6 Signs The Person You’re Dating Is Pulling A ‘Slow Fade’—And How To Handle It Like A Pro
🍇1. They take 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.”
🍇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,” says Andi Forness, an online dating coach.
🍇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).
🍇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 Dr Christie Tcharkhoutian, senior matchmaker with the matchmaking service Three 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 prioritise you. Maybe it’s because they don’t want to have no one (“People don’t like to be alone,” Forness says); maybe it’s because you seem like someone they should be dating.
Either way, their energy is spent elsewhere. “Because of apps, everyone knows there’s 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.”
🍇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 holiday, 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.”
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’s actually worth your time.