There’s a new dating trend on the rise — or rather, an old nightmare with a new name — called being ‘zombied.’ ‘Zombieing’ in dating refers to old flames seemingly coming back from the dead after ghosting you for a while. But then they disappear all over again… only to return once more, creating a ridiculous cycle of stress, heartbreak, and irritation.
Though the term has been in our modern dating vocabulary for a few years now, the unfortunate trend recently took off on TikTok when user @mariel_darling shared her dating experiences. “Girl, you’re being ghosted? I’m out here being zombied.”
She described how getting zombied was like ghosting, “but he comes back from the dead after a couple of months and hits you up.”
People in the comments expressed their frustration over similar experiences. One person wrote, “months?!?!?! Try years later acting like we spoke last week.” Another wrote, “He zombied me every 2 weeks for like 3 months straight.” Some shared how they use gravestone emojis in contact names to mark the “zombies” so they don’t pick up their calls.
Eerily enough, a lot of commenters shared how multiple exes tend to make a comeback at the same time. “Have you ever noticed that they all zombie you at the same time? Like why are four guys from my past all hitting me up on the same day???” asked one TikTok user. Another wrote, “Happens to me all the time. And it’s always a few at the same time. Like they planned it.”
Cue: Mercury retrograde.
The astrology of zombieing
For those who don’t know, Mercury retrograde often brings people back into our life with who, we have lost contact in the past. It can be exes making a comeback out of the blue, but it can also be ex-friends, estranged family members, and sometimes past life connections who give us a serious case of deja vu. And this recent wave of zombieing has an eerie Mercury retrograde vibe to it.
Mercury retrograde strikes at least three times every year, and its most recent occurrence began on April 21, 2023 and will last through May 14, 2023.
When Mercury is retrograde, miscommunications and technological glitches become commonplace. Of course, some people escape the effects of Mercury retrograde, especially if they have a natal Mercury Rx. But most people are not that lucky.
Mercury retrograde reminds us of things we left behind in the past, like an old lover or friend. Sometimes it randomly makes us follow up on something we started many months ago and then forgot all about. Maybe a hobby, or a job interview where we never got a callback. And this happens to your exes too.
Maybe a dating app glitched on them or someone suddenly canceled a meetup. Or maybe they have an “urge” down there. Whatever the reason might be, they decide to zombie back into your life and waste your time. And the most devious zombies are excellent at convincing you that they had a change of heart or anything else they know you want to hear — Mercury is the planet of lies, too.
The thing is, Mercury retrograde relationships usually feel like a star-crossed romance or a holiday fling. They fade away once Mercury goes direct again and the old problems crop up (or cannot be ignored anymore). This makes the zombie dating trend all that more dangerous for your emotional health and well-being.
There are three things you can’t escape in life: death, taxes, and exes making a comeback during Mercury retrograde. However, you can be prepared for them.
Take in a deep breath and don’t get frazzled immediately if Mercury retrograde brings something unwanted into your life, whether an ex or a technological glitch. If you are not face to face, you can take your jolly good time replying back to your ex (if you want to). And if you don’t, this is the perfect time to build your “setting boundaries” muscles and not reply at all.
Block and don’t stalk. And if you can’t block, do what some people suggested on TikTok: put gravestone emojis next to their names so you know not to take their call.
Related Stories From YourTango:
It’s OK if you responded at first but don’t want to communicate anymore. Journal your feelings and remind yourself why this person is wrong for you.
Practice makes perfect. You can be cordial if you bump into an ex randomly, but don’t let them stand and chat with you for too long. Get away from the zombie fast!
Valeria Black is a tarot reader and astrology nerd with a dash of wicked humor on the side. Follow her on Instagram for more.