One of the worst dating trends EVER has to be the ‘fade out’.

Sure, ghosting sucks. Orbiting is annoying, at the very least. But the fade out sucks the most, because it’s a gradual, anxiety-riddled experience that plays out over weeks – MONTHS, if you’re super unlucky.

If you don’t already know what I’m talking about, let me enlighten you.

You’ve been dating someone. You might have been out with them twice. Maybe you’ve been seeing them for months. Whatever the case, things seem to be going well. It’s drama-free, you know? EASY.

Then, the vibe changes. You start getting fewer texts, or maybe where they once organised dates in advance, you’re finding yourself bending over backwards to lock down one night a week to see this person. This is pretty standard behaviour toward the end of a relationship or a dating-thing, and totally okay. Naturally, we are going to drift a bit when we’re unsure about whether we want to keep seeing someone.

The fade out comes into play when the person knows they’re off the person they were dating, but hasn’t got the courage to actually send a text or have a convo to officially finish it. Instead, they slowly fade away, replying to the occasional text because they feel guilty about the fact they’re just gradually dumping you.

See? IT SUCKS.

Here’s what’s phenomenally fucked about the fade out. It’s ridiculously weak. It’s like the rock-bottom of human behaviour. It’s someone gradually becoming the human version of a limp, mouldy sandwich. A sea cucumber. Something that can’t do anything and simply flops about when poked.

Obviously texting someone a polite-yet-firm break-up text (or even better, doing so in person) is really, really difficult. It’s not fun! But the reality is you save that person weeks of questioning what’s going on, which is way more traumatic than the day or two it takes them to get over your rejection. It’s honest, and it saves both of you loads of wasted time.

If you’re always the one on the receiving end of a fade out, here’s a spicy way to deal with it. It takes even more guts than it takes for someone to send a break-up text. It’s calling them on their bullshit FIRST.

Basically I vote that the new dating rule be – when we feel like someone’s fading out on us, we just send a text being like “Are things weird? I feel like I’m getting mixed messages from you and it’s not a mood for me. If you’re not feeling it, let’s just end this here, yeah?”

The reason this takes more guts is because sending something this direct violates all those dumbass “be chill” messages we’re led to believe rule dating in 2018. It’s so extremely “not chill” to call someone on their shitty behaviour, but it’s actually really… normal? Because is it NOT more insane to wait for someone to just disappear from your life, slowly extending the heartache across weeks or months? That is MADNESS, that we do that.

This text (I’ve personally sent different versions depending on the situation) has in some cases led to guys giving me very valid reasons for being distant. In some cases we can kind of salvage the dating-thing, in a new form that works for both of us. But in most cases they come back with a “sorry, I wasn’t feeling it” message that they COULD HAVE JUST SENT WEEKS BEFORE but at least I then know where I stand and can dust my hands of them and roll on to the next dude, you know?

In short – if you’re currently doing the fade out on someone, stop that. Stop being a giant adult baby and flick them a text to say you’re not feeling the spark, the end. And if you’re on the receiving end of a fade out, call that person on their bullshit STAT.

EVERYONE BE NICE, OK.

Image: The Simpsons