Q. Meredith, this is crazy. Since March of this year, eight people who I dated in the past have resurfaced after ghosting — and then ghosted again. My friend says it’s zombie-ing (a ghost who comes back to life is a zombie?). I’m dismayed.
Each one of these men was a solid candidate the first time around, promising me the moon and taking me out on fantastic dates . . . then they disappeared. I let them go, I put up no fights, and pressed no one for time or answers. Side note: I had no more than a small handful of dates with any of them, and went no further than kissing, nor was anyone pressing for more. Anyway, they come back, and I agree to another date thinking that time changes people’s circumstances, so why not? — and then they ghost again.
I would love your thoughts on how to deal with this because it’s disheartening. I enjoy online dating and accept when things don’t work, usually, but this pattern is catching up to me.
— Zombies are the new ghosts?
A. I suppose you could make a rule that if someone ghosts you, they don’t get a second chance. It’s not a bad idea. If a person takes the time to get to know you and then disappears without a goodbye (after multiple dates), they haven’t earned any more of your attention. Time can change people’s circumstances, but this is more about communication and respect. It doesn’t take much effort to send a text that says, “Hey, I’m not in an excellent place to date right now; I’m sorry.” Or whatever.
I do love that you said you “enjoy online dating.” So many people who write in seem to despise it but understand that it’s a means to an end. Perhaps you’re experiencing your first bout of dating fatigue. When people write in about that, we tell them to take a break. It can help to just stop and breathe for a bit.
Also know that if it’s gone past a few dates and someone disappears, you can give yourself a little closure by writing up your own final words. Sending a text that wishes someone the best can be the best way to vanquish a zombie.
It’s actually called “submarining” — someone will disappear, only to resurface from time to time. DANGLEPARTICIPLE
No one that rude deserves another chance. I used to call it “self-weeding” whenever people disappeared — which made things easier in a sense. TWEETY24
If you absolutely can’t stay away from a zombie, then I think it warrants a pretty good explanation from the zombie about why he ghosted in the first place — before you agree to a second haunting. SEXUAL-CHOCOLATE
I once had a guy call me two years after we had a date — and we only had gone on a few dates. Are you kidding me? I didn’t call him back. LEGALLYLIZ2017
A friend set me up with someone who didn’t even show up for our date. A year later he texted me saying he was sorry but his ex had suddenly re-entered the picture, was I still available, blah, blah, blah. PHATALISTIC
Get Season 2 of Meredith Goldstein’s Love Letters podcast now at loveletters.show and Apple Podcasts, or wherever you listen. Column and comments are edited and reprinted from boston.com/loveletters. Send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org.