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Jared Freid (@jtrain56) is a comedian and one of the “Bros” at HeTexted.com. HeTexted is a site where girls can get advice on the texts they receive from guys. Every Thursday on PostGradProblems Jared will answer one of the questions from his HeTexted mailbag. These are real questions from real girls visiting the site each day. If you have any of your own dating questions go to www.HeTexted.com and ask Jared or any of the other Bros that fit your particular situation.
Q: So I met this guy on Tinder and we hit it off. In the beginning he was trying to hang out all the time, would always invite me to hang out with his friends, go out drinks, etc. On our second date he initiated the ‘where is this going’ convo and said he was looking for a relationship. We finally did have sex (I initiated) and things seemed to only get stronger between us for a month. I met the majority of his friends, his mom knew about me- he would sometimes call while at my house and she’d say hi, etc. Then all of a sudden seemed to be pulling away, he would still text almost everyday but hanging out was less frequent and if we did it was with friends. Then he just vanished. I sent him a text asking if he was ever really interested in me or if I screwed up and he never responded. I feel like after 3 months plus of talking he should’ve at least been like I’m not looking for something serious or I met someone else, anything. What gives? How does someone change so much? How does someone just disappear? What did I do?
A: This is a classic “slow fade” but you may know it by one of its other names, like “the Houdini,” “the phase out,” “going extinct,” or if you’re a girl, “the what the fuck.” It’s a pretty simple concept. You meet a girl, go on some dates, get a little too drunk, and then say things like, “I’ve never felt this way” and “my mom would love you” and any other line that would give you goosebumps as if you were watching a highlight reel of your early ejaculations. Then things go deeper, you go on daytime dates, you introduce this girl to friends, and you even talk about the idea of a girl maybe pooping (basically engaged to be engaged). Then you’re on a track. This track leads toward something more serious until you realize you moved too quickly. It’s only been a month. You like this girl, but you have no idea why you said that mom stuff and girls don’t poop. You got ahead of yourself and you know you said some stuff that could be seen as promises. You know that you like this girl, but there’s something missing. You have no idea what that “something” is and the best option is to just cut bait. But what do you say to the girl who you like but not as much as you implied? Nothing. You become aloof, you do a little less, you make some excuses, and you drift away like a balloon until you vanish into the blue and all that’s left is your image on a Facebook page. You’ve slowly faded into memory.
Understand this, please. No guy is proud of the slow fade. I’ve never been out with my friends and had one guy explain that the girl he’d been seeing, “has no idea what happened” as he laughed and we all high fived like he faked his own death and collected the insurance money. I’ve used the slow fade and I remember explaining it to friends like an emergency lever that I couldn’t avoid pulling. Like I had to make a quick decision that was ultimately the wrong one, which consequently led to more horrible decisions. It was an explanation that went from, “She’s a great person, but I just wasn’t into it” to “I just kind of stopped hanging out with her so much” to “Is that her? Stand in front of me” to “Listen man, I don’t have to explain myself” to “I’m just a dick! I know.” Most guys have slow faded once or twice, and it isn’t a proud moment. It’s an admission of being a pussy. We had no idea how to explain to a perfectly good person who’s only been nice to us and our balls that we just couldn’t move forward with the relationship. It’s not that we bullshitted you with that mom talk–it’s that guys are just as emotional as girls and can get swept up in a nice moment.
My advice to this girl and anyone else who gets slow faded is to try and move on. Don’t concentrate on the “Why?” Understand this wasn’t as diabolical as it feels. He didn’t have this grand plan that started with saying nice things only to lead to seeing your boobs, and it ended with him feeling anxious anytime he’s in your neighborhood. He disappeared because that felt easier than the conversation (which he probably now regrets). I don’t think it’s a bad thing to send him a pointed text to get things off your back, but it shouldn’t be with the goal of meeting in person because that won’t get you answers. The message should be to let him know that you know it’s over and that it was hurtful for him to not even give you the honesty and courtesy of an actual ending. You don’t have to do this, but at least it gives you the closure that he wouldn’t let happen. Then go on more dates. Meet new people and use the things you liked about the guy who disappeared to judge the next guy. Don’t let this be a situation that scares you, because it’s not how guys want things to end or how most things end in general. As I said, I have slow faded and I still feel horrible about it–but at least girls don’t poop.