TikTok Has Horrible Advice on How to Deal with Men Who ‘Slow Fade’—Here’s What to Do Instead

Hell hath no fury like a woman slow-faded

Dasha Burobina for PureWow

Every so often, my mother hits me with a ‘pearl of wisdom.’ The first one came when I was 12, after I walked into my kitchen wearing a white tube top and a purple Victoria's Secret bra. She took one Miranda Priestly-style glare before she pelted me with her ice-cold advice: “That’s not the outfit that’ll get him to ask you out. Always leave him wanting more.” 

Since then, I’ve made less questionable wardrobe choices, but Mom’s pearls of wisdom echo the same message: Never let a man dictate your behavior. When I turned 18, she said, “He gets three days to reach out. If you don’t hear from him by then…on to the next!” And at 24, she advised: “Match his energy. Never give more than what you’re getting back.” 

Which brings me to the current topic I’m seeing all over TikTok: The slow fade. It’s a modern breakup where a man decides he “doesn’t care anymore” and “doesn’t want to invest time,” but he won’t come right out and break up with you. Instead, “you find out slowly, over time, as he pulls his energy back,” explains one user named Daniella in a video. She, along with hundreds of users in the comments, struggled to move past the unceremonious nature of a slow fade. “We talked nonstop for five months until he slowly started pulling away. Then, he stopped opening my messages altogether. It still hurts to think about,” commented one woman. And another user mentioned how it made her question her self-worth. It took six months before she could “pick her esteem up out of the gutter.” 

This is because the pain of a slow fade leaves you with a lack of closure. Coupled with a dwindling withdrawal of affection, it can make you feel unworthy and forgotten. It’s completely one-sided compared to a traditional breakup, and you have no form of recourse. You’re left feeling deceived and bamboozled—and it’s exacerbated by the fact that your beloved doesn’t seem to care if you live or die. 

Naturally, this can lead to only one outcome: Anger. (Hell hath no fury like a woman slow-faded.) It’s the reason why I’m also seeing an uptick of ‘text scripts’ on TikTok. Essentially, these are pre-planned soliloquies that you can text to confront your slow fader. One example is this user's suggestion of sending a paragraph that says things like, “I’ve been noticing some distance” and, “I definitely don’t want that because I’ve liked how things have been progressing.” The problem here? Text scripts completely negate my mother’s wisdom of always matching his energy.

When I first heard about the slow fade, I didn’t think twice: don’t let the door hit him on the way out. If a guy is texting less, I’m not texting at all. If he stops planning dates, I’m at a wine bar with friends. And before you call me juvenile, let me explain. When someone suddenly upends a relationship, we, women tend to look back through rose-colored glasses. There’s no *boom* of a breakup, so all we’re left with are the residual feelings of love, which boils into resentment. This is what eventually breeds the festering urge to text—we feel duped, almost robbed, of our fairy tale ending. In reality, however, confrontation is a waste of time. It’s unlikely to change the current situation, nor will it magically reignite his interest. Ever wonder why men completely check out mid-argument? It’s because they weren’t looking to talk in the first place. The most ineffective way to grasp a man’s attention is by serving up your concerns on a silver platter. 

Instead of forcing a conversation he was (clearly) trying to avoid, pull back your energy and see what happens. The best-case scenario is that he realizes he misses you—and you’ve made it clear that you won’t stick around if he goes awol. The worst possible outcome is that you spare yourself a humiliating explanation of why he should value you. Either way, you walk away with clarity on where he stands. The power of assuming he’s just not that into you is that it can force you to see that he wasn’t that great to begin with. If you need TikTok to engineer a text script … he's probably not your guy. (Why would you even want to be with someone who you can’t speak freely with?) I’m all for cutting through the bullsh*t and saying it like it is, but text scripts are just a distraction from what really matters: Finding the right person for you.

The bottom line: Having a pre-planned confrontation probably won’t change his mind—you’d be better off redirecting your energy toward an updated Hinge profile. Let the guy go, grieve it for as long as you need, and recognize that your guy won’t pull a Where’s Waldo when it’s time to commit.

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Associate Editor

Sydney Meister is PureWow's Associate Editor, covering everything from dating trends and relationship advice (here's looking at you, 'soonicorns') to interior design, beauty...