The Story Of The Five Dater Fader

August 26th, 2013

Break Ups, Casual Dating, Dating, Sex, The Fade

55confused-211x300Name: CityGal
Comment: Hi Moxie,

I’ve been dating this guy for a few weeks (our last date was Saturday – our fifth date) and wanted to get your perspective on whether or not I’m blowing this out of proportion in my mind.

Everything has been moving along fine with us – we’re just getting to know each other and on our most recent date on Saturday, I met his friend and friend’s girlfriend…We had dinner, went to a party, and checked out a new lounge in the city. I also ended up spending the night (while we didn’t have sex, we definitely fooled around and did everything-but). He dropped me off yesterday morning, and an hour or so later, I sent him a picture that a friend took of us that was taken a few days prior when we went to a marketing agency launch event. He didn’t respond. Complete silence. Meanwhile, he’s been “active” on the online dating site where we met.

I know he’s sending me a clear message that we’re done, but I guess it’s unsettling that I thought I knew him, and it would dissolve so soon.

Any thoughts/advice?

Age: 36
City: Seattle
State: WA


My take on this situation is that this  feels he’s proven himself worthy and shouldn’t have to deal with the “everything but” treatment. Keep in mind that the real issue in a lot of these instances isn’t the lack of sex, but the feeling that guys are expected to turn all kinds of tricks in order to gain the woman’s approval. The other possibility is that he simply decided he wasn’t interested but just failed to clue you in on that decision. the Fade sucks and nobody likes it, but a lot of people can rationalize it. We didn’t have sex, we weren’t really dating, I only had two dates with them. We do it. We can’t stop people from justifying their bad behavior. All we can do is control how we react to it.

I think the major complication here was that you presumed to know how he was evaluating the relationship. As I said to a friend this morning, many people find it hard to be objective when it comes to their personal experiences. This discussion was inspired by a blog post about playing hard to get. The woman telling the story used an experience she had to explain why playing hard to get doesn’t work. In her tale, she revealed that a man she knew had been chasing her for several years. When she finally agreed to go out with him, his interest waned. She asserts that that is because she was no longer a challenge. Which, of course, is possible. But it’s also possible he simply was never all that interested in her but was only wooing her when he had no options in the hopes of getting laid. Or, once he got a chance to take her out, he decided they weren’t compatible. Neither of those fit her internal narrative where she’s heavily in demand and wildly captivating. So it makes sense that she rationalizes that his lack of interest was that she no longer provided a challenge.

My point is that many of us project what we’re thinking and feeling on the other person and assume we’re on the same page. How many times do we hear men and women express confusion because they had an “amazing” first date with someone that involved “great chemistry” but never heard from that person again? The logical answer, of course, is that that mutual chemistry didn’t exist and that it was only in our head.

To me, CityGal, it sounds like you and this guy were on different pages from the start. That he could just walk away and blow you off the way he did speaks volumes about how invested he really was. If he was interested in taking things further, at the very least he would have addressed his concern.

I would follow up with him in a day or two if he doesn’t respond and ask him what’s up. If he doesn’t send you a reply, you have your answer.

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66 Responses to “The Story Of The Five Dater Fader”

  1. noquay Says:

    My take is that he was minimally interested at best. The “did everything but” also indicates this. As much asit sucks be”evaevaporated on”, it is now common during the first couple of months. Moxie stated it well in a previous post: “sometimes people suck”

  2. chillybeans Says:

    I just don’t get the “everything but” on the 5th date. I mean, what’s the point? You want it, he wants it, right?
    You are 36? I don’t get it. You are too old to be coy and be a “rules” kind of girl right (if they even exist anymore)?
    I think he was playing the field and found someone he was more interested in, or who played less games.

  3. Jonathon Factory Says:

    5th date and everything but? Good grief. By my 30’s, 3rd date sex is pretty gosh darn normal because frankly, by my 30’s, I really don’t need more than one date to figure out if I want to see someone again. By date three, I’m there. I’ll do a 4th if, perhaps, if I can rationalize one of the earlier ones was too short / simple / didn’t “count.” If I’m giving a woman a 5th date without any sex prior to that, it’s strictly because I’ve really been viewing her as a long-term option. If that 5th date ends without sex, it’s over, because she and I are simply not on the same page as a couple.

    I don’t think it’s reasonable at all to label this guy as behaving poorly. As Moxie has pointed out numerous times before, if a guy has his act together, there are way too many female options out there to be made to wait that long.

    • Mj Says:

      Fair enough but a simple text telling her he didn’t think they were on the same page would have been the human thing to do. Or if he liked her but it was just cause of the sex then he could have asked her about it. You don’t know why somebody is not ready to have sex there could be valid reasons (disease, past sexual assault etc) and its a really nasty thing to do to just disappear on someone for that reason. People should do the right thing even though its not always easy. After 5 dates I think both parties owe each other a phone call or text breaking things off no matter what the reason.

      • Greg Figueroa Says:

        It’s also a human thing to not want to confront it and explain yourself to someone that you could care less about.

        • Mj Says:

          Well difference of opinion. To me that is the spineless cowards way out. especially if you know the other person likes you. There is nobody, male or female that wants to be faded on after that much time. It’s not about caring for someone it’s about treating a fellow person with dignity and respect. People like you forget that dating someone does not give you license to treat them like shit and ignore them. People wouldn’t treat friends or coworkers or anybody with the same disregard as the people they date. It blows my mind

        • Mj Says:

          And a long winded explanation is not necessary. Moxie has covered how to quickly let someone know you’re no longer interested in them. I once simply tolda very persistent guy that I didn’t think we were a match and good luck. He said he disagreed but stopped texting me. Leaving somebody hanging is feeding in to drama. Nobody owes a stranger a thesis on why they dont want to see them again but the right thing to nut up and do it.

        • AC Says:

          “It’s also a human thing to not want to confront it and explain yourself to someone that you could care less about.”

          Its also cowardly. If the OP reaches out and he doesn’t respond, he’s an ass.

  4. Howard Says:

    OK, here’s the memo. And I am sending it out for all the women who can’t get it or figure it out, or pretend to not get it.

    Guys hate cock teasing. We may play along like it’s no problem, but it pisses us off.. And I don’t care what any woman says, if you you are doing “everything but…”, what’s the difference between that and actual sex. You’re just kidding yourself with that pretend.

    You know what he wants. If he doesn’t measure up to your lofty standards, cut him loose a long time before it gets to five dates. It’s the merciful thing to do. For heaven’s sake, stop this coy nonsense,

  5. Yvonne Says:

    Well, if this man is that put out by her not putting out by the 5th date, then it’s he who has the problem. I’m guessing the OP would have had sex with him by the 6th date. What’s the big deal? If the guy was really interested, he wouldn’t care if he had sex with her on the 5th date or the 7th.

    I’ve encountered more than a few men dating online who have been quite ambivalent about getting into a relationship or dating exclusively, and would prefer to play the field. This guy may well have sensed that the OP wasn’t looking for something casual and so he bailed.

    I agree with Moxie that, “If he was interested in taking things further, at the very least he would have addressed his concern”. I also agree with her about following up with him in a day or two to see what’s up.

    • mindstar Says:

      If the OP was looking for an exclusive relationship she should have told the guy that from the start so he could decide whether or not he wanted to make that investment or time and resources. For a 36 year old the OP sounds remarkably immature. Look at her word choice “…we DEFINATELY fooled around”. As if she is reassuring her audience. She sounds like a 16 year old.

      • julie Says:

        You need to tell people up front that you want an exclusive relationship? I had a guy tell me he wants marriage and kids on the phone before we met and I thought he was really jumping the gun and came off a little desperate. Felt to me like we should find out if we like each other before we put down on a house together. Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you are saying but most people want to find a good relationship and not play the field forever. Not wanting a good relationship (especially past 30) is the exception.

    • locke_stocke Says:

      After a fifth date that hasn’t ended with sex, a guy can reasonably conclude “Either I like sex way more than she does, or her values are different than mine.” The fade sucks, but the decision to cut and run in no way shows that the guy has “issues”.

    • Howard Says:

      If I can remember what happened with my current love interest, we probably did the deed after five dates. However, we certainly had very open discussions. She hated condoms and wanted us both to do tests, so that certainly deferred things a date or two.

      The key thing is having an open discussion about something that is a critical and integral part of a romantic relationship. If a woman feels apprehensive for any reason, but is really interested in him, she has to find a way to keep him interested and believing that he is successful in the progress of the relationship.

      The driving reason for these types of fades is a feeling of failure by guys. We really don’t know where we stand, unless you let us know in some way or the other. We generally prefer it to be a roll in the hay, but emotional content on a woman’s part with some expression of “truly getting it” regarding our feelings, counts for a lot.

    • HammersAndNails Says:

      “What’s the big deal? If the guy was really interested, he wouldn’t care if he had sex with her on the 5th date or the 7th.”

      You keep telling yourself that princess, it still doesn’t make it any less wrong.

  6. VJ Says:

    You know sometimes I feel like we’re speaking a mutually unintelligible foreign language sometimes. CG, you were an ‘Item’ if you were at some public ‘marketing agency launch’ event, and have been together for ‘some weeks’. And yet at after the 5th date you’re Still playing games with the dude? Moxie’s mostly right here, but here’s the thing. As a young 20 something? This might be somewhat more acceptable in ‘not knowing’ or just having a common lack of experience etc. Even this is now quite hard to believe though due to the times, and yes, ‘City expectations’. Not many mid-late 20 something virgins in the cities much anymore, right? And yet you seemingly shut this dude down, sans any reasonable explanation or further discussion, evidently. And then you’re all ‘What happened?’ He moved on. He’s got a limited time to work on such ‘social matters’ & dating stuff, and he decided to cut his losses, and start over someplace else.

    For those who ask the inevitable:
    “If he was interested in taking things further, at the very least he would have addressed his concern”. In poetry & song no doubt. There’s really no good way to put this. At 30 something, you either like or enjoy sex, or you don’t. And you know it, and yes, there’s plenty of folks (men and women) who are strictly ambivalent on the point too. If you’re one of them, you should speak up first or make the terms and conditions reasonably clear up front. This is where the infamous ‘fade’ is truly a blessing for all concerned. It saves you from the wrath of misunderstanding and we might even imagine some other aspects of this issue. (She/he doesn’t understand my needs being a really common citation in divorce decrees too).

    So why ask why? If you’re following some damned ancient rule book or wives tale and have become ‘revirginized’ (once again), tell them. You’ll find some folks are remarkably sympathetic. If you really don’t like sex, or ‘you want a break’, you’re ‘done’ for the time being, that can work for you too. Just don’t expect your choice of male companionship. There’s plenty of fine gents, many over 50 though, for whom sex is less important in their lives. Date them if that suits you better. But please don’t continue on your campaign to frustrate the hell out of the rest of the civilians who seemingly imagine that they’ve got some chance. That’s just cruel, and it’s why the fade was invented. No, few can ‘handle the truth’, and you may not want to hear what this dude really thinks about such silly HS behavior being pulled on him in his middle age! So Ask not for whom the fade was invented for, it was invented for thee. And you should ‘be thankful for it! ‘VJ’

  7. D. Says:

    Possible explanations:

    1. He wasn’t that interested to begin with, and was just killing time. This does happen sometimes, and can even drag on for a few weeks. You realize relatively early (say, date 2-3) that this person will never be the great love of your life, but you figure “Eh, what the hell. I’ll play this out until it’s done.” And then it’s done. This time, it was done in 5 dates. It was at that point that he recognized he didn’t want to take it any further. Possibly, the lack of sex was a factor in this. For example, he figured “Huh. If she’s holding back, that must mean she’s fairly into me. I don’t want to lead her on, so I guess I’ll just fade.” I’ve done this, and I’ve done the version where I actually call it off. But either way, there have been times where I’ve wanted to sleep with a woman, even though I knew it wasn’t gonna go very far emotionally, and once I got the sense she was more into things than I was, I ended it rather than deal with the fallout of sleeping with her.

    2. He met someone else or things with someone else that he was seeing got serious. Again, this happens sometimes. Chances are, at some point in your dating history, you either will be or have been on both sides of that equation. Shit happens.

    3. He did like you, but the lack of sex sent the wrong message. Sometimes it’s not simply about the sex, but rather the sex indicating something more. Women often complain about how guys are only in it to get laid. Some guys are, sure. But other guys want more than JUST sex. But the thing is, if the woman doesn’t want to have sex with him….why is he bothering? By five dates in, if she’s still not sure she wants to have sex with him, he may get the message that she’s just not all that into him. Now, I grant you, if you’re doing everything but sex, then that at least suggests you’re SOMEWHAT interested, but then why not just do everything? Why the barrier? And ultimately, the answer doesn’t matter. Maybe it means you don’t trust the guy enough yet. Maybe it means you’re not interested. Maybe it means you treat sex as this prize for him to obtain only after he’s proven himself worth (which, FYI, guys HATE). The “why” is often not as important as the fact that there’s a barrier and maybe he just doesn’t want to deal with someone who has those kinds of barriers. Not because he “just wants sex” but because he wants someone who’s genuinely open to things developing with him and isn’t going to throw up barriers here or there.

    • julie Says:

      This was really insightful! So how would someone know which side of #1 or #3 they are on. On the one hand, I dont want the emotional investment of sleeping with someone who is just passing time waiting for something “good” to come along but flip side obviously dont want to leave an otherwise very interested guy feeling rejected.

      • D. Says:

        Well, let me pose a question in response:

        Why does it matter?

        If the answer is “Because if it’s #1, I don’t want to get hurt. And if it’s #3, I’d be willing to sleep with the guy,” then I’d say that all you can do is trust your instincts and don’t put too much pressure on the moment.

        The truth is, you never know. You never know for certain which side of the line you’re on until all is said and done. And even if the guy is interested now, there’s always the chance that he’ll lose interest later. Maybe he’s convincing himself he’s not doing #1 — he doesn’t feel TONS of chemistry, but he wants to “give things a chance.” So, you’d go out, sleep together on, say, date 4, keep going out a few more weeks, but things start to fizzle and then that’s that. Is that better or worse than the guy just evaporating right after sex? I would submit that they’re no different.

        In the end, it doesn’t matter if the guy “just wants sex” or if the guy wants a relationship. What matters is how comfortable YOU are with the risk of things not working out. I think one of the common problems is the notion of “Well, I don’t want to be used.” Frankly, this notion is total bullshit, and that goes for both men and women. (Men who worry about “being used” for free dinners, and women who worry about “being used” for easy sex.)

        In my opinion, outside of someone outright lying to you, you can’t get used. Rather, you ALLOW yourself to be “used” by the other person. You might be disappointed with the end result, you might feel like you wasted time and invested emotional energy, and you might be hurt that the other person didn’t care. But you have to recognize your own role in such a situation when that happens.

        I don’t know about anyone else, but when I accept responsibility for my own decisions in such circumstances, it actually ends up taking the sting out of the situation. It’s only when I try to pin all the blame on the other person that it ends up hurting more. So, yeah, there was this girl who totally had me on her hook and was wishy-washy about dating me. And yeah, I took her out on some really nice dates and she didn’t really reciprocate. But I could’ve walked away at any point and said “Fuck this. I’m outta here.” Instead, I decided to stick it out, even when I was concerned that I was more into her than she was into me, and that means that — while she probably should’ve been more self-aware and called things off (or just totally faded, either way) — I’m still responsible for my own choice to stick it out.

        By recognizing and accepting that fact, I actually felt a lot less “burned” by the other person because, hey, I kinda burned myself. The stove was hot; I touched it anyway. That’s my own damn fault. Likewise, when I DID finally say “To hell with this” and just stopped calling her, that too was my choice.

        I think people spend an inordinate amount of time in dating trying to analyze the other person’s behavior and figure out their motives or level of interest, etc. And that’s understandable, and useful (even necessary), but NOT when it comes at the expense of recognizing your own agency and paying attention to how you feel.

        So, in a sense, it really doesn’t matter what the other person’s thinking. All you can do is look at their behavior and pay attention to how you feel in the moment, while accepting the consequences — good or bad — of your choices. To do that, you have to first accept the risk that, yeah, you might get hurt. But at least if you do, it’ll be because of something you CHOSE to do, rather than something that was inflicted upon you by outside forces over which you have no control. You do have control. You have control of yourself, and that’s why it’s important to pay attention to yourself instead of spending all your energy scrutinizing the other person.

        In practical terms, therefore, if you’re at, say, date #4 and you’re unsure of whether to have sex with this person….make it a choice and accept the consequences either way. If you sleep with ‘em, accept that they may fade or call it off. If you don’t sleep with them, accept that it may put them off or send the message that you aren’t that interested. And if you’re the guy on the other end of that, if she does want to hold off, either walk away, or accept that you’re taking a chance that she may actually just not be that into you. These are the risks in dating. They always exist. We can try to live our lives in a perpetual defensive crouch, or we can choose to accept the risk and maybe take a few hits along the way, while also maybe finding something really great.

        • julie Says:

          Interesting. But in a way, you just told me how one can know by basically gauging the other persons interest as compared to yours. If he/she is obviously not all that interested or invested, theres a good chance this may go no where, right?

          To answer your question, yes, I dont want to feel bad if its #1 and if its #3 and I dont want to sleep with him yet but am otherwise crazy about the guy, maybe I would just sleep with him anyway to keep from losing him….maybe….of course this would require me to sharpen my mind reading skills.

          As for responsibility, I hear ya. No one is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to go on a date or sleep with anyone and its definitely not about blame. Its just that dating is something I do because it feels good. If it starts to feel bad, why bother?

          • Julie Says:

            I think I misunderstood what you were saying at first pass, but I just reread what you wrote and you know, you are right! To a point, you can never really know what is in someone elses head so you have to take the risks that you are comfortable taking.

            I do agree that there will always be a minority who will say anything to get what they want. The vast majority of people, however, will show you their interest level. Even the folks with great game who make everyone they date feel amazing and wanted will not as a general rule make promises or set expectations they dont want to be held to.

            If you make a play for someone who comes across as lukewarm, you have to accept that your risk of losing this battle are pretty high and decide if making that play is worth it for you. Been there, done that and lost that battle :-). I actually didnt mind that situation at all because the guys interest level was transparent. If I didnt gauge a guy’s interest level correctly or if the guy decides mid-courtship that I am not compatible or I wasnt yet sure about the guy when he gets bored and bails on me, that is a risk I guess I can either take or stay home and play with my cat. Thats fair.

            Great advise! Thanks!

    • Howard Says:

      It does matter what he is thinking, but we can really overthink things too much if we try to figure exactly what was really going on. What she knows, is what she is feeling, and she has to communicate that in a way that keeps him in play and gets him to develop some affinity and empathy for her state of mind.

      She also has to convince him that she gets what he is feeling and that the relationship is really going well. She also has to address the thousand pound elephant in the room, sex, in a way that does not make him feel like a failure. In the end, however, It’s still about knowing what she really wants, and also knowing what is required in this situation to keep this thing alive. That is where she failed.

      There is always joint responsibility for making things happen. I know many women feel differently, putting the entire onus on guys, but that is not the best way after this many dates. We are supposed to take some responsibility for things happening, when we invest deeply in any situation in life. If we don’t, there will be angst when things don’t pan out.

      Many women go along date after date, seeing if the guy amuses them enough and passes all their tests. They figure they are in the driver’s seat. He is the one who has to prove himself. All the while they are forgetting that they too are now investing a lot of time and emotional energy. So the stakes keep increasing for them also. They should recognize their investment, and be proactive, not merely leave things to chance with the coy routine.

  8. VJ Says:

    The ‘I’m really in to him so I’ll now withhold sex for him’ rationale needs to be killed or deactivated soon after HS. Really. Much of the time, it’s just this one guy, or a small selection of ‘lucky’ dudes that somehow are deemed ‘special’ enough to game in such a manner. It’s got to stop, it confuses the hell out of people. They move on, they’ve got lives to live & all that. In someone 21-25, perhaps marginally acceptable. For someone @ a self reported 36, once again acting juvenile and expecting erstwhile adults to cater to her? Just damn obnoxious past a certain point and w/o some due explanations. ‘I’m not ready yet’ or ‘I don’t know you well enough’ will suffice, early enough. But unless you’re fairly religious? Don’t expect to have that automatically respected if you’re also playing the usual HS game set to get interest, then pull it away. Grow up people. Sex and sexual functioning is a normal and rational expectation of adult relationships. Don’t ask why the fade, just be thankful you don’t have to hear the complaints from the guy! Geez… ‘VJ’

  9. Mary Says:

    I suppose I am old fashioned, but why do you need to have sex to keep a guy interested? If the guy is “into you”, and looking for a long term relationship, (and not just sex) than date and get to know each other before sex comes into the picture. I personally don’t want to be with a guy who just wants sex, and not a relationship. Once the relationship developes, then the sex would be “making love”. I know…I am old fashioned, but it certainly saves alot of pissing around with players.

    • chuck Says:

      Most guys won’t know whether they will want a relationship with you until you have sex. I don’t see where one can really know that without experiencing sex. Many men won’t continue to date someone who won’t have sex because they aren’t invested yet (bc of the lack of sex) and someone else who is just as enjoyable to be around and date will have sex.

      I actually had this specific issue with my gf when we first started dating. We didn’t have sex for almost 2 months. But while we were dating, I was still dating and sleeping with other women during this time. I continued to date her because she was fun and I liked her, but I certainly wasn’t going to become exclusive or say we were in a relationship until we did have sex.

      • Yvonne Says:

        Many women won’t know if they want a relationship with a guy until they know him better. They also want to make sure that a man will stick around and spend time getting to know them better too, which you did with your girlfriend. And women are more likely than men are to become attached after sex. That’s why when you were initially dating your girlfriend you were able to sleep with other women so easily. I’m guessing your girlfriend wasn’t doing the same with other men.

      • Yvonne Says:

        I’m also wondering how you would have felt if your girlfriend had been sleeping with other men. I have found that men have had quite the double standard when I wanted to keep seeing them while still dating (not even sleeping with) other men.

        • chuck Says:

          I am under the assumption that she was dating other men when we first started to date. I see no reason why she would have stopped dating others until she decided she wanted a relationship with me.

          The second part of the question is not the same thing though. I would assume that she was not sleeping with other men during this time. Because if she was the type of woman who would sleep with someone early on….then she would have slept with me. And if I had found out something to the contrary – not that she was sleeping with someone else, but that she was sleeping with someone else while still turning me down…then yes I would have had an issue bc it would have indicated that she didn’t like me all that much.

          Had we been sleeping together but had not decided to become exclusive yet and she was sleeping with others, then I would not have had any problem with it…even if that was something I didn’t necessarily want to think about.

    • mindstar Says:

      Simple answer Mary. Men who enjoy sex are not players they are men. Men see sex as a critical component of a relationship and see it as a sign that the woman is also interested in him. When you push a guy off until date five or beyond, or even date 6 or 7 as suggested by Yvonnne, then you might as well just come out and say “I’m not really attracted to you, but maybe you will do”.

      The OP and her guy had been gone on 5 dates, she’d been seeing him for several weeks and had even met some of his friends. She certainly knew whether or not she liked him by that time. Instead she decided to play some childish high school game of making him jump through hoops so she could likely tell her girlfriends how long she made him wait. She’s 36 years old she should act like an adult

      • julie Says:

        Thats silly. Who tells anyone how long they made their man wait for sex? “Guess what Molly?! 35 dates! And he gave me his balls to keep in my purse by date #2!!” Dont think so.

        People have sex when they want to and when it feels right. The fact that date #3 or date #1 feels right to you, doesnt mean that date #4 or #6 or #100 is somehow wrong. It just means theres a disparity in expectations and therefore a lack of compatibility.

        • mindstar Says:

          Then that disparity should be conveyed to the person you’re dating.

          • K Says:

            I like Julie’s take. So when and how should you communicate?. Especially as I have no set rule. But 3 dates is too soon for me. I would totally be fine if I communicated (got to figure out how to say it and not make things overly serious way fast) this to a guy and he said yup I need sex early on and left. I don’t judge guys for wanting sex early, hope they can respect that I have my views too. I also don’t mind if he’s dating or having sex with others (don’t tell me about it) if I’m not sleeping with him. I haven’t asked him to be exclusive with me when I’m not sleeping with him so what he does at that point is not my business.

          • Julie Says:

            I think it is conveyed to the other person when you let the guy know you are interested and really appreciate him, escallate the physical activity over time but do not sleep with him.

            I think its like D. said, you often can gauge the other persons interest level. If the woman never calls, doesnt show appreciation for the date, doesnt initiate contact, doesnt want to kiss you, doesnt pay for anything, etc… good chance she is not interested.

            As they say, interested people act interested and interest is not only conveyed with sex because sex.

      • LostSailor Says:

        Simple answer Mary. Men who enjoy sex are not players they are men. Men see sex as a critical component of a relationship and see it as a sign that the woman is also interested in him

        Yes. This.

        The thing about “making him wait” to weed out “players” or out of some longing for a by-gone era where “nice girls didn’t do that” is all just mind-games. There’s no hard line about on by what date you must have sex by or it’s over. As I’ve often said here, as long as there is a real attraction and at least some escalation of physical intimacy, most guys will stick it out. If there is no escalation, or indication that things are moving along, most guys will assume she’s not interested and move on. In many of these cases, this is where the fade comes in: If she’s not really interested, why bother with a “breakup” of something that wasn’t a “thing” in the first place…

    • Hard ache Says:

      @mary “I suppose I am old fashioned, but why do you need to have sex to keep a guy interested? ”

      For the exact same reason women need romance to keep them interested.

    • Greg Figueroa Says:

      Are you old fashioned that the guy pays for everything?

  10. chuck Says:

    While I agree with much of what was said above me, there is one other possibility. You didn’t pass the friends’ test. You went to dinner with his friend and gf. Perhaps he thought you didn’t mesh with them or they commented to him that they didn’t like you. At 5 dates it is still early enough to walk away from someone for seemingly small reasons such as this.

  11. WO7 Says:

    To respond to the question in the email: Is the fade an acceptable way to break up?

    I’m not sure if I define the fade the same way that other people do. To me, fading means that I become harder and harder to make plans with. My responses dead end conversation instead of prolong it. I stop making the initiative. To some people, the fade means you simply begin to completely ignore all communication from someone.

    The former is acceptable, the later is only acceptable after you have politely communicated that you’re not interested.

    There is just no excuse for completely ignoring someone that you haven’t politely rejected. Especially after 5 dates.

    I’m sure there is no way to ever change the people who are too passive to do so, but it sure would be nice.

    It’s sad that some people can’t even gather the balls to send a polite rejection text message.

  12. wishing u well Says:

    While I agree with the spirit of the “why delay sex for so long comments,” I think that a relevant potential view that hasn’t been touched on might be worth bringing up in this conversation.

    Hypothetically, what if the OP were someone who truly “needs” to wait until 1) they are in a committed situation for them to comfortably have sex or 2) they feel that there is a stronger “bond” between her and the guy she’s getting to know before having sex? If this is the case, disclosure should take place sooner rather than later (by date 3 at the latest). When doing so – any woman should realize that this stance will likely limit her dating options to some degree, or that the guy in question may be sleeping with someone else as he gets to know you – and accept this as a fact of life. How one discloses this is also delicate – as hopefully you are attracted to the person and do want to have sex at some point, but just are not ready – and that balance needs to be honestly communicated.

    Also – stances like this should only be taken when they are truly consistent with one’s core beliefs. Playing “insta-virgin” just is an ineffective waste of time. People can smell the bs factor from a mile away, and being untrue to one’s self is not the mark of a confident, self-accepting person.

    • mindstar Says:

      Exactly my point. We can’t read each other’s mind. If you need 5, 6, 8 dates etc to feel comfortable before having sex all well and good but then say so and the person you are dating can decide whether he or she wants to wait for that period. And with respect to consistency (and I believe this was the subject of some comments a few months back) be that way across the board. Don’t expect men to be understanding if you want to make “the guy your interested in for the long term” wait for 8 dates while you have sex with the drummer you met in a bar after 45 minutes.

      • K Says:

        This makes sense to me. I”m consistent so I can respect this.

      • krismae Says:

        I can respect this to an extent, but women have needs too. I would kind of equate it to Chuck’s comment about how he hung around his girlfriend when they started dating. He was still sleeping with other girls, but was forming a connection with his girlfriend. Women can have casual sex with someone they don’t see as long-term, too. So, maybe, women want to get their rocks off with the drummer, but don’t want to have sex and form a connection with a man they see long-term potential.

  13. erine Says:

    I think the fade is only okay when you had let the person know in other respectful ways that it’s over but they don’t seem to get it. Otherwise, if there had been an actual meeting, it’s very inconsiderate to just fade like that. I mean when you are not into someone., you sort of forget about them and it’s an effort to even remember that they had contacted you and you have to respond with polite rejection. People don’t fade to deliberately hurt a person, it’s just that when you don’t care, you don’t remember.
    But people should respond to not keep the other person hanging. Because I think we should live by the general rule of not doing to others what we wouldn’t want to experience ourselves.

  14. CItyGal Says:

    Hi all – The OP here. A few things to clarify. 1) Yes, we did have a conversation about sex – so he knows and understand where I stand with that. 2) I heard from him a couple hours after I wrote this note. So he technically didn’t pull “the fade.” After I sent the photo Sunday morning, he waited until Monday evening to reach out and text me. I have a feeling that he’s trying to slow down the progress/pace of our dating, or at least take it very, very slow.

    • Greg Figueroa Says:

      or he’s being polite and is probably still losing interest. A guy doesn’t slow things down unless he’s losing interest. He decided to respond to a text that doesn’t take much effort to respond back to.

  15. CItyGal Says:

    Greg – so if that’s the case, now what?

    • Andthatswhyyouresingle Says:

      Maybe just relax a bit? It’s been all of a day or two since this alleged massive shift in his behavior. Maybe try not to freak out and over analyze it to death?

      • LostSailor Says:

        Yes. What Moxie said.

        You’re WAY over-analyzing all this. Just chill out, CG. You’ve gone on 5 dates over a “few” weeks, so that’s like twice a week. He’s met at least some of your friends (who took the picture you sent) and you’ve met and had dinner (and went to a party) with his friends. And you’re panicked enough to write to Moxie when he doesn’t respond as quickly as you’d like. Are you really that insecure that you assume he’s “done” that quickly?

        So he was “active” on the online dating site. What does that even mean. I’m guessing you were checking up on him and saw that he’d logged in, but you have no idea what he was doing. And unless you’ve already discussed being exclusive, it doesn’t mean anything.

        So, if you want to salvage something out of all this. Chill. Out. You don’t have to minutely and obsessive examine his every word or behavior for clues about his intentions. If he’s not interested, he’ll let you know one way or another soon enough. Or you could just talk to him if you’re that concerned. Instead,

        I’d just recommend relaxing…

    • D. Says:

      For starters, accept that you can’t really control how he feels. If he’s losing interest, then he’s losing interest and there’s not a ton you can do to stop it (although you can probably hasten it along if you want). Aside from that, I’d say just take a breath and have fun with the guy. He may not be “The One” but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself with him in the meantime.

      Coming to that realization may help you relax a bit and have more fun, which may make you a better date. That still won’t guarantee that things will or won’t work out, but at least you’ll know you’ll be putting your best foot forward instead of coming across as anxious or insecure.

      Lastly, responding a day later to a text isn’t necessarily “the Fade,” technically or otherwise. There could be any number of innocent explanations. Or it could be that they’re losing interest. But either way, worrying about it and trying to control for that eventuality will just drive you nuts. Take a breath and have fun with this guy. Or take a breath and have fun with another guy.

      • Julie Says:

        Great advise. If his reaction is too painful or insulting for you to deal accept, its time to move on. Otherwise as my ex used to say, “Let this thing play out.” Even if he is losing interest….heck maybe he met someone online that he is more excited about at the moment, it can still go either way. He may never call again or he may eventually lose interest in the other person and wind up chosing you. Its a gamble.

    • wishing u well Says:

      I know that it’s frustrating to be in your shoes (been there!), but not everyone rushes in. This may or may not be loss of interest – just a step back to assess or deal with other things going on in his life. Clearly he knows where you stand and I’m guessing that he has a sense that you may be looking for something that is on the way to serious. Now is the time to think and put on the brakes if this isn’t what he wants for himself. If he’s unsure but interested in you still – then he may be managing expectations by not being so readily responsive & available. I’d mirror his actions, continue to have fun when you do have plans, and occupy my own time with other things, including going on dates with new people.

      Until his words backed by his actions say “only you” it’s wise to try not to let yourself get too invested. 5 dates is a weird area – not the 1st date but you aren’t necessarily a set couple just yet. Be cool and don’t forget how awesome you are! I wish you well.

  16. VJ Says:

    Krist on a cracker. So if a dude dares to delay in answering an email, & it’s surely ‘the fade’, and you’re all dizzy with questions to friends & such. And it’s been a few hours? I’ve got employees I pay handsomely who rarely if ever answer email. I figure I should fire them all, right?

    But I imagine it’s ‘good’ to hear that the situation might be more complicated than the simple yet miserable HS sex game playing gambit here. Now what you want to figure out is ‘what are my goals?’ If it’s a LTR leading to marriage as a ‘traditional script’ might apply, then the talking will help. If you’re also continuing to date others, and yet are requiring this guy to ‘wait’ due to his perhaps innate ‘attractiveness to a LTR proposition’? Then also know that his response is going to be weighted heavily accordingly.

    That’s the inherent paradox here, never to be resolved perhaps soon: (As stated succinctly above):
    “Most guys won’t know whether they will want a relationship with you until you have sex”. FULL STOP. Please reread that again. And again, until it sticks. No man will typically want to ‘commit’ to a LTR Unless he knows that you’re at least somewhat physically and sexually compatible together. It’s just silly to do so, and BTW? Always has been. But for all too many women? Love or desire or feelings Absent any ‘real’ sex ‘should be enough for them’. And it continues to blow people’s (mostly men’s) minds. It’s the whole old & ancient cow & milk issue all over again. But tell you what. Farmers Do sell their cows milk, FWIW. BUT it’s tested regularly for disease, fat content, protein percentages, inclusions and production. Now on a constant minute by minute basis. So ask not ‘why buy the milk’. Anyone buying milk today is assured It’s been properly tested previously!

    Now that might not make a damn bit of sense to many folks. But the bottom line here is that NO ONE should commit to a LTR w/o knowing the other party is capable of meeting their simple needs. Sex is a simple adult human need, why for heaven’s sake in the 21st century are we still playing with an ancient Puritan sexual script is just beyond me. That’s what folks were trying to convey here. But hey, the guy Did Not fade. Not even ‘technically’, he just didn’t yet. So it’s all pretty confusing to us playing along at home too. A few hours or a day to return an email from Sunday does not make him a ‘bad dude’ as implied above. Again He’s Not faded Yet! It make him about average, or better, as I suggested. He may still be interested in someone as dizzy sounding @ 36! Geez, that’s a small miracle no doubt too. ‘VJ’

    • Hard ache Says:

      ” I’ve got employees I pay handsomely who rarely if ever answer email. I figure I should fire them all, right?”

      Haha! And you have time to write long missives on a blog?

  17. Caveat Says:

    Sometimes sex doesn’t happen even when the woman is willing. In real life, shit occasionally happens—he can’t get it up, or one person has the stomach flu, or the couple has to share a room with others while traveling/camping, or there are pending STI test results, or he’s not okay with period sex, or someone just lost a loved one and needs to grieve, etc. etc…. hell, sometimes the guy is the one who just doesn’t feel like it. (It happens, especially if he’s depressed.) We shouldn’t always be quick to blame the woman.
    I realize this observation may not be relevant to this OP’s situation.

  18. Jesse Says:

    Why insist that the guy is so narrow focused that “no sex on 5th date” automatically becomes his deal breaker? My guess is something happened during that night of “almost” sex that queered the deal for him. Maybe he didn’t like her body, she emitted a high-frequency screech whenever he touched her thighs, she had a peculiar body odor — all these things are possible and could lead to him not pursuing intercourse that night and disappearing afterwards. I’m sure the ladies can attest to liking a guy, being prepared to bed him, and discovering something while in the clutch that makes you need to stop everything.

    • AC Says:

      ” Maybe he didn’t like her body, she emitted a high-frequency screech whenever he touched her thighs, she had a peculiar body odor — all these things are possible and could lead to him not pursuing intercourse that night and disappearing afterwards. I’m sure the ladies can attest to liking a guy, being prepared to bed him, and discovering something while in the clutch that makes you need to stop everything.”

      This is a distinct possibility. The OP never specified why sex didn’t happen – just that it didn’t. To many details are missing.

  19. AC Says:

    “I would follow up with him in a day or two if he doesn’t respond and ask him what’s up. If he doesn’t send you a reply, you have your answer.”

    This is your only course of action.

    I know this thread long since done but the bottom line is you can analyze this until your blue in the face and never receive any satisfaction.

    My guess is he’s not feeling it but doesn’t know how t express that, hence, the fade.

    Reach out. If he doesn’t reply, know that you’re better off.

  20. bbdawg Says:

    I don’t know how anyone could be interested in somebody and not have sex with them by the 5th date. The most I manage is 3 dates and by then we’d be pretty horny. To me waiting this long signifies lack of sexual interest, which, for a man, is demoralizing, *I think*. I mean you’re *thisclose* to friendzoning the man.

    I feel like within 15 min of meeting someone you can tell if you want to have sex with them or not, it’s a matter of making sure other stuff is aligned as well. If a man begins to doubt your sexual interest in him he will seek out other women more aggressively than not. Not that he wasn’t doing that behind your back already, but this drop in interest at the beginning is hard to recover from.The attitude of “waiting” backfires, essentially.

    • Nicole Says:

      “I don’t know how anyone could be interested in somebody and not have sex with them by the 5th date. The most I manage is 3 dates and by then we’d be pretty horny. To me waiting this long signifies lack of sexual interest”

      When I first started dating again after my divorce, I would totally have agreed with this – but after being in the dating scene for just a few months I became a lot more patient. It’s just so common to have two or three dates and then realize it’s not going to work out.

      Sometimes “making sure other stuff is aligned” takes more than a few dates, especially if you’re just meeting for drinks/lunch/dinner and not really getting a feel for the other person’s real lifestyle. Frequently it was the third date where we started to talk about less superficial topics – our childhoods and college experiences, politics, religion – and I’d realize nope, no way I can be with this person.

      If I had slept with every guy I went on 3 dates with, that would have been more than 20 people in less than 18 months of being single. Some people are probably cool with doing that, and more power to them, but I wasn’t… (blame the Southern Baptist upbringing, lol).

      I do agree though that waiting too long signifies *something* just isn’t there. Might be sexual attraction, might be trust, comfort level, communication, compatibility… but there’s something that’s not falling into place if you still aren’t sure about having sex after 4 or 5 dates. For me, that was a sign to just cut things off and move on.

      • bbdawg Says:

        Great point, Nicole, you’re absolutely right. It’s just that I am rarely attracted to people so when that happens, I take notice:)

  21. Tara Says:

    Well, if they did “everything but” that more than likely means that she gave him oral sex. Some women just do not understand that oral sex IS sex. If you blow the guy, you might as well let him f*ck you. I mean, sheesh, c’mon, you had this d*ck in your mouth.

  22. Tara Says:

    Also, some women are Christians and prefer to wait a little longer to have sex, or even until marriage. However, if the OP did “everything but” then she’s not in that category.

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