Haunting is the latest dating trend which is so much worse than ghosting

They won’t reply to your texts, but will like your Instagram

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I had been speaking to this guy for about a year – messaging all day, calling in the evening, tagging in dog memes and regularly sending funny YouTube videos.

Then one day it all stopped. Communication ceased for no reason. It was official, I was being ghosted.

But then about a month into the silence a notification came through on my phone that he had liked my latest Instagram. A week or so later, there was a Facebook tag.

This is a dating trend called haunting, where the person who was initially ghosting you comes back from the dead to haunt you. They won't reply to any of your messages and definitely won't call you, but they will like your new Facebook profile and Insta posts, just to remind you they're still there.

It was coined as 'orbiting' by Man Repeller, but to be honest, we think haunting is a better way of describing it as they literally are like a ghost who won't leave you the fuck alone.

And I'm not the only one who this has happened to. Chloe was dating a guy for six months then suddenly he ghosted her. Next thing she knows, he's DMing her Insta stories. Chloe said: "I couldn't figure out why he was doing it. I thought he was over me and rather being honest he just stopped talking. But then he started liking things here and there, but when I tried to start something up again he blanked me. To be honest, I think he was just getting a kick out of getting my hopes up."

So why do people do this mean act, which is arguably so much worse than ghosting? To try and figure it out, we spoke to We-Vibe’s Relationship Expert, Dr Becky Spelman, who says there are three possible reasons why people haunt: Letting them down gently, keep their options open, or just being a total tool.

Theory 1: Letting them down gently

This theory suggests that haunting isn't a dick move, but instead a thoughtful tactic designed to ease the pain of the ghosting. Instead of blanking them completely, the haunter likes Instagram posts as a way of saying they're over it, but not in a brutal 'we're not speaking anymore' kind of way. Dr Spelman said: "They may feel that they are letting the other person down more gently if they maintain a degree of contact in this way and think that they are being kinder than if they simply cut them off completely."

Smells like BS to me.

Theory 2: Keeping their options open

Theory 2 is super selfish, where the haunter is still lingering around just in case they fancy picking things up again after their haitus. Dr Spelman told The Tab: "They may feel that they are keeping their options open by showing this sliver of interest, and that if the dating scene gets lean at some point in the future they might be able to pick the relationship back up again."

Theory 3: Being a dickhead

The worst one of the lot. Theory 3 claims the haunter tags you in memes still because they want the "ego boost" of knowing you'll probably feel really excited then sad about getting the notification. "They might be going through photographs in the hope of having their ego boosted when they see signs of distress or upset on the part of the other person, or simply take a voyeuristic pleasure in peering into these windows on their life", Dr Spelman added.

According to Dr Spelman, the best way to stop a haunter is to block, unfriend and unfollow. “Thankfully, there is actually no need to question or explore this behaviour in detail, because we can respond to the discourtesy of ghosting by decisively removing the person in question from our online community of friends and blocking future invitations from them!”

Other articles this reader would recommend:

1. Welcome to love-bombing: The new trend your fuckboy is probably doing to you right now

2. A step-by-step guide on how to ‘treat them mean, keep them keen’, by a relationship expert

3. The Tab’s guide to dating

4. Bored of Tinder? Cut straight to the sex with 10 of the creepiest dating apps around