The early days of dating someone are exciting – you’re feeling a bit all over the place, but in a good way!
The guy you like seems to like you back…
…until he doesn’t.
It’s really confusing when a man goes hot and cold on you, and you might be left wondering a) where this has come from, and b) what you can do to get things back on track.
Lucky for you, we’ve done the hard work and put together a guide on your emotional-rollercoaster of a crush.
Why Is He Hot and Cold: The 7 Most Common Reasons
1. He’s genuinely not sure how he feels.
For all the bad reasons he might be messing you around, we’ll start with the most obvious one – he is confused and might not really know where he stands or how he feels about you.
That’s not personal; this hot and cold behavior might be for a huge number of reasons!
Maybe he’s fresh out of a relationship and is still trying to figure things out, or hasn’t dated much at all, and is flitting between being really interested and being a bit nervous.
We all have the right to make our minds up, and he might just be taking his time with it!
If he’s into you sometimes, there’s obviously something there between the two of you. He might be pulling away every so often because he’s not 100% sure of his own feelings yet, and he doesn’t want to lead you on by being too keen.
2. He’s trying to play it cool.
We’re not huge fans of playing mind games, but he might be.
If he’s taking his time to reply to you sometimes, but then seems really happy to see you, he might just be trying to play it cool.
Rather than coming across as ‘too interested,’ he’s hanging back a little bit. This might be because he’s not really sure how you feel, or because he’s used to having to play some games.
He might also think that this is the best way to go about it, as it’s worked for him in the past to be this hot and cold guy.
Whatever it is he’s doing, if he’s ‘hot’ sometimes, this man is interested in you in some capacity!
3. He’s keeping you keen by being mean!
Another day, another game. This hot and cold relationship can be very frustrating, but it’s worth considering that this is something he’s doing on purpose.
The more the guy acts ‘cold,’ the more you want him to be ‘hot’ with you again. That means that you’re essentially waiting for him to want you, and for him to make a move on you.
As such, you’re giving him a lot of power and the ball is definitely in his court. This also means that you’re becoming even more interested in him, simply by him seeming less interested in you. Reverse psychology works like a charm, right?
4. He’s doing the same with someone else.
It’s not something you want to hear, we know, but you need to consider this as a reality.
If he’s acting hot one minute and then turns cold the next, there is a chance he’s stringing you along – as well as someone else.
He might be finding it hard to keep up with seeing you both, which is why he’s so inconsistent with you. He’s distracted because his attention is also focused on someone else.
This would explain why he is running hot and cold with you – you might notice that he gets a bit flustered sometimes when he’s with you, or he’s acting shiftily with his phone when you’re around.
If you’re feeling suspicious and something doesn’t seem quite right, it might be because he’s also doing this with other women.
5. It’s nothing to do with you – there’s something else going on.
However much a man likes you, he is still human. If he’s been a bit all over the place recently, try to cut him some slack. He might be really busy or have personal issues in his life.
It’s hard to remember that when you’re waiting for a text back or a romantic gesture, but he might have other things on his mind.
Men deal with their inner struggles and personal issues in a way women do not always understand, so when they go hot and cold, it may not always be due to relationship issues.
And while he likes you, you might not be his priority just yet. That’s normal, and even if it’s a bit disappointing, you need to accept that you’re just not at that stage yet.
He is allowed to take his time to reply to you sometimes and spend his energies on other things in his life.
6. He’s trying to take things slowly.
He seems to have good intentions and loves spending time with you, and things are going really well – so why does he then pull away and act cold towards you for a few days?
There’s a chance he’s just trying to slow things down with you. He might be genuinely interested in you, but not be ready for the next stage, whatever that is between the two of you.
If you’ve just started dating and he’s sending mixed messages by blowing hot and cold with you, he might just be trying to pace things.
He might be worried that if you rush things or see each other ‘too much’ in the early days, things will burn out quickly and it’ll be over before it can really start.
To you, that might seem silly – if you like someone, you want to see them, right? To him, he might not feel ready to commit just yet!
Maybe he started dating not really expecting to like anyone straight away, and now he’s actually considering a deeper relationship with you but wants to take his time.
He might have had serious relationships in the past and not be ready to jump straight into anything just yet, so is distancing himself at times just to slow the pace and make sure he’s comfortable with what’s going on between the two of you.
Extra reading: What Does Taking It Slow Mean To A Guy?
7. He’s changed his mind and isn’t interested.
Eurgh, this one is rubbish! We hate to say it, but you need to think about all the options here.
If he’s throwing you mixed signals and blowing hot and cold, the man you like might be losing interest. His feelings have changed and he isn’t sure how to end it.
It’s not nice, we know, but this is just how some guys deal with it. He might have changed his mind for any number of reasons, so try not to beat yourself up over this one or feel like you’re unattractive or boring!
He might have just realized that he’s not as interested as he thought he was, or he might have discovered that you aren’t very compatible.
This might explain his behavior – he feels bad for being cold, so is really nice to you. Then he panics that he’s leading you on, so distances himself again. This results in the hot and cold relationship you’ve got going on at the moment.
Extra reading: 18 Signs He’s Not That Into You And It’s Time To Move On
How do you deal with a guy who is hot and cold?
So, you’ve come to a conclusion about why he’s being so odd with you – but what next?
It can be hard to know how to cope with a man who gives you mixed signals, so we’ve come up with a few options you can explore.
1. Stay calm and steady.
Nobody likes playing games – even this man probably doesn’t actually enjoy it that much!
If you start pushing him away and acting coldly toward him, he will probably get confused and decide it’s not worth the effort. The more you act immaturely back when you do actually like him, the bigger the chance of him slipping away.
Instead, stay calm! Nothing has really happened to blow things up, so try to see this from a more chilled out perspective.
He might just be busy with other things, or unsure of how he feels about you. These are not life-changing things, and, if things are meant to work out between you two, they will.
By staying relaxed while remaining interested in him, he’ll realize that you’re not easily thrown – and that you’re not someone who’s going to pile loads of pressure on him!
The more chilled out things feel with you, the more likely he’ll come back and become more stable with you.
If you were stressed out with work and the person you were seeing became really hostile and kicked off, you probably wouldn’t want to hang out with them anymore, right?
That’s because nobody wants additional stress in their lives. If you can calmly let him know you’re interested but that there is no rush or pressure, he’ll come to you.
Extra reading: How To Give Him Space: 8 Things To Do + 6 Things NOT To Do
2. Acknowledge that relationships get to the stage where it feels familiar rather than exciting.
If you’re used to the guy you like being all over you, and he’s started being a bit less enthusiastic, try not to panic. This might just be because the two of you are settling into each other more now.
Most of us go all-out when we’re first dating someone, as we want them to see the best versions of ourselves. That might have been what you saw in the ‘hot’ phase.
His ‘cold’ phase might feel cold compared to the heat, but remember that it’s all relative and this might just be his ‘normal’ phase.
Every relationship gets to the stage where it feels familiar rather than exciting, so bear this in mind.
Rather than expecting romance and wild sex and constant texts all the time, remember that things will steady themselves out the more you spend time together.
It can start off as a sexual attraction and progress into an emotional connection.
There’s nothing wrong with being more relaxed with each other – take it as a compliment that he’s comfortable enough around you to be himself; it’s actually a testament to how great things are between you.
Extra reading: 13 Tips To Make Him Miss You Like Crazy (That Really Work!)
3. Keep yourself distracted.
One of the issues with hot and cold behavior is that the ‘extremes’ are very, very easy to fixate on.
If your man is all over the place and you’re not sure where you stand, you can very quickly start to over analyze their behavior. The more you focus on it, the more you see ‘problems’ where there probably aren’t any.
Because you’re so fixated on what he’s doing, you’re more likely to call out his behavior as bad or cold.
For example, when things are going great in a relationship and your boyfriend takes a while to reply to you, you don’t really question it – there’s a strong foundation, so why would you need to doubt him?
When you’re feeling anxious about a man, you pick up on every tiny thing that feels ‘off’ – all of a sudden, a ten-minute delay in a reply feels like he’s about to dump you!
This shows that it’s all about the mindset we’re coming from. If we’re confident in your relationship and we focus our mind on other stuff, we’re coming from a good mindset and are less likely to be easily fazed.
If we’re focusing purely on our relationship and we’ve gotten ourselves all worked up, we’re coming from a fear mindset and everything becomes a red flag.
Stay busy by pursuing your own hobbies, hanging out with friends, or just enjoying some alone time. The more distracted you can keep yourself, the less impact small things will have on you.
You might start to realize that the ‘hot and cold’ actions from your man are actually you interpreting things based on your ‘good and bad’ moods.
4. Keep communicating!
If you’re truly at a loss and have no idea what’s going on, there is nothing to stop you talking to your man.
While we would tend to steer clear of big discussions about feelings early on, it might be worth bringing things up if they’re really starting to bother you. Nobody wants to feel like they’re being messed around!
You could check in with him that everything is okay – without using language that ‘blames’ him.
Say something like, “Things feel a bit different between us, do you want to talk about it?” or, “I feel like we don’t see each other as much anymore, why don’t we plan a nice evening together?”
Coming from a positive angle like this shows him that you are not trying to start a fight or criticize his behavior. Instead, you’re trying to make things better for both of you.
This also gives him a chance to be honest if there is something else going on – he might not want to bring things up himself, so this can be a good prompt to help him open up.
It also shows that you are aware of what is going on, and will help him realize that his actions (or inactions!) are impacting you. He’ll understand how you’re feeling, and you can move forwards to a solution together.
Sometimes, one specific emotional trigger is all it takes to make him want to commit to a relationship and feel like you’re the right girl for him.
5. Focus on improving yourself.
Being anxious about your guy acting hot and cold will only make you panic and feel desperate.
Instead, focus on yourself and gaining self-confidence. A woman who exudes confidence is very attractive in the eyes of men.
Even if your guy never really moved towards a committed relationship with you, your confidence will attract the right person who will.
6. Know when to move on.
Of course, this man might genuinely be playing hot and cold with you because he’s just not relationship material and he is simply messing you around.
Intentionally or not, it’s frustrating and sometimes upsetting to put your energy into a moody guy who doesn’t really know what he wants.
If this hot and cold relationship is starting to negatively impact your well-being, or you’re starting to feel insecure about yourself because you just don’t know where you stand, it is okay to prioritize yourself and walk away.
If you think that this behavior is a pattern and it keeps happening, he is unlikely to change. If you’ve mentioned it and nothing has shifted, there isn’t really much more you can do.
You either accept the reality that you will be taken on an emotional rollercoaster with this guy, or you put yourself first and leave.
This can be very hard to do, especially when the ‘hot’ is so… hot! However, you are either committing to accepting this behavior and letting him think it’s okay to toy with you like this, or you are valuing yourself enough to walk away and find something better.
However much you like someone, it’s tiring and upsetting when it feels like they’re messing you around. If they like you, why are they playing games?
To get your relationship from ‘hot and cold’ to ‘hot, hot, hot!’ you can take some of the steps we mentioned above.
You’ll probably be able to find a solution that works for you both (like better communication), or you’ll realize that it’s really not worth your time.
Either way, you’ll know where you stand and you’ll be able to move on – with your man, or without.
The following articles are must-reads for people like you:
- Decoding Mixed Signals From A Guy: 9 Examples + What To Do
- 13 Core Reasons Why Men Pull Away (+ What YOU Can Do To Help)
- 8 FAQs When A Guy Says He Needs Space
- How To Date And Be In A Relationship With An Avoidant Partner
- The Push-Pull Relationship Cycle And How To Escape This Dynamic
- 7 Tips For Having The “Where Is This Going?” Relationship Talk With A Guy
- 10 Not-So-Subtle Signs Someone Has Commitment Issues