The time has come for another post from the Insomnia Club. This month’s topic is the fade, as in the disappearing man (or woman since women do it too).
In my experience, the fade has come in two variations. There is the relationship fade which is when you have been seeing someone for a while. And then there is the slightly more casual fade where you've only been out a few times but seem really into each other and are making future plans. Both happen essentially the same way. Slowly the calls become every few days, then every week and then not at all (or some variation of that).
I have experienced both and frankly, my opinion is the same in either case. The fade sucks.
A couple of years ago I met this guy off the internet. We really liked each other and had a great connection. We talked constantly. I mean he would call me when he knew I was at work to leave me sweet voicemails. He would randomly text me throughout the day to tell me things. I felt like he genuinely liked me and wanted to involve me in his life.
We had been seeing each other for a couple of months (give or take) and he started throwing around the girlfriend word. He hadn’t specifically asked me to be his girlfriend but I am not sure if you have to technically ask. I mean we had agreed we didn't want to see other people and we had talked about taking our profiles down. So I really felt like this was something real.
And I was pretty damn excited. In fact, I believe I had some of the warm fuzzies.
Then, just after he started throwing around the girlfriend word his texts slowly went from several a day to one if I was lucky. I wasn’t all that worried, I mean I think it’s normal for some of that stuff to become a little less frequent otherwise you will run out of stuff to talk about. Then the texts pretty much stopped altogether. I still wasn’t all that worried because he was calling me pretty frequently. And if he didn’t like me he wouldn’t call me. Right?
Well, then, slowly the calls became less frequent until it had been several days and I hadn’t heard from him. He wasn’t even returning my phone calls at that point. After a couple of weeks it became pretty clear that I was probably never going to hear from him again.
And yes, I know that there is maybe a one percent chance that something tragic happened. All jokes aside he could have been dead in a ditch somewhere. However, I am not that naive and I figured out that I had just been a victim of the fade.
Now, honestly I was no stranger to the concept. I mean I had been out with my fair share of guys who just slowly stopped calling me rather than telling me that they weren’t interested. And while I felt it was a really crappy thing to do I generally just shrugged it off because I wasn’t that insanely attached to the guy. Plus I mean, what could I really do? Be a stalker and blow up the guy's phone? Not the best idea at all.
But this was the first time a guy was doing it when he had actually called me his girlfriend. When there was actually something real. And I have to tell you, it hurt. It hurt a lot. I felt totally disrespected and like what (I thought) we had didn’t mean anything to him. I mean really if it had meant something why wasn’t he just honest?
I was never a fan of the fade before that situation. And I was even less of a fan of it after. Honestly, I don’t ever think there is a case when it is okay. I really do understand the idea behind it. Well, that is, I grasp the whole idea that you don't want to hurt anyone's feelings or you don't want to see them cry. But I still don't think the fade is ever okay. Man up (or woman up). I mean really, it doesn't take that much to be honest.
In fact, when I first moved to Chicago I met a guy from the internet. We went out on one date and he walked me back to my place. He went on and on about how he had such a great time and I was thinking good lord when will this date end. He ended up totally ambushing me and we kissed for all of a second on the lips because I pulled away as fast as I could.
The next day he sent me a text telling me he’d like to go out again. I figured I had three choices – be nice and make small talk (and then fade away), just ignore him, or tell him the truth. I thanked him but said I wasn‘t interested. He responded that he didn’t understand why and I spent the next 20 minutes or so explaining to him why I wasn’t interested over and over and over again.
Sure it was annoying to listen to him whine that I wasn't interested but it really didn't take that much out of my day to just be honest with him.
Now, I am not saying you have to have a whole break up conversation with every single person that you go out with. In fact, if no one contacts anyone after a date then that's a whole different story. I am just saying if a person is interested and you are not then don't string them along. Appearing to be interested just to “save their feelings” only to fade away slowly doesn’t really save anything at all. It really just creates false ideas. So just tell them flat out that you aren't interested. And if you are in an actual committed relationship with the person then definitely take the time to end it.
We all know it’s not fun to tell people we aren’t interested. Sometimes it causes people to get upset and cry a little. Sometimes they might even whine a little. But the fact of the matter is we are all grown ups here and if you aren’t interested in a person then just tell the person.
Read what the other members of the Insomnia Club are saying: