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Zombieing Dating: What Is It and How to Handle It?

Okay, so we all know what ghosting is, the dating trend where the person you’re dating decides to pull a disappearing act and cuts off all contact; and it doesn’t exactly feel great when it happens.

You might think that the respectful way to end a relationship is to have an open and honest conversation about your individual needs. You would usually talk about your feelings, talk about what went wrong or potentially even discuss options going forward that might save your relationship, like taking a short break for example. 

The rise in social media platforms and online dating have made things ‘easier’ in that respect. This isn’t the 19th century where we have to follow courting etiquette, and ensure that our actions uphold our reputations (although I’m sure many Bridgerton fans wish it were, myself included).

No. If you’re no longer interested in the person you’re dating you can just disappear altogether, there are no repercussions for such bad behavior mainly because it’s sadly considered to be normal these days. 

So, what could be worse than ghosting? 


What Is Zombieing in Dating?

Urban dictionary defines the dating trend as such: “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… Usually the zombieing happens just when you’ve gotten over the hurt of having them ghost you in the first place.”

However, it can be argued that zombieing is much deeper than that. Another dating trend, haunting, is where someone will simply resurface after ghosting you. Zombieing typically has much more impact. 

Zombieing is where old flames, after you’ve gotten over them come back into your life consistently, wanting to start things up again or are seeking out a serious and committed relationship. Literally as though they’re back from the dead, hence the term zombieing. 

Haunting is a little more casual and would result in poor or inconsistent communication, which is arguably more annoying. 

How Can Zombieing Affect Relationships?

Trust issues and low self-esteem are a major effect of zombieing, causing problems in future relationships; with both the zombies and new partners.

After we get ghosted, we feel like crap, and of course that’s a problem in itself. But we always end up better off. 

It can take months, or even years to get over somebody, but after being treated badly it makes it a little easier to move on and not dwell. 

We move on, eventually, but often intrusive thoughts take over and affect our dating life. We struggle to trust again, which of course is normal after having somebody act interested and then disappear completely.

We keep our guard up, not allowing anyone to get too close meaning that we can’t get hurt. This then means that we’re not allowing potential relationships to progress, because although we’ve got over our zombie, the effects are still very much present.

So you see how it can turn into a negative spiral…

And then to top it all off, our zombies who are pretty much to blame for the entire thing suddenly pop back up again hoping to start fresh; this can cause us to fully backtrack and make us feel vulnerable and weak. 

11 Tips to Handle Zombieing

It doesn’t have to be as bad as all that. It’s important to always focus on your well-being, your self-confidence and your happiness.

You come first, always.

Breakups are hard, and being treated badly is awful, there’s no doubt about that but it’s so important to learn from these experiences and to come out better on the other side. 

So, what should you do when your zombie shows up again?

1. Keep your guard up 

When entering new relationships or when you’re back on the dating scene, it’s important to know when to let your guard down, but it’s completely normal and even encouraged to keep it up when giving somebody who’s hurt you a second chance.

It’s your best chance to avoid getting hurt a second time. 

And if they really care about you, they’ll completely understand that it takes time to rebuild trust after basically coming back from the dead. 

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I’m not saying don’t let him in at all, because if you’ve decided to give him a second chance then you both have to work at it. But, definitely take it at your own pace. 

You were essentially a victim of his disappearing act, and he needs to be spending time showing you that he’s worth a second chance. 

2. Remind yourself of how you got over him

remind yourself of how you got over him

It’s important to stay strong in order to avoid going back on yourself. Remind yourself of your learning journey. 

It’s not easy getting over being hurt by someone that you cared about, and so in order to allow things to move forward, remind yourself of how you got over him. This also might help you when deciding whether or not to give things another shot.

3. Reflect on what’s changed since you last spoke

Assuming that a lot of time has passed, your situations in life may be entirely different now, and it’s very possible that you missed your shot.

Have you ever heard of the phrase “right person, wrong time?”

It’s possible that you’ve outgrown him, and that’s not a bad thing. Have you ever stopped and thought about an ex and thought about what it would be like if you were together now? It’s kind of impossible, because people constantly change

You tend to imagine how the person you used to know and care about could slot into your life now, only, they’re not that person anymore, and neither are you.

Just because you had a good connection a few years ago, it doesn’t mean that everything is just going to go back to normal. You’ll have learnt a lot as time has passed, and your character may be completely different, his too.

4. Remember your self-worth 

He may have a good excuse for why he ghosted you, he might not. Regardless of the situation, always remember your self-worth. 

You don’t want to be the girl that drops everything the second he comes running back. You want to make well-thought decisions based on your own happiness, and you want to remind yourself that you deserve to be loved and respected. 

If you believe that he can give that to you, then great. If you’re in doubt, then proceed with caution, and if you don’t want to respond to him, ignore him. 

You are in control, and you should never settle for less than you deserve. 

5. Think about how it will affect you 

After spending time getting over him, it can feel scary to start dating him again. Take the time to think about how it will affect you.

Are you even ready for a relationship? Have you been happy online dating before he came back into the picture? Are you prepared to have to work on rebuilding trust? 

There’s a lot to consider, including any future triggers, as you’re essentially thinking about getting back with an ex whose behavior significantly affected you in the past. 

6. Take your time to decide 

He disappeared. He doesn’t just get you back with a snap of his fingers. 

If you want to take a week to respond, then so be it. Longer, if you like! The beauty of moving on from somebody is that you then have the upper hand. 

It can actually be weirdly nice to know that an ex isn’t over you, especially if you’ve done well and have worked on yourself since. 

Take all the time you need, because you want to make sure that you make the right decision. 

7. Consider all of those involved 

If time has passed, it’s possible that you’re online dating, dating somebody else, or are even in a relationship. 

It’s even possible that he’s in a relationship, as that could be his main reason for reaching out; he’s finally realized that he messed up by letting you go. 

Outside of your dating life, think about your friends and family who helped you to get over him. It’s possible that his friends ghosted you when he did. 

It’s important to consider the entire situation thoroughly. 

If either of you are dating somebody else, it wouldn’t be fair to pursue one another again. Especially as this will only encourage things to go wrong again. 

8. Don’t feel bad for standing your ground 

don't feel bad for standing your ground

If your biggest reason for allowing him back into your life is because you feel guilty, then he shouldn’t be in your life. 

When dating zombies, you need to constantly remind yourself of the situation; he treated you badly. 

It seems negative, I know, but if you need to remind yourself of what he put you through in order for you to find the strength to stand your ground, then so be it. 

If you actually do want to give things another go, then that’s an entirely different story. But if not, and if you’re just trying to be a good person, well, some people don’t deserve your kindness. 

9. Pay no notice to him

If you’ve moved on and you don’t have a care in the world for this boy, then it’s probably best that you pay him no attention. 

Again, I would only encourage this if you feel as though it will help you going forward, you don’t want to feel as though you’re missing closure. 

It can be difficult to ignore somebody completely, but it also shows that you’ve moved on. The focus should always be on you. If he adds nothing to your life by re-entering it, then simply don’t allow him back into it. 

10. Get all the information

Allow him to explain why he just suddenly started ignoring you. There could be a good excuse, or he could genuinely just feel guilty, you never know. 

In most cases, people either ghost somebody because they’re scared of commitment and don’t know how to handle their emotions, they were feeling low and didn’t know how to work on themselves and a relationship at the same time, or they simply stopped caring.

You don’t owe it to him to hear him out, but it might be healthy for you to find closure on the whole thing. Whether or not you decide to forgive him is up to you, but it’s not a bad idea to get the whole picture.

11. Consider giving him a second chance 

If dating apps aren’t doing it for you, and you really feel as though you could make it work with this guy, then there’s no reason you shouldn’t give him a second chance.

Sometimes, a relationship comes out of a rough patch like this much stronger, and sometimes it doesn’t.

If you feel as though you want to find out, then I wouldn’t discourage it one bit. 


What is the difference between ghosting and zombieing?

Somebody can zombie you after they’ve ghosted you. The two are tied together by a series of unfortunate events.

You might be dating a guy casually, or you might be in a serious relationship before he completely ghosts you without an explanation.

You take the time to get over it, and when you’re just about there he reappears, back from the dead as you like, hence zombieing.

It can feel pretty painful, as it can take us a while to get over something like that, and then all of a sudden he calls or sends you a message on social media, like he has the right to just step back into your life.

Can I make it work with my ex?

Only you know the answer to that. If you’re really unsure, it’s always wise to confide in those who know you best.

Getting back with an ex is kind of a big deal, especially if he ghosted you and has now reappeared.

You can look at it two ways, there might be a good reason that things ended between you guys, or you might now be in a position where you can both make it work. Communication is key in any situation like this, have a conversation and see if you can understand what went wrong, and what led to him ignoring you.

From there, you’ll have a bit more clarity on how to overcome him zombieing you.

What is the difference between zombieing and submarining?

They’re essentially the same thing, they just each have different descriptions of the situation. Zombieing in the sense of back from the dead, and submarining in the sense of resurfacing on the water.

Urban dictionary defines submarining as, “When you stop seeing someone and cut off all communication and then reappear after some time and act like nothing happened.”
I suppose the biggest difference is that you weren’t ghosted, instead things just ended and he just decided to pretend as though nothing had changed.


It can feel incredibly frustrating and unfair having somebody come back into your life just as you’ve moved on, but there are definitely different ways in which you can approach the situation. 

You can ignore him, you can take your time, you can allow him to explain, you can decide to give things another go. As long as the decision you make is right for you and for your well-being. 

Sometimes, the best way to handle zombieing is to arrange to meet up face to face and get everything out in the open. 

It’s so important to be honest about how it made you feel, because even though he might have apologized, he won’t truly understand how his behavior impacted you. You also want to ask him for honesty and openness in return. 

It’s certainly not something that’s black and white, we all handle things differently and there is a lot to consider when zombie dating. 

It’s always a good idea to confide in friends and family, especially those who helped you through it when he left. Sometimes, we need a little help from others as it can be very overwhelming to be flooded with past emotions.

As long as you’re doing what you believe is right for you, then you can’t really go wrong. You can’t predict what’s going to happen in life unfortunately, so sometimes we have to bite the bullet and go with our gut instinct. If it doesn’t end well, then it’s another life lesson learned, and if it does, then that’s obviously fantastic. 

If you’ve ever been a victim of zombieing, or have helped a friend through it, then please feel free to comment and offer further advice. As always, share with a friend in need.

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Whether you're married or just started dating someone, infidelity rates have risen by over 40% in the past 20 years, so your concerns are justified.

Do you want to find out if he's texting other women behind your back? Or if he has an active Tinder or dating profile? Or even worse, if he has a criminal record or is cheating on you?

This tool can help by uncovering hidden social media and dating profiles, photos, criminal records, and much more, potentially putting your doubts to rest.


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