Why the Slow Fade Is Worse Than Ghosting

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slow fade

Here’s why the slow fade is worse than ghosting, and what you can do if you’ve been on the receiving end of a slow fader.

You thought the relationship was developing. Maybe you even slept with him. And then the slow fade began. He didn’t text or call the next day. When you texted him, he texted back ten hours later. He called the next day and acted like nothing was wrong. And then crickets. 

The slow fade in a relationship is worse than ghosting. Here’s why…

Why the Slow Fade Is Worse Than Ghosting

Whether you’re simply not interested in the person you’re dating or your life is too busy, it’s not easy to end a relationship. Someone’s feelings are going to get hurt, and who wants to cause someone pain? What slow-faders don’t realize is that prolonging a breakup can be much more painful than being direct and kind. 

While ghosting has become the norm in our society, the slow fade is even worse. One partner wants to end the relationship, but they don’t say anything. Instead, they continue to pretend the relationship is fine while sending mixed signals and slowly pulling away. It gives the other person hope that maybe things are okay. Maybe their partner needs some space. Not wanting to appear clingy or needy, they don’t speak up. And the relationship gradually ends. 

Slow Fading is a Form of Gaslighting

In a slow fade, the person on the receiving end is being gaslit, questioning themselves about what they did wrong and what they can do to fix the relationship. Ghosting is final. Slow fading is filled with uncertainty, which is why it can be torturous. It can be harmful to self-esteem. It can erode trust when dating others. It can make someone question their judgment of someone’s character, and in some cases it can make people stop dating altogether. It’s just too painful.

5 Things to Do When You’re The Victim of a Slow Fade

1. Ask yourself high value questions: Instead of asking why someone slow-faded, ask better questions, like, “Why would I want to be with someone who ___________(slow fades, doesn’t communicate kindly, runs from conflict or confrontation)”

2. Go no contact. You might have the urge to ask for closure. You might want to berate them for slow fading. The most dignified thing you can do is nothing. 

3. Do a relationship post-mortem. Figure out where you might have ignored red or yellow flags so you don’t do that next time.

4. Speak up from the start. When you date again, address issues immediately. It’s never too early to state your standards around communication, what you’re looking for in a relationship, etc.

5. Don’t excuse the inexcusable. People make excuses for not following through on commitments, not calling when they said they would, being so busy they can’t even text. If someone wants a relationship with you, they will make it clear and show interest. Words are cheap. Actions following words are everything.

If you ever experience a slow fade again, nip it in the bud at the very first sign. Speak up. See how they respond. It will tell you everything you need to know about their ability to be a good partner. And if they can’t invest in the relationship at an equal level, it’s time to move on and find a better match.


If you’re curious about how coaching can help you work through issues like trust, hyper-vigilance, anxiety, shyness, repeated patterns in dating and more, let’s talk! I offer a complimentary 45-minute breakthrough session to anyone who’s seriously interested in working with me. Apply here: https://lastfirstdate.com/application

Join the Woman of Value Club, where we have a monthly masterclass on topics like this one. Learn more and join here: https://lastfirstdate.com/the-woman-of-value-club/

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Check out my books, Becoming a Woman of Value; How to Thrive in Life and Love and Choice Points in Dating: Empowering Women to Make Healthier Decisions in Love.

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