Image via Pexels

Dating: Submarines and Zombies

You can speed date. You can online date. You can date smarter. Your next date can be just a swipe away. You can find your soul mate, make real connections, or immediately streamline your dating life.  As I read somewhere online, “Love is messy, but technology can be perfect.”

In part one of my dating series, I talked mostly about ghosting and mosting, and why some people like dating while others, not so much.

But wait, there’s more! While dating, you can also be submarined or zombied. If you’ve been submarined, the person who ghosted you suddenly pops back up, like a submarine suddenly surfacing, but you get no explanation as to why they disappeared. If you get zombied, as in they have suddenly returned from the dead, it is much the same as being submarined but you get some sort of an explanation as to why they bailed on you – work or family issue or whatever.

Just like with ghosting and/or mosting, many of us have behaved this way at some point in time. In considering why someone would submarine or zombie someone, I wonder if they pop back up to check-in to kind of verify whether they made the right decision in disappearing in the first place. Maybe now they are having a weak moment and reestablish contact to ascertain that things were as they remember them and therefore they were justified in their behavior. Or maybe they began to question their perceptions of their feelings about you or your feelings about them or how they thought the relationship was going or how you thought the relationship was going and rather than wondering if they did the right thing, they show back up to find out for themselves.

An alternative version of this might be that they realize that they’d made a mistake and want to give it another go. It might be hard for the you to ever trust them again, so if they show up to see if maybe the relationship really could have legs, it could be a tough road to travel. But it is possible. Perhaps they were secretly hoping that you were devastated and are showing back up to see just how terrible life was for you without them. Or, especially with the mosters, they want something else from you, even if that something is just attention.

Getting attention from someone puts us on equal footing, and nothing sends people over the edge like being ignored or ghosted. In their mind, if they can get you to give them attention once again, then possibly their disappearing act wasn’t really all that bad or harmful. Well, yes it was.

Are you being stalked, or do they want to sit in judgment of you and your life? Or are they just fishing for details of your life out of prurient interest? Perhaps they are one of those folks for whom the grass is always greener somewhere else. If they can get you to like or date or love them, well hell, they can probably get someone even taller, prettier, younger, richer, better to like them. Then they find out that their newest intended ain’t all that, and they resurface in your life.

The zombies will at least offer some plausible excuse. Could have been an illness or job loss that they were embarrassed about at the time or a family issue. We all have big, unforeseen problems come up at inopportune times in life, so why the secrecy? Unless they were in jail or in a coma, you should still be owed some kind of explanation.

The real issues with a lot of bad dating behavior is that it tells you the perpetrator wants to believe that their actions really have/had no impact on you or on others. This is a common human delusion that we see in personal as well as professional relationships. This is nonsense. None of us live in a vacuum, and especially in romantic or platonic relationships where things are so personal (versus a business decision or relationship), things we say and do, the actions we do or don’t take, the compassion, consideration, kindness, patience, interest, shown – or not shown – has impact.

Submarining and zombieing, just like ghosting and mosting, reveal a great deal about the person doing the activity and nothing about you if you are the victim of their bad behavior. Certainly, if someone just reappears, call them on it and set some very clear boundaries with them. You want to date a peer, someone with some maturity, not a child who thinks vanishing, with or without explanation, is the solution to the complexities of dating. If they disappeared because they have issues with love or commitment or friendship or the give-and-take of relationships or being vulnerable is a bridge too far, fine. Let them be who they are. Just make it clear they can’t act any or all their issues out in any kind of relationship with you.

Living Skills offers positive psychology counseling, spiritual counseling, and life coaching services in Atlanta, and online. We are sensitive to the needs of the LGBTQ community. Sessions available by Skype. Please email us at or visit Podcast: “The Problem with Humans” now available on Apple Podcasts, Buzzsprout, Google Podcast, Amazon Music, and Spotify, as well as on my site. Follow us on Twitter – @livingskillsinc