationship and he's still needy. He's still checking the phone. Is she replying quick enough? Does she still love me? Does she still like me? That sort of thing, and so he's not yet describing that situation. But it sounds like there's a lot of anxiety here and you're just not even in a relationship yet and you're already displaying lots of anxiousness. [23:14.6]

So, you're probably wondering, what's the solution? You might not even need to know the reason why you're experiencing this, though I think it's quite interesting that I’ve just shared this with you. But you don't really need to know the theory. You can just go right into dealing with it and this is the seven-step therapeutic process.

I've covered this in the episode entitled, “The Seven Steps,” right? “The seven-step therapeutic process.” So, I'm going to assume that you know about the therapeutic process or at least you can go to that episode and get a more in depth detailed treatment of it.

What I will mention is the therapeutic process takes time. Depending on how you're starting out or how much baggage you've got, it could take weeks, months or years, and in a way, you're never done therapy. You can always continue to grow, right? So, it's limitless on that side of things. But you can definitely get to the point where you correct for your anxious attachment style. [24:11.0]

Now, it's not clear from the research whether it's genetic or it's learned, and is probably a mixture of both. But in any case, as you're going through the therapeutic process for the early stages, you're going to need to make some adjustments, and these are what I call counterintuitive adjustments. You can't trust your instincts or intuitions in these situations because you're compromised. Your judgment is compromised. You're triggered.

In Ronnie's case, when you meet a woman for the first time, you can't trust your excitement. You can't trust this “jumping around” feeling that you've got, because you're compromised. You're seeing her as your savior, the one who finally you'll be told by someone you value that you are enough for love. [24:58.7]

This actually reminds me of a speech by Admiral McRaven who went viral. He’s this Navy admiral. He was talking about being a Navy SEAL and he shared this thing called the ship-attack mission, and this is where the Navy SEALs are training to dive towards an enemy ship at night.

At the beginning, you still have moonlight, but then as you get deeper and deeper into the depth of the bottom of the ship that they were trying to get to, it's so dark, apparently, according to Admiral McRaven, that you couldn't even see your hand in front of your face. All you had was the depth gauge and the compass, and the sound from the engines of the ship were so loud they were deafening, it was very easy to get disoriented there and not knowing which way was up, and so on. So, you had to really go by your depth gauge and your compass, and trust your instruments and not just go by the feel of it or by your senses. [25:52.8]

This is what it's like for recovering avoidants, or recovering from an anxious attachment style or an anxious-avoidant attachment style. You can't do what you normally do, and what you normally would feel will still come up, because you're still just starting the therapeutic process or in the early phases of it, and that, again, could last weeks, months or years.

In the early phases, you're still dealing with this baggage. You’ve still got these burdens weighing you down. But at least now you know, theoretically, as a result of what I’ve been explaining to you, that you can trust your own judgment in these situations and you already know you're compromised, and instead, what you need to go by is the depth gauge and your compass.

Okay, so let's go by how I did this. For several years, I covered over my neediness. Now, I didn't even know this theory, this psychotherapeutic material. For several years, I was just a really good pickup artist and dating coach, and as a pickup artist, I covered over my neediness towards any particular, one particular woman, by dating multiple women. [26:58.0]

So, this is the toxic-abundance theory or abundance-approach strategy that pickup artists and players take, so they spread their neediness among seven, eight, whatever, however many women you've got on your Rolodex, so to speak, on your speed dial. If one woman doesn't respond well to you or she's playing mind games or whatever, no big deal, because you've got three or four more. You can just text them up and you'll always have dates, if you want to, that sort of thing, right? As a result, you actually don't get to encounter the neediness underneath.

This went on for several years, until I did put all my eggs in one basket, so to speak, put all my chips on one hand, and I got a girlfriend and committed to her in a kind of monogamous relationship. And then there went my lifelines, right? I wasn't allowing myself to see any other women, and as a result, it took years, but I got needier and needier in that relationship, until—and I’ve shared this. This is the relationship that I’ve shared about in previous videos, where I got cheated on by this girl, and because of my own compensatory narcissism, which is another story—I became suicidal. [28:02.2]

As a result of hitting rock bottom, I then started to take seriously psychotherapy and clinical psychology, which I kind of dismissed before, but I thought, I’ve got no other real answers, so I'll just give this a shot. It blew my mind away because it was predicting exactly what I had been going through for several years.

Then, in my recovery from that, I did what I normally did. I just naturally started to get back into the pickup thing in the player phase and get back into dating multiple women again, and I found it incredibly unfulfilling. It was easy to get girls to have fun with, but I wanted to go deeper. I wanted to actually experience a deeper, more meaningful connection.

As a result, I stopped doing all of the things that I naturally did as a player. I stopped texting multiple women. I stopped hooking up with women who wanted more, but I wasn't going to give them more. I forced myself to spend a lot more time alone. So, when it finally came time to be with a woman to kind of invest time and effort into a woman that I really liked, which turned out to be my wife now, when we first started dating, I found myself checking my phone shortly after I’d text to see if she'd replied. [29:09.4]

I found that I didn't like that state of anxiety, and it was kind of new to me, because normally what I would just do with this was to text another girl, but I actively avoided doing that and sitting with this feeling of anxiety, knowing that it was because of the neediness from what I’ve already described to you, the twin terrors and my attachment style, and my childhood and my achiever, and so forth.

Of course, as you would predict, if you know Harville Hendrix’s approach or model, and of course, if you know Richard Schwartz's couples’ therapy model of the tor-mentor, you would expect that given my anxious attachment style, I would be attracted and have chemistry with someone who has an avoidant attachment style, which, lo and behold, was my wife.

If I hadn't done this work on myself, I would not have been able to last through the first four months of that relationship where she was constantly pulling away and I was feeling the anxiousness coming up in a major way, and the way I used to deal with it was just seeing other women or putting her in her place, like that red pill kind of thing, like punishment or something, usually punishing with a kind of drama. But just like an avoidant would, you're still anxious underneath. You're just trying to hide it by acting all tough or cold, or whatever it is. [30:18.3]

But this is a person I really cared about, so I understood that she's avoidant, so I just allowed for it. I needed adjustments for it. I checked my depth gauge and compass and knew to expect her to pull away when she was feeling most intimate, when there was most at stake, like, “Oh, no, I could really fall in love here. This is too scary,” and she's going to pull away and so there she does or there she goes and it's as predicted, so no big deal. I was able to ride through the wave.

Then when I started to feel anxious, I knew why, theoretically, and I was still working on it. Again, just like with the Navy SEALs ship-attack mission training, instead of relying on my instincts or intuitions, I would discount those and make adjustments for them and look again at my depth gauge and compass, which is the theory, the model. This is what you would predict from someone who is still struggling with avoidant attachment. [31:09.0]

Then after the fourth month for us, we were relatively secure in the relationship, but that was a really touch-and-go kind of situation, especially in the first two months when I decided or thought to myself, Wow, this is something special and I would like this to work, and as a result, I was invested, and as a result, I expected and it did happen that I would become more anxious.

As a result, I had to make these adjustments that were counterintuitive of not checking my phone, not texting back right away, and so forth, and so I just kept busy doing other good things in my life, like getting my life together, making a life that I wanted to have and was proud of. I did a lot of meditation, did a lot of working out. I was doing quite a bit of work and I kept busy.

And, yes, in the background, there was the sort of background anxiety of “Is she texting yet?” check my phone, but I would resist it because I knew not to trust those and follow those intuitions, because they would lead me astray because my judgment was compromised on this event or the situation or issue. [32:14.5]

Eventually, with the therapeutic process, after a few months, several months, it all went away and there was no issue anymore, because I had grown to the point where I was able to meet my own needs for significance, love, connection, security, and so forth. I wasn't looking to her or anyone outside of me to complete me, to meet these deep emotional and psychological needs. I was learning how and practicing meeting these needs on a consistent basis, and the process continues. The growth continues. There's always room to grow.

To recap, this intense level of out-of-proportion neediness and anxiety about a woman that you've just met is likely rooted in the twin terrors that you've not been able to deal properly with yet, and these are the fear that you won't be loved and the fear that you're not enough. [33:05.6]

You can combine these into the biggest terror, the fear that you're not enough for love, and this fear being ongoing into adulthood could come from your childhood, not having these needs met fully or consistently, despite all you do to try to get these needs met. The solution is the therapeutic process, and along the way, while the therapeutic process is beginning or underway, you should engage in counterintuitive adjustments, like the ship-attack mission where you're just trusting your depth gauge and compass in the pitch black darkness.

Okay, thanks so much, Ronnie, for the question. If you have any questions at all, please comment. Let me know what you thought about this episode. Let me know your questions. I'm feeding off your questions for future content, so I always appreciate more comments and questions. I also appreciate all the encouragement, and let me know what you like so I can make sure I continue to do that. And if this helped you in any way, please share it with anyone else that you think could benefit from it.

Thanks so much for listening. I look forward to welcoming you to the next episode. David Tian, signing out. [34:08.4]

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