While slow dumping and fizzling are newer dating terms, the actions that define them are far from a new experience. The New York Post defines slow dumping as “when one partner distances themselves physically and emotionally from a romantic relationship, rather than expressing their desire to end it.” Different from fizzling, which refers more to putting less effort into a casual dating dynamic, slow dumping occurs in a committed relationship.
The terminology is new, but being on the receiving end of these breakup methods isn’t. If you’ve ever felt a partner pull away and spend less time with you until it ultimately ended in a breakup, you’ve likely experienced slow dumping. It’s hurtful because you’re slowly being pulled toward a breakup without any clear communication. And when the relationship ends, you might be left feeling confused. And while it feels like a more comfortable option in the moment for the person who’s doing the silent dumping, their inability to communicate openly and honestly will eventually catch up.
Now, sometimes people pull away for other reasons, not because they eventually want to break up, but because they’re struggling with something deeper in their own life. Healthy communication in a relationship will help you determine if that’s what’s really going on with your partner. It’s important not to assume that noticing some shifts in your relationship means you’re headed to a slow dumping.
Nurturing healthy communication, where you can talk about the good and the bad, sets a solid foundation, and hopefully leads to a relationship where you both respect and trust each other enough to address problems in the relationship and discuss a breakup, rather than treating one person badly until the relationship slowly unwinds. Being slow dumped or fizzled out can still happen despite healthy communication, but not having it at all is a red flag of what could come to be.