A guy who just ghosted me has recently risen from the dead. After three weeks of not talking (he allegedly was on vacation, but due to my social media sleuthing, I found out that he had only been gone for a few days), he randomly texted me and decided to ask me out again. When it comes to flaky, inconsistent men, what are you supposed to do when he ghosts you and comes back? To me, this is a phenomenon that we shouldn’t let slide. And oh, I should mention that before this guy texted me, he friend-requested me on Facebook, and when I didn’t accept his offer, then he put in the effort to contact me.
This actually seems to be a frequent phenomenon. Recently, another guy I went on a date with NINE months ago texted me saying, “Hey, sorry it took me a while to text you again.” A while? It’s almost been a year since we’ve talked. I could have carried a baby in the time since we’ve had our last date! He had a lot of nerve.
Ghosting is bad enough. But when someone comes back into your life, hungry for your flesh again once you’ve already mourned the loss of them, it sucks even more. When it comes to dating, I’m a big believer in not taking anyone’s bullsh*t and in setting boundaries early to prevent people from walking all over you. So here is how to respond when the person who ghosted you ends up zombieing you.
1. Figure out what you want.
Obviously, when the guy I was seeing pretended to be out of town, didn’t contact me for two weeks, and then casually showed up in my life again, I took it to the group text. I mean, this was crazy! Is that what dating is now? Not in my world.
I like to live in a mind space where I believe that chivalry is not dead and that people treat one another with honesty, kindness, and respect. If you’re already lying, ignoring me, and/or putting me on the back burner in the dating phase of our relationship, then how are you going to treat me when we’re actually exclusive and committed? Probably even worse.
So the first thing I did was establish what I wanted, and it was certainly not him and whatever game he was playing. From there, I could proceed accordingly.
2. Set boundaries and be explicit.
Typically, if someone I am interested in texts me, I will respond quickly. Maybe too quickly. Somehow, I have the ability to respond even before they text me. It’s a superpower maybe. But anyway, people will treat you how you treat yourself and how you show them you want to be treated, and much of this is through establishing clear boundaries with your partner.
If it’s not OK with you that someone disappears for long periods of time and then re-enters your life, then let them know that. No one is a mindreader, and people likely need explicit direction on what behavior you approve and disapprove of. It’s the best way to ultimately get what you want, and only good things come from a reasonable boundary. People will either step up or step out of your life once you set it.
3. Stick up for yourself.
I didn’t answer the guy who texted me nine months after our date. He can read into my lack of response for himself. But when it came to the person I’ve been dating who waited two weeks to text me and then asked me out again, I decided to be explicit, set a boundary, and stuck up for myself.
I told him that when I’m being pursued romantically, I expect more attention, honesty, and communication than what exists in our burgeoning relationship. Because of that, I told him I didn’t think we should see one another anymore. He asked if he could do better and if I would give it another shot with him, and that’s something I’m still considering. But to be honest, I don’t know if I want to date someone whom I have to teach how to date. I’m 31, and I feel a little bit too old for that.
So if you’ve been ghosted and then zombied, know that you’re not alone. Apparently, it’s a phenomenon that just happens now. But it’s a phenomenon that you can stop in your own dating life if you refuse to put up with it. So if someone does that to you, let them know why it’s not OK clearly, explicitly, and without anger. It’ll probably be a great lesson for both you and that person.