5 Reasons Not To Slow Fade Your New Relationship

3753341694_49169473e2_b“It's better to burn out than to fade away”

Neil Young said it best. He was probably referring to Rock and Roll but he might as well have been talking about the heart.

I've been spending a lot of time lately thinking about breaking up, ending relationships, and how to do it with honesty, tact, and love.

Too often I hear stories about people ending casual relationships by employing the “Slow Fade” or the “Fade Away”. Slowly fade away by taking longer and longer to reply to text messages, not answering your phone when they call, and hoping that they'll eventually get the idea. And guess what? They do. They also get the idea that you're essentially a coward who is too scared to have a difficult conversation about your feelings for someone else.

The problem is that I've been there. Date someone for a little while, and it either goes somewhere or it doesn't. When it doesn't, it's probably because you're just not into them any more, or the ardor has faded, or someone more interesting has come along. You know it's time to tell that person that you're not as interested in the relationship as you once were, but it's so hard to pick up the phone to tell them.

Here's a list of the reasons you shouldn't employ the Slow Fade as a strategy to end your relationships. I want to say that it gets better with practice but the reality is that ending a relationship, not matter how casual, is never fun. But it's always worth doing right.

6 Reasons Not To Fade Away

  1. You have no idea how they're going to feel. 

    Sure, you can have a pretty good idea if the person you're dating is going to be hurt or not by your breaking it off, but you don't really know. Perhaps they're having the same feelings as you, and having just as hard a time bringing it up. Unless they tell you, don't pretend that you know how someone is going to feel.

  2. You're burning a bridge.

    Just because you're not feeling your romantic relationship, doesn't mean you need to fully cut off the relationship. When you fade away, you're essentially blocking yourself from ever really having a chance at any kind of relationship with that person. If a job opening comes up and they know you're looking, they're not going to call you. They have a cute friend who you might get along with? Too bad, you blew it. Also, enjoy your next interaction with them when you inevitably bump into them at a bar or on the street.

  3. It's childish

    That's right, being an adult means having tough adult conversations. If you were bold enough to ask them out, and bold enough to take their clothes off, and have grown up adult sex with them, then you're old enough to pick up the phone or tell them in person that your feelings have changed.

  4. You're blowing your chance at future sex. 

    That's right. Future sex! Sex in the future with someone you've already had sex with can be super hot. In sales, they call this a warm lead. Just because you're not feeling them now doesn't mean you won't in the future. Doesn't mean you won't bump into her and her hot friend at a bar sometime, and who knows what will happen next.

  5. It's lame and cowardly.

    That's it. Not calling someone back, or confronting this hard conversation is cowardly. It makes you look like a loser, because let's be honest, it's a total loser move. You might as well go home with a box of Hot Pockets and Corn Pops and drown your lameness in carbs and fat.

The reality is that ending a relationship is never easy, never feels good, and isn't something you're ever going to get better at. In fact, I still sometimes think I'm being 100% honest in my relationships and then realize that I'm not calling someone back because I'm fearful of telling them how I really feel. This actually happened last week, and I had to get honest with her before I could even sit down to write this.

So you might ask how to go about having these hard conversations. And I have a few tips.

  1. Never do it over text. Unless it was a first date and you didn't have sex, never text a breakup.

  2. Don't make it about them.

  3. Keep the focus on yourself.

This translates to something along the lines of:

I've had a really nice time connecting with you, but the chemistry we have is not the chemistry I'm looking for.

OR

I think you're super sweet and special, and I've had a great time getting to know. However, this romantic connection isn't the type of connection I'm looking for.

That's it. It's short, it's honest, and it's effective. It's better to rip the band aid off quickly than to peel it away over the course of weeks.

I realize that not every relationship can be ended this way, and that there are many factors involved. If you start with this versus not contacting them at all, you're heading in the right direction. Remember to be kind, loving, and gentle with your words and everyone involved will be grateful.


 Shaun Galanos is the host and producer of The Love Drive. He lives, drives, and writes in San Francisco, CA.Find more articles and videos at The Love Drive

Author profile

Shaun is a San Francisco dating coach, and host of The Love Drive. He strives to answer today’s questions on sex, love, romance, and dating.

He rarely holds back and often lets his clients know exactly what he thinks. He is passionate about why people do what they do, how they fall in love, why sex is the way sex is, and everything in between.

He’s been described by many of his female friends as borderline creepy, and that’s OK with him.

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One Comment

  1. I accidentally did this over 3 years to the first woman I dated after the end of a long marriage. However, it wasn’t because I wasn’t into her. I was, and in fact I was the one pushing to make things closer. However, there was an issue I felt was non-negotiable which was that even though we had two different religions (Buddhist and Christian) that we should have some common ecumenical ground to practice spirituality together. My partner, however, felt that religion was a private matter which a person could only practice individually and that we should just leave the other person alone in their faith. To me this meant that we would not have a shared common commitment to something greater than ourselves, and was therefore lonely and individualistic. We never argued about it, but I kept making my views known and she kept strengthening the barrier. My thought was to just back away every time she did this so that she would feel how her approach was creating distance while at the same time inviting her to ecumenical events. In the end she didn’t take up any of those invitations and for months we faded out like this. This surprised me because in the beginning she came to many of those events with me, but this just stimulated some thought in her that she was abandoning her faith, which wasn’t my intent. We discussed all this in the beginning, but ultimately the slow fade occurred because we both loved each other but we had an opposing non-negotiable issue. Finally she called it, but I was surprised at the finality with which she distanced herself. I guess it was because my approach was too passive and lacked courage – in the end it just drew things out and created more pain than necessary.

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