Ah, the Fadeout, the desperation-inspired rarely perfected relationship exit. The truth about the Fadeout is that it represents the triumph of hope over logic. It’s almost exclusively a male invoked phenomenon, because we are hopeless at communicating, that, for us, it’s over.

At its heart, the Fadeout is passive-aggressive. It involves hoping – praying, even – that the woman magically figures out that we don’t want to be with her anymore. Ideally, she somehow picks up these vibrations, says to herself “Oh, that’s too bad the Wombat doesn’t want to be with me any more”, and continues her life as if we’d never met. We want the whole relationship infractructure dismantled while we sleep, like Kaiser Soze…..poof! disappearing before your very eyes.

This is insanity of course, because breakups are a reason for women to endlessly analyze, talk with friends, re-hash, question, re-construct and generally squeeze the life out of something that had ceased to exist anyway. Basically men are just over the girl in question, and want to avoid all of the recrimination and heartache that women attach to being the only one left in a two-person institution.

The Fadeout mostly occurs when one party reaches for the How to Leave a Lover playbook and doesn’t find any gambit to their taste – like facing the person directly and saying “By the way, we’re over”. By the time you’re at Fadeout stage, there’s pretty much no stopping you. All logic has disappeared, you feel trapped with no way out, and you’ll do anything to get out of this straightjacket…….ummm, relationship. Here’s how it works (much as MW describes):

1. Move out.

2. Move somewhere far away.

3. Refuse phone calls.

4. Pretend with all your heart you didn’t spend the last three years with that person.

5. Hope, and hope some more that you never see that person again.

6. Get liquored up.

7. Find loads of new trim.

Naturally I don’t recommend this course of action for anyone, simply because it’s neither adult, nor smart. The aggrieved ex-other is now out for revenge (once the incredulity gives way to rage which gives way to lifelong desires to get even). In short, you make an enemy for life.

Then she marries your broker.

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