Dating a Guy Who Goes Hot & Cold

Hot and cold behaviors are a red flag.
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Navigating the minefield of romantic relationships is always challenging, but when your guy runs hot and cold, you can feel like you are losing your mind. On Friday night, you have a wonderfully romantic date. By Sunday, it is as though you don't exist. Just when you’ve given up on him, he shows up on the doorstep with flowers and a huge apology. Hot and cold behaviors can be a red flag, but they do not necessarily mean you should give up on the relationship.

1 Feeling Out the Situation

In the early days and weeks of a new relationship, it is healthy and normal for both partners to evaluate how they feel about each other. Your guy might not be ready for a serious relationship. He might need time to decide whether he can live with your quirks. He may be shy and trying to evaluate how to proceed. If the relationship is relatively new, note the behaviors but try not to read too much into them.

2 Simple Immaturity

Some guys are immature jerks. Flaky and indecisive, they expect their girlfriends to be there when they want and go away when they don't. You can tell by watching how he treats other people. This type of person usually has trouble holding a job, argues with his parents and fights with friends. If this sounds like your guy, move on. He isn't worth the trouble.

3 He Blames You

Research psychologist Leon Festinger notes that when people hold two conflicting beliefs, they act strangely in an effort to resolve the conflict. Hot and cold behavior is often the result. For example, your boyfriend takes a day off work to surprise you with a beach trip. If he then loses his job, he might blame you, even though the trip was his idea.

4 Split Reaction

Some people think their loved ones are completely good when they meet a need, but completely bad when they don't, explains George Simon, a clinical psychologist. A classic example is a kid screaming, "I hate you!" when his mother refuses to buy a toy. An hour later, when Mom reads him a story, he coos, "You're the best, Mommy." Most people outgrow this, but it can last into the teens and even young adulthood.

5 Personality Disorders

Hot and cold behavior can sometimes signal a complicated mental illness known as a personality disorder. Don't assume your boyfriend is mentally ill and don't accuse him of it. But if you tell him his behavior offends you and he gets angry or doesn't care, he might have an illness. You can't fix a personality disorder, so the best thing to do is to let him go.

6 Should I Stay or Go?

Whether to stay in a relationship with a hot and cold guy is a decision you shouldn’t make lightly. If you are sure he is worth the effort, staying might be the best choice. If you want an always-there relationship, leaving makes more sense. If he turns abusive or you become frightened for your safety, leaving is the only safe choice.

Lisa Fritscher is a freelance writer specializing in disabled adventure travel. She spent 15 years working for Central Florida theme parks and frequently travels with her disabled father. Fritscher's work can be found in both print and online mediums, including She holds a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from the University of South Florida.