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Giving the Slow Fade the Middle Finger


Poker Face...Isn't that a Lady Gaga Song?

I’m a transparent person and couldn’t play poker worth a damn. Since I wear my heart on my sleeve, it can get smacked around in the dating process. My heart’s most recent causality involved a “great on paper” guy that I met on OKCupid. He far exceeded all the qualities I look for in man. It is a short list (five items) but it prevents me from going on dates with people that aren’t a match – why waste my or his time? 1. Chemistry? Off the charts. 2. Highly motivated? Absolutely, I wondered when this guy slept. 3. Shared Interests? There was no shortage of activities we both loved. 4. Shared Values? Yep. 5. Taller than me? At 5’8, I felt dwarfed by this 6’5 man. All systems were GO GO GO!

So, how did I go from smitten to royally pissed off? Let me give you the play-by-play from the beginning. I logged onto OKCupid and saw that I had a new message! This notification isn’t necessarily a good thing. Typically, my messages consist merely of “Hi”, “Hey” or something not fit to print. This message though? It was different and caught my eye:

“Hi, You come across as very smart and are also gorgeous. I would love to chat with you. I look forward to hearing from you. - [his name]”

In order to protect his identity, I will now refer to him as “Fader.” To provide you with some background, we’re both in business school and have busy schedules. After we exchanged messages on OKCupid and then numbers, we found a day a week later that worked for both of us. I was out with girlfriends the night after Fader and I first connected and I texted him after 11pm (Note: what good could come this late at night?). I was such an overeager beaver. Oh, liquid courage you are a cruel friend! Instead of our initially scheduled date at a proper location, we ended up meeting up at a terrible bar at 12:30am. What good can take place at this time? None!

At this fratastic bar, I attempted to find two seats next to each other. I had to make my way through the crowds of double-collar popped douches and scantily-clad girls in barely-there skirts and tops. Ugh. When he arrived, I was relieved. He looked better than his photos (which were very good) and was a stark contrast to the rest of the men in the bar. This was likely my first mistake with Fader. I met him in a setting that predisposed him to succeed. In turn, this led me to overestimate his potential. We shared a few kisses over drinks. I was on the BroTanic – anyone close to normal on this sinking ship would be Leonardo DiCaprio. He walked me back to my apartment and sealed the evening with a kiss. This was going so well! Or so I thought…

We texted each other (way too much) after our date. Second mistake. We made plans to get together two days later. He suggested we meet for dinner – awesome! How refreshing – most guys do not want to commit to sharing a meal this early. I’ve found they will commit to sharing a bed, but not to a meal. Fader mentioned that he remembered me saying how much I enjoyed entertaining. So, naturally, the best place to eat would be at my apartment…where I could cook for us! At the time, I thought this was a great idea! He listened to what I was interested in and was incredibly thoughtful in suggesting this date idea. Now, I see he was cheap, selfish and looking for me to offer “dessert” after dinner. Not that there is anything wrong with this situation or hooking up early in general, but I clearly perceived this “date” as something much more than it was.

Given how excited I was about the potential of Fader, you can likely figure out how the evening went. I cooked up a wonderful meal, we shared meaningful conversation and we definitely enjoyed dessert. What was dessert? I’ll leave it to your imagination. Following this date and more texting (way too much), we made plans to hang out again two days later. He showed up to meet me an hour later than he said. He “lost track” of time. Another red flag. When you’re getting to know someone, it isn’t a good idea to not follow through on what you say. Naturally stuff comes up. Just let the other person know what is going on. This, of course, only applies if you care what the other person thinks. Oh Fader! This was the beginning of the end but I was too hopeful to see it.

As he headed home, we made plans to get together the following evening. I shouldn’t have been surprised with what happened. We were supposed to meet up at 9pm. I didn’t hear from him until 10…AM…the following morning. He “blacked out” and wasn’t able to call me, let alone meet up. That day he was leaving for a weekend trip so I didn’t reach out to him. You can probably guess Fader didn’t reach out to me because, well, he was starting to execute his grand plan: the Fade Away.

I told myself he was “busy” and I would text him when he got back from the trip to make sure he was ok. He responded. I noticed a pattern. The dynamic changed after the second time we hung out – he responded but no longer pursued. I should have picked up on this cue but I REALLY wanted it to work so I pretended it wasn’t happening. He said he was really “busy,” a classic Fader move. I decided to embarrass myself further so I sent him one final text. One more nail in this sad, sad coffin. I asked if he was even interested in me and he said “let’s talk next week,” so I deleted his number. Was I upset? Absolutely! I was more upset at my response to his lack of interest. Fader didn’t need to explicitly tell me he wasn’t interested in me. It was clear from his actions or rather inactions that he was over it. I wanted closure though. Why should I expect closure from someone after 3 dates? In order to prevent myself from getting so disappointed, I need to change my approach, especially to dessert! Here is how I’m going to approach upcoming dates:

How to Stop the Burn from a Fader: 5 Simple Steps

Step 1. Limit Contact Between Dates

False intimacy is a chronic issue with online dating. Why? We read a profile and text constantly so we begin to think we know the other person much more than we actually do. 100 text messages do not a relationship make. A profile is a cultivated representation of the person. You know only what this person has handpicked to share with you, including pictures and personal information. Additionally, texting can make you feel like you’re truly connecting with someone. If a man I was going to date called me, I would be shocked. Who talks on the phone anymore except for emergencies? Instead of freaking out by a phone call, embrace it! Talking on the phone allows you to get to know someone much better than constantly texting. It doesn’t allow for wittily-crafted responses. Talking “live” lets you get to know who the other person really is and not who he wants to project. Also, texting too much at the beginning can set up unrealistic expectations and very real disappointment. We’re constantly plugged in. Online dating encourages us to go from strangers to 24/7 contact. This makes a Fade Away that much harder. Going from 0 to 60 to 0 hurts! With some of the guys that have faded me, I feel as if they were an apparition. Did they ever exist or were they merely a figment of my imagination? By easing into contact with a new person, you can prevent sensory and emotional overload.

Step 2. Gauge Interest by Who Initiates Contact

A relationship, especially a new one, should be a two-way street. Neither person should feel like they are doing all the work. If you find yourself initiating all contact, this is likely a bad sign. If this new person is merely reacting to your actions, I would be cautious. Chemistry should be felt and expressed by both people. If you’re chasing someone that isn’t interested, you will be disappointed and hurt by the burn of the fade. Seek balance. If you’re doing all the work and merely hearing back half-assed responses – take the hint and RUN from the Fade.

Step 3. Ask Yourself...Would He Be “Too Busy” For Angelina Jolie?

If you are constantly being told your new crush is busy, ask yourself if they would be too busy for his ideal match. I get that people are genuinely busy. Oftentimes, however, it is just a convenient excuse and not as mean as saying “I’d rather spend my limited time with someone else.” Too often I’ve rationalized when a guy has told me he is busy. Um, I’m busy too and my time is just as valuable. Instead of constantly following up with him, let this person follow up with you. Ask yourself, Angelina had plans with him, would “I’m too busy” still be the response? If you’re not worth his time, he’s not worth yours.   

Step 4. Be Honest...Are Dates Just Thinly Veiled Hook-Ups?

Faders tend to fade after they get what they came for: oftentimes, this is “dessert”. So, be mindful of who you’re serving it up to. If you get Faded by someone that you merely went on a couple dates with, it likely won’t hurt as much as if you hooked up. As a woman, I’ve found I tend to feel much more strongly about someone I’m seeing after we hook up. From experience, this isn’t necessarily true with men I’ve dated. If you’re not looking for a relationship and just want to fix your sweet tooth, then by all means, get after it. If you want something more, I’ve found waiting several dates increases the sweetness.

Step 5. This isn't the Doctor. No News Isn't Good News.

If you have a feeling he isn't interested, you’re right. The moment you think you need to ask whether he is interested is the moment you need to delete the number. This strategy prevents me from desperate texting. The sooner you can move on from someone that isn’t interested, the less hurt you’ll be when it doesn’t work out.

Dealing with Fader sucked. I set myself up for disappointment. I made our pseudo-relationship into something much more than it actually ever was. I texted way too much. I initiated everything. I made excuses for him being busy. I thought we went on “dates” which were actually just meeting late at night to hook up. Finally, I thought I needed to hear from him that he wasn’t interested when he made it abundantly clear by his actions…or rather inactions.

With Fader, I found myself repeating a pattern. I tried to make something out of nothing. I got so excited by him far exceeding what I wanted (good on paper!) that I didn’t take time to think about what he really wanted. I was looking for a relationship. I found out after asking more questions that he was brand new to online dating (I just checked on OKCupid and he deactivated his profile). On the other hand, I’m an online dating veteran. I’ve gone on many dates and have figured out what I’m looking for in a match. My takeaway from this entire experience is to know what you're getting involved in before you get too emotionally committed. Is this easier said than done? Of course! It is never easy, is it? In order to prevent getting burned by a Fader, you should ease myself into dating the next guy. I’ll call it the “Fade In.”

Until Next Time,