Select your language

Download HER

Decoding Haunting: Navigating the New Dating Trend

Oct 29, 2023

Decoding Haunting: Navigating the New Dating Trend
  • Ever had that eerie feeling of being watched, even when you’re alone? Like there’s a pair of unseen eyes lurking in the shadows, silently observing your every move. That is haunting, but not in the way we traditionally understand it.

    In this digital age, the term “haunting” has acquired a different connotation that has nothing to do with Halloween-style ghosts. Instead, haunting is used to talk about an even more unsettling phenomenon in dating that leaves many bewildered and wanting answers. Let me explain… 

    Have you ever had someone who you were ghosted by or an ex whom you’ve had no contact with for years suddenly reemerge into your life? Maybe they suddenly restarted watching your Instagram stories or like an odd post from time to time. You might ask yourself, now, what on earth are they doing, and what does it mean? Their newfound semi-presence, refusing to disappear or fully engage to clear the air.

    That, my friends, is haunting.

    Understanding haunting in dating

    The dating world is full of surprising turns and confusing lingo. Haunting a new-ish trend (thanks, social media) where someone who’s ghosted you continues to lurk on your social media, never making direct contact but always seeming present.

    As per the findings by relationship expert Kate Mansfield, haunting has seen an uptick during the pandemic as face-to-face interactions became limited. The inability to interact with people in real life made some turn to their screens, keeping tabs on past connections from afar.

    This could lead you to question: ‘What does haunting mean in my dating experience?’ It might make one feel like they’re living inside a haunted house – it’s eerie, unsettling, and leaves us asking why.

    Signs of haunting can include:

    • Frequent views or likes on your Instagram stories or posts,
    • Persistent engagement with your content,
    • An odd sense that they’re always around digitally even though communication ended abruptly.

    If these signs are familiar territory for you, then congratulations. You’ve had firsthand experience with this spooky dating phenomenon. Remember though – although common experiences may bond us all together like brick walls at times, every individual situation remains unique.

    The psychology behind haunting

    This phenomenon is often linked with something psychologists call the “Spotlight effect.” This cognitive bias leads us to believe we’re more significant in other people’s lives than we actually are.

    A person may ghost for various reasons – meeting someone else, lack of interest or connection, poor communication skills, or personal struggles and insecurities. Most often than not, ghosting actually has quite little to do with the person being ghosted and more to do with the ghoster’s inability to handle a certain amount of vulnerability and openness properly. 

    Yet, their silent online presence can trigger a false sense of importance; they must be thinking about me.

    The role of social media algorithms complicates things further. Sometimes these platforms show content to those who interact with it often. So if that person from two years ago suddenly pops up liking every photo, don’t panic just yet. It could be due to the algorithm rather than them actively seeking you out. 

    We’ve all been there: obsessively checking our profile views or counting post-likes after being haunted by an ex-flame. Recognizing this pattern is key to understanding its impact on our dating lives and self-esteem.

    Moving forward requires stepping out from under that imagined spotlight because no one deserves half-hearted attention in love matters. So let’s embrace full brightness instead of getting lost in dimly lit haunts.

    Strategies for dealing with haunting

    To start off, setting boundaries plays a key role in preventing hauntings and promoting healthier experiences on dating platforms. It’s like building a digital brick wall that blocks the specters from peeking into your social media stories or likes.

    Remember, don’t chase someone who isn’t reciprocating interest. Just as a leather jacket doesn’t fit everyone’s style preference, every person won’t match well with us either. The right one will show up fully invested in getting to know you.

    If you find yourself haunted by an ex-flame, blocking them might help clear away the fog of uncertainty. By doing so, we reclaim our peace and let them know we’re not down to deal with their chaos.

    After a haunting experience, it’s essential to shift your focus. Redirect your energy towards self-improvement and healthier relationship patterns rather than getting stuck in the past.

    The role of self-care in moving on

    Taking care of yourself is key when moving on from haunting experiences. It starts with recognizing that you deserve more than crumbs from someone who can’t fully commit.

    Focusing on personal growth helps you break free from negative patterns. This includes not settling for less or allowing revolving doors in your life.

    A good way to start this journey is by engaging in activities that make you happy, nurturing relationships that are reciprocal, and setting boundaries where necessary. When we treat ourselves well, we attract others who do the same.

    Moving forward doesn’t mean forgetting what happened but using those experiences as stepping stones toward better dating practices. So if you’ve been haunted before, remember: You’re not alone – many have walked this path before and found their way out of the woods into healthy relationships.

    So, you’ve made it through the fog of haunting. You’ve unpacked its meaning and signs in today’s digital dating scene.

    You’re now equipped with an understanding of why people haunt others and how this affects those being haunted. The spotlight effect? You know what that is now too.

    Strategies to deal with haunting are no longer a mystery. Setting boundaries for healthier relationships? Check! And remember, social media platforms can be both friend and foe when it comes to haunting behaviors.

    Moving forward, let self-care be your guide as you navigate away from the ghostly specter of past connections toward brighter relationship horizons. 

    Haunting, while challenging, doesn’t have to define your future experiences in love or friendship.

    Daniela Ochoa-Bravo is a writer and creative based in Brooklyn, born in Bogotá. She is the Founder and Editor of Colectivo Tabú, a project dedicated to democratizing the publishing industry by creating a space where the works of emerging and established artists can seamlessly coexist alongside each other.

    Newsletter Sign Up