- in Commitment
"The greatest happiness of life is the conviction that we are loved; loved for ourselves, or rather, loved in spite of ourselves."
~ Victor Hugo
When I think of a man who blows hot and cold, it reminds me of a woman with mood swings and fluctuating hormones. So, if there are two people like this in a relationship, it makes for a very rocky one; you would hardly know if the relationship is coming or going.
There must be some stability in at least one person in the relationship for it to have some grounding.
Otherwise, it’s not going to be very steady and dependable. For a man to blow hot and cold, to me, it seems as though he is off and on like a light switch. If a guy is like this in the relationship, you can’t count on him; and that goes for her as well. And if you can’t count on someone when you really need them to come through for you, then it may be just a matter of time before it all goes cold.
The woman who is interested in a man she cannot rely on actually says something about her as well.
You’ve got to ask yourself, “What am I in need of that keeps me going through this when I don’t have to?” What am I getting out of it? What am I really interested in about this man? What’s my payoff or secondary gain?
There is most definitely some kind of gain in it for the woman who continues to tolerate unstable behavior from a man she’s in a relationship with.
Questions such a woman can ask herself could be:
- Am I afraid of being alone?
- Can I really do better?
- If I leave, what will the next relationship be like?
- Is it really that bad?
- What’s wrong with me that I would continue putting up with this?
These are just a few questions that can help you to start considering what the real issue could be. If this repeated behavior doesn’t have any consequences or different outcomes, there will be no reason for change. So, rather than expecting a change to come from the man, maybe a change needs to begin with you.
For starters, get clear on what it is you require, need, and want in and from a man in a relationship.
Once you’re clear on this, don’t even temp yourself to settle. If you do, there’s no telling what else will show up. Establish clear boundaries up front and don’t waiver. Be consistent. Men can tell when a woman doesn’t have clear boundaries and will often push to see how far they can go. Stand your ground. It will be better for you in the relationship, in the long run.
Barbara Ann Williams, LPC, MS – www.barbaraannwilliams.com
It really can feel confounding when a man is hot for you one moment and gives you the big freeze the next. You end up feeling insecure in the relationship or potential relationship and re-playing, “He loves me, he loves me not” in your head all the day long. Rather than feel helpless, here’s how to put yourself in charge of this situation.
Step #1 Ask questions
There’s a chance, but I wouldn’t bet the farm on it, that you’re doing something at times to put him off. Maybe it’s as petty as talking and chewing your food at the same time or as hurtful as talking about your old boyfriends or ex-husbands incessantly in his presence. So, it pays to tell him that you notice that sometimes he seems engaged with you and sometimes he doesn’t or that sometimes he seems to like or love you and sometimes he doesn’t, and say that you wonder if it’s due to something you’re doing to offend or upset him.
If he can come up with some behavior or attitude that rings true to you and you can change it (not like he wants a tall woman and you’re short, or he wishes you’d gone to Harvard instead of a community college), do and see if his reactions to you are more consistent.
Step #2 Focus on the big picture
Rather than look individually at the times he seems fond of you and the other times he withdraws or becomes critical or unkind, acknowledge that he appears to be running hot and cold. Recognize that this is a pattern, (which means behaviors that happen frequently) not just coincidental happenstance, which is occurring for a reason. Maybe not a conscious or a valid reason, but a reason nevertheless.
Step #3 Understand what a hot/cold pattern likely means
As I write in my book, Starting Monday: Seven Keys to a Permanent, Positive Relationship with Food, which is all about conflicting emotions, in this case, food, we all have mixed feelings about many things. Ambivalence is human and natural. When we have mixed feelings (whether we’re aware of them or not), it’s almost impossible not to act them out.
If we’re conscious of them, we may try to explain them by saying to ourselves, “Boy, I like a lot of things about X, but then again, there’s a lot that doesn’t work for me so I’m not sure where I stand.” If we’re unconscious of them, we act them out through our behaviors with that person.
Sometimes, people who act like this do it in order to keep you off balance and hold the power in the relationship. They act one way and then the other to confuse and destabilize you. They’re called psychopaths or sociopaths and you never want to have a romantic relationship with these manipulators.
Step #4 Decide what to do about a date or mate having mixed feelings about you
Once you understand that a man has mixed feelings about you, the ball’s in your court to decide what to do. You can ask questions about his feelings and, depending on whether he acknowledges his negative feelings or wishes to share them with you, you might get some answers.
Don’t, however, assume you’re doing something wrong and need to be different. More likely than not, he has issues about intimacy which are being expressed by his hot-cold behaviors. This is who you’re dealing with. Maybe you stay and encourage him to go into therapy. Maybe you consider that he’s not going to change and decide to go into therapy yourself. Maybe you’re tired of this on-again-off-again romance and decide to end it.
Step #5 Discontinue the pattern of picking men with intimacy (or other relational) problems
Make sure that if you leave this man, you don’t pick another emotionally unhealthy person in his wake. Look back at your relationship with your father. Was he cold and aloof one moment, then fun loving with you the next? Was mom unpredictable, dependable sometimes and neglectful or critical other times?
If so, you may have a relationship template that you’re following.
Your task is to avoid men who give you this familiar feeling of not knowing what to expect or that you’re not good enough for them or that you don’t know how they feel about you. Give yourself plenty of time to get to know a man before committing yourself, so that you can be sure that you haven’t hooked up with yet another man who fits this pattern.
If you’re uncertain about how a man feels about you, pay attention to that feeling.
To repeat, do not assume it’s caused by you.
In fact, it wouldn’t hurt to validate your own feelings and assume it’s his ambivalence playing out. Ask your friends or family members their take on the situation, making sure to only solicit feedback from people who are not in these kinds of relationships themselves, because their advice won’t likely be very healthy or helpful.
And don’t be angry at a man because he has mixed feelings about you or being with you. That’s his right. And it’s your right, to say, “No, thanks,” turn on your hells and walk away.
Karen R. Koenig, LCSW, M.Ed. – www.karenrkoenig.com
Often we seem to get mixed messages from the men we date. They seem to be hot and completely on board as well as into us one minute and then the very next moment they are completely disinterested and cold and we are left wondering what happened and why?
We have a couple of choices at that point in time as to what we can do.
First we can ask.
Yes as crazy as the direct approach may sound and seem, if we want to stop playing games what better way to start then with ourselves. So have a grown up conversation and ask quite openly and honestly what is going on, what has changed and if they are still considering this as a progressing dating relationship.
The reaction we get from them can possibly tell us everything we need to know.
Either we will get an honest answer that they are on the fence, not sure about the relationship or not in a good place to be moving toward a relationship or they are not feeling us as that person.
Yes this may sting, but then we can move on and not waste more time and emotions in this to have it not go anywhere. The second possible answer we may get is what they have going on and why they are being the way they are which leads us to our second choice.
We can look at the information we have and decide if this person has long term potential or if they are the person that is guarded, then open, then guarded again.
Also we can learn if they are the person that when life throws them curves they draw in and pull away from the person in their life.
Either way we need to make a decision if this is something we can truly be good with or if it is going to regularly cause us grief, hurt and upset.
At least this way we can decide where we stand and what we want to do.
If we can give it time to see if the person evens out and trusts us then we are in if not we move on to someone that is able to be more open from the get go.
Either way we stop being the person sitting and waiting to see if we get attention or not and start controlling our own destiny and day to day dating.
The most important factor is we get to decide what we want to do and not just let someone else control how we feel or are in a relationship.
Neesha Lenzini, MS - www.relationshipsinneed.com
This guy’s great!
You’re having fun, you know he’s having fun, and you think this just might be the one. Maybe you finally found your person. You’re walking taller and smiling at every little thing, and then, doubts creep in. He is a little less responsive than he’s been. Then it’s like you got shut out in a blizzard and you know he’s somewhere just on the other side of the door. He doesn’t text back.
And then he does. Things are great for a while. It happens again. Every rejection and dismissal you’ve ever experienced comes back to haunt you. A little voice says, “Maybe I just don’t deserve anything more than this.”
Stop! Do a little check-up from the neck-up.
Whose voice is that in your head, anyway? First, know that trying to figure him out right now is futile. Trying to change the way he’s acting is even less likely to work.
Let’s reframe so that you can see this in a new light.
Maybe this is going to work out and maybe it isn’t. Can this person be relied on in the days and weeks to come? Will he be there with you in the end? What has you so into this guy? Does your wisest, highest self know this is the right person and that you want to make the relationship work? Is it your ego?
Is he truly unavailable right now or is it a perception you have from past experiences and a fear-based story you tell yourself? Can you accept and allow things to be just as they are?
What if your clinging to this man is keeping you from allowing more opportunities to come in than you can possibly imagine? What if the best approach here is really to simply move on? Who knows, maybe the next person is the right one.
Let’s redirect your focus to the only person you have the power to change -- yourself.
It’s also the only possible way to affect the way others respond to you.
· Are you taking care of the soft inner places that have felt neglect before?
· How much time do you spend doing things that always bring you joy?
· When have you felt your strongest and most powerful?
· Are you spending lots of time with supportive friends or family who lift you up and warm your soul?
Lao Tsu said, “When you realize there is nothing lacking the whole world belongs to you.”
Your relationships with others are like mirrors and reflect your relationship with yourself.
When we are building and maintaining positive relationships, staying busy with hobbies, and keeping our lives and attitudes healthy, we operate from a much stronger position. We are far less likely to run hot and cold ourselves when we treat ourselves with devotion and respect.
When we come from a strong heart space instead of ego, we are more able to truly listen in order to connect.
Exchanges are opportunities for shared meaning and communication that show trust instead of judgement, doubt, or fear. With a sense of comfort and well-being we can build a framework with compassion, trust and humor that will lead to rich, genuine outcomes.
If he doesn’t recognize and value your inherent worth to the point of commitment, at least you do – and that’s a reflection you will now see mirrored back at you.
Laurie Curtis, CPPC, CiPP – www.curtisease.com
Ah yes, the blowing hot and cold lover. You are captivated by their enthusiastic loving in one moment and devastated by their cold distance in the next.
Ouch! This isn’t love. It’s pain.
But, I’m wagering that, regardless how painful the relationship is, you hang in there hoping things will change. True?
If so, consider this. The blowing hot and cold syndrome is just another way for this person to say, “I’m not available”.
And by not available, I mean that this person is not willing or able to truly love or commit to you, because their priorities lie elsewhere. Perhaps they are focused exclusively on their own needs, another relationship or their career. Or, perhaps, they are consumed by an addiction of one type or another. Or, maybe, they are just not that interested in you.
So, I’d invite you to…
Step out of denial
Dispense with the rose-colored glasses! It’s time to face reality, as hard as that might be, and admit to yourself what is really going on – that this is pretty much a one-sided relationship.
And it’s time to stop justifying your lover’s behavior. Own your feelings of pain and hurt and recognize your need to be loved equally and fully with no confusion or mixed messages allowed. You deserve better.
Acknowledge once and for all that you chose this relationship – it didn’t just happen to you. And, while you are there, consider that this relationship is probably part of a piece. It probably fits a pattern of relationship that you have engaged over a period of time, where you’ve invited others just like this person into your life.
Next, I’d invite you to…
Make a decision
Minimally, you could do either of two things:
1. Decide whether you want to accept things as they are, despite the hurt and discontent you feel, or if you want something better. If you’re going to stay in it, at least do it consciously and in full recognition of the consequences. Alternatively,
2. Decide that you wish to finish the pain and confusion. After all, if you want something to change, then you must change something.
If you want something to change, then…
Step into action
Minimally, you could do either of two things:
· Let him or her go or,
· Engage in some serious face time with this person, the purpose being to once and for all find out if they are interested in a relationship with you or not.
This requires that you take your courage into both hands and honestly and respectfully ask what this man or woman wants in a relationship.
Do they want to pursue a relationship with you or not? And, critically, on what terms? Perhaps their terms are unacceptable to you. Well, that’s good to know, isn’t it? Their response or non-response will be important to your decision-making about the on-going viability of the relationship.
Yes. It may be possible to get the relationship on an equal, reciprocal footing, where both of you are more available to each other and each of your legitimate needs can be met. But that requires up-front honesty and heart-felt commitment on both your parts. Unilateral commitment when it comes to relationships is meaningless.
So, the question for both of you is this: “Do you want to step up to the challenge of building a mutually satisfying relationship together?”
Mary Rizk, Transformative Coach - www.maryrizk.com
Careful here, Ladies, as men are “single focused” creatures, by nature; it’s one of their gifts and God given talents.
We girls are multi-taskers by nature (pot of soup on the stove, while also on a conference call for work, while young Johnny is doing Algebra at the kitchen table) NOT SO for men, as their brains are simply wired differently, (for activities like shooting spears into moving animals…)
One of the traps we fall into as women is to make the assumption that if his attention isn’t on us at the moment that he isn’t interested, doesn’t care, etc. This is a mistake we make. Try this instead.
When he’s hot, look for authenticity and realness.
Is he engaged with you? Is he THERE with you? Look for ways that he’s being generous with you – with his words, with his time, with his affection, by giving gifts large or small, or by doing kind and thoughtful service-oriented things for you.
If he’s hot for you, he’s likely to be generous in one or more of these ways – generosity in ways that resonate with him personally. In what ways is he being generous with you? If he’s truly interested in you and cares for you in a meaningful way, you’ll see his generosity in the ways that are natural for him to express.
When he’s not hot, when he’s blowing cold, take a look at what he is doing during the times when you don’t have his attention.
Men are compartmentalizers, more so than women are, and so when a man’s at work, he might switch off his love muscles completely.
When he’s playing or watching sports with the guys, well…he’ll be doing THAT, and that alone, typically. When he’s with his kids…his kids need his love and attention and he knows that, so he’ll be on the Daddy Track at that moment in time, not hot for you, as he’s doing something else at the moment.
Do you love your time together? Do your key goals for the future match up? Does he meet your Top Three Critical Criteria? Do you meet his? If so, keep exploring and practice letting him know what it is that makes you happy.
Be super honest here – when he’s HOT for you, is it coming from a lustful place?
If so, uh oh… might be that he’s craving your body, but that’s all it can be for him. Do you see him or feel him coming from a place of nurturing, providing, and protecting? That’s the stuff of longer term love potential. We can’t generate that kind of interest and focus from a sexual place – only when his heart is engaged.
If you sense that his heart isn’t engaged, that for him the attraction is primarily physical / sexual, then it’s likely that it won’t / can’t develop further.
In some cases, it might… but only when TIMING is right for him. Sometimes we need to patiently wait it out, ‘til he’s got more space in his life for love.
When in doubt… ask him. “How come sometimes you’re hot and sometimes you’re cold?” He might just know the answer and he might just share it with you. Go ahead, ask him… !
Julie Ferman, Matchmaker and Dating Coach – www.julieferman.com
If you have dated a man who runs hot and cold, chances are you are dealing with an immature individual who does not yet know who he is.
Because of his lack of maturity, you may observe that it can be all in the chase with you. Once they think they have you, they run for the exit. They are not emotionally mature enough to sustain a loving adult state relationship with you or anyone.
This is not about anything you have said or done, and it has nothing to do with you.
You have just chosen someone who is not emotionally ready to be involved. Yes, they do want attention and sex, but they don’t want commitment. If you were to be the one to leave, it’s possible that he may start calling you and behaving as though he wants you back. Use caution with this guy, as you could end up being his yo-yo and that will eventually be wear and tear on your physical, emotional, mental and spiritual self.No one is worth compromising your mental health and well-being.
One rule that will help you regarding this type of guy.
If there is no consistency in their behavior, then chances are you won’t get consistency from him and that will wear on you. So instead of ending up feeling rejected and humiliated, do nothing. Get on with the business of your own life and take extreme self-care, yes, take the very best care of yourself.
If he comes around and you are still interested, look for consistency with him. If he does not act appropriately, then he is not worth your time and effort. Just because he is a yo-yo doesn’t mean you have to be his yo-yo.
You will most likely encounter these types of guys while you are dating. You can learn from them not to repeat dating this type of immature individual. Instead, focus on the guy who treats you the way you want to be treated and do not settle for less.
Connie Clancy Fisher, ED.D. – www.drconnieclancyfisher.com
One of the most unnerving and uneasy things to deal with is uncertainty.
Uncertainty has the ability to bring out the worst in people. When we never know what to expect and the person we are interested in flips from hot to cold in an instant and leaves us wondering what we could have done to drive them away. The first and most important thing to remember is the famous: “it’s not you, it’s me(or them in this case)” quote.
Although this sounds cliché, let me explain.
Every person (including you) has a history and a past that influences the way they deal with relationships and situations.
When people lash out and act out the behavior typically resembles something much deeper than what or who they are lashing out at or acting out at. Everyone’s story is important in the unfolding and folding of relationships, and each individual brings something unique into the relationship.
When a guy goes from interested to not interested day in and day out that says something about the way that he handles relationships and it also says something about how you handle relationships as well if you continue to let him do these things.
Each person develops his or her own way to deal with intimacy and connection with other people, and this idea is important to keep in mind while dealing with someone who is blowing hot and cold. They have their own story and their own reasoning behind what they are doing, and their actions may reflect more on them than they do on you.
Now you are thinking, “this information is helpful and all, but how am I supposed to deal with it while it’s happening?”
This is not a simple answer.
First you have to ask yourself if this guy is truly worth fighting for.
Many times we get stuck in this rescue mode where we are fighting to make things work and trying to change people because we see the potential in them that they don’t see themselves. Our longing to rescue is hard to take a step back from and explore.
Are you the type of girl who tries to rescue, and if you are, do you think this guy wants to be rescued and changed?
This is another very tough question to ask yourself because it causes us to look within ourselves and explore some of the mucky areas of our life that we try to avoid. Exploration of our inner world is not the easiest thing to do, and we can often come across somethings that we find questionable in our eyes. .
Next the option is to continue to pursue the guy that is blowing hot and cold, but yet take some of your power back.
This requires you to recognize that you have an option to set boundaries and hold those boundaries, but in order to do this you have to recognize that boundaries that are set typically have costs and benefits.
Costs of boundaries varies, but worst case scenario you lose the relationship. This can be really hard to accept as an option because we typically want so badly to make it work. This may be anxiety provoking, but typically in these situations we often look back at the ending of the relationship and see that what we saw as a cost was actually a benefit.
The beauty of boundaries is they make things work that are able to work, and make us a more grateful and gentle person. Boundaries also take the toxic things out of our life that don’t work, and when we allow toxic to sit in our lives we become resentful, stressed out, and angry.
Setting boundaries includes letting the guy know what is ok and what is not ok.
An example of a boundary would be: telling a guy that if he wants to hang out he needs to call you before a certain time in the night and if he does not call you by that time then you will not answer the phone and he will not come over. The hardest part to setting boundaries is following through. The follow through is what will get you your desired outcome, either your sanity or his agreement to follow through.
You cannot control the actions of others, and that is a hard reality to accept.
So you have to control what you allow in your life and know your limits of what you are willing to put up with. These are all processes we must work through in order to understand our worth and what we deserve. We all have to work through at our own pace and make our mistakes, but remember how valuable and worthy you are. Remember that no matter what the other person is going through based on their previous experiences, their choices and their actions do not have to determine your worth or you value. You are the one in control of that.
Rebecca Frank, MA, LPCC, NCC - www.courage2connect.com
Most women want to feel secure in their relationship.
When a man gives mixed signals or shows signs that he is very interested; and then does not call you for a few days or respond to your texts or calls; this can be very frustrating and confusing.
Usually this type of behavior from a man indicates his maturity level, and level of commitment and interest in the relationship.
Before you overreact or act impulsively by blowing up his phone or becoming jealous and insecure; think about what you want out of this relationship.
If you really like this guy and want a relationship with him then tell him that. Most people are afraid they will scare the guy off if they do this. If this would scare him off; think about if you would really want to be with a man who is scared to have a conversation and / or who you can't communicate with.
If you do communicate this to him,and he feels the same way, then tell him what your needs and expectations are.
Of course you both have, and should continue to have independence; and it would not be fair of you to expect all of his time and attention but ; it is reasonable that if you call or text him you would expect him to respond in a reasonable amount of time.
If you can communicate to him what your needs and expectations are of the relationship and he is able and willing to meet them then it sounds like he is ready for a commitment. He should also be able to express his needs and expeditions to you.
If you are afraid to bring up his hot and cold behavior at all then it is your choice if you want to continue dating this person knowing that you might hear from him and you might not.
If it just a fling for you and you are not bothered by this type of behavior then there is no need to discuss your concerns. If his hot and cold behavior is causing you anxiety and frustration then you should speak up or end the relationship!
Trisha Swinton, LPC, LMFT – www.trishaswintoncounseling.com
This typically indicates a “red flag” in the relationship. You may have a gut feeling that something is off or that he’s not really with you. That’s because running hot and cold often signals a fear of commitment or getting too close.
This type of man loves the chase but not the commitment. He gets bored easily - especially when the fun is over. Or, he’s moody and can’t successfully control his emotions. Both of these traits are incredibly difficult to change.
Don’t take his behavior personally.
In any relationship, it is important to remember that someone else’s behavior is not about you.
When someone is indecisive about a relationship, there can be many other reasons. Making the assumption that it’s about you isn’t fair. More than likely, it has nothing to do with you. Most women fall into self-doubt in romantic relationships because they think they are too fat, or “not enough” in some way. It is the fear of not being good enough that keeps them in it.
Dating is about assessing compatibility.
This takes time and patience to discover whether or not it’s a good match. The best way to determine compatibility is by asking questions. There is no short cut. Find out what he values, his relationship history, how he deals with stress. These are areas that will have a major impact in your life if you stay together.
If he runs hot and cold, that likely won’t change.
Take your time. Trust your intuition and ask trusted friends for feedback. Don’t let that fear of not being good enough dictate your choices. Staying in a relationship that doesn't meet your needs is like not having one at all.
Michelle Farris, LMFT – www.counselingrecovery.com
There can be a million reasons why we might interpret a man's behavior to vacillate between hot and cold.
Both parties bring something to the relationship with respect to dynamics, so it's important to consider your own expression of hot or cold. I'm obviously always a fan of being able to talk about specific behaviors that bother or annoy your partner.
If you frequently get the message that the man in your life seems disinterested or perhaps aloof when you're talking to him about something ask him why. You can express this in any number of ways, depending on your relationship and your communication style.
Some couples may find being direct works very well, but not everyone is skilled in expressing themselves in ways that open up communication rather than shut it down.
What can I do?
1. Start off by expressing gratitude for the space to talk, and add something like" sometimes it seems like what I'm telling you isn't interesting to you...I noticed you seemed distant when I talked about (insert current example) so I'm wondering what you think about that." This can be a great jumping off point to have productive conversations that increase empathy and mutual understanding.
2. Give your partner the opportunity to respond without judgment, even if you're feeling angry or upset. This helps both people to feel like their opinion and perceptions are valued and understood.
3. Discuss in concrete terms what one another could do to make these situations easier.
"I know it's important to you to be available to your co-workers, but it would be really helpful to me if on date night you could text me and let me know when you're on your way to meet me. This respect both of our schedules and time."
This is obviously a very specific example, but I would challenge you to engage in the process of doing this because it can actually work quite well. This negotiation process helps both parties learn what mutual respect looks like within the context of a romantic relationship.
Sandra Labo, MA, LPC - www.sandilabo.com
Not sure how things are going in your relationship?
It can be very frustrating and confusing when you get mixed signals from your partner or prospective date. One minute you feel excitement, the next disappointment, which triggers a lot of insecurities and can lead to reactive behaviors.
Oftentimes, we take these interactions very personally especially if we have trust issues and start second guessing everything. Does he like me? Have I done something wrong? Does he like someone else? You get the picture.
Although all of those options are possible, there are many other things that could be going on. He could be distracted by work or personal obligations, he could be dealing with his own fear and insecurity, he may be having some other type of internal conflict of his own that he is not sharing with you. It could be many things. If you are not communicating openly it is harder to figure it all out.
Which brings us to what you can do to try to navigate this situation:
1. Check your expectations both good and bad. Every relationship is different and involves the action/reaction of both parties. Try to avoid comparisons.
2. Keep an open mind. Do not assume his behavior is about you. This can help you manage your emotions and reduce the potential for reactive behavior patterns that may otherwise crop up when you feel insecure.
3. Do some inner work focusing on developing an internal locus of control where you do not depend on others for approval. Engage in activities that build your sense of self and increase your self-esteem
4. Maintain strong ties to support systems including your friends, family, counselor or coach.
5. Do not make assumptions. Work on improving communication. Be willing to ask questions that could provide more insights into the behaviors and interactions.
6. Keep the relationship balanced. Avoid falling into the cycle of making the relationship about pleasing him.
7. Maintain appropriate personal boundaries.
Stacey Shumway, M.Ed., CCMHC, BCC - www.2xlcoach.com
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