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If you’re dating someone whose behavior is hot and cold, beware. This is a red flag. It’s a clear warning that your partner’s into games. If you’re dating someone whose behavior is marked by hot and cold reactivity— you’re standing on shaky ground.

Behavioral extremes show a “power play” is being employed. No, they’re not confused. They don’t need more time to figure out their emotions. Although that may be your hope, the hot/cold scenario typifies much more than a lack of certainty on a lover’s part.

Consciously (or unconsciously), this type of behavior is a tactic that activates longing, and pursuit. It’s utilized, because it works:

The hot phase lures you in; getting your hopes up and igniting the concept of a “future” with this person. It’s leading you to the corral, where you’ll later be harnessed.

The cold phase activates longing; it makes you want them, yearn for them and wait in bated breath for their call or a text. It rattles your base of inner solidity and forces you onto their game-board. Without realizing it, you’ve become a pawn in “the game.”

“Flee and they follow. Follow and they flee.”

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’s most terrified. Yes, it looks like they hold the power. And, it looks like they have strength. But it’s neither. Real power is the ability to maintain intimacy. Real strength is the ability to maintain contact. Real power and strength have no fear of being honest and direct.

If you find yourself in a hot/cold tug of war, try honest questioning. Be direct. There’s nothing to lose. Authentic communication reveals the other partner’s fears, allowing their concerns to be worked out while maintaining connection. If your questioning meets hostility, defensiveness or resistance… you’ve gained valuable information. This isn’t 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.