6 Signs The Person You're Dating Is Pulling A 'Slow Fade' (2023)

But texts during the following weeks never turned into plans, and the guy eventually stopped texting Testa altogether. As someone who went on one to three dates a week back then, it wasn’t her first or last experience with a “slow fader” (a.k.a. a romantic prospect who slowly drops out of contact), though she wishes it was.

“The slow burn is even less attractive than ghosting because it gives the illusion of hope,” says Testa, who’s been with her current boyfriend for about a year and a half.

However infuriating, enduring a slow fade is a reality for many singles these days, saysMegan Bruneau, RCC, a therapist in New York City who specialises in relationships and other issues facing her millennial clientele. She’s even been slow-faded by a guy she was dating for months. “It’s a way of both avoiding the discomfort of having a difficult conversation and mitigating guilt of ghosting,” she says.

And while a slow fade can reveal you’re dealing with a jerk—or at least calls into question their self-awareness, morality, integrity, and compassion, in Bruneau’s opinion—it may mean nothing more than you’re dating in the digital age, when the next catch is one swipe away. “You get distracted, and the person you should be open and honest with just fades from your memory,” Testa finds.

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So yeah, getting slow-faded sucks. Here’s how to tell if it’s happening to you—and what to do about it:

1.Theytake more and more time to respond to texts.

Did they used to respond within seconds and now it’s hours? Next week, it may be days. “There’s no ‘right’ amount of time to respond to someone…but what you want to look for is a change,” Bruneau explains. “Don’t compare this person to the last person you saw—compare them to the person they were when you first started seeing each other.”

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2.Their responses are shorter and less enthusiastic.

Similarly, the thing to notice here is a behavioural change. If they used to send you news clips and tell you how excited they were to see you, and now you’re lucky to get more than an emoji, something’s probably up. “When you’re dating someone, you shouldn’t have to wonder when you’re going to see them or when they’re going to text,” saysAndi Forness, an online dating coach in Austin.

3.They stop making concrete plans.

You might not want to admit it, but someone saying, “Sure, let’s hang out,” is totally different from asking, “Are you free to check out my friend’s art exhibit Thursday after work?”

Slow faders may have some interest in seeing you again, but not so much interest that they’re actually firming up plans—or, at least, plans that require any sort of effort—to make it happen. For Bruneau’s slow-fading boyfriend, for example, what used to be frequent, thoughtful dates became infrequent Netflix and chill sessions (ugh).

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4.You always initiate the conversation—and it falls flat.

Typically, if you toss the conversational ball, an interested potential partner will catch and throw it back. But a swing and a miss—several times over—could signal trouble, says Christie Tcharkhoutian, PhD, LMFT, a Los Angeles–based senior matchmaker with the matchmaking serviceThree Day Rule.

“If you are always the one texting or calling your potential significant other, and their responses are one-sided and closed rather than engaging and asking you more questions, they may be trying to slow fade away from you,” she explains. Take a look at your most recent convo, and if you’re swimming in blue (or green) texts, it’s probably best to move on.

5.You’re not a priority.

Slow faders will keep you around, but they won’t prioritize you. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to havenoone (“People don’t like to be alone,” Forness says); maybe it’s because you seem like someone theyshouldbe dating.

Either way, their energy is spent elsewhere. “Because of apps, everyone knows there are about 200 other people they could probably go out with,” Forness says. “The person [the slow fader has] chemistry with is going to get priority.”

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6.Your gut tells you they’re distancing themselves.

The whole art of the slow fade is that it can be easily chalked up to something else: a vacation, new job, or illness that understandably makes dating less of a priority. So determining whether you’re dealing with a slow fader or a genuinely busy (or just flaky) person mostly comes down to your gut, Bruneau says. “When you start to notice a shift in energy, you’re probably right.”

Okay, you’re getting slow faded. Now what?

Stop chasing him or her and wait to be chased, experts say. “If they truly are not slow fading, they will reach out or try to connect at some point in some way,” Tcharkhoutian says. At that point, feel free to say something like, “If you want to keep your VIP texting privileges, you need to ask me out in the next 24 hours” or some other concrete time frame, Forness suggests. That’s a bold move, sure, but at least you’ll (finally) get a straight answer.

If they don’t reach back out, “they are accepting the reality that you may be The One That Gets Away,” Tcharkhoutian says. If they’re cool with that, you don’t want to be with them, anyway.

It’s also relationship expert–approved to confront the slow fader as soon as you sense that shift in energy or responsiveness. Forness suggests saying something like, “I feel like you’re pulling away—do you need some space or more time?” If the answer is yes, honour that. Smothering someone who moves at a different pace never works. Plus, it’s important to maintain your own identity and interests while dating, Forness says. “The other person should be like dessert,” she explains. “You are the main course.”

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However, if the slow fade triggers a disinterest on your end (fair), confront the person by noting the shift in communication, what that signals to you, and why you’re not into that, Tcharkhoutian says.

For example: “Hey, I’ve noticed that your communication has decreased a lot, and you take a long time to respond. I think that may mean you’re no longer interested in seeing where things go, and I’m looking for a relationship that’s built on honesty, communication, and respect. I wish you the best.”

Boom. You’re free to find someone who’sactuallyworth your time.

This article originally appeared on Women’s Health US.

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What is slow fading in dating? ›

To deploy the slow fade means to gradually end communication. This can be for a variety of reasons, but often it is because someone is no longer interested in you. It is a very passive way of letting someone go, but it can feel a lot like ghosting.

Is he giving me the slow fade? ›

Signs someone's slow-fading you

Their current actions make you question a lot or even doubt yourself if you're enough for them and the relationship. You feel crazy about it, but when you bring it up, they end up gaslighting you. They detach themselves from your life, first emotionally, then physically.

How do you know if a guy is slowly ghosting you? ›

Five early warning signs you're being ghosted
  • They seem unbothered by you. If you get the sense that they feel uninterested in you, this could be an early sign of ghosting. ...
  • They don't want to meet up with you. ...
  • Their texts seem half-hearted. ...
  • They go quiet on social media. ...
  • The conversation starts to change.
Nov 30, 2021

What is paperclipping in dating? ›

It's called "paperclipping," which describes when an ex reaches out intermittently, not because they're interested in you, but rather to keep you on the back burner as an option. It's similar to breadcrumbing, and it's intentional, often used by narcissists, according to relationship experts.

What causes slow fading? ›

Slow fading arises when the coherence time of the channel is large relative to the delay requirement of the application. In this regime, the amplitude and phase change imposed by the channel can be considered roughly constant over the period of use.

Is he taking it slow or not interested? ›

Just because he is wanting to take it slow doesn't mean that he doesn't want to be exclusive with you. He likes you, so he wants you to himself. So, he asks if you would like to date only him. Now, that doesn't necessarily mean commitment, but it does mean that he's just not seeing anyone else while pursuing you.

What to do when he slow fades? ›

Confront the slow fader as soon as you sense that shift in energy or responsiveness. However, if the slow fade triggers a disinterest on your end (fair), confront the person by noting the shift in communication, what that signals to you, and why you're not into that, Tcharkhoutian says.

What does slow dating look like? ›

'Slow dating' is what it sounds like: people taking the time to get to know each other and build a connection before deciding if they want to pursue the relationship or meet in person.

How do you tell if someone is no longer into you? ›

INSIDER asked an expert for some signs that someone is just not that into you. If someone leaves you hanging, acts disinterested when you're around them, bails on you, and doesn't show affection, it's probably time to pack it up.

How do you deal with a slow Fader? ›

Confront the slow fader as soon as you sense that shift in energy or responsiveness. However, if the slow fade triggers a disinterest on your end (fair), confront the person by noting the shift in communication, what that signals to you, and why you're not into that, Tcharkhoutian says.

How long do feelings take to fade? ›

As for how long you can expect those feelings of love to fade? "After a breakup, people should expect withdrawal symptoms for roughly six months and increase their self-care and social support during this season," Fisher added. Falling out of love takes time, and it's only natural, as Fisher says.

How does a slow person act? ›

They think more deeply and don't go for small talk

Slow people are deep thinkers. They think about a lot of things going on in their life, work, or whatever they are doing. They don't like talking about the weather, they want to talk about subjects that mean something to them.


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