Why The Slow Fade Is Actually Worse Than Ghosting

By Keelia Clarkson··  5 min read
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Why The Slow Fade Is Actually Worse Than Ghosting

We’ve all come to know ghosting as one of the worst ways to end a relationship, but what about the slow fade?

If we’re being honest, trying to date these days is depressing, unsatisfying, and discouraging for many young singles. Finding a worthwhile suitor, even with the supposed added help that dating apps offer us, seems next to impossible. Genuine connections are replaced with meaningless hookups, and trying to figure out if a guy is truly interested can feel like attempting to solve a Rubik’s cube. At this point, even getting broken up with isn’t plain and simple.

These days, it’s all too common to ghost someone, the act of abruptly cutting off communication with someone we’ve been dating, ignoring all calls and texts and effectively disappearing without any warning. It’s a pretty safe bet that the majority of young people dating today have been ghosted – though our culture seems to have come to a collective understanding that ghosting is wrong. While it’s still a popular way to break things off with someone, we’ve all come to accept that it’s disrespectful and cowardly.

That being said, there’s an arguably far worse way of getting dumped: the slow fade.

What Is the Slow Fade?

Whereas a proper ghosting is swift and unexpected, the slow fade goes about ending a relationship in an entirely different manner. When someone slow fades, they secretly resolve to end the relationship, but don’t actually break up with their partner. Instead, they begin to gradually disappear from someone’s life by shying away from committing to concrete plans, not reaching out as often as they used to (if at all), and making it increasingly clear that their significant other isn’t the priority they used to be. Eventually, the dumpee is left to conclude that the dumper is no longer interested in pursuing a relationship with them.

The slow fader gradually disappears from someone’s life by avoiding communicating and commitments.

For the person slow fading, it typically feels better than ghosting someone – it’s not quite as blunt, saves them from the dreaded label of a ghost, and leaves room for them to change their mind about the person they’re slow fading...and also relieves them from the unpleasantness of breaking things off face to face. But despite feeling better for the person doing it, slow fading is even worse for the person experiencing it.

It Makes a Fool out of the Other Person

Slow fading isn’t immediately obvious – the person being slow faded might initially think their significant other is just going through a rough time, or believe them to simply be busy with work. This leads them to carry on with the relationship as if nothing is truly wrong, continuing to invest their time, energy, and emotions in someone who’s just hoping they’ll get the picture sooner or later. The slow fader makes a fool out of the person they’re trying to leave, allowing them to believe in and act according to a relationship that’s no longer reciprocated, or even in existence anymore.

It’ll Give Them Trust Issues

Because slow fading isn’t ever straightforward, the person getting slow faded might start questioning if the relationship was as serious or as promising as they had thought. Essentially, slow fading can be considered a form of gaslighting. Since the slow fader will never come out and express their feelings and desire to end the relationship, the victim of the slow fade is left to decipher what went wrong. But with no actual answers, they’ll end up worried this will happen to them again, and they might find it hard to trust another person with their heart again, or to trust themselves to not mess things up again.

It Makes for a Messier Break

A slow fade can carry on for weeks, or even months. There isn’t ever a good time to break up with someone, right? Holidays, birthdays, and anniversaries will always get in the way, and the slow fader will allow things to drag out for months on end, prolonging the inevitable pain their significant other will eventually feel when things are officially over.

If you’re mature enough to date, then you should be mature enough to properly break up with someone.

Sitting down face to face with someone to break up isn’t anyone’s favorite pastime. It’s difficult to keep our emotions in check, there’s never a great way to get the words out, and we hate the thought of hurting someone by breaking things off. But ultimately, when we finally come to the painful conclusion to end a relationship, it allows for a clean break, a speedier healing process, and less of a chance for hard feelings.

Closing Thoughts

Slow fading might seem like the pleasanter option between that and ghosting – but it’s even more cowardly. Ultimately, if we consider ourselves mature enough to be in a romantic relationship, we should also be mature enough to properly break up with someone if we have to.

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