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MissAnthrope's avatar

When dating, is it acceptable to end a relationship by doing a 'fadeaway'? How would you feel if someone did this to you?

Asked by MissAnthrope (21462points) November 6th, 2010

The Fadeaway is when someone ends a relationship by reducing contact until one has disappeared from the other person’s life.

The article I’ve linked inspired me to this question. I have a hard time deciding what I think about the answer to this question. I’ve been on both sides of the fence and my answer changes depending on whichever side I’m currently sitting.

Does it make a difference:

- Whether the relationship is started in person vs. online, where people can misrepresent themselves and it’s difficult to gauge actual personal chemistry?

- The length of the relationship? Say 1–5 dates, as opposed to an established relationship.

Which is preferable to you: Not saying anything and letting the person figure it out (and having the freedom to pick their own reasons why), or having a break up talk and formalizing your rejection? If you were on the receiving end, which would you prefer (honesty vs. ambiguity)?

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28 Answers

DrasticDreamer's avatar

I would always prefer honesty. Anything else is cowardly and shady, in my opinion.

deni's avatar

if a relationship can fade out then i dont think it was ever a real relationship to begin with. it sounds shitty and lame and a really cowardly way to do things. not to mention a waste of 2 peoples time. thumbs down.

lillycoyote's avatar

Once, I guy I dated 4 or 5 times pulled The Fadeaway on me and I called him up and let him know exactly what I thought about that kind of thing. I hate ambiguity.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

If I’m on the receiving end, I prefer open and honest. I’m not really good with ambiguity in any form, dating or otherwise. Course, if I’m the one doing the rejecting, my love for the chickenshit route does increase….
Online vs real life – it’s more important to treat me right in real life, because the connection is more serious. But because of the inherent ambiguity of all things online, it’s more important to be clear and upfront, since I have no way of knowing if you became ill or a friend came into town or you have actually been really busy with work.
1 date vs 5 date – 1 date, no biggy, fade away (unless we did it). 5 dates, at least try to use a really obvious line to help me take a hint! Just because I’m a woman doesn’t mean I’m great with subtlety, so for the love of God, don’t think that your secretly coded messages of rejection will be decoded just because I have boobs.
Established relationship – Fine. Fadeaway. But I know where you live, and where you work, and I probably know where your gym is and where you like to walk your dog, so really ask yourself if that’s the wise move???

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Ok, I just realized that maybe that last part might seem a little creepy and stalkery. So I just wanted to point out that if you’re trying the fadeaway, there’s no way for me to know that you haven’t been kidnapped or SVUd, so I’ll probably freak out that you’ve been injured, try to track you down to make sure you’re ok, and then it’s much harder to just fade away when we’re face to face. And before you say “But how often do you really have to worry about that?” allow me to answer: A freakishly high amount for someone who’s only 24. Or any other age, for that matter.

janbb's avatar

I think the Fadeaway sucks.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

I think it’s interesting that the article calls a proper break-up “drawn out”, because it implies that the fadeaway is fast and clean instead of normally a month-long process or more. And that it refers to it as a “New York City” dating practice, like this is totally unique to the men of NYC instead of practiced world-wide….

A lot of the reasons for doing the fadeaway are just rationalizations. Yes, women could say “he’s a player” and move on, but they won’t. Yes, they’ll be upset that you’re dumping them. They’ll be upset either way – it’s not like they aren’t saying those same things when you fade away, the difference is if you hear them or not. When Chris London says honesty backfired, it’s like he was expecting a breakup to be a ponyride with ice cream and rainbows. It was her gut reaction, that doesn’t mean she feels the same way even 15 minutes later. I think that one guy said it best – if you’re old enough to date, you’re old enough to say “I’m not interested”.

chyna's avatar

The fadeaway is a cowards way out. Yes, I’d wonder if the person was dead or in a coma. Just tell the truth.

Seaofclouds's avatar

I’ll take honesty any day and would be honest if I was the one ending the relationship. Ambiguity leads to trouble from what I’ve seen with other people.

lloydbird's avatar

@MissAnthrope I’ll tell you in a few days, honey. I’ve just got a few things to attend to first. See you then.xx

trailsillustrated's avatar

it’s happened to everyone at some point.

Plucky's avatar

Ugh ..ok I wasn’t going to comment on this question but here goes… Please bare with me, it is long and I’m trying to explain a bit in the first part. I will try to give just the main details.

I have been with my partner for almost 10 years. Several years ago she was diagnosed with Lupus SLE and, over time, her labido sort of dried up into nothing. Sex was not something that determined our relationship I was ok with that. Plus, I was quite ill myself as well (brain tumors) – yeah, we are a pair lol.

Anyways, I started playing an online game 3 years ago and met someone via gaming. This was/is not normal for me ..I certainly wasn’t looking for it either. At first, I was confused at my feelings. I was sexually and emotionally drawn to her. I confided in my partner about everything. We came to the agreement that it was ok for me to have a relationship with this person ..while still remaining with my partner. This person lives a few provinces away from me. We have never met in person. We have talked via voice chat, video chat, typed chat, email and sometimes written letters. We became very close ..she was like part of the family. She lives with her life partner (who was aware and ok with our relationship as well) and their young son. As far as I know ..this type of thing was new for both of us.

Things were going well until this past year. And I’ve had a very difficult time getting her to actually connect with me. There have been plenty of reasons and excuses she’s given me. But, basically, things just seemed to stop. Not even a call or an email for my birthday in the spring.

I’ve never heard of this Fadeaway until reading this question. It seems very familiar to me in regards to what is happening in my life right now. I did nothing to this person to cause this behaviour. I know she has been under alot of stress in the last year ..which seemed to change her completely (or at least bring up old bad habits perhaps). In the last 3 months, I’ve sent 3 short messages and one long one this week ..pretty much begging for something, some inkling that she gives a damn about how this looks and feels on my end. I’m feeling used and discarded. My partner is upset because I am hurt.

So ..I think the Fadeaway is horrible. I believe in honesty. I’d rather be told than just left to figure out what happened. Maybe I’m biased because I am dealing with this right now – and I’ve never done a Fadeaway to someone else. I can see several reasons for this type of situation to occur, especially in a new relationship. But in a solid established relationship Not unless there is abuse or threat involved.

After a few years, I think I deserve some type of explanation and closure. And that’s saying alot ..because it’s hard for me to acknowledge that I deserve something in the first place.

Thank you for reading…lol now I’m nervous. But there it is.

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@PluckyDog Wow, I am so sorry. You deserve better.

chyna's avatar

@PluckyDog No judgements here. Sorry you are going through that issue.

Plucky's avatar

Aww thank you :)

nikipedia's avatar

The Fadeaway doesn’t have to be a bad thing!!! I was dating a guy for about four months. We both knew it wasn’t anything serious. It kind of stopped being fun and we both just stopped calling each other right around the same time.

We’ve run into each other a couple times and it’s no big deal. Last time he asked me to return a book I borrowed. (I never did. Oops.)

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@nikipedia But isn’t the difference there that it was mutually done? As opposed to being done to you? And that it just sorta happened, instead of being a planned move to avoid confrontation?

MissAnthrope's avatar

To me, it’s much more acceptable to me when it’s a casual relationship (@nikipedia) rather than an established relationship (@pluckydog), due to the varying amounts of time, energy, and emotions invested.

I admit that the Fadeaway is kind of my M.O. I mean, if I’m meeting someone I met online for a first date, and I don’t feel physical chemistry, is it really that much better to say so? I mean, you’re basically telling them you didn’t find them attractive. I appreciate honesty and all, but there are some things that are much better for my sensitive ego if they go unsaid. On the other hand, being left hanging can feel cruel, shitty, and unfair because there’s no closure and you’re left wondering what happened.

In an established, committed relationship, I would never just drop a relationship without a word because that strikes me as really wrong, selfish, and cruel. However, for the same reasons I might do a Fadeaway in a casual date situation, I also am rarely the person who initiates a break-up. You might consider it a mental Fadeaway, where as time goes on, I grow ever more distant, in hopes that they break up with me.

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MyNewtBoobs's avatar

@MissAnthrope Yeah but you don’t have to tell them why you aren’t interested, just make it clear that they won’t be hearing from you again.

TexasDude's avatar

Someone did this to me once, sortof, and it sucked ass. I’d rather have honesty… or hell, even a cataclysmic argument than a fadeaway.

kenmc's avatar

It’s cowardly and mean.

KatawaGrey's avatar

This would never happen to me. I’m too oblivious to figure out that they would be trying to break up with me and I’m too blunt to just let it be. If after one date, I don’t get a call or a response to my calls, I let it lie. Two or three dates and I feel bad but might let it lie. I’ve never actually gotten to this point. Every guy I’ve had more than two dates with has become a boyfriend. If the relationship was established, that would not fly. I’m one of those annoying girls who hates going more than a day or two without talking to my significant other so if I didn’t hear from him for more than, say, four days, barring a good reason like one of us being on vacation or something like that I’d probably call his friends trying to get ahold of him.

lillycoyote's avatar

I’ve gotten 7 GAs so far on my answer above and I think it may be time that I confess that the guy in question was very young, quite a bit younger than I was, my one and only “boy toy.” I’m not entirely certain I would have gone with the same approach if I wasn’t pretty sure I could take him down in a phone conversation. He didn’t really have much of a chance, I don’t think, so I went with it.

Paradox's avatar

That sounds like me. I have a tendency to do this hoping they get the hint.

cockswain's avatar

I’ve done it to a few people, but only once to someone I’d been dating more than a few weeks. While I suppose it was sort of cowardly, I think I did it more because I didn’t care enough about how the person felt and really didn’t actually want to see or talk to her anymore. Really it just came down to not feeling like dealing with a potential bunch of drama.

On the flipside, it’s been done to me and I didn’t like it, because I liked her and realized she felt apathetic towards me (like I described above.)

micklolekonda's avatar

Depending on what type of man (or woman) you’re dealing with, it can be totally acceptable to use the fade-away.

Of course most people, myself included, like to be told the truth and honesty can be appreciated. But only by someone who doesn’t take the rejection personally and is mature enough to understand that the relationship wasn’t the right fit. Those who can handle the truth and move on, possibly even becoming friends.

There are, however, situations when using the fade away might be the better alternative. Such as if you feel that the recipient of the bad news won’t be able to handle it. Not being able to handle it includes examples such as; them taking it personally and turning into a stalker, having an ex who decides to make it his/her life purpose to make your life miserable and even ruin any potential relationship you may have in the future.

Regardless of whether the relationship started offline or online, a good rule of thumb is this; if you feel that a civil relationship can be maintained or that they can respect your terms of the separation after ending a relationship face-to-face, letting the person know is an honorable thing to do. If not, the fade-away can be the better alternative when looking for someone to forget about you… Hopefully. [Link removed by Fluther]

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