August 10, 2018

What To Do When He Blows Hot and Cold – 6 Incredibly Effective Tips To Handle His Hot and Cold Behavior

# 1. My message to women in this cycle is that you have other choices than to “deal” with a man that runs hot and cold
Amanda Patterson

Mr. Hot and Cold is ubiquitous in our society.

He is seen in movies and books and most of the time the outcome becomes Mr. Hot and Cold becomes Mr. Commitment. The woman waits and does all of the right things, giving him space when he needs space, jumping in when he wants to jump in and repeating the cycle as necessary. 

My message to women in this cycle is that you have other choices than to “deal” with a man that runs hot and cold. That water cycle is a red flag.

If you feel like you are “dealing” with something with a guy, then it will be up to you to decide if you want to deal with it.

When you stay with a man that is hot and cold, the reinforcement schedule is very high.

He doesn’t always meet your needs, but when he does you will feel great. Your brain will think the man will continue to meet your needs and when he doesn’t your brain will tell you to wait because when he does get hot again, the reward will be worth it. It is similar to addictions, such as gambling where you wait and wait to get the big payoff. 

Sometimes it comes but at what cost? Do you want a man that runs hot and cold? How will you deal with it in the long run?

I also like to call these men Sour Patch Kids.

At first they are sweet and then they turn sour on you. Not everyone can handle a Sour Patch Kids candy, let alone a guy whose role model is meant to trick people.

My recommendation is to see this pattern of behavior as a red flag and act accordingly.

He may even stick to one side of the temperature. It may always be a roller coaster.

Now ask yourself, how do you want your relationship to be with your man?

Amanda Patterson, LMHC –

# 2. Begin by having an open, honest, direct and respectful conversation with your partner
Cynthia Pickett

It can be very difficult being in a relationship with someone whose mood changes frequently and without warning.

The tendency is then to live on guard never knowing if you are going to be met with nice or nasty. There are several things you can do to try and limit the effect another person’s emotional roller coaster has on you.

It is always good to begin by having an open, honest, direct and respectful conversation with your partner about your experience of their volatility.

If you are afraid to discuss this with them then it is a clear sign this relationship is abusive and you should make plans to leave as safely as possible. 

If you can start a conversation, let them know how the volatility impacts you. Set some clear boundaries about what behavior you are not willing to accept. 

For example, it is not ok to be yelled at, name called, intimidation, violence, hitting or threats of hitting, throwing things, etc.… I tell my clients that it is ok to feel bad it is not ok to act bad!

Discuss with your partner ways that he or she can let some steam off with out it impacting you. I have found most men like to exercise out their emotions, which works wonders in calming them down.

Another thing is to not take personally the mood swings.

While at times it may feel personal it is not. The volatility is their issue not yours. If you take it personally, that is your issue. So don’t engage, walk away. 

If some one is talking to you disrespectfully, you have the right to leave the area and go to a quieter setting. You do not have to participate! If you are getting hooked, then ask yourself “why” and work on not getting hooked. 

A question to ask yourself is “who does this remind me of” and trust the first answer that pops in.

It is important to understand it is not who does their behavior remind you of but rather what experience does the feelings YOU are having remind you of. Engaging in the anger does no good and just ramps things up to a destructive level so avoid it at all costs.

Lastly, don’t be afraid to end the relationship.

The single most common issue that keeps people in a bad relationship is their not wanting to be alone. For too many people, being in a relationship gives them some sort of validation. 

Being connected with someone makes him or her feel loved and lovable.

That is a huge expectation to put on a relationship and will eventually crush the relationship. The partner that is right for you will have mutual trust, respect, and communication. Their actions will speak louder than their words in saying “I love you”.

Cynthia Pickett, LCSW, LADC –

# 3. Start reassessing your destiny
Dr. Maurita Hodge

You and your man text all day; talk all night; and, spend lazy Sundays hanging around the house eating pancakes – life is good right now with him. And then it happens – MONTH 3!

The time it takes for the questions to start popping up – where is this thing going? Do we have a future? Are we in a relationship? Afraid to confront, afraid to keep silent – What do you do?!? What do you do?!?

So you ask him about the future of the relationship and he gives you a look that you know a not so simple question is sure to follow – What do you mean? 

You answer his question, you ask him questions and at the end of ‘the talk’ you think you are in a good place. However, a few days pass and you start to notice some odd things happening (…or not happening). What happened to the text messages? What happened to the phone calls? What happened to the Sunday pancakes?

He says he’s ok and you should not worry, but you do.

You think you are going crazy because you noticed when you are together he is the lovable man you met three months ago; however, when you are apart you don’t hear from him unless he wants to ‘spend time’ (I wouldn’t qualify this as quality time) with you. You ask him if everything is ok and again he reassures you that nothing has changed. But your gut is telling you otherwise.

Month six is here and nothing has changed – lovable when together (hot! hot! hot!); non-existent when apart (polar bear cold!). Your head is spinning because you don’t want to lose him but you want a committed relationship.

And once again you find yourself back at the same old road – afraid to confront but afraid to keep silent. What do you do?!? What do you do?!? You put your big girl panties on and begin living in truth!

When you feel like you are in a vortex of he loves me he loves me not, then it is time for you to have a grown up conversation.

First, figure out what you actually want and need in a relationship. Figure out if you are able and willing to revel in the highs and stick it out in the lows?

His behavior (nor your behavior) should never be the script neither of you take on just to be with him and vice versa. You (nor him) did not sign up to play this passive part, so share your life script with him and ask him to share with, letting him know you are open to the possibilities of writing a life script together

You may need to determine what your next step will be if he says nothing or something you don’t want to hear.

To that I say, pull up your big girl panties and start reassessing your destiny [What do I want and need in a relationship? What will be the priority in the relationship? Can I revel in the highs and stick it out in the lows for myself and my mate?]; and, then move on!

Dr. Maurita Hodge –

# 4. Reassure him that you’re not coming from judgment or the desire to blame, only that you need to figure out together what he wants to do and if you’re willing to be part of that decision
Dr. Randi Gunther

No adoration or affection remains constant between any couple, but it should have a balance that makes both partners feel confident that their love will continue.

The way that men and women express attachment is often very different, and those differences may not signal that the relationship is in trouble, especially after the partnership is stable.

Men, in particular, tend to view relationships in compartments rather than at the center of their lives.

They may deeply value the compartment that contains their special woman, but, when other priorities call, many men divert energy away from that “love” compartment for a period of time, without any hidden agenda of the need to close it down. They have absolute intent to return when they’ve fulfilled other priorities.

Most women, on the other hand, run all of their other interests through their relationships.

They keep their partner close to their hearts whatever they are doing. That fuels the age-old misunderstanding when they reconnect and women want to hear all about a man’s day, and he is only interested in what is currently going on between them.

  • “Did you think of me today?” (Insecure and prodding)
  • “Well, no, actually not. I was busy.” (At least he’s telling the truth)
  • “Does that mean I don’t matter to you as much anymore? You used to text me all day long. Is there something wrong?” (Pushing for reassurance)
  • “No, babe, I was just focusing on other things. Really, we’re fine.” (Wondering why she is worried)


  • “I’m so glad you’re home. I have so much to tell you.” (Bursting to share her day)
  • “Sure, hon. just let me catch the end of this game and I’m all yours.” (He’s not very interested in the long version that he wasn’t part of)
  • “But I haven’t seen you all day. Can’t you just spend a little time with me first?” (Feeling replaced and neglected)
  • “Baby, I know there’s a lot going on but I’m beat. I need to relax a little.” Knows he better take some time first or the game will be over, and he isn’t looking forward to a rehash he wasn’t part of anyway)

However, when a guy seeming super connected at times but goes AWOL on a regular basis without explanation, there are certain behaviors that could be red flags for a guy who is suspect:

1. The periods of time he’s spending disconnected are increasing in duration and frequency.

2. He frequently breaks plans at the last minute or forgets he’s even made them.

3. He seems more preoccupied and shares less of what he’s feeling or thinking even when you make it clear that you’re interested and available.

4. When you ask him whether he still loves you, he answers perfunctorily and wants to change the subject.

5. The re-connections between you are more and more initiated by you.

6. They are less intense and don’t last as long.

7. If it was ever present, future talk is waning rapidly.

If the answers to these questions are bothersome, you’re going to have to do or say something.

But, before the ultimatum challenge of “I noticed that you’re different with me. I’m a big girl.

Please tell me if you’re on your way out or need us to do something to regenerate,” it’s important to take stock of what your guy is going through or who he is, and what might be happening in his life that’s not about you.

  • Is he under too much stress and just doesn’t have time for a relationship he wants but can’t afford? 
  • Does he feel he can’t really please you and pulls away when you seem disappointed?
  • Does he get in too close and scare himself with what he feels your expectations will become if he doesn’t pull back?
  • Does he overpromise when he’s with you to keep you interested, and then suffer from not prioritizing enough time for his other interests or obligations?
  • Has this always been his style and how has it affected his past relationships?
  • Can he not separate commitment from entrapment?

When you’re pretty ready to take the consequences without folding, you can then begin with letting him know that you’ve tried hard in those ways to understand what might be driving his inconsistent participation but need him to help you understand anything you might have missed.

Reassure him that you’re not coming from judgment or the desire to blame, only that you need to figure out together what he wants to do and if you’re willing to be part of that decision.

Most guys, not facing a woman who has saved up resentful feelings and who truly still cares, will open up with that kind of invitation.

If he wants to stay in the relationship, he’ll hopefully want to let you in as to what’s going on and accept your help in restructuring how you can still be together. 

If he’s looking for a way out, he’ll let you know how grateful he is that you aren’t angry or into punishing. You have every right to be sad, but there is no way to legislate love when it is no longer there.

Dr. Randi Gunther –

# 5. Follow the 4 tips below
Sarah Hofer

Even the healthiest relationships go through ups and downs.

No matter how solid your bond with your significant other is, at times you will need to spend a little time a part. However, if your partner is becoming more and more distant, it’s likely a sign that the relationship is in trouble. It could signify many things—anything from cheating to losing interest in the relationship.

Because of this, it’s important to address the issue before it gets out of hand. Unfortunately, this means that you need to have a difficult conversation with him.

The following four tips will help you navigate this uncomfortable topic:

1. Approach the subject gently.

Ask if you’ve done or said something to upset him or make him uncomfortable. Let him know that if this is the case, you didn’t mean to offend him and would like to talk it out.

2. If he says that his behavior is not a result of your words or actions, respectfully let him know that you’ve noticed his cold and distant behavior.

Focus on the positive when you do this: talk about the fact that you miss spending time with him and that you want to help him through whatever he’s going through.

3. Try not to use inflammatory phrases and words.

The word “why” often implies that you’re blaming the other person (for example, “Why are you doing this to me?”). Also, as tempting as it may be, do not attribute motives and feelings to him without asking if that’s really what’s going on in his head.

4. If he denies that there is anything going on, drop the subject (at least for the time being)

Asking him the same questions over and over isn’t going to yield a different answer. Respect him enough to believe what he says.
Hopefully, an honest conversation will help clear the air. However, if his behavior doesn’t change, remember that you can only control your own thoughts and actions.

Talking to him about your feelings and your observations is the only thing you can do in this situation.

If he won’t meet you halfway, it’s time to take a second look about whether or not this relationship is the right one for you.

Sarah Hofer, MA –

# 6. Ask yourself the below questions
Amy Sherman

Nobody deserves to be in a bad relationship, but it happens.

Sometimes, you don’t realize it until it’s too late. Personalities clash, philosophies differ, values change and interests are no longer compatible.

But what do you do when your partner’s behavior is irrational, unpredictable and sometimes scary? How do you deal with someone who is Dr. Jeykl one moment and Mr. Hyde the next?

It’s not easy. But be aware of several things.

Is this behavior new to your relationship?

It could mean that he is no longer interested in being part of your life and that he is annoyed with himself or you. His inconsistent behavior could be a sign that the relationship has changed and that it is time for you to move on.

Has he always behaved this way?

It could just be his personality and a trait that indicates low frustration and difficulty dealing with things that don’t go his way. Sometimes, people have a poor way of expressing themselves and their communication style is more abrasive than pleasant, making it challenging to know how they are truly feeling.

Finally, is he hot and cold in an abusive, insensitive way, where you are made to feel manipulated, fearful, threatened, intimidated or powerless?

He then has an agenda to keep you down and feeling unworthy, insignificant and insecure. This is an abusive relationship and it could lead to physical battering if the emotional battering keeps up. If that’s the case, your best approach is to plan an “escape” to get to a safe place that is welcoming and free from fear.

Your relationship with your partner should be based on equality, respect, security and love.

If you question that, and always wonder what your beau is thinking, feeling or wanting, this is not a good relationship. Communication is the key to a healthy relationship and open dialogue is essential. Your partner’s behavior is unpredictable. It is not only uncomfortable, but it is not safe to be “walking on eggshells” in a one-sided relationship.

Amy Sherman, M.A., LMHC –

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