There's almost nothing worse than feeling like you're slowly drifting apart from someone you're dating. The only way the situation sucks more is if it's totally one-sided: you're still into them, but they're pulling away from you. Most people have experienced some version of the "slow fade" — aka when someone just gradually stops hanging out or talking to you without ever really addressing the issue head-on. Knowing how to maturely handle the slow fade is a super useful skill to have, but why does it happen in the first place?
"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, tells Bustle. "The ‘slow fade’ is often done by becoming less available to see the other person. They’re too busy to make plans with you or they cancel plans they’ve made with you. This is crappy behavior because it actually isn’t honest or honoring of either person’s feelings."
Here are seven ways a grown-ass woman handles the slow fade, because mature women don't have time to play games and get treated like crap.
1She Recognizes The Signs Right Away
Having your eyes open to the signs of a slow fade — like canceling dates or less-frequent texting — will enable you to figure out sooner whether the person you're dating is really worthy of your time and energy.
"A mature woman will probably realize the signs early on when the slow fade begins," Samantha Burns, couples counselor and dating coach at Love Successfully, tells Bustle. "She’ll likely address it in a calm and direct way, such as, 'I noticed you haven’t been as responsive lately. I just wanted to check in to see where we stand?'"
2She's Direct With Her Emotions
With a grown-ass woman, there's no beating around the bush. If she notices someone fading out on her, she'll address it directly and get to the bottom of things.
"The first step will be to address the fade," April Davis, relationship expert and CEO of LUMA – Luxury Matchmaking, tells Bustle. "Emotionally intelligent women are not afraid to ask their partner why they are becoming disinterested. Mature women are good at addressing the problem at hand. She will solve any issues that can be corrected. They will find peace and end the relationship if the issues cannot be resolved."
3She Doesn't Listen To Excuses
There's nothing more infuriating than someone who's constantly making excuses for their bad behavior. A grown-ass woman has no time for denial and deflection.
"The person that’s fading away might become defensive or deny the change in behavior, making up excuses instead of identifying and discussing what’s going on internally," Burns says. "After all, if they had this insight and communication skill, they wouldn’t leave their partner in the dark."
4She Doesn't Play The "Chill Girl"
There are plenty of occasions to be "chill" in a relationship, like when your partner buys your second-favorite ice cream flavor by accident. But you shouldn't have to pretend to be cool with crappy behavior, and should never feel ashamed to ask for what you need in a relationship.
"An immature dater may stick it out, playing 'chill girl' in hopes that if she’s patient and doesn’t push it, he will come around to his senses or tell her how he’s feeling," Burns says. "She’s likely afraid to vocalize her emotions and assert herself when she doesn’t feel her needs are being met in the relationship."
5She Doesn't Lose Her Sense Of Self-Worth
Going through a breakup always sucks, but a mature woman knows that her sense of self-worth isn't dependent on her relationship status. Even if she gets ghosted, she realizes that someone else's immaturity isn't a reflection of her worth as an individual or as a romantic partner.
"A mature woman knows if [someone] is ghosting or slowly fading away, that it’s OK," Davis says. "A mature woman tends to be a confident woman that knows they are worthy of being loved. When a relationship is fading away these types of women shift their focuses back onto themselves."
6She Keeps Herself Busy
Rather than wallowing in self-pity, a grown-ass woman knows that the fastest way to get over a breakup is to keep herself busy with friends, family, and hobbies.
"Focusing on our interests, friends, and family grounds us," Davis says. "When you have a lot going on with work and hobbies, it is easy to prevent yourself from overthinking."
7She Doesn't Act Out
It might be tempting to get "revenge" on someone who subjected you to the slow fade, but it's important to understand that that temporary satisfaction isn't worth the drama — and neither is stooping to their level.
"Relationships are a two-way street," Davis says. "Sometimes the woman feels the fade of the relationship as well. If a mature woman is concerned about the relationship ending, she will act.... not act out."
It's never fun to get dumped, but if you keep your head held high and handle the situation with grace and maturity, you'll be the one who comes out on top — and then it's onto the next, hopefully more mature, partner.
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