Move Over, 'Ghosting,' The New Spooky Trend Haunting Our Love Lives Is 'Zombieing'

In the world of dating, very few occurrences sting worse than being ghosted. "Ghosting" is the act of someone suddenly vanishing from your life despite frequent communication and even a seemingly good connection. If you've never endured this, consider yourself lucky, as nearly 80% of millennium singles have sadly had to go through this cruel process, according to PlentyOfFish. While this within itself can be traumatizing, an even more toxic dating phenomenon is sending people swearing off love for good.

"Zombieing" is the term being used for when a ghost decides to pop back into their victim's lives, usually at a time when they are trying to heal from the sudden disappearing act. Though the reasons may vary, what seems to be at the center of this is the "zombies" own self-centeredness. If this happens to you, do not fret. You can respond in a variety of ways that will preserve your peace and keep you from suffering heartache again.

Identifying when you're being zombied is key to your response

While this is not necessarily an entirely new concept, relationship experts have now put a name to it. You must be familiar with a zombie's traits to stop one in their tracks. Some zombies possess discernment. They understand that their way of disengaging is unacceptable, which may be one reason they pop back into your life. In many cases, people ghost to avoid a tough conversation about no longer being interested. In other instances, they may have had a separate love interest to pursue. No matter the reason, the zombie with insight often wants to make amends somewhere in their ghosting journey. The other type of zombie is the one who lacks self-awareness. These individuals feel justified in reentering their victim's life since they don't see ghosting as wrongdoing on their part.

The zombie will typically re-emerge in the form of a "good morning" text after weeks of silence or an Instagram like on your latest brunch selfie. This startling greeting will likely occur after you've either gone through the initial shock of their abrupt departure. Most individuals don't know whether to embrace them or run for the hills. Ultimately, that will depend on the risk you're willing to take.

Just because the zombie comes back around doesn't mean a relationship is alive

Therapist and sex therapy researcher Dr. Laura Vowels tells Woman & Home that while it's possible there could be a rational explanation, a victim should always be wary of the intention. Mental health struggles, grief, or becoming busy with work may all be reasons for the ghosting. However, other more emotionally manipulative reasons could be at play.

Loneliness and boredom are major reasons why these selfish daters will circle back around. A zombie could be in the mood for a hookup and return to a familiar option to fulfill these needs. Before you allow them back into your life, very plainly ask about their intentions. Giving them the benefit of the doubt is solely up to you and is something you should never feel obligated to do. Always keep in mind that you could have been their "meanwhile" person, according to relationship coach Kingsley Moyo, and similar to a "filler episode" of your favorite television series. While you were enough to keep them entertained, once the main attraction showed up afterward, there was no more use for you.

When in doubt, protect your peace at all costs.