HONOLULU (KHON2) — When ghosting became what people called those who flaked out of our lives, we expanded it to a dating normalcy.

That person didn’t text back after the first, fifth or hundredth date? They ghosted you, as our friends would explain.

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As we know, when someone does end up ghosting us, they’re basically performing a vanishing act.

Their disappearance into the ether without any warning or explanation can leave us perplexed and most often hurt and offended.

As painful as ghosting is, at least those people remained gone from our lives.

There are times when ghosting is beneficial, like in abusive situations.

But when that person who’s ghosted us suddenly pops back into our lives, it’s like a zombie has arrived.

A new report published by Burner, a phone number app, has identified a new dating trend that is being called “zombie dating”.

Zombie dating can span the spectrum from a first date to a long-term relationship.

But what is it?

Burner explains it like this: “Zombie’ing is when someone rises from the digital dead. There are two types of zombies: those who were actual exes and those who were casual dates. Zombie exes are the old partners you bury deep into the proverbial ground.”

But those old partners come back, knocking at our proverbial door with zombie dating becoming a trend.

For help in understanding how to navigate zombie dating, KHON2.com reached out for advice from singer/songwriter and social media influencer, Marial Darling.

According to Darling, zombie dating is invading the scene with mixed outcomes as she explains in her social media posts.

“Girl, you are being ghosted,” said Darling. “I’m out here being zombie’d. It’s like ghosting, but he comes back from the dead after a couple of months and hits you up.”

According to Burner, rising from the digital dead became much more prevalent during the COVID-19 lockdowns when many people were prevented from mingling, mixing and meeting new people. Depression and loneliness drove the desire to revisit past relationships.

“You delete old photos, erase messages and clear your social media accounts of any trace of them ever existing,” explained Burner. “Then, as you’re getting over them, they reach their slimy hands straight out of the ground to take hold of you again.”

The zombie’ing usually begins with a seemingly casual ‘like’ of a social media post, photo, GIF or meme.

Many will contemplate whether it’s a good idea to interact with that person when the initial recontact is made while others will impulsively jump into a conversation.

But how do we navigate zombie dating?

How we navigate zombie dating will depend greatly on what sort of relationship existed before the initial ghosting.

Was the situation super intense? Was it a casual hook-up? How committed were the parties in the relationship before ghosting?

These factors will interpret how we approach the zombie, according to Burner.

There are reasons to resist engagement. Situations like one-night stands or abuse.

“This is especially true if you were particularly upset by their ghosting and have finally gotten over it,” explained Burner. “Leave it where it should be, dead and in the ground.”

The question that will guide our decision on whether or not to date the zombie is: “What will I get out of the relationship?” Be honest and figure out if this relationship truly is beneficial to us.

The next question that will undergird our answer to that question is: “Are they willing to explain why they ghosted me in the first place?”

Darling said that if they are popping back up simply because they are bored, then we delete that conversation and move on to someone else more interested in us.

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Navigating zombie dating can be easier than anticipated. Even though lots of emotions can be brought back up when that person attempts to reconnect with us, if we are honest with ourselves and really reflect on the relationship and what it was like to get over it, then we should be just fine.