Troll Tactic – The Slow Fade

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.”

Slow Fade.

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.



9 thoughts on “Troll Tactic – The Slow Fade

  1. To sum:
    As women, we should never allow ourselves to become too available. Once he realizes we can be reached whenever he calls, thats it for him. BORING. So yea, let the call go to voicemail, don’t be so eager… MAKE HIM WORK FOR IT… 🙂

  2. well from a man’s perspective , I’ll give this to you…. always have a 90 day rule…without it, you lose a lot of respect and tons of power. Don’t have FWB, actually learn to be a good girl instead of one of the random sluts that seem to walk the dating scene…

    I love a good strong woman…I don’t mind working for that type of love…but just give it to me without me really giving much effort? yeah… I’ll take it from you..and you’ll go into the random night call folder filled with other girls just like you that shouldn’t have ever given it up that easy…

    I am capable of amazing love…deep respect and incredible intimacy…all you have to do? Be a woman to believe in…. 90 days girls… do it up right…or don’t do it at all…

    Blunt, compassionate honesty from a man….

    Yea…that’s me..


  3. T – 90 days is an excellent rule, but I consider it a minimum. I generally give it as long as I need to and if I feel uncomfortable, I walk away.

    I gave the N in my life 90 days, and the last 30 of it was horrific – actually – if I’m to be truly honest, the entire 90 was horrific; I simply didn’t see what was going on until 60 days into it. I’m not one of those dating “sluts.” I figure if a man won’t wait for me, he’s not the man for me – and likewise, if a woman won’t wait for a man, she’s not the woman for him.

    So many women make the mistake of jumping into “instant relationship” and they have no idea that most men simply don’t function that way. I think anyone who jumps into “instant relationship” (and I’ve been guilty of it in the past) has emotional issues that need to be worked out.

  4. Check: I think it’s always best to wait. Jumping into things too quickly obscures red flags. I wait for me – not to make him work for it. It’s a joint effort – a relationship should be a mutual decision and I won’t play “hard to get.” I simply allow me to be me and being me includes doing relationships the healthy way, by getting to know someone well before taking it to the next level.

    I dodged a huge bullet with the N. While I was definitely physically attracted to him, I didn’t allow that to be a priority. I told him during one conversation I wanted to see HIM, the man, not him, the IDEAL. He didn’t understand what I was talking about. That conversation happened at the end of the first month we were dating, and he didn’t like it. I told him I thought it was a good idea to date other people and while he agreed, it turned out that what he agreed to was that it was a good idea for HIM to date other women – and for me to keep myself waiting in the wings for him. He had puppies and kittens, 30 days later, when he couldn’t reach me by phone and then assumed I was out on a date. I wasn’t, but I had been earlier in the week.

    I was honest with him. I told him up front – we discussed the entire “date other people” scenario and struck an agreement that we would BOTH do that. True to type, he told me what he figured I wanted to hear and then proceeded to devalue me for doing what I said I was going to do.

    Que sera. With a healthy man, this wouldn’t have been an issue. With a personality disorder it disintegrated into a barrage of devaluing accusations from him and finally, I got sick of attempting to explain things to him – of attempting to help him understand. I realized he didn’t WANT to understand because he felt he was entitled to do whatever he wanted, and that included making up rules for me. So I dumped him. That went over oh-so-well, too.

    No games. I simply state up front that I’m taking my time and if a guy isn’t comfortable with that, there are plenty of other women out there willing to fall into his arms and bed at the snap of a finger.

  5. It’s so funny because I just re-entered the dating scene again recently after my most recent break-up & I completely forgot about all the annoyances that come along with dating, including this one. Or should I say, ESPECIALLY this one! I’ve been googling around just to see what others have to say about it, which is how I stumbled upon your blog. It truly is one of the most frustrating things to deal with in the dating scene! However, when I decided to re-enter the dating scene again, I chose to do it in a way that doesn’t stress me out. So that when these disappearing (and subsequently, as is usually the case, reappearing) acts happen, I take them more in stride now & just accept them for what they are. Reading others’ experiences makes me feel so much better & no longer makes me think that there’s something inherently wrong with me that this keeps happening over & over again to me! I now know that it’s something that just commonly, albeit unfortunately, happens in the dating world. And most importantly, that IT’S NOT ME! But although I now accept these disappearing acts for what they are, that doesn’t mean I’m not still bitter about this nonsense, inspiring me to write about it. So I encourage you to check out my latest blog, “Gone Without A Trace”. Based on this blog of yours, I’m sure you’ll be able to appreciate it! 😉

  6. I understand what you went through completely. I went through it too. Twice i hooked up with npd. It killed me to find out what was going on with my fiance the first time behind my back. It took years to get over and i still didnt have a clue what was wrong with her. I was supporting her and her children and in love. Looking back i was a fool but in my own defence i didnt have the internet resources too find out what the problem was. I got over it after a few years and met another woman. She pursued me like nobody ever has. She liked my music even had me download her all of my songs. She then told me she was gonna give her ex another chance. ( the same x she told me abused her). Without knowing what an N was i told her ok i will be fine. The same day she drove me to motel room and we had sex. She was strange. I found out later she was having all kinds of sex with all kinds of lowlifes. Race did not matter. I looked up pathological liar sex addict and found npd. Thank god i did. The cd was incredible but i stuck to my guns. She smeared me to anyone that would listen. Ive been no contact since but the cd used to drive me nuts. All her fb friends have changed over the last 2 years. Im relieved now but it still scares me and makes me angry how stupid i was. Thank you for your website. Peace. Ps. Not all men are bad.;)

  7. Mine went to see my parents tWo months ago and I taught everything has been set but to my surprise, he started slow fading d month they were meant to come and fulfil d marriage rites. Though I never knew anything like slow fading then, I was lamenting on his behaviour and d nxt I could see, he disappeared. Though I chased him for some days cos I was confused, I decided to go NC, its been 3wks nw and am still counting cos am too good at NC rule. NB; I lent him a token just to help out when their salary was delayed thinking we are heading in same direction not knwing he’s evil minded. I ve moved on with my life though. No looking back.

  8. Wow!! this is amazing as it mirrors so well what has just happened to me. Met someone through a dating website. I was not looking for a heavy committed relationship, having just come out of an unhappy situation of that type, but rather a ”friends with benefits” longer term arrangements and I was happy that we both wanted that. That might seem odd to some of you, but there are reasons why I felt this was all I wanted to/could explore.

    We corresponded almost everyday for a month or so before meeting up, sometimes exchanging several messages. He was charming, told me before the end of the first date that he really liked me and wanted to see me again and was really attentive. Fast forward a couple more dates and one evening of being intimate (my decision completely, he did not force anything at least I will grant him that) after which he asked me to contact him further so we could go on another date, with no pressure for sex.

    So far so good? well no. then the slow fade starts almost immediately as described above: last minute cancellation of the next date with a lame excuses ”I have to sort out my life” and, I kid you not, ”chaos has trapped me”, ”let’s meet again maybe next week”. Then again a half-baked attempt at setting another ”date” is cancelled and I am left confused as to what happened to our agreement and feeling like a fool. I then after a few texts that go nowhere, I called this man up on his behaviour through a message making it clear that I am feeling he is messing me around, has probably used me from the start and is not adult enough to just drop me a line to end things cleanly, and that I would not initiate contact with him anymore.

    Only then does he reply saying that we should stop things because we want different things and are not on the same page, ie you are getting too attached, (spot on as to how the player always blames it on something the other party as done) but no explanation as for the slow fade and/or his ignoring our initial agreement to be FWBs or why he simply could not be honest and take the 5 seconds needed to text me once to end it.

    This one also had the nerve to say he still wanted to see me as a friend only and asked whether I wanted to still meet up and followed it up by a couple more simpering messages about how glad he was we had these dates (note the sexual encounter got hairbrushed from the story) and that he welcomed the fact I was not ‘having a go at him’.

    I was so confused I really thought, well I must have messed that one up, maybe he is a gentleman, so it must be all my fault. While all he was doing was trying to make himself look less like the bad guy and feeding his ego further. Run from these men ladies, run. I know some will judge me for considering a FWBs exchange in the first place and for expecting decency from a man who seeks these but as I said there are very good reasons for me not being able to jump straight away into a relationship. And even in this case messing someone around is still not acceptable between two adults.

    Currently he is still on the same site having changed his profile picture the very day he sent me his ”let’s stop this” message…and no I will not be seeing him as a ”friend’ either. If he does initiate contact, a link to these blog will be my reply.

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