Your texts go unanswered for days. Plans haven’t been made in over a week. Sex isn’t even alluring enough to elicit the desired reaction. You can feel the other person pulling away. You know it’s coming. You’ve just been Faded Out on.
While somewhat juvenile, the Fade Out is a passive rejection technique favored by 20-somethings and early 30-somethings in today’s vague and confusing dating scene. Sure, nobody likes to be the victim of a Fade Out. But when you think about it, is it really all that bad?
Brian Donovan, fellow Thought Catalog writer and author of the book, “Not A Match: My True Tales of Online Dating Disasters,” puts it this way on his blog:
What would you rather do, hear someone tell you they’re not that into you or figure it out after five consecutive nights without receiving a text? Because during those nights you can do whatever you want. Watch Shark Tank. Bake cookies. Solve crimes with your wise but smart-alecky cat detective Inspector Whiskerton. You’re getting dumped either way.
However, the problem is you’re not doing “whatever you want.” You’re checking your phone to see you got a text. You’re wondering if you should text first (you shouldn’t). You’re checking their Twitter feed for clues as to why they’re so preoccupied that they can’t send a simple “Hey, how was your day?” You’re worried they were involved in a tragic camping incident and eaten by bears (because why would anyone in their right mind ever Fade Out on a sexy thang like you?). You’re letting it preoccupy a bigger portion of your brain than it should, and you hate yourself for it.
But what about when the tables are turned? Well, there’s a period of time when it remains acceptable to Fade Out and when you’re just being a dick. Here are a few general guidelines to keep you in good karmic standing:
1. It’s okay to Fade Out after the first date.
First dates are part of the exploratory process. Honey, you don’t even KNOW this person! You don’t owe them anything, including a long, drawn-out explanation of why you never want to see them again. In fact, providing one might even just add insult to injury. Silence sends the message loud and clear that you’re just not feeling it. Don’t fool yourself into thinking that you need to be ‘nice.’ You’re certainly not fooling the other person.
2. It’s NOT okay to Fade Out after six dates.
At this point you’ve probably dated for a month or two and talk to each other on a regular basis. It’s likely you know this person’s favorite flavor of ice cream, why the parentals got divorced and that the sight of bunnies diminishes them to a puddle of saptastic goop. But sometimes what happens when you invest time and energy into getting to know someone is… nothing. And that’s okay. However, you should respect the other person enough to give them a heads up. Just be mindful to keep the gory details to yourself. No one likes hearing that it didn’t work out because the sound of their laugh makes you want to punt-kick a kitten.
3. It’s okay to Fade Out after he does something to offend you.
Usually I’m all about second chances and benefit-of-the-doubts, but sometimes bad behavior is just, well, bad. For instance, if they make plans with you that evening only to text you at 2 A.M. saying they lost track of time and won’t be able to make it after all. Or tell you they kinda, sorta might be seeing someone else (“But they’re out of the country right now so no bigs, boo!”). Or if they call your friend a raging dick-infested cunt. You know, things that give you an idea that maybe he or she is just not a very nice person. Go ahead, dodge that bullet. No one will blame you for it.
4. It’s NOT okay to pull Fade Out after tapping dat ass.
Much like cheating, Fading Out after getting some is not only ridiculously immature, but it shows a total lack of respect for the other person. I mean, you just exchanged bodily fluids. And not just any bodily fluids, but the messy, emotional kind that result from a night full of tangled legs and heavy breathing. Unless otherwise understood, doing the deed is a non-verbal contract denoting that a change in heart deserves more than the silent treatment. Everyone reserves the right to feel nothing but bitter loathing towards the other person should she or he pull a Fade Out after sampling the goodies. Especially if it was really, really good.