How to Protect Your Relationship from Going Cold

keeping the passion in a relationship
Imagine a man and woman, cuddled close on a cold night in a rickety old cabin.

The cabin has many flaws. It leaks heat during the night, bringing a chill into the air.

You can solve this problem by patching up the cracks. Or you can solve this problem by maintaining a roaring fire in the small room where you both sleep.

Both solutions achieve the same goal.

It’s okay if your relationship has a few cracks in the seams as long as you feed the fire to maintain the warmth.
Most people think they need to fix all the problems in a relationship. They feel hesitant to be their warmest, most loving self while there are small problems to be dealt with.

But sometimes it’s best to turn up the heat instead of trying to patch up little problems.
I’m talking about your warmth indicators. Here are a few of them:

  • smiling like you did when you first started dating him
  • showing a desire to get close physically
  • being the best, most attentive listener you can be
  • competing to take care of each other rather than arguing over whose turn it is to do the chore

keeping the passion in a relationshipThere are many more, but I figure you get the gist. Warmth. It comes in many forms. Everybody likes it.

And it goes a long way toward protecting your relationship from growing cold.

Don’t wait until you fix all the problems before you turn up the heat.

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26 thoughts on “How to Protect Your Relationship from Going Cold

  1. P.J. said:

    Hi James….I’ve been in a relationship for almost a year,we met online,it’s long distance,opposite coasts. We’ve met in person and well we just fit together,it seems,perfectly. We love each other,have both said it to each other….but he pulls away,often,I give him the time he needs and he always comes back. The thing is,this cycle is starting to hurt more and more,I don’t want to pressure him but my heart hurts more every time he leaves. We will both be living in the same area within a few months and distance will no longer be an issue….should I let go or keep giving him the space and time he seems to need. And yes he knows I want more….and when he leaves I don’t contact him at all,it is he who always reaches out for me. Thank you,in advance,for any insight you may have….P.J.

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi P.J. This strikes me as a relationship worth fighting for. Because you really like each other.

      In situations like these, there are two questions you should try to answer (or take action on).
      1. Is he aware that this pattern exists, where he pulls away repeatedly? Or is that something he is doing without realizing how it affects you?

      2. Do you already know his reasons for periodically pulling away? Is it a practical reason like limited time and a busy work schedule, or is it some kind of emotional factor? Or is it that he believes it’s too early for him to commit to a relationship when he still wants to meet new people and date casually?

      Discovering the answers to these questions may help you come to a decision about your next steps.


  2. mvrinda said:

    last bullet point: “whose”, not “who’s”

    • James Bauer said:

      Thanks! It has been fixed. I appreciate that!

  3. CC said:

    James, you have a way of sending the right message at the right time for me. I was frustrated with my boyfriend this weekend, and this is my answer today.

  4. I like this article but both parties have to on the same page for it to work. To me one has to be careful they do not fall into the trap of doing everything while the other does nothing. I know you’ve talked about this in other articles but it’s hard when you have a house and kids and you both work. I worked part-time, did all of the house work, most of the cooking etc, shopping, bill-paying, gardening (except mowing), never had time away from the kids except when I worked. we’d fight over chores and he change for a short while but then everything fell back to me. After 14 years together, I walked away and it was and still a good decision.

  5. Vel said:

    This made me think back on my past relationship which lasted for almost 5 years and the main problem with it was my ex’s deep obsession to “fix” things. From the way I speak, to the way I dress, to the way I spend my time, to the way I deal with issues, there was always something “wrong” with it. Alas, I finally reached my limit and all passion I had felt for him in the beginning had burnt out as I realized that whatever I do, however hard I tried to “fix” myself, it’ll never be enough.

  6. Keya said:

    I agree most definitely Jim. It’s the best gift a person can receive and give. The gift of doing the simplest act to let that one know they are just as loved from the beginning before the storm, during the storm and always. To receive a love that never falls off is a most unselfish act.

  7. Amanda said:

    My fiance of 5 years cheated on me and we broke up for a year while he dated this other woman. We have recently gotten back together, however, he told me he loved her and still thinks about her. We are doing great trying to move on, talking about marriage again, but this still bugs me deep down inside. Like this article suggests, I am doing what I can to keep the fire going, i think that’s what we lost a year ago. I guess what I’m asking is how long does it take for someone to forget about an ex once they are moved on with someone else? And is there something else I could/should be doing?

    • James Bauer said:

      Hi Amanda. Your question is kind of vague, but I will offer this. You cannot forget about a pink gorilla on purpose. Instead, you have to focus your attention on something else that is fascinating enough to absorb most or all of your attention. Gradually, the memory of the pink gorilla fades on its own. Focus on building a fascinating life with him, full of adventure, love, and shared effort toward meaningful dreams.

  8. bernadette said:

    My family Therapist, Christine always says,” you need to say close in conflict”. That has helped me over the years. I don’t think men understand this one so well. I think pride and ego get in the way. Not all, but some men hold grudges longer then others. Very painful!

  9. I’ve known my current man since meeting online in November 0f 13 and in person in December. Both of us are retired and he has more active hobbies than I so we mostly just spend Saturdays together in a variety of activities (occasionally a whole weekend from Friday, but usually he goes to choir on Sunday morning). He has not expressed desire to be monogamous, but I made it clear that that is required. His relations live nearby and my children and cousins are all in other states. My only sibling is gone and he still has 2 living brothers as well as his mom and an aunt.

    When we were cooking dinner last week “an old girlfriend” called him to invite him to dinner with his mom. I asked him when I will be meeting his mom and he just answered “maybe soon”. I don’t want to pressure him, but he’s just what I want in a man. Sex is great and he knows more than I of home maintenance (which is considerable) besides, we share hobbies of lapidary and silverwork and he joined a group of re-enactors with me and I am learning square dance because he also does that. What do you think? Normal for just 6 months into our relationship? Any suggestions?

    • James Bauer said:

      Your question was not very specific, but I’m going to guess you are asking if you should be worried given his recent attention toward another woman. I don’t think so. Time and propinquity are on your side. I would not worry about his acceptance of a friendly invitation like that (or rushing to meet his mother).

  10. Melbell4heaven said:

    Just what I needed to hear today! Thanks James! Your messages are truly inspiring, and helpful! Keep up the good work!

  11. pumla said:

    I just want to say thank you so much you help in this few day its like you take the stone over my shoulder,i ve got boy friend we meet on jan this year but i only sleep over twice
    in his place i dont know what is problem bc dis man everytime i ask to do something first he will say no but end doing it when he fill like and he is not calling me he wait for me to call him i always call after a week he respond and speak to me nice and is bussiness
    man.but after i read your i decide not to call him again bc its like i’m the one who want he does care,please tell me if i’m wrong and wat must i do now about this?

    • James Bauer said:

      Yes, Pumla. You are right. You have pursued him enough. Stay interested and engaged, but wait however long it takes for him to call you or initiate interaction with you. It may take a while because he is used to you seeking him out. He may take a while to realize you are not still doing that. Be at peace with the time lag. You are planting seeds. If the seeds flourish you will have a better relationship. If the seeds never germinate (grow), it will be a sign that you need to move on.

  12. Radwa said:

    Does this apply if the man is pulling away ? Please help .

    thanks .

    • Faith said:

      I believe it can help by relieving the tension that expectations sometimes create when fixing things in the relationship. It’s also allows you to put that concern to rest for a while and just be greatful for what you have now. Those concerns won’t define your relationship as fix them or go. Plus the guy may feel reassured that you still love and want him regardless of the imperfections. Building those connections constantly reminds him why he’s trying to improve in the first place and actually want to. Like the old saying goes ” you get more bees with honey then vinegar. “

    • James Bauer said:

      No, not really. That’s more than just “a crack” in the relationship. That requires a different level of intervention (though creating emotional warmth may also help to some degree).

      • J said:

        Can you describe more about emotional warmth. I have had a serious boyfriend for over 4 years. Last year-he kept wanting to marry me-I wasn’t working and thought-let’s wait until I become employed again. He went from a really great guy to then “not sure” if I was the one . He is hot then he is cold, yes then no (just like the song). We broke up last July. He dated someone for a month and then begged for me back. (Great for a few weeks and now always unpredictable). I can let him call. If I wait he does. But then when I treat it more as I it used to be where we both called each other-then he pulls away. He is driving me crazy. Any advice?

      • James Bauer said:

        Hi J. Does he know you see it this way? I don’t know what you have already tried, but if you have not asked him about this pattern yet, that would be the place to start in a relationship that has that much history and importance to both of your lives.

      • CG said:

        Is it possible that your refusal to marry him caused his mixed feelings? It seems that before you refused him – multiple times, apparently – he was totally committed to you.
        Incidentally, if you have a great guy who wants to marry you, why would you refuse him for such a silly reason?! You’re not working? Seriously?! Who cares? So you’ll find a job again. You have an opportunity to marry a guy who’s crazy about you and create a home with him!
        To me it appears to be fear on your part, that then caused you to control the situation by refusing his proposal(s), for a reason that only seemed valid.

      • A Honey said:

        I know someone who met a guy who seemed really wonderful & wanted to get married right away. She was in love & he convinced her they were meant to be together. Once married he knew she was all in then turned into a super control freak. He controlled the money, what they talked about & where they went & who they associated with. If your gut feeling tells you to wait, no matter the reason….for God’s sake WAIT!!! Now “J” is seeing a different side of him that needs to be addressed before she says “yes” because for most of us saying “yes” means till death do us part. If he wanted to marry her & now is cold because she wanted to bring financial stability to her part of the union, then that raises a red flag to me. A secure man who is truly in love would appreciate & respect her reasons for waiting & would ask again as soon as she was settled into her new job. WITH a flowers and a card expressing how proud of her he is.

  13. Faith said:

    This is great advice. Revisit why you love that person in the first place and all the progress you’ve made; then share how you feel with your mate and It’s likely to be reciprocated. Before you know it youre focusing on the bigger picture and not the smaller annoying details that are just that, small.
    This happened to me last night. My boyfriend and I have been working at some things for two years and we made some steps forward. Instead of enjoying the win, I proceeded to the next thing on my list to change. So lucky I didn’t verbalized it but I spoke to him about how I noticed his efforts, how I felt for him from day one an why we should continue ect. Before you knew it, he was gushing and we were happily satisfied together. James program has helped me from day one. I bought it in shortly after I met my mate and it’s been such a learning experience. Even if we don’t work out, I’ve learned priceless information that’s getting me close to who I’m looking for.

  14. Joan said:

    Wise words indeed, James! A higher form of love is the conscious shift in attitude so the focus is on warmth and desire which in turn fuels passionate flames that burn away coldness and the mundane, season after season, with each passing day.

  15. barbie said:

    I think this is true!!!,, but don’t let others get in ur dreams !!!

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