“Ladies, the right man for you will pursue you. Actively. He won’t leave you wondering whether he’s into you or not.”
~ Mandy Hale
You thought things were going really well between you and your new love interest:
- He is on point with responding to your texts and even includes the occasional “kissy face” emoji.
- He plans romantic dates to your favorite restaurant where he’s wined and dined you.
- He calls in the middle of the work day just because he’s thinking of you.
- He even made space in his bathroom for your toiletries.
You’re feeling optimistic and looking forward to the prospect of this budding relationship.
Then, he suddenly stops communicating and disappears without any warning. He ghosted you.
You desperately replay the relationship in your mind and wonder what could have caused his disappearing act:
“Maybe he got busy with work? Or maybe he’s distracted with helping his friend. I remember him mentioning he was going through a tough time. Could his phone be broken and that’s why he hasn’t reached out?”
Feelings of hurt and rejection can start to creep in and take over your mind the longer the ghosting ensues:
“Maybe it was me? Did I do something that turned him off? Maybe he didn’t like me? Was he just using me?”
And just as you’re trying to get a grip on how things went south, he sends you a text saying he misses you and wants to get together this weekend… as if nothing happened (cue the “crazy-making” music).
What is with this guy???
This hot/cold pattern will undoubtedly buy you a ticket on the emotional roller coaster – a ride with never-ending twists, turns, highs, and lows.
So, when someone you’ve been dating displays intense interest in you, abruptly vanishes without reason, and re-emerges at a later date…it’s time to re-evaluate the relationship and determine if it is worth continuing.
It may be helpful to consider why he’s blowing hot and cold in the first place. What is this behavior really about?
Here are some possible reasons:
- He is not interested in a real relationship and just wants to have fun
- He has intimacy issues and tends to pull away as the relationship gets more serious
- He’s not over his ex and vacillates between missing her and trying to move on through you
- He has unresolved personal issues such as addiction issues, trauma, family issues, medical issues, or unmanaged mental health issues
- He recently experienced a tragedy, loss, or crisis
- He’s using you to fill a void in his life and reaches out only when it’s convenient for him
- He’s just not into you and chose to ghost you instead of being real with you
- He’s emotionally immature and unaware of his behavior and how it impacts others
- He’s dating other women or is in another serious dating relationship (or worse…he’s married)
Regardless of the reason, you either need to: 1) talk to him about it or 2) cut your losses and end it.
Staying quiet and ignoring this problematic behavior is NOT the solution! It will only keep you on the emotional rollercoaster perpetuating a dysfunctional, toxic relationship.
If you choose to talk to him, share what you’ve noticed about his behavior and how it’s affected you.
Don’t attack him! No one responds well when they feel attacked. A better approach is to state the facts in an objective manner and express how it made you feel.
An example might sound like,
“I am disappointed that I didn’t hear from you last week. It feels confusing since we were talking nearly every day the week before. Can you share with me what happened?”
See what he says.
He may have a legitimate reason as to why he became distant. I’d suggest you go with your gut on this one. If you smell bullsh*t, walk away.
If you think he is being sincere, perhaps you give him the benefit of the doubt and offer him a second chance.
Don’t forget – this talk is also your opportunity to state your expectations and needs. This will reduce the chances of misunderstanding and relationship distress moving forward.
If you decide to give him a second chance and he’s agreed to work on being more reliable and consistent, pay close attention to his words and actions as you move forward.
How he changes or doesn’t change as a result of your discussion will tell you all you need to know.
If he rises to the occasion and genuinely demonstrates and maintains consistent connection with you, then way to go!
You may just have yourself a keeper. Time will tell. But, for now enjoy the positive shift in your relationship and be sure to tell him how much you appreciate him stepping up and respecting your needs.
If he continues to chronically display any of the following traits, it may be time to end the relationship:
- Unreliable, inconsistent, or unpredictable behavior
- Lack of follow through
- Disrespects your boundaries
- Does not take responsibility or accountability
- Critical, blaming, or judgmental
- Insensitive to your needs
- Dismissive, puts you down, ignores you, or disregards your feelings
- Does not attempt to repair relational injuries
- Seems detached, cold, or disinterested
Healthy relationships experience their fair share of conflict and challenges. But, it is not normal or healthy to feel constantly hurt, frustrated, and disappointed.
Get off the emotional roller coaster and be open to finding someone who is capable of reciprocal love.
If you commonly find yourself in relationships with guys who blow hot and cold, it may be time to do some inner work.
It’s likely you have low self-esteem and have difficulty addressing your guy’s inconsistent behavior which then leads you to feel unlovable, unworthy, insecure, shame, and not good enough.
Because you lack the self-confidence to assert your needs, you’ll likely allow this poor treatment of blowing hot and cold to continue.
Low self-esteem will prevent you from asserting your needs in the relationship allowing your guy to walk all over you.
This feels awful and, in fact, reinforces your feeling of unworthiness. Improving your assertiveness skills and developing a healthier self-esteem will allow you to confidently set limits on what you will and will not accept in a relationship.
Once you understand why you are attracting these kinds of men into your life, you’ll know what you need to change within yourself so you can consciously break this pattern and attract Mr. Right into your life.
Rebecca Lanier, LMFT, EdS, MEd – www.rebeccalanierlmft.com
Almost every woman has been in a relationship with someone who blows hot and cold, or at least , sends mixed signals.
One day, he is super excited to see you and makes efforts for that to happen, and then, he is nowhere to be found for the next couple of days.
The problem is, this behavior creates a pattern and a vicious cycle,
The woman will also get very excited after a great date, and probably wants that to continue, but when he doesn’t appears, or answers texts or calls, she gets all confused, not knowing what to do.
So she starts making excuses for his behavior, only to protect herself from the most probable reality, which is, he is not that interested, or he has commitment, or attachment issues.
Those excuses make her keep trying until at some point, when he is ready, he will answer and show up for another great date, leaving the woman in a constant roller coaster of emotions.
One of the problems with this situation is expectations.
Her expectations seem to be unrealistic, sometimes, She wants something so much that she will accommodate the situation to feel like she is getting it, she will idealize him, or make excuses for him to make him look like the person she wants to be with, but the reality is that he might not be that person.
Another problem is our own self esteem and self confidence.
Maybe we feel that we need to make effort in order to receive love from others, and we will conform with whatever they want to give us, because at least we are receiving something.
If you can identify yourself with this picture, here are some tips to handle the situation:
1. Check reality and expectations.
Clarify what you want from a relationship and from the person you date, and contrast it with the reality, look for evidence of the match between your wants and needs and how this person is and what he can really give you.
2. Ask yourself if you are making all those efforts for the right reasons.
Is it because I want to do this or is it because I believe this is the only way someone is going to love me?
State your wants and needs clearly since the beginning of the relationship and then be very objective when assessing if he is giving that or not.
4. Set boundaries.
Clarify to yourself what are the things that are not negotiable to you and what you can compromise on, and make sure you enforce those boundaries.
5. Ask yourself if that is the kind of relationship you want to have, and if it is, you need to know that you are signing up for some hot and cold blowing.
Ultimately, the kind of relationship you want to have is your choice, but you should make that choice consciously.
Viviana Vethencourt, MS, LMHC– www.sstherapyandconsulting.com
While there are exceptions to every rule, when it comes to romantic relationships, assume that running hot and cold means cold.
There are many reasons why a partner (of any gender but using men for this article) might be so present one week and MIA the next. But, unless he’s in the secret service and has a legitimate reason for secrecy and sudden departures, it usually means that he is not interested or committed enough.
This doesn’t mean he sees no value or excitement in you.
However, precedent gets set so early in a relational dynamic and if you continue to be available for him while he gets to hem and haw about you, you’re showing him that you’ll tolerate this behavior.
People don’t usually stop a behavior unless they are experiencing consequences for it.
If he still gets your time when he wants it, why would he up his game? This isn’t because men are bad or always trying to “get away with something”—it’s human behavior.
Maybe they have reasonable motivations behind their ambivalence:
- they’re about to move for a new job,
- their ex got back in touch with them, or
- they just got promoted and need to devote more time to their career.
But that doesn’t mean you have to put up with uncertainty and not knowing where you stand.
There are absolutely ways for them to communicate their thought process without leaving you hanging.
Here are some tips I give my own clients:
- Assess his behavior. How much of the time does he follow through on promises? How well do his words and actions align?
- Assess your own behavior. How many times do you say something is ok when it doesn’t really feel ok? How often are you making excuses for or justifying disappointing behavior?
- Assess your values. Maybe you really do value being that “chill go-with-the-flow” chick…but maybe you need to clarify what actually lines up with your goals.
- Communicate assertively. You don’t have to have an attitude, but you do have the right to say “hey, I like you and want to continue, but I’m not getting a clear idea of where you stand. If you’re not ready for xyz, I understand, but I ask that you let me know so I can find someone who’s on the same page.”
I love the Maya Angelou quote, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time”
Even if he says he’s into it, if actions show otherwise, believe it.
Men communicate behaviorally just as much, if not more than verbally.
Excepting abuse which is never okay and never the recipient’s “fault,” for the most part, people will treat you however you allow them to.
If you’re clear that you won’t remain available to someone who can’t be decisive with you, you’ll either motivate them to let you go and therefore avoid wasting your time with the wrong person, or you’ll inspire them to be more clear and a better partner.
It’s a win/win!
Andrea Liner, PsyD – www.fluxpsychology.com
When your partner behaves in an inconsistent manner, it can feel like the rug has been swept out from under you.
Just when you were starting to invest in the relationship and enjoying reciprocal attention and interest, your love interest seems to check out. This could look like giving you the cold shoulder, becoming emotionally inattentive, ceasing or minimizing communication, or not keeping plans.
It’s possible that your first reaction to such behavior is painful introspection.
You might spend hours mentally combing back over your time together trying to figure out what you did to have warranted this behavior; asking “what did I do?”. You may also attempt to re-engage your partner to no avail. None of these plans will work because, in this case, the problem isn’t you.
However, if your first inclination is to want to change yourself, “fix” the problem, or chase after your partner, it’s time for you to consider the overall dynamic at play in the relationship.
Could you be responding in a codependent manner?
Codependent behavior involves an undue focus on the other at the expense of yourself; rendering your worth and wellbeing contingent on the other’s approval and functioning.
If this sounds familiar, consider meeting with a mental health professional to further explore this tendency and learn how to change your relationship with yourself. You matter and you deserve to set healthy boundaries if your emotions or needs are negatively affected.
The first question you should be asking when you notice this type of behavior from your partner is, “Is this healthy for me?”.
- How does this pattern impact your emotional wellbeing?
- Is this what you want in a relationship?
Acknowledging that you have the right to ask these questions and sitting with them is indicative of a stance of self-worth. You as much as anyone else in the world are deserving of love and respect.
Running hot and cold is disrespectful and emotionally immature.
Even if your partner was upset in relation to something you did or said. This is unacceptable behavior between adults. It’s not your job to change them and they are responsible for their actions regardless of their motivation.
After acknowledging your stance on the behavior, it’s time to have a conversation with your partner.
Proceed with direct and non-blaming communication.
You can let them know how their actions affected you and give them a chance to respond.
It’s possible that they may not have realized that their behavior had developed into an unhealthy pattern, prompting them to examine their own feelings and motivations.
However, if they don’t take responsibility for their actions or try to make you feel bad for bringing it up, you need to know this information too. Is this indicative of the type of partner you want?
Once you’ve communicated with your partner, you can set boundaries with them.
Consider what feels right to you as an individual in terms of what you are willing (or not) to put up with in a relationship.
- What do you need to see from them that indicates openness to commitment or their ability to value you?
If after a trial period of these requests you don’t see change, you will want to examine if you wish to stay in the relationship.
Vanessa Roddenberry, PhD, HSP-P – www.breytapsych.com
Have you ever been a relationship that seems to be going well, he is showing interest, responds to texts, call regularly and takes you out on dates and then just as the relationship seems to be heading in the right direction he becomes cold – meaning he becomes indifferent, communication is minimal and may disappear leaving you confused as to why this happened?
This unfortunately is not uncommon, leaving women frustrated and confused.
One reason may be that in the course of dating, he has discovered something about you that is not a good fit for him.
Yes, I know he should really just come out and tell you that! Unfortunately, we live in a time when it seems easier to not communicate than to have more difficult discussions.
There is a way to learn whether he is no longer interested, something came up that temporarily needed his attention, or it is just a natural cycle that men go through.
Sometimes men pull away to feel like a man.
It is natural for them to need time alone. They like to be close to us and enjoy our company, but they need a balance. Women, in general, are more social in nature and look for connections. They crave that closeness with their guy and do not understand when he feels the need to pull back.
Women wonder why his feelings have changed. The truth is their feelings may not have changed.
Men enjoy closeness, but they also need time alone or with male friends. He may have been enjoying the closeness in the beginning because he really liked you and then all of a sudden he feels the need to pull back a little.
When women do not understand why men pull away, they may start to act needy or angry.
This behavior can end a new relationship. When he does come back, he is ready to reconnect, but frequently, he is met with anger or hostility, which drives him away again.
Instead of confronting him, try understanding. Instead of becoming upset, make the most of it.
Now that you understand that this may just be a natural pattern, you can take time with girlfriends or time alone to pamper yourself while he is away. Allow him to miss you.
By giving him the space he needs, you can enjoy reconnecting when he comes back.
You will build a stronger relationship this way. The safer and more accepted he feels, the less time he may need alone and the quicker he will come back. He will learn to trust you, and your relationship will deepen.
If he continues to pull away, allow him to go knowing that in the end he wasn’t the right match for you anyway.
Lori Ann Davis, MA, CRS, CRC — www.lorianndavis.com
Have you found yourself in a relationship where one day your partner is sending you all the right signals and communication?
He is flirty and interested in learning about you. He says all the right things to increase attraction. Then, out of the blue, the communication and attention stops.
You find yourself wondering what you might have done or said that would cause the loss of attraction.
When you are ready to give up after the last unanswered text, he suddenly resurfaces as though nothing has happened. This is a very common trend in the dating world that contributes to the feeling that you are on an emotional rollercoaster.
If this is a pattern that you have started to recognize that has begun to cause anxiety, pain, and stress, then it is never too late to set clear boundaries.
A relationship should encourage feelings of stability and security. This requires consistent communication. It is important to set the expectation of what consistent communication looks like for you in a relationship.
Relationships should also include mutual effort.
If one partner is overextending and doing more work, then it can lead to feelings of resentment and bitterness toward the other partner. It is not either partner’s responsibility to manage the other party’s emotions. Self-care and firm boundaries around this are important.
If this relationship is causing pain and stress, then it may be time to turn inward to explore what is keeping you engaged in this behavior and if this is a relationship you want to pursue.
The expectation that the other person is going to change is unrealistic, so it may be time to set boundaries and focus on what you can change to change the cycle.
This may cause some fear that the relationship will end, but it may be possible that this will teach what you are truly looking for in a relationship.
Tiffany Schupanitz, LMHC, CCTP, NCC– www.sstherapyandconsulting.com
Alright ladies, I know that perhaps one of the most frustrating things that can happen when you are in the early dating stage with a man is when he blows hot or cold.
Sometimes he is there, totally present and engaged. Then before you know it you are waiting by the phone for a text message and then when it finally does come it feels cold, distant, and disconnected.
Here are a few things to consider when this occurs.
Be clear right from the get-go what kind of relationship you would like to be in. If there are early signs of hot and cold, it could mean a few things.
- The man being hot and cold could be a game that he is playing to have control over the situation. To feel like he has the power, which ultimately makes him feel safe and secure. (Keep in mind, this is not healthy behavior).
- He may be blowing hot and cold because he is distracted. Perhaps by an old ex he is still thinking about, or any recent events in his life.
- The man being hot and cold could also be revealing his own insecurities. The man may not want to show “too much” affection or attention and scare you away. He may be hiding his authentic self through being hot and cold, ultimately to avoid being hurt.
Remember, these are all POSSIBILITIES. None of the could be true, but are results based on the experiences of other women.
Now, what’s the solution?
You thought right. COMMUNICATION.
Before you go making up stories in your head, ask him why he is hot and cold.
Ask in a way that is safe and nurturing so he can be authentic and honest.
It takes courage to do so, but this is truly what standing in your power would look like.
When different philosophies speak of the masculine and feminine ‘energy’ or ‘principles’ it is said that the Feminine reminds the Masculine that he is whole. If only women remembered, we are the ones with the true magic and power.
Ananda Nelson, MSW – www.anandanelson.com
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