How to deal with hot and cold or emotionally unavailable men | Full guide

Updated: 2 days ago


Almost every day women contact me asking what they can do to get closer to a guy who blows hot and cold, comes and goes from her life or is generally unwilling to move things forward. Maybe his attraction started with a bang and his attention was completely on you, naturally you began to enjoy the feeling of his admiration only for him to withdraw and leave you totally confused. Or if you are feeling stuck and hopelessly attached to someone that only reciprocates on their terms then I understand your frustration. Have you attempted to walk away only for him to try and pull you back in, but then nothing changes?

Firstly you have to realise that there is nothing wrong with you. Unfortunately there are a lot of women in this situation and this behaviour does tend to be a pattern with some guys but no guy is completely insusceptible to the power of a woman's charms.

The main issue is that on and off connections lack a more basic level of security and trust but I have observed that those involved with unavailable partners tend to have even more intense feelings than those in more consistent pairings, but certainly not for the better as there is as much suffering as happiness, it creates such an emotional roller coaster ride, the highs are addictive and the lows over time become unbearable, you never know quite where you are.

There are ways to survive a wild ride like this, but firstly lets explore some of the reasons that a man may be putting you through it in the first place... He doesn't know what he wants: A common reason for mixed signals is mixed feelings, this person may not be sure what direction their life is taking or they may not have had enough time to heal from difficult past experiences. If he hasn't made any promises to you about a relationship, he may think it is acceptable to remain casual while he sorts his own issues out. He may like you but for some reason he doesn't feel ready to move things forward. He simply may not be ready to get serious with someone. He is trying to slow things down: If he came on quite strong in the beginning, he may have back tracked worrying that you two were heading towards a relationship more quickly than he was ready for. Especially if initially he was pursuing hard and then slowed things right down, I know this sucks but it really is about his state of mind and you shouldn't let it rattle you... If it seems like you are having to regularly initiate and remind him of your presence, instead just try to slow down and match his pace for the time being as this could be a way of setting a rhythm more within his comfort zone. Insecurity: It is possible he's trying to get the upper hand in the relationship and avoid vulnerability, by laying it on thick then pulling away he leaves you questioning yourself and longing for his previous attention, you start to feel the need for reassurance from him then he is able to feel secure that he has your attention firmly on him...while your confidence is shaken, or maybe he thinks he laid himself bare too much early on and now he has gone under cover with his feelings. There are literally videos on You Tube about this with guys haphazardly teaching other guys to play hot and hot games purposely to confuse women. There is someone else: Of course when a man starts being inconsistent suddenly, or even if they have been that way from the start, there may be someone else around. He is playing games:

He might be keeping his options open, he may be enjoying a bachelor life where avoids any risk of attachment or commitment from a safe distance, again he may be taking his time and feels that it's acceptable if the connection is fairly new, seriously though if he has been dragging this on for months or even years he is probably just having his cake and eating it. Yes some guys purposely use these tactics with their eyes wide open... Some guys blow hot and cold purely because they enjoy the chase, if a guy goes distant on you and then returns ultra hot saying he must see you immediately only to withdraw again after you have a date then he's probably attempting to satisfy his ego, it gives him a thrill and makes him feel powerful to see that he can still arouse your interest but inwardly he is still immature and unsuitable for a loving connection.

If a man regularly withholds his attention or proceeds to ignore you after a disagreement he could be playing games or attempting to control you by manipulating your fears of losing him.

There isn't enough challenge: If you have got hung up on him too fast and you are doing more to maintain the connection that he is then this could cause him to pull back. Although I don't believe for a moment that women need to "play hard to get" I do believe that guys love the challenge of winning us over and impressing us, if you already have hearts in your eyes when he has done very little to connect with you, he may feel that he doesn't need to step up and put more time in for now. He needs to recharge: If you have been spending a ton of time together and he has been very affectionate but he then proceeds to withdraw for a couple of days while still remaining loosely in contact then he is probably just coming up for air, catching up with his friends and giving his own life some attention, ladies be careful not to jump the gun, just be willing to identify when a guy is consistently inconsistent or vanishes completely for periods. Above all it is important not to chain yourself emotionally too much to a situation like this, hot and cold behaviour can have even the most relaxed woman anxious or even desperate for answers, sadly the more we fixate and stress the worse things seem to get, so you have to be willing to start detaching and even walk away if things don't improve, I have seen women turn this around but it was done from a fiercely confident mindset and without clinging to any particular outcome. Some men do snap out of it and make a decision but remember that you cannot change how someone else feels or how they behave, you can control how you respond to their actions, and actually this hold tremendous power...

Read: 4 Surprising ways you may be killing his attraction without realising (opens in new tab)

Firstly get your mindset right.

Uncertain situations like this can be really emotionally draining, so it's important to take care of you first and foremost. It can be almost impossible not to obsess about a situation like this but it doesn't help anything, start to gently take your focus off him and place it back on to yourself, stop letting him occupy your every thought and instead reconnect with your interests. If the guy has a strangle hold on your emotions it may take a few days of training yourself consciously not to let your mind keep wandering to him, you will quickly start to feel stronger. try not to put this guy on a pedestal above all others. Take a deep breath and refuse to sit around waiting, if he is keeping you in an unresolved situation you have to create your own peace of mind and make that your priority above him.

Slow things down. If he has been distant you have probably been missing his attention a lot, when you finally see that long awaited text in your inbox it can be tempting to jump at the chance to meet right away or work over time trying to win his approval. Instead this in when you should sit back and let him earn your attention. If he contacts you after a long period of silence and immediately has your full attention on him, whether it is texting all day or agreeing to meet right away, you will come across as lacking self control and value. You need to stop dropping other things for him, resist the urge to accept a last minute invitations, prioritise your own time and activities and meet him when you are genuinely free. in the meantime pull back and stop initiating, get busy and become naturally less available, stay motivated about about other things and simply observe the effort he puts forward over a period of time. Be honest with yourself, does he truly have what it takes to make you happy? A client described to me recently how her unavailable guy had told her he had never felt so strongly about anyone, only to go distant for weeks and return later like nothing happened, this type of scenario becomes maddening as we can be left analysing, questioning ourselves and just as we begin to accept the circumstances he boomerangs back and it all starts over.

Let it be. No matter how calm and confident we generally are, this type of situation can have us impatient and doing things we never normally would, so resist the temptation to chase him, a lot of the women I speak to in this scenario will plot clever ways to bump in to him or excuses to text but it is always more transparent than she realises. You may want to feel a sense of control again, but our power comes in accepting that we cant control everything in dating and being willing to let go and flow with our experiences. Resist berating him, as much as you may want to scold him for his flakiness or demand that he answers for himself, anger and guilt trips won't serve to improve the connection between you.

Start allowing "new" in. Refuse to put your life on hold for even a moment, work to shift all the mental energy you are using on him in to positive life improving plans and projects, slowly start giving him less priority and other things more. Not only is this the truly sane way to go but this attitude in very attractive to men, when you respond like this you show him you respect yourself highly and have confidence and options, it shows that he has to be more direct and consistent to keep your interest, this is the attitude of a woman who has options, it is actually a pleasant challenge for him, this is completely different to how most women respond in this situation, the opposite of the clingy approach which disarms him and makes you stand out as different.

Flip the script on him. When he comes forward by all means give him a positive "hot" experience if you want to, have fun with him, be playful, but keep it short if possible. Then move your mental energy back on to you unapologetically, without showing any attitude, don't explain yourself just enjoy the time you do spend together. If you are following the other steps here you will be feeling stronger and more confident, thus his actions won't have the power to upset you as much. For now, learn to accept the connection for whatever it is, don't worry about where it is going. Remove the pressure from yourself and him, if he enjoys every experience with you without pressure he will keep coming back for more, eventually he won't want to pull away.

Do less. If he disappears for days or weeks then expects to dominate your attention the moment he returns, stop allowing it. Some women find themselves in this situation for years because they allow themselves to become an emotional crutch for man, someone to share his thoughts and problems with only to happily go back on living his life leaving her wondering what she even means to him. Be sure he is enriching your life as much as you are enriching his because sometimes when our feelings get involved we look past obvious selfishness in people. Is he worth the level of thought you are expending at this moment in time? Stop bending over backwards for him.

Have faith in your future happiness. Nothing that is meant for you will pass you by and you deserve a great relationship, not one fraught with uncertainty and anxiety. From coaching I have seen time and time again that the women who refuse to settle for unhappy relationships have the most success in love long term. It's important to resist any dating situation that is bringing you more misery than happiness. Don't make one man the answer the all your prayers, accept that he means a lot to you but that now you have to come first, then if it eventuates for some reason that this man can't give you what you need you have still continued to work on your self development and interests and with so much going on you will transition forwards towards your next relationship much more easily. Date.

I encourage you not only to be open to dating others but to be actively meeting other men and enjoying yourself. In fact stay open minded always unless a guy has officially asked for a relationship with you. Be selective, take your time. There is no need to tell him you are dating others (unless he asks) but it helps you stay confident and in a mindset of abundance, as you become busier this unavailable man may end up trying to pull you closer so you don't lose interest and by then you may even have a few good dating options.

Don't make excuses for him.

If you strongly suspect this guy is just screwing around with your emotions or is openly manipulating you, drop him like trash, but if you believe this guy has genuine complications in his life, or he is just taking his time, it's fine to keep the communication open and friendly as long as you are not waiting around for him, over the years I have heard women justify waiting around for unavailable men a thousand ways, and I can't recall a single time it ended well, commonly this means putting her life on hold, defending his excuses or pining for more love than he is capable of giving, nothing will kill his interest quicker. Show understanding and maturity if he cannot devote more time for you and then act accordingly until he makes it clear his situation has changed.

Talk to him.

Finally, I know communication is important but in this situation I would save it until a last resort because if a man is already drifting in and and out of your life questioning him is probably going to put him on the spot and there's a good chance he will pull away again. Believe that he probably knows what he is doing and if he wanted to explain things, he would have. So it is better to make a statement about your position on this. Only do this if all else has failed, for example if a man is chasing after you then vanishes for weeks, stop accepting it. When he returns wanting to see you calmly tell him that although you really like him his hot and cold behaviour is starting to put you off. Be willing to end all communication and walk away, if he refuses to even entertain a conversation explaining the situation from his point of view then honey, it is probably worth letting him go.


Honestly the best relationships of my life have always begun with strong interest from the guy first, he noticed me, pursued me, and I was never left pining or wondering how he feels. Although I have seen these situations turn around it takes tremendous inner strength to not get too emotional involved and that is the challenge. If it is too much for you, be honest with yourself and start withdrawing now, hold off for a guy who is direct and knows what he wants, I promise they are out there!


Before you go...


Read Jemma's story on how she finally got her hot and cold man to commit to her for good!

Jade has helped hundreds of women to improve their connection with a hot and cold or emotionally unavailable man, get in contact now for a friendly, compassionate and effective coaching session, push attraction to the absolute maximum with the man you are dating or are interested in, sessions are affordable, convenient and highly empowering!

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