Move Over, Ghosting: Fizzling in Online Dating

|Fizzling in online dating is happening to a lot of people

Online dating can be an easy, fun way of meeting new people, and exploring potential love interests (especially if you’re using one of 2023’s best dating apps). It can be exciting and full of promise, but… it can also suck. Big time.

(And listen: here at Hushed, we want you to avoid the ick, and stay safe when you’re online dating. Using a temporary, anonymous phone number helps protect your privacy, and makes it easy to cut ties if the person turns out to be hella awful.)

There are a few things that can cause a sudden “ick” to befall your online romance. Ghosting is one of the most notorious, and there’s an emerging trend that sounds a little more subtle, but just as nasty, which has been dubbed fizzling.

Fizzling (also not to be confused with zombie dating) is when a romantic interest slowly loses interest in you and starts to fade away, gradually and entirely on purpose. So let’s look at what fizzling is, how often it seems to be happening online, and how to know if it’s happening to you.

What the heck is fizzling in online dating?

Fizzling describes the slow decline of online dating communication. What makes this fizzling, as opposed to simple losing of touch, is that people are now doing it on purpose, hoping you lose touch with them (rather than it happening naturally). 

Instead of using a kinder approach, and letting the other person know they’d like to stop chatting, they turn the table, acting aloof and distant, hoping that the other person ends things instead. 

And no, fizzling is not the same as ghosting, which is more abrupt. And this is why many consider fizzling more nefarious than ghosting: it happens slowly and methodically, and can cause someone pain and frustration. 

Is fizzling happening to you?

It’s happening often, and to a lot of people, particularly on online dating apps. According to Hinge, 69% of its users reported experiencing fizzling in their online dating lives.

It’s also worth noting that fizzling can happen at any stage of a relationship, from the early stages of messaging to having been together for months (or years). Here are signs to watch for, if you suspect it may be happening to you:

  • Decreased communication: If your love interest is suddenly less responsive to messages or calls;
  • Canceled plans: If your partner is frequently canceling plans or making excuses not to see you;
  • Lack of engagement: If your partner seems less interested in your conversations or activities together, appears bored or disengaged; or 
  • Distracted behavior: If your partner is frequently distracted during your time together, such as checking their phone or not paying attention.

If you’re experiencing fizzling, here’s what to do

The bottom line is that if you suspect your love interest is fizzling you, stand up for yourself. Your time is valuable, and you deserve better than. If your love interest is treating you poorly, or you suspect they’re fizzling and waiting for you to end things, address the issue directly. 

Talk to them about how you’re feeling, what your needs are and what you are looking for in this relationship. Be honest, and stay strong. If your gut is telling you something is off, trust it and consider whether this relationship is working for you. 

And if they do confirm that fizzling (whether they use that word or not) has been happening, believe them. Move on, spend time with yourself and find someone more worthy of your time. You can even use this list of 101 online dating questions to ask when you meet that new connection.

And please remember to protect your privacy with a temporary phone number, so you don’t expose too much personal information until you’re confident you’ve met The One.