Do you have lost loves lurking on your Instagram feed? Do you feel a spooky shiver whenever you use Snapchat? You’re probably being haunted.
Yes, haunted. Basically it's when someone you’ve ended things with decides to reassert themselves into your fragile mind by watching your Instagram or Snapchat stories or liking your social media posts.
As with actual ghosts, they usually appear out of nowhere — often they don't even follow you officially. And seeing that notification pop up on your phone gives you a fright — or, worse, brings up all the bad feelings you've tried to leave behind.
To be clear, you don't have to have ghosted or been ghosted by someone in order for them to haunt you. Even a former mate with whom you had a proper wrenching goodbye can pop up months or even years later to remind you of their existence.
Haunting is the newest new term for a longstanding dating phenomenon, and it's the logical followup to our recent plague of ghosting. Modern romance is really moving into a scary place, y'all.
It’s not entirely new, obviously. Former lovers have been finding ways to irritate and stalk us from the beyond for as long as there have been people, and the term itself has been around since at least last summer.
It's really starting to take hold though, even getting a shout out in Cosmo. This rise has almost certainly been fueled by the fact that Instagram and Facebook stories now provide yet another realm for these otherworldly presences to rattle around in.
Fittingly, it can be very hard to exercise these dating demons once they've found you. You'll only out yourself by pinging them and demanding to know why they're hanging around in your social media space.
There's always delete your account, but that's a bit like burning down the house to get rid of the ghost — it'll never work. For now that leaves you with blocking them, an imperfect but effective solution, or making peace with the ghost's occasional presence.
We can only hope that someday there will be a way to burn virtual sage and exorcise these spirits from our feeds. Oh, right, there already is. It's called blocking.