Zombieing: What It Is, Why Guys Do It + 7 Tips to Deal With It

Author: Paul R. Brian

Have you ever been the victim of a zombie attack?

Hopefully the answer is no, but hear me out…

Zombieing is a nasty thing that some guys do to girls they’re dating.

If you know how to spot it and what to do when it occurs, you can make sure to be prepared for any zombie that comes your way.

Zombieing is when a guy suddenly disappears with no explanation and then reappears weeks or months later as if back from the dead. 

He ghosts you and then he comes back to haunt you, asking for a kiss and pleading with you to forget the past.  

Zombieing is emotionally traumatic because just when you’ve gotten over a guy and accepted that he’s gone, there he is texting you again and asking to reenter your life…

What about those weeks or months when he was nowhere to be found or apparently not interested at all?

He barely seems to remember that and offers only a half-assed apology or explanation.

Instead, he’s all focused on encouraging you to forget the past. 

He’s back from the dead and ready to party. 

But unless you want brain worms, you’ve got to be very careful indeed. 

If he’s ok with disappearing and pretending nothing happened, then you must question how likely it is that he would ever commit to you.

We can help you figure out exactly how commitment-friendly he is with our quick quiz:

QUIZ TIME: Is your man serious about committing to you? CLICK HERE to find out with this specially crafted quiz!

Why Do Guys Do It?

There are four main reasons why guys zombie a woman. None of them are great, but they are quite different. 

Let’s start with the most common reason for zombieing:

A). He’s Just Using You As Backup

The most common reason why guys engage in zombieing is because they are using you as a backup plan. 

They date you, move forward and may act the perfect gentleman, but they’re simultaneously pursuing somebody else or focusing on other goals. 

You take the backseat when they focus on another woman or other objectives such as his career, but then they pop back up when they have more free time or another woman falls through. 

Knowing that you’re a backup plan is certainly humiliating. But it’s important to realize that a guy might be treating you this way so that you don’t accept zombieing as no big deal. 

If you are reasonably sure that you are this guy’s backup plan, there are two specific words I recommend you say to him.

These two words will ensure you look high value, and also allow you the opportunity to express your anger (in a high value way that he totally deserves):

CLICK here to discover the one thing you can say to ANY man that will capture his attention, trigger his curiosity and make him hang onto every word you say!

B). He’s With Somebody Else

The second most common reason why a guy will try zombieing is that he wasn’t single in the first place. 

The relationship or interactions with you were him pursuing an affair. 

When he decided to cut that off or the situation was becoming too risky, he disappeared. 

He then pops up again as his girlfriend or wife is away for more time or he senses a gap in which he can interact with you again (without the huge risk involved)…

For example, maybe his work schedule has changed and he now has more time and space to “fit you in” with a reasonable excuse to his partner. 

This is him using you as his mistress and not being honest with you that he’s not available. 

Disappearing and then popping back up only makes it all the more hurtful, especially if you’ve been hoping there’s a chance of something real and serious. 

By the way, on the topic of a guy being serious about having a relationship with you, allow me to ask you this:

What Is The One Specific Emotional Trigger Within Every Single Man in this World That Inspires Him to WANT to Commit to One Woman, Want to Take Care of Her, Worship Her and Only Her?

CLICK Here to find out.

C). He’s Avoidant

The other reason why some guys do zombieing can be that they are avoidant. 

MORE: Dismissive Avoidant Attachment Style: What It Is & 7 Obvious Signs.

The idea of different attachment styles for how we give and receive love was developed by the late British psychologist John Bowlby. 

He studied how the many different experiences in infancy and early childhood can shape the way we approach intimacy in adult relationships. 

Simply put, if we’re securely attached, we are comfortable with intimacy and love, and if we are insecurely attached, we run away from intimacy and feel stifled by it. 

Someone with an avoidant attachment style becomes easily overwhelmed if things get too serious. 

So if your guy is an avoidant, he may head for the hills at the first sign that a real commitment or real love is needed from him, only to reappear once loneliness and regret sets in. 

How you respond to this behavior often depends on whether you’re securely or insecurely attached as well. 

If you are securely attached, you may have an easier time walking away from such behavior, and you’ll have an easier time getting through to an avoidant.

However if you’re insecurely attached, you may just trigger an avoidant, producing a toxic cycle that can make him want to run further away (to no fault of your own).

Not 100% sure what your own attachment style is? No problem,we can help you with that, as ouq quiz will tell you the answer:

QUIZ TIME: Do I have secure or insecure attachment patterns? CLICK HERE to find out with our specially crafted women-specific 10 Question Quiz!

(Why is this important? It is because your core attachment style largely dictates and influences what happens in your relationship. Thus it’s imperative you understand your core attachment style!)

D). He Had An Actual Emergency

Sometimes a man zombies because he has an actual emergency and has to leave or not answer messages for a real reason. 

Perhaps there has been a medical crisis, a loss in the family, an accident or a work problem that has overtaken his life. 

The thing here is that when he returns you deserve a real explanation, and if he comes back feeling like he can just hit the play button and start right where you left off, you need to be cautious. 

Even a real emergency that requires cutting off contact requires some detailed explanation.

7 Tips to Deal With Zombieing

#1: Be Prepared For Zombies

First off, it’s important to be prepared for zombies and understand what zombieing is. 

If you’re talking to or dating a guy who suddenly drops off the map and he then reappears ready to start again, you need to know what you’re dealing with. 

It’s become especially common in the age of dating apps and texting, unfortunately. 

It becomes easier and easier for people to simply ignore messages of those they don’t feel like talking to and pop back up seamlessly as if everything’s normal. 

It’s sad that zombieing is becoming more common, but we don’t get to choose the negative trends that pop up in our world. We only get to choose our response to them. 

That’s why it’s crucial to watch out for potential zombies and take preventive and active steps to respond to these creatures. 

One preventive measure is to ask the right questions of a guy in the first place.

Particularly, it’s important to ask questions of a playful nature that create moments of spontaneity. Why?

Because that catches the low quality guys off-guard.

In other words, it ensures that you catch the guys who are likely to go zombie on you VERY early on.

Here are 5 of these revealing questions to ask a guy to know his intentions from Renée and David.

#2. Know The Warning Signs

Knowing the warning signs of zombieing is key to avoiding it. 

So what are they? The top signs are: 

  • Guys who make all sorts of promises about the future right away
  • Guys who are focused on sex and don’t get to know you well
  • Guys who have a reputation for being a player or a f–kboy. 
  • Guys who come on overly strong right away
  • Guys who never listen to what you say or remember it

Of course, these signs can be overall signs of a low-value guy and poor partner as well. 

But they’re also very common in zombies. 

Remember this rule of thumb:

Zombies don’t listen well, always want some mushy action and run their twisted mouths with all sorts of nonsense words all the time. 

If you’re experiencing this from a guy you started seeing, you could have a zombie on your hands. 

At the very least, you have a man with some serious failings who might well become more of a hassle than a blessing in the near future.

Case study: From icebreaker to engagement in just 8 months… Discover the exact steps Yana took and the specific banter lines she used in order to attract the man of her life online and inspired him to propose after a short 8 months. (And then married within another 2 months…)

#3. Check in With Yourself 

Zombies can be surprisingly smooth talkers, and they may also look better than you expect. 

They sometimes use their attractiveness to hide the ugly scars underneath, tempting you into giving them second, third or fourth chances with their looks. 

Don’t fall for it. It’s important to check in with yourself and see how you’re feeling. 

How would a guy feel if you went zombie on him? Standing in his shoes you can see that it’s really uncool what’s going on. 

You need to ensure you don’t betray your own values and basic standards to give endless second chances to a guy who doesn’t deserve them. 

There are some behaviors that call into question your ability to tolerate a guy, including:

  • Cheating
  • Verbal and physical abuse
  • Controlling behaviors; and 
  • Things like ghosting and zombieing

If you’re feeling pressured to accept this behavior or give him a pass about it, check in with yourself and make sure you’re not extending yourself far beyond what you’re comfortable with. 

Which brings me directly to my next point: 

#4. Assess the Attack

The thing about zombieing is that not all zombieing should be dealt with the same way. 

Some zombies are guys you barely know who go away and then reappear, twisting your mind and emotions far more than they have any right to do. 

Others are guys you thought you knew well or even loved who suddenly are nowhere to be found and then reappear, giving you hope but also leaving you with serious anxiety that they’ll do the same thing again. 

There are two main things to consider when deciding how to respond to a guy who zombies you:

  • How long and serious is (or was) your relationship with this man?
  • Do you believe he will zombie you again if you give him another chance? 

This is your zombie attack assessment. 

Your response should take into account the seriousness of your relationship with this guy, along with your determination of how likely he seems to be to do this kind of thing again. 

If you had something serious with this guy and he has a good reason for what happened, then it is possible you take him back. 

In addition, if you are very in love and he has promised 100% not to fall out of communication again then you can consider giving him a second chance. 

I strongly advise against giving third or fourth chances no matter how convincing he is.

#5. Get A Burner

Part of being prepared for zombieing is to get a burner number. 

This means having either a second phone number or a second Whatsapp or application to use for dating. 

In this way you can ignore a zombie without having to worry about your online visibility or being tempted. 

You simply use one number for dating and another for the rest of your life. 

If the zombie comes back up and pesters you or won’t take no for an answer, those messages and calls are coming in to your second number. 

And you have the option to ignore them without having to reorganize everything.

#6. Answer This Question

“If you take this guy back and he zombies you again, how will you feel?”
Angry? Sad? Humiliated?

It may kick down your self esteem 100 times more than it did the first time, and leave you with resentment. 

Unless you are ready to take that risk, you need to leave him on read. 

The sad fact is that a man who zombies you once is much more likely to do so again in the future. 

Even if he promises it’s not going to happen and says he’s sorry, what guarantee do you have?

If it was a crisis or emergency that caused him to disappear, that’s another situation. But you have to make sure he’s not just saying that to get himself covered. 

Zombieing hurts, and you deserve more.

#7. Hold Yourself As High Value And Demand Better

Zombieing is disrespectful. It’s also a kind of test. 

A high value woman doesn’t accept zombieing and she rarely takes a guy back after he does it - unless he has a very valid reason and apologizes sincerely and fully. 

Does he regret hurting you? Here are 13 signs he does regret hurting you.

It’s crucial to hold yourself as a high value woman in dating. 

If you don’t, you could be at the mercy of toxic men who prey on weak women or women who show up low value.

(No woman is truly low value, but sometimes we exhibit low value behaviors to men unknowingly.)

Any guy who thinks he can get away with zombeing is either going after insecure women or trying to gaslight or pressure high value women into doubting their own worth. 

Don’t stand for it!

And make sure you never show the 7 common signs a woman is low value. If you do, you may just leave yourself vulnerable unnecessarily to bad treatment.

Do You Know What The 7 Common Signs Are & How to Avoid Them Like the Plague?

CLICK here to discover the 7 common signs that a woman is perceived as low value in the eyes of men in this special report. 

 (Why is this important? Because men and women perceive value very differently and you don’t want to be making mistakes that would cause quality men to dismiss, abandon or alienate you.)

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is Zombieing Vs Submarining?

A close cousin of zombieing is submarining. 

However, in zombieing you will often get a small apology or basic explanation, whereas submarining is silent and deadly with no explanation at all. 

The submariner pretends that he never even disappeared at all and shoots you a “what’s up?” with all the casualness he can muster. 

The zombie, however, acknowledges that he went away, he just acts like it’s no big deal and you shouldn’t focus on it. 

As Cassie Murdoch explains about submarining:

“It's in the same family as zombie-ing -- when an ex ghosts but then comes back, acknowledging their absence and wanting to start things back up again. 

In the case of submarining, though, you don't get even a half-assed apology for them being MIA. 

They just pop back on the radar as if nothing odd has happened.”

What Is Zombieing Vs Ghosting

Ghosting is one half of zombieing without the return. The zombie leaves and seems to be completely gone: he ghosts you. 

But then he comes back, the walking undead, saying that he wants to see you again and seeming to be back to normal. 

The ghost never comes back, making it deeply devastating. 

However the extra danger of the zombie is that he plays with your mind. 

That’s because when you feel that you’re getting over him leaving or finding a way to accept the heartbreak and confusion, he comes back. 

But the zombie’s explanations are seldom comforting or clarifying. Instead they often leave you in just as much doubt as if he’d ghosted you for good. 

Paul Brian
Renee Shen

Paul R. Brian

Paul Rowan Brian is a freelance journalist, author and writer from Canada. He's written for Ideapod, Hack Spirit and Love Connection and is focused on culture, relationships and self-development. You can follow him on Twitter @paulrbrian.

Renée Shen

Author & Editor For National Council for Research on Women. Founder of the popular women's dating & relationship advice website, The Feminine Woman.

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