Zombieing: the latest disposable dating trend and how to handle it

by Eharmony Editorial Team - June 22, 2016

Ever had months of silence from an ex and then they suddenly send that text that sends you back into an emotional whirlwind? Then you’ve been a victim of zombieing, as Laura Yates explains

Most of you are probably familiar with ‘ghosting’ the phenomenon where the person you’re dating suddenly disappears, never to return. The sheer number of people dating these days, and the way in which we communicate, makes it easier than ever to ghost one another.

However, 2016 has seen the rise of a new hurtful and emotionally disruptive trend in dating – zombieing. While the term itself may sound fairly ridiculous, it is most definitely a thing! In fact, I expect many of you have experienced zombieing yourselves.

So what is zombieing? Well, in short, it’s where someone you previously dated (and very likely cared for) or were even in a relationship with, ghosted you, only to then resurface some time later, most likely in the form of some sort of social media interaction or an out of the blue text message. Usually the zombieing happens just when you’ve gotten over the hurt of having them ghost you in the first place. Then, all of a sudden, they subtly reappear (I say subtle – it can feel like a slap in the face!) causing more emotional upset.

Getting over a break-up, regardless of whether it was a committed long-term relationship or with someone you’ve only been seeing for a short while, can be really tough. Ghosting then creates even more inner turmoil because we end up driving ourselves crazy wondering what we did wrong and questioning why, when they seemed so keen, did we just not hear from them again? Moving on is so much easier if both people are aware it’s final. So now zombieing also leaves us victim to wondering if that person will resurface, and if so, how will we be able to handle that after doing all the hard work getting over them?!

Plus, because the ‘ghoster’ left without an explanation, they don’t feel the need to have one to come back into your life.

I know because it’s happened to me before, and it left me very confused!

The thing is, regardless of whether you get zombied by an ex who really meant something to you, or by someone who you just went on a few dates with and then disappeared, what’s important to remember is that if that person doesn’t have the courage to have a straight up conversation with you, then they don’t deserve to be a part of your life again.

Yes, social media and digital dating makes it easy to ghost and zombie each other, but that doesn’t give us a free pass to view other people and their emotions as disposable. Ghosting and zombieing suggests emotional unavailability, a lack of awareness of other people’s feelings and zero backbone if communicating behind the safety of a screen and elusively on social media is how they get your attention again. Often, it’s simply to fulfil boredom or curiosity and isn’t backed up with anything truly substantial.

If they really wanted to speak to you, or get back in touch with you, then they would take a far more personal approach.

So, if you get zombied and it throws you off course, just remember to keep in what’s really happening in perspective. There are so many hazy parameters in relationships these days, which is why it’s more important than ever to keep a firm grip of your boundaries and be clear about the sort of people you want to let into your life. Don’t ever think that these new dating trends mean that you have to lose your old school values!