dating slow fadeDating can be heart-wrenching -- no more so than when someone breaks up with you. However, at least then you know what's going on. Your honey saying, "I don't want to see you anymore" clues you in that, well, he doesn't want to see you anymore. Then you can get on with the business of slashing his tires. (I keed!)

But some people avoid confrontation at all costs. So he (or she) either does the "ghosting" thing and drops off the face of the planet ... or the even more excruciating "slow fade." That's when someone you're dating, over the course of days or even months, goes from bombarding you with attention to slowly fading away. Dates become less frequent. Emails go unanswered for days but then suddenly pick up again. Text messages that used to get answered in two minutes now take two days. And the person, instead of saying what's going on, has a litany of excuses about being busy, being sick, cellphones being lost, etc. Here are five ways to handle the slow fade.

1. F**k the Fade. At the first sign of the slow fade -- text messages that are going unanswered or a cancelled date with a lame excuse -- dump him, delete his contacts, unfriend him on Facebook, and completely move on. Start dating other people immediately.

2. Call Out the Fade. Confront your significant other -- preferably firmly but politely -- about what he is doing. Something like, "Hey, I noticed we're spending less and less time together and it's taking you longer to return my calls. Is something going on? If you don't want to see me anymore, that's fine, but I'm not into reading people's minds and will not continue in a relationship where I'm being forced to do that."

3. Cross Fade. This is when you slow fade back. Did it take him six hours to return a text message? Then take 10 hours to return his. Did he cancel a date last minute? Then cancel the next one yourself. The downside is that this could go on in perpetuity -- but it might give you some satisfaction to give the fader a taste of his own medicine.

4. Don't Acknowledge the Fade. Just live your life. If he doesn't answer a text for a week, reply to it only if you feel like it and when you feel like it. If he cancels a date, go out with your friends or stay home and take a bath. Just live your life as if you would if he wasn't there, and when and if he comes back around, act like nothing happened. If anything, this might teach him that the slow fade isn't going to get to you.

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5. Mess With His Fade. If he starts slow fading you, act like you aren't even aware of what he's doing. If he doesn't make plans with you on your birthday, but texts, "Have a great birthday!" write back, "Thanks!" He'll probably be super confused as to why you aren't having a meltdown.

While most dating experts would tell a woman (or a man) that someone doing the slow fade "just isn't that into you," and you should dump him faster than an Indian meal sprinkled with laxatives, here is some insight from a guy who confesses he's done the slow fade:

I'm a very busy person, as everyone is, and when I get super busy or have a large project that I'm working on I've noticed that I slowly withdraw for a short time from my personal relationships. I get lost in all the things I'm doing and forget that relationships are important too. And when my now ex alerted me to that fact (and by alerted I mean cussed the hell out), it really helped me to better understand my interactions with other people. I feel like people sometimes need that push, and in other cases some people are just shitheads and need to be cussed out.

So it appears not all slow faders are deliberately trying to torture you. It just feels that way.

Have you ever been slow faded? What did you do?

 

Image via Josh James/Flickr