l'll admit it, I’ve done it. I’m not proud of it, and even though I was much younger and dumber than I am now, I can’t change the fact that I’ve done it.
Olive here and I have a confession:
I’ve committed the unspeakable, terrible, reprehensible ways of breaking up. Email, text message and the absolute worst method possible, The Fadeout. When I was in my early- twenties, I thought these were 100% acceptable ways to end a relationship.
But they aren’t, not really.
While casually sitting on my couch, painting my toenails, I sent the final breakup SMS to my boyfriend at the time, Michael. It was a total dick move. Luckily, Michael let me know how totally unacceptable it was and after a deserved and angry berating, I realized that he was right.
Unfortunately, even after I saw the error of my ways regarding text message breakups, I still thought it was perfectly okay to do The Fadeout.
Ah yes, The Fadeout. An age old ritual of ending things. It’s a timeless and classic move that requires no energy or effort. It usually starts with one person casually blowing off plans. Calls and texts start coming less frequently. Language becomes less affectionate. Questions are rarely asked during the fadeout. (I.E. There’s no “How was your day?” text. And if you’re being faded the response will simply be “Good, Thanks.”)
Communication slowly starts to decrease and eventually ceases without either party addressing the situation.
At one point in my life, I truly believed this was a mature way to end a relationship. I remember telling my roommate, “Sometimes you’re just not compatible with someone. And that’s ok! It doesn’t mean you’re a bad person or that they are a bad person. The Fadeout works because it’s just two people mutually accepting that fact. Sometimes there’s nothing to discuss.”
I believed that until I started dating Justin. Like most relationships, we started out with the honeymoon phase. After a few months though, we realized that Justin loved expensive cocktails while I prefer cheap beer. He’s a realist, I’m a dreamer. We were never going to work long-term. So when Justin started avoiding me and taking hours to respond to my texts, I figured he was doing The Fadeout.
I was wrong.
It was a Friday afternoon when he sent me a “we need to talk” text and called shortly thereafter. I stared at the phone while it rang asking,“Why are you calling? We don’t need to hash this out. We don’t work, that’s it. Done.”
Annoyed, I answered the phone. There was no “It’s not you, it’s me” bullshit. He didn’t attack me or my character. He simply said, “I respect and admire you because you’re a really awesome person but I’m not sure we work as a couple.” I agreed with that statement. It was one of the first times I’ve ever had a mature, gentle breakup chat.
After I hung up the phone I felt something I hadn’t felt in a long time.
By having a chat, I wasn’t wondering if maybe he was “just super busy” with work like I occasionally did with the fadeout. I wasn’t secretly hoping that he would call me out of the blue to chat. I knew I wasn’t going to receive any 3 am texts. We were officially done. And we’d done it on good terms. Because of that Justin and I were eventually able to become friends again. Which I’m grateful for because he’s an awesome friend.
Sure, there are still a few minor circumstances where it’s ok to utilize The Fadeout. I would say if you’ve gone on two dates or so, it’s fine. But if you’ve been dating for a month or more, call that person. Don’t be a dick, they deserve the closure and so do you.