So you’ve been ghosted…or have you? You feel your phone vibrate. Why is HE liking your Instagram posts?! You haven’t talked in weeks, not since he dropped off planet Earth and stopped texting you back. Welcome to the wonderful world of Haunting. Some people call it Zombie-ing, they mean the same thing.

What is Haunting, you ask? Well, remember when we discussed ghosting? It’s exactly like that except one step further. 


It usually starts as a toe-dip interaction, like a text. Ghosts rarely risk jumping into the deep end of the commitment pool, because they already feel a sense of shame for their bad behavior. They knew it was wrong, and they ghosted you anyway.

If he hasn’t risen from the dead with full remorse, redemption in mind, and maybe some flowers, let him sit in his own shame for a little longer.

Why Not Just Stay Dead?

Motives for Haunting can vary anywhere from boredom, to true courting intentions. That’s what makes them so dangerous—it’s up to you to decide if this person is worth your energy and if so, do they have nefarious or ulterior reasons for reaching out?

You don’t want to be someone’s Friday night entertainment.

Haunting, like most bad dating behavior, stems from low self-esteem. Maybe he met someone else, and he’s just now realizing it’s not going to work. So he’s dipping back into his well of exes.

Let’s just call it what it is: attention-seeking behavior.

Zombies want to see if they can still get a reaction, says Kate Balestrieri, PsyD & Founder of Modern Intimacy. “They’re using it as a way to get validation if they’re feeling low about themselves.” 

You have to decide for yourself if this person is worth the risk. My mom likes to quote Dr. Phil when he says, “The best predictor of future behavior is relevant past behavior.”

The Haunting Has Begun, Now What?

You really only have two options when a ghost comes back to haunt you. You either engage with them or ignore them. 

If you decide to engage, proceed with caution.

In a 2010 study, researchers at Rutgers University found that looking at your ex triggers the same part of the brain as a cocaine addiction, creating an obsession with romantic rejection.

Ask yourself, do you want to open Pandora’s box?

You have to be careful if you’re going to date a zombie. It’s essential to have very clear plans in place for connecting, when you’re going to be spending time, and how often you’ll text. -Jane Greer, PhD, Family & Marriage Therapist

Reflect back on your relationship. Are there any other red flags or bad behavior you can remember? Did he have a legitimate excuse for his disappearing and subsequently, reappearing act? Did he apologize? Do you believe him or does it sound like BS?

From here, you have to decide if you want to continue communication and open the doors for a potential relationship again. Keep in mind, this also opens you up to the same trap you already fell for. Fool me once, and all that. 

Don’t forget you always have the option of ignoring him. Delete the text, block his number, and pretend like it never happened, if you need to. You are not required to engage if you don’t want to.

When in doubt, turn your experiences into art like Allison Wade. She turned some of the best (read: worst) texts she’s received from exes into works of art.