My manager sent around this gem about modern dating, which was all about the new trend in relationships: fading out. It gave a few reasons as to why it’s popular: when dating seems to be getting serious, it's a prime time to bail out. Pair that with our natural inclination to use social media to constantly monitor the outside world for better options, and you've got the recipe for a quick fade out.
When I was in college, this trend slayed me. I mean – really – how hard is it to meet with me and tell me face to face why you’re not feeling it all of a sudden? I always wanted closure and rarely ever got it. The compounding factor was that I’d be friends with these guys on Facebook or follow them on Twitter and could see what they’re up to (or more importantly who they’re with), which would just throw a bit more coal on my burning fire of desire for closure.
Then one time I got “closure,” just like I wanted. I demanded that we discuss what happened. So we did. We talked about my weaknesses. We talked about his weaknesses. We talked about our collective weaknesses in the formative stages of our pseudo-relationship.
It was raw.
And then we stopped speaking forever.
The outcome after our “breakup” was exactly the same as those who took the route of fading away. We still weren’t talking anymore. And the last memory we had of each other was filled with bitterness and hard feelings. I would argue that having a more official end is almost as detrimental as the fade away when we're dealing with pre-relationships (if you're legitimately someone's significant other, then the fade away is a non-option in my mind).
When you do the hard end, it puts in my mind that it was relatively serious, when most cases, the fade away is after just a few dates. Then I think about it all the time and how yet another potential relationship failed. I replay the excuse over and over in my head: he’s still getting over his ex, he still likes his ex, he doesn’t want a girlfriend right now, he needs to figure himself out on his own, he doesn’t like you in that way. Whatever.
It’s all the same. Or it’s not. A guy told me once that relationships make people fat (that is seriously what he said to me) and didn’t want that. Within a month he had a girlfriend. So yeah, he didn’t pull a fade away; he just gave me a fake reason. Is that really any better?
Or the opposite, I decided not to ghost a guy, and I told him that I felt like we didn’t have a real connection and wasn’t interesting in wasting any more of his time when it just wasn’t there for me, and he continued to on and off text me for about six months after it anyways.
Also, ghosting is usually pretty easy to spot. If you talk to someone regularly, and then all of a sudden he’s “too busy,” or you’re getting one word answers six hours after you’ve reached out to him, it’s obvious that things are changing. Does it suck? Yes, but it’s totally obvious it’s happening.
I used to grasp on for dear life at first sign of the burnout phase, thinking that if I just show that I care enough, they wouldn’t totally fade out. And for awhile, it usually works, but do you really want to be that person who has to always text first, hold up the conversation and pressure them into hanging out? It’s not a good look, it doesn’t make you feel good about yourself, and no one deserves that much effort out of you unless they're giving it right back.
I try to take a positive outlook on the fade out: you’ve found someone that held your attention for a positive moment of time in your life, but just because it was good for awhile, doesn't mean it has to last forever. If they’re not putting in the equal amount as you are in the beginning phases, it is in no way going to ever get better than that. Invest yourself in someone that deserves your attention and not the guy who is willing to let you fade out of his life.