Hot and Cold

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.

  • #1 written by gagepetronski  2 years ago

    Question: what if the guy you are interested in dating, has not gone beyond ‘texting’ and ‘chatting online’ and has an interest in a first date but is showing extreme signs of blowing hot/cold…and self admittingly does so. The guy shows signs of a smug and almost narcissistc behavior when running ‘cold’ but when hot its a decent connection. What should one do when faced w/ blowing him off? Ignoring his text messages is whats currently happening but do not want to get involved in a game of words and get ‘sucked into’ his game again. What should one do?

    • #2 written by Maria  1 year ago

      I dont know who decides what normal is. But the thought of dating a woman 10 years older than me (if I was 20) wouldnt bother me at all. A woman in her 30 s has had a lot of experience with men by then (and Im talking about emotional and intellectual experience, not sexual). Her understanding has improved and her expections are now far more reasonable than that of a younger woman. Im talking about the ones who learn from experience. Not everyone learns. I would find the prospect of dating an older woman exciting. When I was in my 20 s we just didnt think about it the way they do now. If I could go back in time I would definitelty explore that avenue. However I am now married and much older so my time is long past for that. The derogatory term comes from the usual double standard in our society where its ok for men to date younger women but not the reverse. Women always get the short end of the stick in just about everything.

      • #3 written by Michel  1 year ago

        As a 47 year old successful, good looking, decent and fun guy, I tried all sites from E-harmony, Match and the worst, Chemistry99% were fake pictures, or auto-emails. Their point is to make profit of off you. Go out, expand your net, be you and you will meet amazing people. Lazy people try to use a computer. I have had more dates and more fun just say Hi my name is what is yours? and show a big smile. Expand your net, go new places, magic will happen..I promise.

      • #4 written by Nacho  1 year ago

        I will not lie to you. When it comes to dating, looks and weight are very important. You can have all the self esteem in the world, but if the guy/girl you like isn’t attracted to your looks/ body type, it won’t make one bit of difference. We humans are funny that way. We are attracted to what we are attracted to, and there isn’t much we can do about it. Getting back to your original question though, I believe the reason people get hot and cold is due to physical reasons. They may think you are attractive at one point in time, but not in another. As a guy, looks are important to us. When we aren’t sure of how we feel about you, we back off.

      • #5 written by Susan Winter  1 year ago

        Dear Nacho. Hot and Cold behavior is a tactic used to “pull in a partner.” It’s a game. But you too, have a good point. There are times the Hot and Cold is directly related to the fluctuating sexual attraction one feels. With men, the visual is very important. Either way, if a partner is experiencing hot and cold behavior… it is not a good sign. Consistency creates the possibility for a relationship. Without a consistent connection, the affair can never unfold and develop. Thank you for your insight. Susan

  • #6 written by Susan Winter  1 year ago

    Dear Reader. Blowing hot and cold is a defense tactic used by both males and females. It’s based on the need to entice interest, then push the person away to maintain control. Know that if you are involved with someone who does this in the initial stages of attraction, you will have a bumpy ride after becoming physically involved. You’ll be confused and unsure of where you stand.

    I suggest you counter this move with directness of approach. Game creates game. Honesty trumps game every time. You have nothing to lose by calling him out on his behavior. I’d text him something to the effect (in your own words); “I’d like to get to know you better. I think you’re interesting… (or what ever else you really feel is true). If that sounds good to you, let’s meet in person.”

    Texting and chatting on-line is a barrier to knowing someone. You can’t hear the nuance in their voice, and can’t “feel” them when you text or chat. A real guy will want to meet you face to face on a proper date, even if it’s coffee or drinks.

    But, beware. This person is afraid of committing and afraid of being vulnerable. You need both qualities to have a real relationship.

    • #7 written by Francisco  1 year ago

      From 20 to 26 I dated a guy who was 12 years older than me. My ex was 4 years younger, the last serious relationship I had was with a man 8 years younger. These days I tend to gravitate toward younger men because honestly, the men my age can’t keep up with me.I have nothing against older men and younger women. What gets under my skin are the men who make it about age instead of the woman. When I stop and think about it, I’m not sure I should be so bothered by it. I mean, why should I care if some neanderthal thinks I’m too old?

      • #8 written by Antenor  1 year ago

        Me, I am a christian myeslf, and I don’t think this is really fair since there is a friend of mine whose a non-beleiver whom I really liked, because the way I see it Christainity and religion in general are starting too put barriers for us to prevent us from socially interacting with others unless if THEY ARE CHRISTIAN. If you love that person, go ahead and love that person, but please, why do religion have to disguished people’s relationships?

  • #9 written by djmisjah  1 year ago

    All I can say is that hot and cold can be used as a test if your a guy developing friends with a girl who you think may like you. Never seen a girl just fall for a guy who gets very needy. Ladies I am sorry but the games work at pulling you in. My job though is to then catch you and never let you go.

    • #10 written by Susan Winter  1 year ago

      Very nice!!! I like the catching and never letting go part, especially. Erratic behavior confuses many of us out there. But being needy is never attractive. Thanks for the comment. Susan

      • #11 written by Kyle Mitchell 1 year ago

        Susan, you are without a doubt, a woman sent by God. You are one of the many few that continue to prove many people wrong, when they look and don’t see what’s inside other than what’s outside and for that I AMOUR you tremendously. Continue holding on and dreaming those dreams. Kyle Mitchell

      • #12 written by Betty  1 year ago

        Your posting really straightened me out. Thanks!

      • #13 written by Susan Winter  11 months ago

        Thanks Betty! Susan

    • #14 written by Ulil  1 year ago

      If there is a secret to success here, it is to be patient in developing the relationship and try to be as unperturbable as a Buddhist monk. A man seeking this is to be cautioned that the only other women in his life, past a point, will be relatives and he will be expected to place family above all else.

  • #15 written by Oliver J R Cooper  1 year ago

    Hello Susan,

    I have enjoyed reading this article. It was been written very well; concise and to the point. And I like the direct approach (very aries like), as this matches my way of going about things.



    • #16 written by Susan Winter  1 year ago

      Hi Oliver. Thank you! Ah… Aries? I’m a Sag. Lots of fire here. Welcome onboard.

      If you have any requests for additional topics, let me know. I write a new blog every week. Susan

  • #17 written by Catherin  11 months ago

    I am in a relationship right now and I feel sometimes I share so much about how I feel for him and sometimes it makes me want to pull back to protect myself and not become vulnerable which is a huge fear of mine I did not know it was a hot and cold method but sounds like it. Love is just one of the biggest gambles in life because a broken heart is hard to mend.

    • #18 written by Susan Winter  11 months ago

      Hi Catherin. Yes, love is a gamble. There are no guarantees for any of us. It’s the one area of life that activates fear in rational people, and is something (due to this fact) that many seek to avoid. Avoiding love doesn’t make us stronger. It makes us weaker. Love is a unique vehicle for personal advancement. It brings up “all of our stuff.” It’s easy to feel strong and solid when we’re alone. But add love to the mix, and we quickly learn our hot buttons.
      Catherin, hot and cold behavior is just what you stated… a method of moving forward then retracting for security. Good that you see it for what it is. That’s step one. Now that you’re aware of what’s going on, you have the option to make other choices (should you desire). Susan

  • #19 written by Yassine  9 months ago

    im experiencing a hot and cold relationship
    i recently confronted them by phone
    and i could hear the stress and fear in their voice

    ive been coming on very strong
    and one of her comments was that i was looking into thibgs too much

    this coming from a womsn that got physical fast and introduced me to her mom and kid fast and then put on the brakes

    the problem is ive become attached abd any space now scares me

    the last convo i told her to message me when she feels because she was complaining about being very busy and not wanting me to depend on her

    will this girl come around?

    what do i do if she does or doesnt
    i care too much now

    i want to help her work through this
    all i can do now is wait for her to call and pursue other interests

    but is she really serious?

    does she have no interest? why do this?

  • #20 written by Susan Winter  9 months ago

    Dear Yassine. I know this is confusing to you as she came on strong and then backed off. Sometimes people move forward too quickly and then suddenly rethink their choice to do so. Whether this is conscious or unconscious it stems from fear and confusion. No need to try to figure out why. Chances are that they don’t know why themselves.

    Whenever you get Hot and Cold, there is only one course of action to take:


    You must now pull back completely in order to reboot the attraction phase all over again. You (in her mind) came on too strong. In order to reignite her interest you must cease all contact. No calls, texts or form of communication. No Facebook or Twitter. No going to places you know she goes– restaurants, clubs, bars, etc.

    To make this work you need to energetically remove your presence. Stop thinking about her and focus completely on your life, goals and interests. The other person senses your absence on an energetic frequency. Without the “food” of your energy they begin to crave the attention again.

    I’m sorry to say this is all an “ego game.” The ego is a strange creature. It loves being the center of someone’s attention but quickly disregards the same person once it feels you’re under their spell. Human nature has these oddities. Knowing how the ego works allows you to turn the tables.

    In general I stay away from partners who do this. They have intimacy issues and cause drama. But that’s your call.

    If you have any chance of recapturing her interest she must first go through “withdrawal” of your attention and affection.

    In a few days (if you do exactly as written above) or a few weeks, she’ll find some lame excuse to contact you. Don’t be too quick to respond. But when you do, play it cool. Brief, but warm. Cool, but busy. Make it a very short text response. You must “push back” this type of person for them to follow you.

    Focus on your life, your goals and your interests. Keep busy and active. Let it go completely. If you can do exactly what I’ve stated you’ll see a dramatic change. Keep me posted. Susan

  • #21 written by marie  8 months ago

    Hi Susan, I am 38 and married for 11 years. Recently, began a friendship with a 28 year old single male. We started out as friends although I know he was attracted to me from when we first met Didn’t think anything of it. Over a few months and getting to know him the feelings became mutual. I was very confused as this is the first time I felt like this while being married. Once he knew I was also attracted to him, he came on very strong even telling me he loved me. He was always a gentlemen and never pushed for the physical part of it knowing my situation. He was more concerned my feelings for him were filling a void and he would be hurt. I honestly can say I cared very much for him but I was extremely confused since I do love my husband very much. I enjoyed our conversations and we both felt that we had an instant connection and a lot in common.. As we became closer emotionally the more he became upset t hat he became that I’m married and almost starting obsessing over if I would ever leave my husband and telling me he would wait for me no matter how long. He kept telling me he didn’t want to lose me. Then he started getting a little angry and jealous and saying is this is all its going to be. I really cared about him and enjoyed our conversations and it made me confused but at the same time i felt wanted and important. Feelings I haven’t been feeling in awhile at home. I started telling him my feelings also were getting stronger but we need to take one day at a time. I shortly started to see a side of him that was only focusing on what he wanted and not understanding how confused I was. He then became a little cold. i told him I can’t continue like this. He was upset then became distant when I questioned his behavior and how different he was being he then became angry. He said he couldn’t handle it and he still cares but he wants it different. Now he won’t be friends with me at all and he avoids me when I see him. I text him twice. but he won’t answer when i ask him how he is and abou us just being friends. I don’t know if I should even believe he even felt these feelings. I feel hurt and played. I feel guilty and confused on how I even let him in. I believed him and started having very strong feelings for him. We never had sex but do know I am in the wrong but it doesn’t stop the hurt and feeling of worthlessness I have. . I feel like he went from saying he loves me to not speaking to me in a very short time. I know the situation is wrong but we are both adults and he knew from the start I was married. I’m hurt and keep thinking he never cared at all if he can’t even remain friends or a respond to a text. I would never treat someone I thought I ” Loved” that way so I don’t understand. I would like your opinion. I miss him and care for him. But was I just being used by an emotional predator or did he care and get scared things wouldn’t go the way he wanted and as fast as he wanted.

    • #22 written by Susan Winter  8 months ago

      Hi Marie. I’d ask you to put yourself in his shoes. If you cared for someone who was married and in love with their partner would’t you too protect yourself at some point?

      I don’t think you were being played. These things happen. I’ve known many a single younger man who either acted on the sexual attraction (and those who didn’t) who found themselves with deep feelings for a woman they couldn’t have. They suffered. And when it became clear she’d never leave her husband many of these men couldn’t “see” the woman as “just a friend.”

      It’s a normal reaction when we can’t be with someone we care for, to cut them out all together. It is for our emotional protection. When these deeply romantic feelings begin to subside it may be possible to reconnect as friends. But not before that time.

      I’m certain this is confusing for you as well. You love your husband and never saw this coming. Consider it a testimony to your desirability. There will always be men of all ages who fancy us, yearn for us, and want us. Some we will know about and many others we will not.

      Don’t blame him for pulling away. The article I wrote is when “hot and cold” are used as a tactic to ignite sexual intrigue for one’s ego… not the end-result of a young man who’s gotten his feelings hurt.

      Let him keep his distance for now. You need to regain a clear mind and focus on your current marriage. Chalk it up to a lovely romantic flirtation. Realize you are worthy of love and being loved (not just by your husband).

      But I’d advise doubling up your efforts at home. Pour yourself into the marriage you have. Rekindle the love you share with your husband. Use this young man to fuel your fantasy life or awaken your desire for your current partner.

      Life is always moving us forward. Perhaps you had begun to doubt your worth, your attractiveness or sensual appeal? If any of that is true, Life has reconfirmed all of that for you in the form of this young man. Allow it to sink in, own it, and refocus your mind on what you have at home. Don’t belabor this, or try to ‘get him back.’ Let it go for now and catch up with who you are in the fuller sense. Wishing you well, Susan

  • #23 written by marie  7 months ago

    Thank you, Susan. You have no idea how much your words helped me. I have since run into him and he had said he couldn’t be friends because the feelings had grown deeper and stronger. He said in time but I did text him after that day and told him if we keep in touch or we don’t I wish him nothing but the best and I would always be there for him. He never responded. I really had feelings for him and my heart is hurt but in the big picture this is the for us both. What hurts me most is that when I ran into him we spoke but I detect anger from him. It bothers me that we were so close and then now I feel like he hates me. I wish we could still keep in touch but I feel he doesn’t want to know anything that’s going on in my life. I’m trying to take that as he did care so much he can’t handle it but then I feel that if he really felt that strong how could he shut it off cold turkey…something i never could do if I care for someone that deep. Still trying to figure it out as it makes me feel very sad, used and not worth the effort I guess u can say. I love and appreciate my husband even more now and i am putting all my time and thoughts into our marriage . Although, I cant stop feeling sad and confused over it all as i would rather be friends with someone I care about then not have them in my life at all. And obviously he feels differently and doesn’t want me in his life at all. I’m not sure if that more mature way of handling it or more immature and selfish way since he is 11 years younger. Any advise to help me see this more clearly?

  • #24 written by Susan Winter  7 months ago

    He doesn’t hate you, Marie. He cares for you. This is a “guy” thing that women fail to understand. Men aren’t wired the same way as we are. What “appears” to be hate, is hurt. If you really care for him, let him go to his man cave and lick his wounds.

    Men have a particular type of “ego defense” that women fail to recognize. When hurt or confused a man’s ego sends the “shut down” response. It’s a quick fix method of eliminating the pain. Men have a harder time processing their emotions; they’ve been trained to not respond emotionally, by society. It’s far more complicated for a man to deal with his emotions than it is for us.

    What you’re misinterpreting is the emotion underneath the “coldness.” It’s NOT HATE. It’s defense. It’s protection. It’s emotional survival. Because he does care for you and can’t have you.

    This is classic male behavior. You have no idea how many women I’ve counseled on this point of confusion. Because, as women we think this way: “How could the man who loved me now seem so cold and hateful?”

    That’s the ‘male ego.’ It does what it knows to do— protect the man from pain. Shut down. Become cold. Retreat.

    Stop feeling confused. In this case, his hot/cold behavior is an attempt to eradicate his affection for you. He’s trying to kill you off (emotionally) so that he can survive the reality of your being married. You can’t expect to wait, suffer and whine for you like a puppy. He’s trying to ‘be a man’ about it… doing it the only way he knows.

    In time, you will be able to speak to him. But not now. He’s hurting, pouting and wants to keep his distance. Please try to understand this. Let him be. You have another life. You have a partner. It’s a situation that cannot be remedied. Allow it to be what it is and know that you are indeed seen as valuable by a younger man who knows the totality of your worth. Susan

  • #25 written by Phillip  5 months ago

    hi, I am having the same problem with a female. one minute she is so warm and flirty. writes nice message ect… the next I don’t get a txt at all. the other night we went out together with friends and we were very hot all night until the end. I saw her flirting with another guy! I asked what I going on and I might just go home, she then did the whole I want you stay ect… she has always been like this. I am now hooked and possibly in love. yet I know this kind of behaviour is just not on. please help. I get the impression she cares, and then suddenly not. it does seem like its all on her terms. I have told her it makes me feel like a idiot. she says sorry, and then does it again. will this change or I do hate to say it, does she just like the attention???

    • #26 written by Susan Winter  5 months ago

      Hi Phillip. I’m going to be straight with you, because I want you to see this for what it is. Firstly, it’s a game. And games are employed be insecure people who are too weak to be staight-forward. They are like a house of cards. If you remove your card of attention, they crumble. The type of women (and men) who use hot and cold as a tool for capturing your attention rarely have the intention (or ability) to return your affection. It’s an ego boost for them, and you’re just another pawn on their game board of seeking power.

      The ego is a strange animal. It seeks reinforcement from outside sources. If it gets that reenforcement by way of attention and desire, it’s happy. The person gets a “power hit.” But take that reaction away, and you’ll see the person devolve into desperate measures to get back what’s been lost.

      There’s no solidly formed inner identity within this type of individual. Therefore, there is no possibility of partnership. Only games. They are what “people imagine them to be.” In lieu of an authentic self that could respond to love, you’re involved with an illusion.

      Phillip, I believe you’re confusing drama for love. The highs and lows created by this woman’s behavior confuse your emotional radar into thinking your desire for her attention equals love. It doesn’t. She’s activated your ego to respond to the cat and mouse chase. If you think about it, you are always in pursuit of her. Even if she eggs you on, it’s you who is doing the chasing. This is exactly what she wants. This is called “game.”

      Take your power back. See it for what it is. And see her, for what she: A woman (terribly insecure) who is playing with you to get her ‘power hit.’ This doesn’t mean she’s a bad person, just that she’s the opposite of all she pretends to be. If you want to turn the tables, don’t bite the bait. This will drive her nuts. I’m only saying this so that you can see the pattern here. She’ll redouble her efforts of warmth to get you back. Then the moment you relax and think a real connection has been made, she’ll create a crash. Try it and you’ll see for yourself.

      Phillip, the only way to win the “game” is to “not play the game.” Cast your eyes on a woman who is able to be consistent in her affection. Begin to notice how good it feels to have someone want you, as you want them. And how wonderful it feels knowing you are both of the same mind and moving in the same direction. When you know what “real” feels like, you’ll wonder why you ever bothered to give a moments glance at “game.”

  • #27 written by phillip  5 months ago

    Thanks Susan for your help. I needed someone to give me that kick in the backside!! I will give turning the tables a try. Knowing what the outcome will be, but like you said, may just be what I need to finally walk away. its a shame though. I liked her. I kind of had a inkling she might be very insecure, thats her problem not mine! heres t ofinding a equal hey :)

    • #28 written by Susan Winter  5 months ago

      Phillip, thank you for being open to the directive I suggested. When a person (male or female) is entrenched in “games” it’s almost impossible to ever get to “real.” I really wanted you to be able to see it for what it is, and get out of the “spin cycle” with her.

      There is another option here. Once you’ve removed yourself from “biting the bait” she’s putting out— and you’re off the roller coaster she’s created to keep you obsessed and pondering her crazy making behavior… you could call her out on her game. What I mean by that is to be direct with what you see her doing. This will only work once you’ve truly stabilized in your own emotions and you’re no longer willing to chase her or let her determine the “game.”

      If you do care for her, (and you’ve got the correct emotional detachment at the time to say this), I’d suggest the following to test the waters as to whether there’s any chance she can show up authentically. I’d find a way to state (in your own words) that you “see something special in her.” That you’d “like to know the real person inside, but don’t play games.” That, for you, “games are a real turn off in a woman because it makes them appear weak and that you find you’re only attracted to powerful women who are able to state what they want and be consistent in their behavior.”

      Now, you’ve turned the tables. You’ve set up the game of “real.” And you’ve been honest and forthright in pronouncing that the only game you play is real. It’s up to her to get on board with this game, or lose your company and attention. Now, you’ve taken the reins. You’ve set the tone and parameters of what is acceptable and what is unacceptable. She has the freedom of choice, and you look empowered by telling it like it is.

      You may want to consider this once you’re through the eye of the needle. You’re not asking, pleading or begging. You’re stating the facts, for you. You’re not making her the choice of woman you want, rather, you’re clueing her into the type of woman you respond to. You’re not telling her to do anything, yet you’re giving her the opportunity to come forward in an honest, forthright manner should she want to do so.

      Phillip, there are far too many games being played. It’s not necessary. If you want something real, then speak up. And if you choose not to share this with her, it’s handy to have this in your back pocket when you do meet a woman you like in the future.

      Please keep my posted. Wishing you the very best, Susan

  • #29 written by Annie  5 months ago

    Dear Susan,am 25yrs and in a relationship with a guy of 32yrs for 6months…from the onset,he was so loving,caring,understanding and always ready to make amends,not minding who was at fault.he always talked of marriage and I made it clear to him that I wanted to know him more as a friend before he becomes a lover. He rarely sends or replies ma text msgs-he hates typing with a touchscreen. Lately,he acts distant,like cold-he wouldn’t call me for 4 days and when I do,he would tell me he travelled and there was no network where he was(but I see him online and he wouldn’t chat me up).I told him how I felt with our communication level(we are in different states) and that if he needed space, I was willing to give it to him.he got angry-we later made up,ofcourse I dint apologise. Now,he has done it again-he didn’t call for 5days and I saw his call in the morning but refused to pick it.How do I handle the situation when he calls again? Should I leave him because handling distant relationship isn’t easy but with recent development,it can frustrate me-when I cannot figure out what is wrong and our communicarion level is now below 50%? Please,I need your candid advise!!!

    • #30 written by Susan Winter  5 months ago

      HI Annie. I’m confused by this as well. Partly because I’m unclear as to what you’ve actually established with him up to now. Are you ‘friends,’ meaning not sexual as of yet? Did you get your “knowing him as a friend” satisfied, and then you moved on to a romantic relationship? I need a little more information to give you an accurate assessment of where you stand and what’s going on here.

      The physical distance between you both doesn’t help the additional distance in the communication gaps. It’s not impossible to create a committed relationship long-distance. But the hallmark of long-distance relationships is continual contact; phone, emails, Skype and planned meetings in person. Whenever there’s a distance factor, both individuals need to work extra hard to stay in touch. There needs to be a plan and an end-goal such as living together or marriage at a designated time in the future.

      So here’s what I’m feeling as I try to read between the lines. If you haven’t yet had sex with him, he’s growing weary of waiting and has moved on to other women who will, and live near him. That doesn’t mean you need to have sex with him to ‘get him,’ but it means he’s moved on. If you have had sex with him and this is what’s happening— you need to have a “real talk.” That means stating what you want and how you think that might be possible due to the logistics. I wouldn’t be afraid to put your feeling on the line. If you want it to work and if you care for him, say so. At least you’ll know where you stand. Often times men don’t feel we really want them. So, they start snooping around for other’s who do want them. To make sure not to err in this way, tell him how you feel and that you want more contact to keep the relationship alive.

      It seems there’s a bit of “game” going on. Not taking his call because you’re mad, etc. To add to that, the entire conversation is being avoided on his part. To get to real with him (if that’s possible) you have to be real and talk about what you want, openly and with him knowing you care. Put the ball in his court with your own “monologue” of how you feel toward him, and what you’d like to see happen for both of you. If, after this honest communication he is vague, “too busy,” etc., you’ll have your answer. And of course, you’ll have to move on.

      Annie, even though he’s not being communicative— you need to be. It’s the only way to get to the bottom of what’s going on. One full attempt. That’s it. State you feelings for him and state what you’d like to see happen between you both. Do this from a very positive and warm attitude. No anger or resentment in this conversation. He gets one shot to step up, or he’s done. Relationships take 2 people to work. You’ll know what to do when you’ve done this. Best wishes Annie!!

  • #31 written by JD  5 months ago

    Wow, some food for thought. First, you have a very keen sense of perspective on this, and I do appreciate the time you spend helping others with not the most insightful perspectives… lol.

    I think I know what you are already going to say, and what I need to do. Still, would very much appreciate some outside perspective here.

    Met this beautiful girl/single mom online late last year. She does have her issues, has 2 brothers who got all of the attention from Dad, and she was the ignored one and her Mom always attacks her as opposed to being her teammate in the family.

    Anyway, things went hot and heavy and I was really really liking this girl. I could tell she was a bit stand offish at times, but I played it cool and won her over. However, my fairly recent ex from a big breakup came back into my life just as she was entering mine and after a few months, she successfully got me thinking of her instead. I became wishy washy with the new girl, and things faded, but we still remained friends and it was a very clean ending to our dating, though I did try to salvage it for a period. Ultimately I figured my wrong doing and realized that I had made a mistake. None the less, I set her free and went about moving on.

    Couple months thereafter she did end up with some really handsome guy, and they entered into a brief relationship and noted on FB (we never got that far). However, he ended up breaking her heart, saying mean things, and it was a hard time for her. Sent her a happy bday text in Sept, then we starting talking and hanging out again. Going w the flow and it was great. However, I knew she was still in a recovery phase from previous guy. So I messed up, got worried I was going to get hurt or something and asked if she was in a good place to continue communicating,etc as I made that mistake with her previously and didn’t want us to go down that road again. She said she is basically not wanting to jump into anything as of yet, and is wanting to have fun right now and doesn’t want to make another mistake of rushing into anything. I took it the wrong way, and said I respect that, but think that I am only open to us staying friends only if there is at least an openness of something more and said I wish you the best and good luck to you, and deleted off FB (for my own reasons to move on). Well, I regretted it immediately and saw the error of my ways. She was NOT happy about all this.

    Basically reached out and told her it was a mistake, and I am tired of making these same mistakes, look where its gotten me,etc… and that it would mean a lot if she left a line of communication open for us in the future, and don’t be surprised to hear from me again at some point to just take it as it comes and let things play out naturally and I would accept whatever comes.

    Out of the blue she FB requests me, then texts me, then invites me to her house warming party I was supposed to go to before I threw a wrench into everything. It was great. I showed up early to help, met almost every single one of her fam members and close friends (only a few up to that point), and it was a lot of pressure but everyone loved me. Stayed the night. Stayed all day Sunday and helped cleaned up, connected, and she invited me over to her parents house with only immediate fam members and watched game and sang happy bday to her brother, and it was fantastic. Even danced infront of parents about our dance moves we needed to work on from night before. At one point she asked me for a picture so she could put it in a frame (her friend was over putting pictures in frames for her), and up in her room. I thought ok, this is great…. we are back on track and I have another chance to do things right this time.

    BUT, I have since asked our out on a couple of dates, and she has COMPLETELY IGNORED me. I have done this twice, and nothing. It has been 8 days since I left her house that Sunday evening and I thought all was good… yet have not heard a thing.

    Have I overstated my plan by asking her out on a date (2 of them) so soon after us having a great time together? Is she just nixing me out completely now for whatever reason I have no clue. I have no idea what to do here or what she is thinking. Should I expect to hear from her again? I have since begun talking to other girls and trying to move on… is talking to other girls only going add to conflict of this very delicate situation?

    Thank you again for taking the time to help a brother out here lol

    • #32 written by Susan Winter  5 months ago

      Great letter JD. This is a little complicated now because she was hurt in the past by her ex, and then hurt by you. That’s the reason (I believe) she’s not in communication. She’s processing all of this; her past connection with you, the reentry of your ex, and the dissolution of your relationship.

      There’s something I want to share with you that I’d like you to consider. When a guy tells us he wants to “go with the flow,” it translates to a woman’s mind as he wants to “get involved but isn’t certain of a commitment.” Scary turf for a woman, especially one who’s been hurt twice.
      You may think she’s acting hot and cold, yet you’ve mirrored the same to her in the past. I’m not blaming you. I just want to turn it around so that you can see the difference between when a woman’s playing a game, and when a woman is protecting herself. This gal is doing the latter. She’s scared, and doesn’t want to be hurt again. So she’s frozen right now. She went further with you that weekend than she anticipated. She had fun, opened up, shared her personal life (family) with you. It’s like jumping forward and then running backwards once you’ve realized how far you went out of your comfort zone.

      So the question for you is this: Do you want her? For real? Do you want to make a sincere, honest attempt at a relationship?

      If you are very certain that you do, then you must proceed with consistency. Meaning, being clear that you want to explore dating her exclusively. You’d need to tell her that. And you’d need to be ready to close the door to others, because of what happened with your ex.

      If you’re not sure, and just “interested in testing the waters,” you’ll get more of the same back and forth behavior from her. In that case, move on. If only out of human kindness. Don’t hurt someone who’s been hurt by your past indecision.

      JD, women seem confusing. But actually we’re simple in this one way. We need to know you really want us. We need to know we can count on you. We need to know our heart is safe in your hands. When we know that, we open up to you and share our love.

      I’m pretty sure this isn’t what you thought I’d say. But please understand that in this particular case of hot and cold, there’s good reason. She’s been hurt and she really likes you. You didn’t want to move too fast and you also declined being a friend. At every turn on the game board, you backed off— from the relationship and from friendship. So, what should she think?

      JD. I’m not telling you what to do. I’m asking you to ask yourself what you want here. Be very honest with yourself. If you’re ‘in-between’ and half-hearted, don’t contact her. Let her go. If you think you can (and really want to) explore being with her in a committed way, then you need to tell her and follow through with your actions.

      Feel free to let me know how it goes. I wish you the very best with what ever decision you make. Thank you for your honest and forthright sharing of this situation. Susan

  • #33 written by Shonda Morgan  4 months ago

    I have been seeing a man that’s going through his 3rd divorce. Its been on and off for us a year now. One minute he’ll act like he wants to be with me forever and even talks about me and my daughter in his future. Then all of a sudden I might not get a call or text for him for 2 weeks or a month. He just came over the other night and told me he loved me for the 1st time. I just couldn’t believe it. Then the next night he came over and said he told me he loved me because we are friends. And that we just need to be friends. We argued and I cried. I really love this man but I’ve never seen no one act like this. One minute its all about me and the next I don’t know if he’s dead or alive. Please Help!!!

    • #34 written by Susan Winter  4 months ago

      Shondra, this is truly a case of hot and cold. I know you’re struggling with the “not knowing” where he stands. I must be frank… when I see this type of behavior it makes me worry. Something’s not right. With him. It’s not about you, or what you can or cannot do. It’s about some aspect of him that’s half in and half out. I know you love him and I’m sorry that your heart has landed on this man. But I’d urge you to take a step back and reassess the situation. Hot and cold is a HUGE red flag. Real love and real partnership isn’t fickle. I know the power of what you feel, but I must ask you to take another serious look at what you don’t want to see. It’s there. You just don’t want to see it.

      What is it that you love about him? What is it really? If you look carefully you may realize it’s something projected onto him; valor, intelligence, charm… It all lives in your mind. It’s what he could be, but isn’t. It’s what he wants you to think he is, but isn’t.
      Please understand, I’m on your side. But I couldn’t have written this article if I didn’t have first hand knowledge of this “type” of man.

      I suggest you reevaluate your image of him. Cut through the pretense and see him for what he is. Part of this type of attraction is “allure.” We imagine this type of man to be more than what he is. See him clearly. In doing so, some of the desire will slip away. You’ll wonder why you let him spin your head. Suddenly, you’ll realize you have control over yourself and he no longer holds the reigns.

      Take a step back. Look again. Part of what you “love” is the myth he tells you. You know (deep inside) something’s wrong. Bring him down to right size. You may discover what you thought was amazing is ordinary.

      I wish you well, Susan

  • #35 written by John  4 months ago

    Hi Susan,

    I am 25 and I met this girl at work. She is in a relationship with her boyfriend for 4 months now and i have a girlfriend as well. Ive known her for 6 months now. Ive job shadowed her and worked in the same department as her. She has been very flirtatious, always making eye contact, always want to know me personally, and touching me physically when not needed. I liked her and I felt the same from her but was always unsure.

    One day she hosted a drinking party after work with a bunch of coworkers, and she was surprisingly flirty, leaning on me (touching my face, hair, body), keeping eye contact all night, and always making me the centre of attention. Her best frd kept taking pix of us and said “try to look like you like her” and she smiled when he said that. And at one point she said “I have never felt this way towards someone before, I really like you” and she even asked if I would like to stay over at her place. I made up some excuse and declined as I felt nervous about it. The next week at work she would continue to flirt and would stop me in the hallway and keeps telling me “I know you love me deep inside” and I would play it cool and say “you’re thinking too much”. But because I like her too it was hard to hide these feelings and I eventually gave in and told her I like her too.

    She was super happy and asked me to be her boyfriend and hang out. Our first date we went to her place (had dinner, watched a movie, drank wine). She cuddled with me, after getting a bit tipsy, she turned off the movie and turned on music and dimmed the lights and would hug me, she let me kiss her but not on the lips as she said its considered cheating. I felt confused as she is saying everything else we are doing is not cheating then? We slept on the same bed, she hugged me and pushed against me but wouldn’t let me kiss her. The second date (a week later), she came over to my place. It was sort of a replay of the first date, this time she was more flirty as she asked me to massage her so I did, then she said its my turn, I lyed on the couch and she took off my hoodie leaving my tshirt on and she went under my shirt to massage me. I sort of passed out and she hugged me and pushed against me and we cuddled. So I felt like she gave me a lot of hot signals. I didn’t attempt to kiss her as I wanted to respect her after what she said last time. But the next day at work she suddenly started being cold by not responding to my emails at work. I asked her if she had a gd time and if shed like to go out again and she just responded “I had a good time”. Since then she’s been selectively responding and taking a longer time to respond or not responding at all. I felt like she was being cold and distant, which in turn made me feel like treating her the same way. Ive ignored her for the past week, and she has approached me a few times, trying to strike up conversations, hinting we should hang out again, and asked me if I would like to go to an after party event with her friends and her boyfriend. I kept it cool and said ill let her know. Why was she being cold suddenly after the hotness? Now it seems like im cold and shes chasing. My friends say I should be cold and it will give it the pull effect? I don’t know what I should really do. I dont like playing games but I felt like being distant after the way she treated me.

    • #36 written by Susan Winter  4 months ago

      John, firstly thanks for writing. I’ll ask you to be open to what I say… because this is a real mess on so many levels I almost don’t know where to begin. But my goal is to have you get clear and remember who you are in all of this. So while I’m direct, keep in mind that I’m on your side.

      One. You both have partners. What’s up with that? Two. Is this person someone that’s worth the drama that will follow (and believe me there will be drama). Three. The hot and cold is all confusion and chaos on her part. It’s reflecting her inner state of mind. This is a messed up situation with a confused person drawing you into a vortex of chaos. Four. The game. You’re correct in your understanding. When you’re cold she’ll be hot. So now you know the dance steps. But is this what you want? Because it can play out this way for a very long time. You’ll be up, then down. Then up and down again. No matter how you engage (or not engage), that’s the drill.

      If you’ve read my writing you know I’m all about honesty and integrity. So the foundation of this is corrupt because you’re both starting out on polluted ground. You’re either in or out of your relationship. Make a decision. Then, the rest will be clearer. And by the way, she’s got a boyfriend. So what does that tell you about how she’ll treat you in the future?

      The first order of business is to take time to figure out how you feel about the girlfriend you have. Really think it through. If you decide you want to be single and date others, fine. But right now you’re in a holding pattern of negative returns. You can’t move forward or backward. So make that decision first.

      Then, carefully consider the type of woman you’re moving toward. There are women who will make your life better and those who will make it worse. The ones who make it worse get into your head and waste your time and energy trying to figure out where you stand and what’s going on. This woman is of that type. Recognize the kind of woman you’re with and you’ll have all the answers you need.

      Intrigue, game, push and pull can feel very much like attraction and desire. They are not. They are the psychological reaction to a power struggle. When the ego gets activated, all rational thought stops. You’re left only with confusion, doubt and vain attempts to satisfy your position of power again.

      John, I commend you for restraining yourself. You mentioned “out of respect for her” and that shows me you’re a good man with a solid core. Don’t get sloppy with your style just because someone else is. Keep your code of behavior and be the type of man you respect. All good things will come from that. And if someone’s tempting you to leave that position and adopt their messy style, see that for what it is.

      The only true freedom we have in life is the decision over our thoughts. All actions are in response to those thoughts. Figure out what type of relationship you want, how you’d like it to look and feel, and then move toward it with your own actions. Whatever way you choose to go now, you have an idea of what it will be like when you get there. I wish you well, John. Thank you for your comment. Susan

  • #37 written by Jack  4 months ago

    There is a girl I know that seems very interested in me. She sits by me one day and talks to me and greets me, asks me to go for coffee with her, says good bye before she leaves etc, like someone would behave if they are attracted.

    The next day she will be cold, not sit by me, she won’t say much, she will go get coffee and not invite me, pass me by like I was invisible. She will leave and not talk to me and say good bye like I was invisible.

    She came up with the idea we should exchange numbers to text but never texts me back ever. I gave up texting long ago because of this because I can take a hint. I only texted her like 5 times in 2 months.

    She only treats me like this. She does have a boyfriend I found out so i’m guessing she likes me but feels guilty about her feelings. Yes maybe I answered my own question but any insight would be appreciated. I also wonder why she just does not say, hey I like you but I have a boyfriend etc.

    • #38 written by Susan Winter  4 months ago

      Hi Jack. Good insight on your part. Yes, she has a boyfriend. And that’s a big red flag as to what being involved with her would be like for you. She likes to flirt with you and get you going, then pulls back because “she can.” She has a reason. The boyfriend. But the real goal (the hope) is to make you insanely jealous. Maybe she wants drama. Maybe her guy isn’t appreciating her. Either way you’re a pawn in this routine. Not to say she doesn’t feel attracted to you, but that the bigger goal is probably to get from you what she’s not getting in her relationship. Just think it through… if someone’s really happy with their partner they won’t act this way with you. It’s a mixed signal. So she’s not clear. You, are clear.

      This is a lot like what I just wrote to Bobbi who has her own situation of hot and cold. Beware of people who play this game. They aren’t relationship material. They’re wounded and acting out. They won’t have the emotional capacity to enter a drama free partnership.

      Just watch the patterns, Jack. You’ll see the same old dance steps repeated over and over. Doing that will empower you. You’ll be able to predict the next move and cut them off at the pass.

      Not to worry. Nothing is lost. Not much here to gain even if you did make a run for it. As for her being honest and just saying, “Hey, I like you but have a boyfriend” you probably won’t hear that. That requires vulnerability and authenticity.

      All my best Jack. Proud of your insights. Susan

  • #39 written by Peblue  4 months ago

    I have never responded on blogs before but i was compelled to on this one. This is perfect explanation to hot n cold. I appreciate the time you have taken to compile this strong yet effective message. Thank you

    • #40 written by Susan Winter  4 months ago

      Dear Peblue. I had no idea when I wrote this article that it would be so actively commented upon. But for anyone who’s experienced this dating phenomenon (aka, “game”) it’s confusing and off-setting to our inner compass. There seems to rhyme or reason to the hot and cold behavior. One day they’re ‘all about us’ and the next day they’re ‘off us.’ It’s just a game of ego protection. Oddly, and quite wonderfully, the person who appears as the “victim” of this game is actually the one in control… once they see it for what it is. Fear. Ego. Protectionism, and guard. Thanks for writing, Susan

  • #41 written by bobbi 4 months ago

    wow…all i can say is that this man you speak of in the article i just read is my boyfriend. I feel sick to my stomache. you cut right through to the core of the problem..he is an illusion, what i projected he could be, if only, this or that or next week or next year, or if i lost weight, were more patient, sexier, less talkative, my god, I’ve completely watered myself down so that i hardly recognize myself. im taking a step back. im looking again. he is a myth, a workaholic, selfish, egotistical fraud! deep down, something is very very wrong. bringing him down to size in about 3 minutes. soon as i post this i will text him as dont want my emotion to cause him to do his usual trick of retreat, no not this time. i will simply tell him that we need to talk and if that is too much for him to commit to, well then, lets just get real…its was all in my head, a dream…and actually, what i thought was amazing was really quite ordinary. thank you, thank you, thank you. –bobbi

    • #42 written by Susan Winter  4 months ago

      Hi Bobbi. This is wonderful! You woke up to the truth. The reality is that we often project our own greatness onto others. That’s a good thing, when warranted.

      I’m so happy to hear your resolve. You are now looking at him in “right size,” as you said. You’ve just taken back your power. Once you see their moves on the game board, you can predict their next action. It’s pretty routine and somewhat basic. Move in, activate the target, draw them in emotionally and suck up the power of their energy and focus… and then push them away. That’s the “hit” for hot and cold players. They get a kick out of watching the dissolution of target’s self-esteem (which mirrors what they really think about themselves).

      Now, just remember. Most human’s aren’t aware, and not mentally calculating this hot and cold behavior as a “plan.” It’s an auto-response. They only know when they act this way they feel good. So unless you’re with a true sociopath, you’ve just got a frightened human being doing what he’s learned to do in order to stabilize himself. But either way, it’s not a foundation for a relationship. People rarely give up this behavior if they’ve found it works in the past.

      I love your idea to ask him to get real with you. That’s what I call “playing the player.” Most people don’t have the courage to do it, but it’s the only way to handle the situation. One, it empowers you. You say what you see and call them out. Two, in knowing that you know, the game has just been deactivated.

      Good for you Bobbi. This is a huge leap for you. Thank you for writing, Susan

  • #43 written by Max  3 months ago

    My ex was having cold and hot feelings for me. I noticed this mostly because I still had feelings for her. I asked her straight up what the deal was, she told me straight up. “I still have feelings for you, but right now is not the right time; at times I wanna get back together but at times I don’t.” I was stupid and I quickly pushed myself into her, begging and pleading. After I noticed it wasn’t working, I backed off and became quiet. I still kept in contact with her and still do now. What should I do, because I still hold strong feelings for her? I try to forget about her but she always ends up texting me in short conversations, with her to be the one to end the convos all the time. How should I approach this ? Please help!

    • #44 written by Susan Winter  3 months ago

      Hi Max. This is a tough one because you both still have feelings for each other and yet she’s pulling the strings while putting on the brakes. What’s going on in her life that makes it “not the right time?” If it’s something temporary like a new job, sick parent or school it may pass while she settles down. If you (and she) can’t identify the “exact problem” at this time, then it’s way too vague.

      I never like these types of scenarios where one partner is waiting and the other fumbling around. It doesn’t allow for your forward movement and yet it’s not allowing for closure.

      In all respect to yourself, you deserve a partner who knows they want to be with you. I know. Self-esteem can suck. But it’s the only way to honor your worth in the situation. You’ve made your position clear. You’ve done all you can.

      When there’s a shift (or a breakup) there’s always good reason for that. Meaning, something wasn’t working. If the relationship can move ahead, it actually takes time apart to make that to happen. Who ever you were and who ever she was at the time you were together needs to go through a change. So, a period of no contact can be a good thing that works in your favor— as long as you don’t sit around pining for her. You’d have to get busy having a vibrant social life, seeing friends and working on yourself. That will make you feel better and make you look more desirable to her. You need to get your Mojo back, Max. Mentally, she’s got you thinking you’re less. It’s not the case. Regardless of your feelings for her, you need to be the master of your own worth.

      It’s a horrible thing about human nature… people tend to disregard what’s readily thrown in front of them. That’s why self-esteem and inner confidence are so sexy. It’s an attitude of “Yes, I have a great life and I like myself.” So, you have an already good life that could include her, but doesn’t need to include her.

      No matter what you choose to do, I’d suggest you get yourself into a mental position of being a high-value man. It will serve you well. And if it’s real for you, it will be very attractive to other women including this lady. Best wishes Max!!

  • #45 written by Me 3 months ago

    Hi Susan,

    I really enjoy reading your website. A lot of what you and the commentators write about on this site hits really close to home and I find it comforting that other people understand. I’ve had many encounters with people who run hot and cold, and I myself seem to occasionally have this issue. What recently triggered it was a younger co-worker. Although he’s attractive, tall, and has a nice smile, I never really noticed him until he started chatting with me. It wasn’t in a flirty way, ( I don’t think) just more like him smiling, asking me “how’s it going?” and to call him if I needed any help. I thought he was really friendly and polite, and by about the third time of seeing him, instead of just answering, “fine, how are you” when he asked me how I was doing. I struck up a conversation. It was during our lunch breaks, and we were both in the staff lounge. He seemed receptive to my questions and we chatted for about half an hour. I mainly just asked him how his Christmas break was, how long he’d been working at our company, where he grew up and where he was born, his family. I know some of these topic may sound too personal, but it was through casual questions and topics that the conversation went that direction. Like when he was talking about his siblings, and I asked if was the oldest. He answered yes, and said he was the oldest of 5 kids. It was just mostly casual stuff, but then somehow our conversation turned to racism, it wasn’t really loaded, just our views on it, and how we were brought up in that regard, as racial issues come up often in our community and place of work. I asked if he felt uncomfortable and he said no, but after briefly talking about it, I still I tried to change the subject. I worried that by then his opinion was changed about me, and that he thought I was just awkward and weird. Although I’m working on it, confidence is still something that I occasionally waver on, especially around guys. This may sound trivial, but I was really tired that day, had no make-up on, and I’d brought peanut butter and pudding for lunch, which can be kind of messy to eat, especially when you’re trying to carry on a conversation. After the our lunch break was over, he left the lounge (in a seemingly friendly way, smile, and said something like, “well, better get back to work.”)The next couple times I saw him at work, he walked passed my desk a few times, but I never really looked up from my computer, and when he did say hi, my response came back in a less upbeat tone than how I usually interact. I really didn’t mean to, I was just feeling embarrassed and insecure from last time. Today when I saw him, I tried to compensate by smiling, putting some more effort in my appearance, and saying hi first. But when he walked in, he had his earphones in, and although he smiled like he usually does, he didn’t say hi and instead just nodded. Although there is and will be no romance between the two of us (he’s already in a relationship and I respect that) and even if he were available, I’m not sure I’d be entirely comfortable with the 10 year age gap (he’s 20 and I’m 30) I would like to remain on friendly terms as long as we work together, but I’m just worried my insecurity and awkwardness/quirkiness may have spoiled that chance. The hardest part is that I really am a caring person. So much that it sometimes hurts. But when my insecurities get the better of me, I usually just clamp right up and worry that if I open my mouth, I’ll make a fool out of myself and will be rejected. Although many people tell me I’m fun to be around, upbeat, funny, kind, and supportive, and on my good days, I can honestly say that I agree with them. But I think my past which included abuse and bullying of all kinds distorted my self-image. This has led to problems with intimacy, trust and getting close to people even on just a friendly and platonic basis ( like with my co-worker.) Any advice and tips on how I can overcome this would be very appreciated! And if you could please answer a.s.a.p., that would be wonderful! I know you must receive many e-mails and posts, but I would be grateful:)

    • #46 written by Susan Winter  3 months ago

      I find your letter very interesting, Me. Because you’ve identified the exact reason for hot and cold behavior. It’s fear. For both parties that engage in it, it’s about the fear of being rejected, being out of control and worrying about the outcome.

      Firstly, everyone is insecure. To some degree. You’d have to work in this field to really see it, but trust me it’s the truth. We all question our worth in some arena of life. We all want to be loved and accepted. No matter how people posture or flaunt how “together” they are, everyone has this issue to a greater or lesser degree. So know that you’re human and going through a typical human experience.

      Secondly, you do need to work on being yourself. You’re judging yourself in advance of anyone else. It’s you who’s doing the rejecting… of who you are. The more you practice eliminating self-editing, the more people will be drawn to you. You’re the one who needs to explore being comfortable with yourself. Others will follow your lead.

      When you pull back, other’s will pull back around you (as you’ve seen). What you initially did with this younger man is great. You asked questions, engaged him with your authentic interest and forged a bond. I suggest you keep to this format as a general way of being.

      Here’s my prescription for your success. Allow yourself to engage with others. Ask questions. Show the interest you have. Keep any thoughts about romance out of the picture for now. Practice speaking in a real way, not editing yourself and make your goal to learn about others. One of the greatest books ever written on this topic is still a classic and I suggest you read it: “How To Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie.

      When you turn your attention to others, you forget about yourself. When you focus on them, you’re no longer in your own spotlight. Try this for the next 2 months. Buy the book and read it. Then write to me and tell me what you’ve learned along the way. I think you’ll be amazed at your inner transformation. Susan

  • #47 written by Confused  3 months ago

    So I’m in my early thirties and the person that I’ve been “seeing” is ten years older. Initially she reached out to me by asking “me” for my number. That was 5 years ago. I never really paid any attention to her, until she reached out to me that day, but then I noticed how gorgeous she is. I was very much flattered to have a woman so nice looking and so much older want to get to know me. So we began to talk on the phone, but I noticed that her behaviors were somewhat erratic. Like we’d be discussing things that we both like to do, then all of a sudden she’d start talking about her neighbor. She also seemed to get easily agitated. At first I thought, maybe I just “don’t really know her.” This was somewhat of a turn-off, but anytime I asked her if she wanted to hang out there was always an excuse or no follow-through, so that was the deal-breaker. I deleted her number and moved on. We never hung out at that point.

    Somehow though, as time went out, both she and I would find each other through social media outlets, talk for a while, but the same patterns of hot-headedness or no-follow through would occur, so I would never program her number. I would text her, but then after 3-4 times she wouldn’t reply, I’d delete her number. But I always wondered why she would be so anxious to talk, but then would stop caring so quickly.

    So in this five year span from there was no consistency, never any actual hanging out or meeting up, but often heightened curiosity & attraction from both parties, and only phone conversations.

    After not seeing one another in person for three years, more recently, she reached out to me in three different ways asking me to contact her. I did, we talked for about a month, and FINALLY she invited me out & we met up to hang out for the 1st time ever. It was amazing to say the least. The next day we went out to eat and really enjoyed each other’s company. I thought she was a pretty awesome person and I could see the potential festering. I even asked her was there a genuine, mutual attraction between us and she said “oh, absolutely”.

    But in one short month, that temperamental attitude & hot-headedness came lashing out. We’ve gone out and talked on the phone a good amount of times, but it went from her complimenting how beautiful I am both inside and out…her words not mine, to criticizing me. I’ve paid for meals, I bought her a bracelet and scarf because she mentioned in conversation that she loves both, I’ve gone out of my way to pick her up and accommodate her, and when she calls me to hang out I come, but it seems that she’s always angry and I really don’t want to be her punching bag. She even humiliated me in the restaurant because I was using my hands when I was talking with her and accidentally grazed her to stop touching her! She was cursing when she said that, but just a few outings ago, she was the one that was hugged up on me, taking pictures with me. I even bought tickets to go and see a play and she totally stood me up. She apologized the next day and I sent her an email telling her that actions like that pushes me away.

    The last text I sent her was that I was missing her. And she replied, “Please! You should have sent your condolences to a family member that passed on New Years ever.” I explained… which I know I shouldn’t have had to, but it’s that we both don’t reach out to one another on a daily basis (which she’s knows and probably is upset at me for not chasing her) and how in the world was I supposed to know. She emailed me on New Years and didn’t even mention anything. I told her that she’s really pushing me away and that it is hard to stay connected to someone that’s like that.

    Needless to say, she’s not all bad. I absolutely really enjoy her company. We laugh because we do share a lot of qualities alike. I have a lot to offer to her, which she knows, even though we have an age difference. I run several successful companies and I know that she likes the fact that I can teach her things, but I also think it’s the very thing that intimidates her. We’re finally at a place where we’ve actually linked up and I believe that we both can benefit from a relationship with one another. I know this might sound pathetic, but I really don’t want to let her go. I haven’t reached out to her since that text because I was allowing her to reach out to me (or if ever she did) I was going to let her know that her behavior wouldn’t be tolerated.

    Is she even worth it?? What am I facing?

    • #48 written by Susan Winter  3 months ago

      I can see why you’ve called yourself “Confused.” I would be too. Her up and down, hot and cold behavior (and especially angry outbursts) are erratic unpredictable. In general, no matter how fantastic the positives I believe you’ll have to acknowledge the negatives come along with the package. The hot and cold scenario comes from overly guarded people who are extremely sensitive and/or fearful. It’s a relationship of walking on egg shells.

      I like that you’ve expressed your boundaries. That’s great. And it’s necessary. People like this need to be given the rules of engagement. That’s the condition for your involvement. If they can’t treat you in a respectful manner and honor a code of civil behavior, then they don’t deserve your time or attention.

      What bothers me most about this is the restaurant scene in angrily chastising you, and her standing you up after you’d bought tickets to a play. There’s no excuse for that type of behavior. If you think that adding love and warmth will change all of this, it won’t. Even if she were sure of your affection, you’d be managing the fluctuating emotions from her own insecurities.

      I’m sorry that this is the type of older woman you’ve met, as it does little to promote our stability an clarity. That’s the great benefit younger men get from an older woman… one who knows herself, knows what she wants, and offers a clear road map to loving her.

      You’ve mentioned what you have to offer her. The question is: what does she have to offer you? Relationships will have their ups and downs. But if you’re beginning the journey with this kind of craziness, there’s much more to follow.

      I’d give her an ultimatum and a time period (in your head). I’d tell her all the things you like and value, and then lay out the rules of behavior. If she can’t or won’t treat you in that manner then you are out. No contact, no future. There’s no reason to be “friends” with a person like this. Plenty of solid and consistently healthy-minded people out there to support you and edify your life. It’s one last shot at sanity. But I’d be very firm on your rules and if she violates them in the least, I’d walk the other way and not look back. I hope this helps you.

      p.s. By the way, you’re not confused. She’s the one who’s confused. Susan

  • #49 written by Confused  3 months ago

    Wow, this post is awesome and sincerely written. Thank you so much for taking the time to pretty much validate feelings & beliefs about setting conditions that I’ve held in my mind. Your spot-on with the “overly guarded and fragile sense of self” she displays. She’s mentioned before that she fears being rejected, but as I told her in that instance it will mean letting go and giving me the chance to prove that I won’t; not victimize before you “be” victimized.

    I have definitely found myself walking on “egg” shells around her at times, but I believe that she has the capacity to give me two things that I desire: genuine care and genuine concern. And although she’s admitted that she likes being spoiled, I let her know that’s fine, but it still can’t be just about ALL YOU. She is the mother of two adult children. I don’t appreciate being chastised like a child, but I love the nurture from an older woman. That’s what makes me gravitate to her. In that same sit-down restaurant outing, I’d asked our server & two other waitresses to refill my drink, only to no avail; by the third time the manager had been standing at our table. Of course, I’m not passive and could have eventually commanded a refill, but I appreciate her take-charge attitude at times. I oftentimes have let her know it’s the small ways of showing that you care that I appreciate since I rarely receive because people are always out to get something from me. So thank you again through your words of advice. This in-depth knowledge has been like a warm blanket to my thoughts.

    By the way, if I could change my avatar name, I’d now call myself “Encouraged” because of you!

    • #50 written by Susan Winter  3 months ago

      I love this!! Thank you for your reaffirming words. This is what I was hoping for… to go from Confused to Encouraged!I’m so happy that you are able to see behind the cloak of game to the underlying fear. And I’m proud of you for speaking up, setting your boundaries and for being very real on open with her. The work you’re doing in setting up this kind of foundation will allow her to open up as well.

      We’re all afraid of being hurt. Some, more than others. In the honest admission of that fact, we can move past our fears and hold hands as we explore the greater possibilities of love setting us free. I’M SO HAPPY FOR YOU! Susan

  • #51 written by John  3 months ago

    Hi Susan,

    Thank you so much. It’s been a month since my last comment, and I can say that there has indeed been ALOT of drama that followed.

    When she was cold, I became cold, and then she became hot and I followed, and this was just a continuous cycle. It seemed like she would pull away, keep distant, and maintain mysterious whenever we get close.

    Recently she invited me to have dinner with her and sleep at her place. I did accept the invitation. But just the day before our date, she told me her boyfriend will be sleeping at her place too but she said its fine. I thought in my head, why in the world would she even think that is ok? I rejected her telling her she should just spend time with him instead, but she kept emailing me to tell me to please stay over. I felt quite offended and had ignored her.

    I’ve come back to your comment and read it over and over hoping to pull myself away from the whole game. And you are right, she is confusing.

    Ive been with my current girlfriend for almost 10 years, she is my first girlfriend and I am her first. Meanwhile this girl has been with over 10 guys in her past dating history. She is the kind of girl that every guy in the office hits on. I mean, she’s pretty and all but she is not girlfriend material based on what I’ve learned about her.

    It is true, hot cold push pull is all just a power struggle. Everytime I read your comment I remind myself that I don’t really love her. I am trying very hard to put my love back into my girlfriend.

    I just wanted to thank you Susan for such constructive feedback.

    • #52 written by Susan Winter  3 months ago

      John, I truly thank you for writing me back. I’m proud of your behavior and for what you’ve realized in your “dance” with this female.

      It takes a lot of maturity to see through “The Seductress.” Yes, that’s what she is. It’s a classic role. Now that you’re able to see this for what it is, you’ll never be fooled again. Remember, The Seductress is tempting. She’s the forbidden fruit (has a boyfriend) that taunts you to come near and as you do will push you away.The Seductress will never allow herself to be fully known. She gets her power from the mystery that surrounds her actions and the barriers of her situation. Ancient Courtesan’s played this game to the max. They drove men crazy with wanting what they couldn’t have. They knew if the man ever captured what he wanted the game was over.

      Actually, I think her real goal is to stir up her boyfriend and use you as the bait. What female in her right mind would ask a man to stay overnight when her boyfriend is sleeping over??

      If this were 400 years ago, she’d manage to get the two of you into a duel.

      John, you’re a smart guy. But you are being used as a power hit for her inner insecurities. Nothing ups the power like two men fighting over a woman (especially when one already has a partner). She’s disrespecting your girlfriend as well. So, it’s actually a 3 pronged power hit; you, her boyfriend and your girlfriend.

      I’m not saying she doesn’t like you or find you attractive. She does. But her true aim to to create an enormous drama between all three of you where she’s the gem being fought over, center stage.

      If you want to see this woman explode, tell her about your amazing girlfriend. Her beauty, intelligence and how she has a magical spell in bed. You will literally be able to see the blood leave this woman’s face.

      Remember John, men are hunters. It’s natural for them to chase and want to capture. The Seductress knows this, and sets up a game they can never win. Not that she’s worth winning, but in her simplest awareness she know ‘this method works’ to make her feel the value she lacks inside.

      Men don’t love The Seductress. They love the chase.

      The only way to Play a Player is to NOT play the game.

      Bravo John. You’ve mastered a complicated game of hot and cold!! Susan

      • #53 written by Susan Winter  3 months ago

        John, I’ve just added an article from Oliver JR Cooper on this topic. It’s entitled “Why Do some People Play Games in Relationships?” Hope it gives you some additional information. All the best, Susan

  • #54 written by Nicole  3 months ago

    Hi Susan, my boyfriend and I have been together for four months now and he’s a really wonderful guy. He’s always sweet to me, compliments me and my family loves him. We met on Facebook through an ex, we started talking (May I add it is long distant, he is from Washington state) and even flirting. He told me he just wanted to be single and I understood that and I wasn’t looking for anything at the time I was being friendly with him. But we kept getting to know one another and I started to develop alittle crush on him, I always thought he was cute and he thought that way of me as well. More and more time we talked the more I fell for him. I felt this really big connection that I’ve ever felt for any of my ex’s. More and more we talked and he told me he was living with his ex and that was kinda of a red flag to me… But they weren’t together at the time and haven’t been for a few months… Well around a couple of months he told me he loved me… But how could you love someone you’ve never met before? He told me I was different than any other girl he’s fell for and it usually takes him over a year to tell if he loved someone or not But with me he just knew he loved me and he wanted a future with and all that… We talked about the future a lot when we texted and called one another… But I did express that I was a single mom with two kids and he I’m sure already knew because I post pictures of my kids all the time on Facebook.. Now he planned to come visit my ex here in my state of North Carolina in about a few months. So he came around last year in September. And things were great until two weeks in and he told me when he kissed me he thought of his ex… Boy was I pissed! But he elaborated and said he still felt like he was in a relationship with his ex… They were together a period of two years and lived together for one. She was emotionally unstable and beat up on him. He’s not very confident about himself… But he told me two weeks in our relationship that he was still getting over what his ex did to him and his relationship. He said he was over her but he wasn’t over the way the relationship ended and that he didn’t want to rush things and that he was still figuring things out and what he wanted and that he wasn’t ready to fully be in a relationship with me… But why didn’t he break up with me if that was the case? I was real confused. But he still told me he had feelings for me and he was still in love with me. Now as time went by we have had our shares of ups and downs… He would be giving less than himself with me because of his past issues && he didn’t wanna see me a lot because he was unsure of what he wanted from me… Note around that time we were only together about 2 weeks to a month… So I can understand if you’re unsure of what you want… But he promised to keep trying to move on and be the man I want. It feels like he’s trying but then again it doesn’t. Then as time progressed we got into another difference where he would be not affectionate to me and he was only giving me like 10% of him. We almost broke up and we couldn’t get on that same page to break up. We always come to that to break up bit neither one of us can. Now he’s become unhappy here and wanted to move back home to Washington. He was mainly unhappy due to not being to find an apartment here due to his lack of credit and he was unhappy with his living situation with my ex. His gf and him weren’t clean as they should be. So he decided to leave. We now have been officially together now for four months and he told me around three months that he was now giving us a real shot after almost breaking up with me due to my personal ways of living. I asked him how much of him was I getting now and he said 65% and I feel that is better than 10% right? :) But I have been working on my issues not only for him but for myself as well. He said that he saw my effort and girls always told him that but never did anything to fix it so he left them. But now before he left we were intimate and he told me during sex that he wanted to marry me and he wanted me to have his kids and all that. I asked him did he mean all of it the next day and he said yes… He meant them to a point… He said he wasn’t ready for all that yet. And I can understand that he’s scared and he told me he didn’t think he could be a husband… I feel like he’s scared. Now that I have told you all this how we met and how our relationship is I will tell you the reason why I’m writing you.

    I’ve been hurt a lot with every single guy I’ve been with. I have two kids due to failed relationships. I’ve never been married or anything like that. Neither has he. I’m 24 and he’s 22. I’m not very skilled with men, but I do know when something is off or not. I don’t understand a lot of my boyfriends ways about him and I’m hoping you can help me.

    First thing, he’s got a bad reputation of being a player and all that his very first ex cheated on him with over 35 guys. It effected him negatively and he wanted to change and he did for the better. I trust him, he hasn’t lied to me period. That’s good right?

    But what I wanted to ask is he being hot and cold with or does he really just scared of settling down? I don’t feel like he’s hot and cold because he doesn’t ignore me for days.. He did in the beginning when he first got down here before he told me about he wasn’t sure what he wanted. But I feel now he’s coming around more. I feel like he’s more invested in me… But I’m not for certain. Can you help me?! Thank you!

    • #55 written by Susan Winter  3 months ago

      Hi Nicole. Hold and cold behavior comes from fear, as you’ve read if you’ve seen my responses to others regarding this article. Here, we have two scared (fearful) people who’ve been hurt. However, your letter indicates hesitation, rather than hot and cold behavior. Hesitation is different.

      Each of you have an individual past that you’re dealing with when you come together. Each of you has to work on reframing and erasing your past in order to come to a better place of intimacy and forward movement. So, you have to continue to look at how your past affected you and what changes you’d like to make to improve your relationship with this guy. Keep looking on your issues and keep working on them.

      Right now, it’s enough to get this guy into a steady relationship. Though he speaks of marriage, there’s a lot more ground that must be covered first to get to that point. But it does sound like there’s hope. If you look at the entire trajectory of your connection— he was interested, had problems getting over the ex, moved more toward you, still has problems he’s dealing with and is now (for the most part) with you. So, that’s advancement.

      Relationships should have a steady arc forward. They can take time, but the movement (even when conflictual) should be gaining momentum. It sounds like this one is.

      If you want to give this man a shot then I’d stay with it and give yourself some time. You’ll need to be patient. You’re creating a foundation. You can’t get sloppy and put up a structure that will last without first building a good foundation. I know you’re anxious to know the outcome. But relationships are a leap of faith. No one gets a guarantee. You try to the best of your ability and roll the dice.

      Keep speaking honestly, keep working on your issues and keep up the faith. Wishing you well, Susan

  • #56 written by Nicole  3 months ago

    Thank you so much! This really helps a lot. I was scared that it was hot and cold behavior because right now things were going well before he left and he was being affectionate and now his long friend broke his back and now he’s totally not really texting me and hasn’t said anything to me unless I text him, but he is doing things on his Facebook. I feel kinda neglected and ignored. He has apologized for not being here for me. But is it selfish of me to want him to speak to me more?

    • #57 written by Susan Winter  2 months ago

      Nicole my dear, you need to just chill around all of this. His friends back is broken. Also, our partners are allowed to have interactions with their friends as a part of a healthy, balanced life.

      If after a couple of days he hasn’t reached out to you but continues to make time for others, then… there might be reason for concern.

      On your end, I’d suggest you get more involved in living your own life. Focus on your family and your children. Invest in your dreams beyond this man. If you make a man the center-point of your life you’ll always lose. If not the man, you’ll certainly lose your power base and self esteem. I feel like you are pushing too hard to make this happen. Your efforts will be most effective if you redirect your energy to your own life. He’ll feel the shift and come seeking you. It’s an energetic thing.

      Please try this method. You’ll be happier and more relaxed and he’ll become more interested. Best wishes, Susan

  • #58 written by Nicole  2 months ago

    I took your advice and it really worked! He came around after a few days. Thank you for your words. They opened my eyes and I focused on my life and he’s coming around. He’s just depressed and not dealing with it very well.

    But thank you for your help! You are a blessing because I’ve needed help and you know where I’m coming from. Thank you so much!


    • #59 written by Susan Winter  2 months ago

      Great to hear, Nicole. And thank you for the update!! I love to hear how people can get past and through these types of things. Susan

  • #60 written by Jelly  2 months ago

    Hi Susan,
    I’m seeking your advice on a situation with a hot and cold friend. I’ve read your other advice and believe this situation qualifies. We met at work several years ago, and never spent time together outside of the office until about 1 year ago. Since then, it’s been a hot and cold crazefest! She will mention wanting to get together after work for drinks, but will not ever set anything up, she “makes” me do it and of course I comply, because I want to see her. We have gotten together like this several times, for multi-hour dinners with much personal conversation. She is more than happy to throw her money around and pay for things for me. We have text conversations sometimes, at other times she won’t reply to me. Weirdest of all, she walks by my office multiple times per day and won’t say hello or even look at me. Several mo ago I began to notice that she seemed like she might be flirting (I am lesbian; she is straight but has told me about some same-sex experience from prior). She would stand too close, hug and kiss on cheek at the end of our evenings, etc. The fact that she told me about her same-sex experiences seemed in and of itself like it could be flirting. One night at the end of a long dinner we were smoking together, standing very close. I drove her home, hugged and kissed her on cheek, and we (very briefly) kissed on lips. It was not an intense kiss! She said ‘you are my friend and that I value,’ then immediately sent me a text saying what a great time she’d had. Time passes…she did not talk to me for MONTHS. She would continue walking by my office, not saying a word, avoiding me, looking for reasons to not get together. Finally I confronted her, and asked what the issue was with her avoidance. She said very bluntly, I want to be friends, but I don’t want to be anything else. I immediately said….OK, neither do I! She seemed surprised. She indicated that I had been flirting with her previously but honestly I did not do this overtly or consciously; we just had this energy between us, I suppose. Now we are back into a cycle of her wanting to get together, but asking me to do the setting up. We texted all day on the weekend, but at work, she is back to ignoring me. What the heck? Ps. I am married (to a woman) that she claims to be intimdated by, and my partner thinks she is crazy and is not fond of her.

    • #61 written by Susan Winter  2 months ago

      HI Jelly. Yes, this is a classic case of hot and cold. You did two things that are awesome and right on target. You asked her straight up what was going on. Very good. And, you got an answer. Conflictual, I agree, in light of all you’ve said. But, in her mind still a valid reason for her hesitancy and then her engagement. Remember, the one’s who play this game like the “power hit” of getting in your head. They revel in the control of flirting (and you are right, she was flirting to some degree) but when push comes to shove they don’t really engage. You can see the pattern in the other comments that are written. Other than when a partner does this, the bulk of the letters are unconsummated affairs.

      You said you’re married. The second commendation I have is that you shared this to your wife. It’s wonderful that you can both be so honest with each other. I’m not sure if you have an “open relationship” agreement, but either way you’re being forthright and not hiding your interest. So bravo for that.

      I don’t know this lady’s angle. But it is hot and cold, for sure. I don’t endorse relationships with people who play these types of games. It’s completely unnecessary and a head-trip. Life is so much easier to know where we stand, and so much more rewarding to be involved with people who clearly want us as a true friend or as a lover. Now that you see this for what it is, perhaps it will lose its allure in light of a woman who is conflicted and confused. Wishing you well, Susan

  • #62 written by Anita  2 months ago

    Hi there. I appreciated reading this and tried to apply it to a relationship I have that drives me nuts. I have been close friends with a guy for the last 3 years. We met through our jobs and just connected. We developed a routine of emailing or texting each other throughout the day and over time became each other’s confidantes, shoulder to cry on and emotional supports. We saw each other through our jobs and would often say we should catch up socially but this only ever happened once. Six months ago he left town. Our contact dwindled and then there was none for a couple of months. I found this difficult because I was so used to his presence in my life, the humour we shared and the emotional support he provided but accepted this chapter was over. He then resumed contact and we are back to texting regularly, sharing our secrets and supporting each other emotionally. He has thanked me for being everything for him, told me he loves me, says he wishes he was there, has pet names for me and tells me I am awesome, amazing etc. And he initiates nearly all of the texting. But he never wants to catch up. We live in different towns so we have to plan to see each other. He never suggests meeting up and when I suggest it he always has a reason why we can’t and never tries to reschedule. The reasons sound valid and would be if it happened once, but every time?? The reasons have included sick (hospitalised) family members, him being sick (vomiting), and him being out of town.
    I don’t get it. None of my other male friends behave like this. None of them text the way he does and yet they are all happy to catch up for drinks, coffee or meals. If he is interested romantically, which I am, why wont he see me and why does he keep putting so much effort into maintaining the relationship through text. I know texting doesn’t require as much effort but he texts for hours at a time, at various times of the day and even when he is socialising with his friends, and replies within a few minutes. He falls asleep texting at night and offers me advice, praise, encouragement, sympathy and understanding. I would appreciate your thoughts.

    • #63 written by Susan Winter  2 months ago

      Hi Anita. I’m wondering if he has a girlfriend? It sounds like a guy who does. The conflict here is that he seems to relate to you in a manner that activates your thoughts of romance, yet refuses to let this connection be any more than “text friends.” I can understand your confusion and frustration. He leads you on, and then puts you in a box where you can’t move.

      And no. I don’t buy all the excuses either. But regardless of how he praises all the qualities you have, he has (in his mind) isolated you to the role of “text friend.”

      Well, if it was me, I’d have to ask him the overriding question on my mind. Considering the intimacy he’s shown, there are times you’re confused as to your true role. If you’ve developed feelings for him that are beyond friendship, you may just have to come out with it. I do this in what I call a “monologue” format. I don’t put a man on the spot by asking if he has feelings for me. I tell him how I feel and stop talking. I state my truth. It’s out there. In a short amount of time I have my answer.

      If you find your attraction for him is stopping you from dating other guys, has you comparing what you share with him to other guys you date, or any form of waiting around for him to make a move… I’d cut that short and get to the core of the issue. You may have to lose him as a friend to save your sanity.

      I don’t know how emotionally involved you are, but enough so to write to me. If you think you can handle the truth, you may just decide to speak your truth to get the answer you need. This is a two step process. You might find he makes no contact for awhile. He’s figuring it out. Or that may be the end of your friendship. But I personally think it’s worse to be stuck in the “friend zone” than it is to find out if there’s merit to waiting around. I think this is less a case of hot and cold, and more a case of being put in a category that you have outgrown. I hope this helps you come to a decision that works for you. Susan

      • #64 written by Anita  1 week ago

        Hi there. Finally have an explanation for his behaviour….he told me he is gay. I never saw that coming!!! But he has only come to terms with it and started to explore it recently. And now our friendship is as strong as ever. :)

  • #65 written by Anita  2 months ago

    Thanks for such a prompt response Susan. To answer your questions, I don’t think he currently has a girlfriend. I am sure there have been some at times in the last 3 years but he has only made mention of dates a couple of times. Despite all the intimate things we do share with each other, we seldom discuss our dating lives. If he is seeing someone now he is very definitely having an emotional affair with me and I wouldn’t be happy if my partner behaved with another woman, how he behaves with me.
    I am emotionally involved and my attraction for him does impact my relationships with other men. No one else comes close to how I feel for him. That’s why I stopped initiating contact with him when he left town. I figured I needed to let him go while I made my life without him in it. And then he came back into my life and was more open about his feelings and affectionate, but only in text.
    I have wanted some answers for awhile now but preferred to do that in person so I could see his body language. I tried to organise catching up this week but he avoided it. It seems the conversation will have to take place via text after all, just like everything else for the last 6 months. Thank you for your advice.

  • #66 written by Jelly  2 months ago

    Thanks for your quick response, Susan. I think the woman I speak of is very stressed out, lonely, self-absorbed, and has mentioned to me voluntarily that she has a host of unattractive personal traits that sound like the seven deadly sins (narcissistic, manipulative, self-centered, etc). She says that her life sucks, but I don’t see her taking any action to make it better, which is contrary to how I operate. In a way I wonder if she was trying to ‘save’ me from her, knowing that she could and would only get so close. Perhaps I should have taken/should now take the cue. I’m not sure why she has held such mystique for me – my wife says “she’s broken and you can’t fix her, stop trying.” I’ve made resolutions to myself that I would keep my distance, but somehow I keep coming back, only to be given the “cold treatment” or rejected again. My wife doesn’t understand why, and keeps encouraging me to take my power back and stop playing games with her. The minute things turn “hot” again it’s too alluring for me to say no to. And honestly my feelings for her aren’t sexual. How can I stop seeing her as interesting?

    • #67 written by Susan Winter  2 months ago

      Jelly, the way to get out of the loop is to see it for what it is. It’s a power trip. It’s her ego game; to have the power to draw you in only to push you away. Congratulations on the awareness that this isn’t a sexual feeling—it’s an automatic ego response on your part to the game you’re playing with her. Ego’s activate egos. Cat and mouse can feel exciting. That ‘excitement’ is often misinterpreted as emotion, attraction, or love.

      Player’s must continue to play. It’s what they do. If you had a teenage daughter who told you of a guy who did these things to her, you’d see it for what it is right away. But because you’re in the middle of it, you lose perspective.

      The “game” is to rev you up then bring you to a screeching halt. That’s what activates her power-hit. She scored. When you back off, it kills her. So, to get you back in the game she doubles her efforts to recapture your attention. Each cycle gets more dramatic. She lures you in more aggressively, then kicks you back more aggressively.

      People can get addicted to the drama. They become numb to the insanity of the cycles. It begins to “feel normal.” Chaos begins to appear intriguing. The gambler imagines they can win despite such horrific odds. that’s the ‘lock.’ You’re in. You’re captured.

      Focus on being able to see the game. All the cycles, all the moves, and two moves down the line. The know the steps she’ll take, and you’re in response. You know the outcome. In time, the dance gets boring. Same old, same old. Never changing and no resolution. When you see that— you’re free. Best wishes Jelly. Susan

  • #68 written by Liza  2 months ago

    Dear Susan,
    2 weeks ago I met a guy. We met at Tinder.
    He was really sweet and very funny. The second date he said he liked me, and I could tell by the way he looked at me that it was true.
    He has slept over at my place twice. I`ve slept over at his place once. He invited me to a dinner with all his friends at his place. They all liked me.

    Suddenly at the end of the second week something changed.
    He wasnt that cuddly anymore. On Valentines day he sent me a heart on facebook and also on snapchat.
    The day after I initiated to come by his place because I was in the area.
    He still was nice, but not as cuddly, and a bit distant.
    I was going out the same evening. Me and my friend came to the bar he was working in and sat there to closing time.

    The weekend before I did the same (but then he invited me).
    But this time he didnt want to go home together. So I went home alone. Telling him he could come if he wanted to. He texted me and said he was very tired and in desperate need for a shower. And that we could sort something out the day after.

    I didnt hear anything the day after (sunday). Today is Tuesday and I still haven heard anything.

    How can he change just like that? Am I never gonna hear from him again?

    He is 34. I am 32. His last relationship lasted for 8 years. It ended like 1,5 years ago. They are still friends, and she called him when I was with him on Thursday.
    The first time he talked a bit with her. And she called him 2 times after that.
    She also called him on our first date. He actually went out of the cafè to answer it.
    He has a lot of friends, guys and girls. He is very social. That was one of the reasons the relationship ended. And he works as a bartender.

    Can you help me? I have no clue what has happened. Is it just that he doesnt like me anymore? Why did he send me the heart on Friday then? And why didnt he just preted he was busy instead of letting me pop by his place on Saturday?

    Thank you for your advice.

    • #69 written by Susan Winter  2 months ago

      Hi Liza. I had something similar happen to me many years ago around Valentines’s Day. I’ll take a shot— this may not be the case but it’s worth considering. Valentine’s Day is “loaded” for many women. It’s a time of wondering if the failed relationship may be something worth reconsidering. Many women have a very hard time being single during this time of year. In my case, I’d just started seeing a new guy two weeks earlier. We were to meet for Valentine’s Day… no call, no response to texts, nothing. I eventually found out his ex was still in contact (as is this case for you). She “needed to see” him. There you go. Return of the ex.

      We eventually got together after the ex’s attempts at getting back failed. But it took many months. He had to work it out for himself. They had history. He felt a responsibility to engage.

      I’m thinking that’s what it is. You guy’s confused. His ex is persistent. You may not hear from him for awhile. There’s no use pushing because they both have to play this one out. Relationships break up for very specific reasons. Most often, they end because the initial differences are never resolved. It may take several attempts for both parties to see that there’s no future, but it does eventually occur.

      I’d suggest no contact for now. He needs to get through whatever he’s dealing with. Even if it’s just pressure from her, guilt or confusion… your pushing won’t gain you anything. I’d put him out of your mind. If you can. Try to understand there’s unresolved business for him to do and take heart in the fact that he’s not in your life right now. Dealing with a bossy ex isn’t the basis for a rewarding relationship. It’s mired with drama, conflict and reactivity. The minute I see the tangible proof of an ex, I walk. I can deal with one man. I won’t deal with an ex in the picture messing up my guy’s head. No good can come of it and I think more of myself than being put through that kind of nonsense.

      I hope this helps. Please write to me in the future if he contacts you. He may indeed come back into your life when he’s really done with her. But trust me, you don’t want him before he’s done. All the best, Susan

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