Ever dated a man who pursued you with a vengeance, showered you with attention, wined you, dined you, and as soon as you respond in a positive fashion; as soon as you show you’re available and interested he backs off?
It’s a Troll tactic. Odds are very good you’ve got a player on your hands. I call it the “Slow Fade.” It happens all the time with men from dating sites. Shoot, why wouldn’t it happen when there’s a pool of millions for them to scope out?
It begins so well you think maybe – just maybe – you’ve found THE ONE! How exciting is that? Only see – he knows this. He’s very practiced at the behavior he’s positive will reel a woman in.
So he toys with you. At first he’s all over you; he can’t WAIT to get together. This lasts usually until somewhere between the third and fifth date. Then, when you respond to his affectionate advances (no, ladies, I’m not talking about sex!), he suddenly turns vampire cold.
Last weekend he was all over your ass, right? He couldn’t stop touching you, so you decided you were safe in reciprocating some of that affection. BAM! What you felt stiffen up isn’t what you thought. What stiffened was his resolve to start prowling again because he’d just made his conquest. Now he’s bored.
Enter the “slow fade.”
His calls diminish from thrice daily to every other day. When you don’t answer your phone for whatever reason, and he leaves a message he doesn’t ask you to call back. He simply says “okay, talk to you soon.” You call back. He doesn’t answer. Doesn’t return the call for a day.
His emails drop from once an hour to once every couple of days. When you reply, he takes a day or two and then throws you a word or three. Sometimes he doesn’t reply at all, and when you finally are able to talk to him he provides some lame excuse about being busy. He sure wasn’t busy when he was calling three times a day and emailing once an hour, or more. Don’t buy that excuse.
By now you’re wondering what you did, right? You didn’t do anything, he did. What’d he do? He reverted to type. He’s a player. He’s a troll. He’s off chasing.
So you ask about it. No harm in asking about diminishing contact, right? Well…yes, if you’re him. He doesn’t want to be questioned, he just wants you to sit quietly like a nice, well-bred girl would do, and wait until he’s having a dry spell. He gives you tons of bullshit excuses and when you push for more credible answers (because you have every right to do so based on his initial behavior), he lays “the line” on you.
“I think you want more than I can give.”
Translation: “Sit down, shut up and do as I say while I chase other women to see if there’s any greener grass.”
No use denying that you want more than he can give. You DO want more. You SHOULD want more. He ain’t gonna give it. He just told you that.
See, for some men, chasing is way more fun than catching. The excitement for them is the thrill of the chase. It’s like knights of yore going into battle. They’re all suited up, sitting tall on their destrier, screaming CHARGE! and then they slash and burn their way through your emotional reserves until they find the vulnerable part of you, they point their sword at that part, you beg mercy, a smile plays about their lips and then they drive the sword home, but only through your shoulder, smiling while they do it. And when you’re lying there on the battlefield, gasping in your death throes, they look down and say: “get a new armorer,” and they blithely use the horse’s mane to wipe your blood from their sword and go in search of fresh prey.
But wait. They’re not done yet. They didn’t kill you. Of course not. If they kill you, then you’re not there when the guards come ’round to find all left living and enslave them.
Two days later you get a phone call. Oh Joyful Day! Your Knight is calling! You answer immediately! (stupid woman, let it go to voice mail.) He asks how you are. He asks to see you. Oh. Oh. Oh. He suggests a date. You agree. You go buy new clothes, because, dammitall, this guy is going to see JUST what he’s been missing.
Oh honey. He hasn’t been missing you at all. He’s just run out of women who will respond to him on his three dating sites. Haven’t you been watching him? The entire time he was showering you with affection he was also doing the same thing to dozens of other women, some of whom actually responded to his lame come-on emails.
The morning of the date your phone rings. Naturally, it’s after you’re awake and he’s certain you’ve got at least one cup of coffee in you. Something’s come up. He’s so sorry, but he’s going to have to take a raincheck. He’s so disappointed because he wanted to see you so badly and it just sucks that his brother’s wife’s best friend’s aunt’s ex-husband died and he was very close with her, so it’s incumbent upon him to go to the funeral. For three days.
Did you buy that one? Good, I’m glad you didn’t. I didn’t either. Do you know how many women WOULD buy it? Tons.
This is the Troll in full slow fade.
He tells you when he’ll be back from the “funeral.” So you email him that day, giving him time to get settled in at work. He doesn’t reply. You call him that night, because you feel so sad for his “loss.” You go to voice mail.
Two more days go by without a word, so you send one sailing across his bow. Whoops! That got his attention! Now he’s pissed. You had – of all things – EXPECTATIONS!!!!!!!
Don’t worry, he’ll email you back. It’ll be a nice long email, telling you how it’s all your fault he’s been withdrawing; how it’s all your fault that he’s chosen to “quiet contact” with you; how it’s all your fault that he’s just “not romantically interested” in you. He’ll tell you how special you are, how much he thinks of you, how great he feels when he’s with you, but…
Oh yes. There will be a “but.”
“But I don’t want to rush into anything, so I’m dating a lot of other women, as well as dating you. I hope you understand.”
Translation: “I have issues with emotional intimacy, and I’m trying like hell to date other women, but no one’s biting and I’d really appreciate it if you’d just sit down, shut up and be a good girl because I just KNOW there’s some greener grass out there.”
Don’t let it happen to you.
It’s a trick an NPD will pull better than anyone else. N’s are the biggest trolls on the planet and they’re so well-hidden beneath their beautifully constructed bridges. It’s a form of gaslighting.
Are you a toy? Are you an india rubber ball to be bounced around on some idiot’s whim? No. I didn’t think so. So instead of allowing him to do the slow fade, the minute you see communication lagging, call him on it. If he gives lame excuses (and you’re astute enough to know them when you hear them) dump his narcissistic ass and go find you a GOOD man.
Better yet, go adopt a dog and get some great hobbies. Learn to love yourself and learn to love the time you have alone with yourself. Learn to enjoy NOT having a man around. Learn how not to be desperate. Learn to live, not spend your life looking for love.
A good man – a TRULY good man – is a marvel to have in one’s life. The problem with that is – the only truly good man I’ve ever known is my dad. Okay – there are two problems with that. He’s my dad and he’s married. He’s BEEN married – to the same woman for 47 years. And he still loves her.
I’ve stopped looking. I’ve stopped trying. I’m just living. If the universe or god or whatever higher power (maybe the doorknob?) wants me to have a man in my life, that power will place him there in such a way that I can’t miss him. Until that happens, I’m spending my days enjoying my messy house, NOT wearing makeup, luxuriating in pajamas all day on sundays while I catch up on reading, I’m spending tons of time designing truly fabulous fused silver jewelry items, I’m back with my sketch pad and allowing Georgia O’Keefe to influence me again, I’m re-reading One Hundred Years of Solitude because it takes me back to 1993 when I had the grand passion of my life (and oh my was he a passion – and we’re still friends!), I’m going to lectures, taking myself out for coffee and lunch (by myself!!!) and enjoying the stares from single men as they attempt to decide whether I’m available or not.
LIVE, people. LIVE. It’s when we live best that life gets good. It’s when we are alive and alert that the trolls can’t harm us. It’s when we are grounded in our self-esteem that we don’t allow the slow fade to even gain a foothold.
Oh yeah – while this was written from a straight female perspective, women can also be trolls and do slow fades. So this isn’t meant to male bash. It’s equal opportunity Troll-bashing.