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Fizzling: The Non-Break Up BreakUp

Are you feeling confused about your relationship status? If so, it’s possible you are with a fizzler. Typically beginning after two to three months of dating, you’re not ghosted, your partner doesn’t disappear physically, but they change emotionally. They can’t decide what they want and stop communicating but their presence lingers. For many daters, fizzling feels crueler than ghosting because the partner doesn’t disappear, but they no longer emotionally contribute to the relationship either.

Fizzling occurs when you happily date someone for a couple months; then things just fizzle out and run out of steam. Although not a formal break-up (that would be too emotionally mature), the partner being fizzled out on feels confused and conflicted.

If you feel that you may be in a relationship with a fizzler it’s important that you don’t take it personally. Realize there are two personality components that fizzlers hold in common:

  • Insecurity & Inadequacy. Under most circumstances, the fizzler has an avoidant personality. They act in a self-centered manner because their insecurity limits their capacity to admit their dwindling interest. They fear being alone.

  • Selfishness. Fizzlers offer little concern for how their partner may feel. Their immature behavior is mostly about their needs - not yours.

To avoid getting involved with a fizzler, practice these behaviors when dating:

1. Set secure boundaries. When you feel good about your limits and intention, you’ll spot a fizzler’s detachment style more quickly and move on.

2. Sharpen your face-to-face communication. It’s easy to be lead on or breadcrumbed if you only communicate via text or direct message. Make it a point to only date people you see in real time.

3. Model respect and closure. Fizzling and ghosting are cowardly moves that impede you from discussing your emotions. This prevents affording yourself and your partner a sense of closure, a vitally important component for moving on after a breakup. Act with respect and communicate your feelings with your partner. Leaving without explanation creates pain for your ex and reflects badly on you.

Dating is complicated, but being strung along by someone who puts little effort into the relationship feels degrading. Honor and respect yourself enough to know when enough is enough. Life is too precious to waste it on anyone who treats you like an option instead of a priority. Let them know upfront you have better things to do with your time and walk away.


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