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What does going hot and cold in your relationship really mean?


There's a time in most relationships when a man (or woman) suddenly goes from hot to cold, seems more distant and as if he is starting to pull away. When this happens, you can be thrown into a panic, bring up feelings of insecurity or rejection and may even interpret their behaviour as being your own fault resulting in an emotional reaction that is out of proportion to the reality of the situation. Old fears, hurts and wounds may get triggered and come to the surface. Your self-confidence suddenly turns into confusion and self-doubt and you begin feeling helpless, a victim of their sudden change.

When this happens most people out of fear revert to their primary survival pattern "flight or fight". If a partner starts turning cold in the relationship people can step into ‘fight’ mode, where they start running after, chasing or pursuing them, whether in-person through text messages, email or calling them to try and get their attention, looking for ways to appear more attractive or by becoming more sexually aggressive, anything to get their attention back. When in ‘fight’ mode it does not help the relationship, as this is a pattern of behaviour that comes from a space of fear: the fear of losing them, resulting in the person looking needy and desperate and the other person pulling back even further.

If a partner triggers the survival pattern of ‘flight’, where they run from their partner (whether physically, mentally or emotionally), withdrawing from or going cold themselves, keep themselves feeling safe by avoiding a future breakup, essentially leaving them before they leave. This approach can result in the permanent withdrawal, shutting down or an end to the relationship as understanding that this survival pattern is a reaction in reaction to the other person can be difficult and confusing.

So if right now your partner seems to be running hot and cold and pulling away, and you feel scared, taken for granted or confused, here is some action steps you can take:

  • Acknowledge that a partner may pull away at some point in the relationship and that this does not have anything to do with you, it is simply a natural instinct to want to feel free and go within

  • Be patient and allow them the freedom, space and time in order to re-charge and to feel like themselves again

  • Use this time to free yourself from any fears, feelings of rejection and any suffering which may come to the surface, perhaps through writing down all the things you are afraid of and then creating new beliefs and meanings for whatever comes up

  • Get busy in your own life, and distract yourself from the relationship. Take care of the things you need to do

  • Stay open and engage in some self-love, spend time with friends, do things that bring you joy and build your confidence and self-esteem

  • Once a reasonable amount of time has passed (use your intuition) engage in an open and honest conversation about why they have gone from hot to cold in your relationship. Deep communication where they are able to express what is going on can bring you closer, however, if they are not able or willing to share their feelings and stay distant, then this is where you get to make a choice about whether to stay or walk away.

Remember, it is the emotional connection to a partner that keeps a relationship going… So make sure you take the time to create strong foundations of connection, communication, respect, trust and honour at the beginning, which you can build on, as you move through the relationship you also need to turn up the heat and keep the passion alive!

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Leanne, The Barefoot Medium®