Fizzling: The Dating Trend That Can Do More Harm Than Good

If you're dating, one of the things you probably dislike the most is being ghosted. There's nothing worse than thinking that you're getting along well with someone before the person on the other end decides to stop all communication without an explanation. But according to experts, there's another dating trend to look out for which is even worse than ghosting, and it's called fizzling. 

Fizzling is a painful variation of ghosting. Celebrity matchmaker Rachel London told POPSUGAR, "It's a term used to describe the situation where one becomes uninterested in a person they're dating, but instead of breaking up with the person, they gradually reduce communication and interest, causing the other person to feel confused and hurt." 

Although the dating trend was noted in Hinge's LGBTQIA+ DATE report, it applies to all daters. Ghosting might feel like an abrupt end to things but at least the person is now in your past, allowing you to gradually move on. Fizzling, on the other hand, only makes matters worse because now you're shifting from thinking "Am I imagining this?" to "Is something wrong with me?" Dating anxiety is more common than you think and fizzling is a harmful trend that is sure to play on that anxiety. Here's why fizzling is toxic and damaging.

The negative effects of fizzling

When you go out on a date with someone and seemingly have a good time and later realize, slowly and painfully, that your date is not texting you as much or isn't eager to make plans with you as they were before the first date, your mind can start to wonder what it is you did wrong. And since the person is still in your life supposedly replying to texts or even meeting up with you on and off, you hold on even though it's confusing. 

The person doing the fizzling could either be worried about hurting your feelings and is thinking they're letting you down easier or perhaps they're just selfish and want to keep you around until someone else comes along. It could also mean that they're bad at communicating and they're trying to avoid an uncomfortable conversation. Regardless of their intentions, fizzling hurts because it offers no closure nor an explanation. Therapist Rhian Kivits told Mirror U.K., "The human mind has a negative bias which means we often assume the worst in situations where we have no clear answers. With dating fizzling you may be left telling yourself that it must have happened because you weren't attractive enough, sexy enough or entertaining enough for the other person." Kivits added that on top of making someone feel worthless, "Fizzling can trigger insecure attachment behaviours, like grasping for attention or putting up with breadcrumbs."

What to do when you're being fizzled

Because the person you're dating isn't explicitly telling you that they want to end things, you can stay in the situation longer than you should without even being aware of the signs. Relationship expert Amber Soletti shared with POPSUGAR that there are some definitive clues to look out for. Pay attention to how they're communicating. Are their responses to your texts few and far between? Are they canceling plans at the last minute? Are they suddenly busy with other engagements in their life and seemingly have no time to meet up with you? Are the meetups that do happen lackluster or boring? Noticing the signs is the first step. 

Having an honest conversation with them is the next step. You don't want to waste your time going on dates or texting someone who's clearly not interested so it's best to approach the fizzling in a respectable way. Give them a chance to explain their behavior and if the explanation only leaves you more confused, it might be time to end things and move on.

If you're the one doing the fizzling, realize that you're doing more harm than good by trying to prolong things. Your big dating mistake is allowing the other person to think you're sort of interested when you're clearly not. As Rachel London told POPSUGAR, "If you know you don't see a future with the person, explain why and don't leave it up to interpretation."