If you are dating someone whose behavior is hot and cold, beware. This is a sign that they’re into games. It’s long been the rule that when dating someone whose behavior is marked by hot and cold reactivity— you are on uncertain ground. Behavioral extremes indicate a power play is being employed. No, it’s not confusion. Although that is the hope, the hot/cold scenario typifies much more than lack of certainty.

Sometimes conscious, often unconscious, this is a known method by which to activate pursuit. It’s utilized, because it works. Without knowing it, we can be pulled into someone else’s game. Relationship uncertainty makes us yearn for stability. The automatic human response is to chase, when the “other” pulls away. What was so readily available is now gone, or at least beyond our temporary reach. The one who initiates hot/cold is the one who is most terrified. Yes, it looks like strength. But it isn’t. Real strength is the ability to maintain contact. Real strength isn’t afraid to be direct.

Though this is rarely the behavior of older women, as they prefer honesty over games, it is worth noting. Not all older women are evolved. Many are just older. And while the older woman/younger man dynamic is characterized by honest communication— irregularities can occur.

If you find yourself in such a situation, proceed to honest questioning. Be direct. There is nothing to lose. Authentic communication may reveal the other partner’s fears, allowing these concerns to be worked out while maintaining your connection. If not, the questioning will be met with resistance. You’ve just gained valuable information. This is not a partner who possesses a skill set for relationships. Your time will be better spent with someone else, who is capable of honest and consistent behavior.