Just in case singles needed another way to be left disappointed, a new dating trend has emerged that is being described as the “passive-aggressive cousin” of ghosting.
A new report from online dating site Hinge has found that “fizzling” is becoming more and more common.
Unlike its loathed predecessor where daters disappear without a word, fizzling has the uninterested party gradually shortening their messages and slowing down reply times, before eventually dropping off.
The trend seems particularly prolific among LGBTQ+ members, according to the report, which was looking specifically at dating within the community.
“Lack of communication has always been an issue in dating, but over the past year this has surfaced as the biggest challenge and area of opportunity for LGBTQ+ daters,” therapist Moe Ari Brown, Hinge’s love and connection expert, told news.com.au.
“This lack of communication has caused a rise in the likes of fizzling, ghosting’s passive-aggressive cousin, as daters aren’t sure how to tell their date that they’re no longer interested.
“[This] is the year for Australia’s LGBTQ+ community to become accustomed to opening up, having healthy dialogue, and being more upfront with partners during every stage of dating – including when they’re not feeling a match.”
Fizzling has become the scapegoat for people who hope it will be less offensive than completely ghosting their potential suitor – but while avoiding “the conversation” about being uninterested.
However, it can have the exact same impact as ghosting.
“Fizzling is a close relative of ghosting, and can be just as painful. Slowly phasing someone out without offering an explanation can trigger feelings of unworthiness, confusion, and self-doubt,” Moe said.
“If you’re not feeling the connection and contemplating fizzling someone to avoid talking about it directly, remember that there’s another human being on the other side of that screen and they deserve closure.”
But, thankfully, the dating expert said there are ways to avoid becoming a fizzler. It is simply all about communication.
“How do you respectfully tell someone you’re no longer interested? Be direct, not coy,” they said.
“Although sending a text may seem impersonal, it’s accepted modern-day etiquette. LGBTQIA+ daters on the receiving end are 13 times more likely to prefer a text to a call.”
The therapist recommended that in a break-up text you should include positives of the date or relationship and explain, with compassion, what challenges led to you not wanting to continue things.
They said to also express gratitude for the experience.
“After you share a message like this with someone, they may have follow-up questions. You might even feel moved to ask them about their thoughts and feelings, depending on how long the connection lasted. Remember to be curious and truthful as you navigate endings,” Moe said.
“Compassionate honesty can help the other person gain closure, and it conveys respect and care for the other person while ending the relationship.
“Be loving as you’re leaving.”
The report’s findings also highlighted that bisexual daters are three times more likely to have never had a queer dating experience, with this being attributed to myths such as “bisexuality doesn’t exist”.
It also found that before the first date, 71 per cent of trans daters plan to lay out expectations about the type of relationship they want.