The Slow Fade Is The Most Toxic Way To End A Relationship. Here's Why

It seems things are constantly evolving in the dating sphere of the digital age; and, when it comes to calling things off — or rather, not clearly doing that at all — there appear to be some missing links in the categories of common courtesy and general decency. 

While every human deserves kind, conscious communication in the already treacherous realm of dating, actually receiving that sort of energy seems to be a rare experience. If you've ever had the creeping realization that the person you're dating is being a bit distant, isn't responding as enthusiastically to texts, and always has vague excuses for being unable to hang out, they might be pulling a slow fade.

So, what exactly is a slow fade? Essentially, it's an indirect way to end a relationship without communication. "The 'slow fade' often happens because one person of the couple has become less committed to the relationship and isn't brave enough to just end it," Christine Baumgartner, dating and relationship coach at The Perfect Catch, told Bustle. The slow fade may seem gentler than ghosting or dumping, but some say it's actually the most toxic way to break up with someone. Let's examine why.

The slow fade dishonors the other person

Being on the receiving end of a slow fade can feel pretty humiliating. Unlike an old-fashioned breakup, or even ghosting, the slow fade leaves you under the impression that you're still seeing someone who is maybe just busy with other demands and that things will smooth out soon — meanwhile, they've very much made the quiet decision to move on. And, rather than having the opportunity to grieve the relationship and move on yourself, you're left in a confused, gray area, wondering what's going on.

While being ghosted feels just as painful and disrespectful, at least it's typically clear that the relationship is over. With the slow fade, the hard truth can be dragged out over a longer period of days or weeks, tying up your time and emotional availability. It's also pretty likely that experiencing a slow fade will lead to some trust issues in the future — who wouldn't be on the lookout for slow fade signals in their next relationship?

It's an attempt to dodge guilt and a hard conversation

So, what's the reasoning behind choosing to slowly fade out of a relationship rather than ending it directly? Most often, it's likely the easiest way to avoid the difficulty of breaking up and the guilt of ghosting. But, as we've established, it still leaves a lot of wreckage in its wake. 

If your heart has been sinking as you read this, realizing you are, in fact, the victim of a slow fade, it's perfectly acceptable to confront the slow fader. Just because they are choosing not to communicate consciously and openly, doesn't mean you have to follow suit. Consider asking them if they just need some space or if they are actually no longer interested in the relationship — which you've gleaned from their distance. Pressing send on a text like this is obviously easier said than done, but your time and heart deserve to be freed up for someone who is truly invested.