Youngsters now ‘haunt’ their exes on social media - Garvita Sharma

The term 'ghosting' — where your ex disappears, leaving behind no traces of them — has been given a new spin and the latest in the heartbreak dictionary is 'haunting'. Here, goodbyes are only for the real world and the ex still follows you virtually. While you may not get calls and texts from him/her, he/she still likes your pictures, comments on your status updates and keeps a tab on your online activities.

This deliberate detached-yet-attached attitude not just gives people mixed signals, but can also drive them crazy. Nineteen-year-old student Aayushi Mishra  says the guy whom she was in touch with on a dating app went incommunicado after the first meeting. But he continued to like her pictures. "We dated for a while, and he started acting crazy after the first meeting. So, I distanced myself. It's weird that he still likes and comments on my pictures and updates." While maturity plays an important role while tackling the situation, many admit they find haunting a harrowing experience. They feel they're tricked into mind games, even if they've only dated for a couple of months. Psychologist Sadia Saeed says, "The dynamics for long-term relationships and casual dates vary. Those in a proper relationship find some consolation in the fact that the other one hasn't moved on, and so, are fine with ghosting. In casual relationships, people are not sure what they want and keep the other one on tenterhooks."

How to deal with it

- In many cases, those who indulge in haunting are the sorts who are afraid to let go off you. Counsellor Pradnya Ajinkya says, "First, remain calm. In cases like these, you need to maintain a comfortable distance. If one rationalises this behaviour, the 'haunter' will continue with haunting. If you want to keep your ex away virtually too, make it clear to him/her."

- Since many resort to haunting to keep their options open, Sadia suggests, "A lot depends on how comfortable you are on being put on hold. You can always shut the door and cut off all ties from your end if you are not comfortable, even if it means blocking them online." But psychiatrist and relationship counsellor Shefali Batra says, "There's no point in blocking stalking ex. Because at one point, you might be tempted to unblock the person and check what he/she is up to, which is worse. So, there's no point brushing the issues under the carpet. Face you ex and you'll realise you can deal with the problem in a much better way."

- If you're only in a casual relationship, it is better not to get overly involved with the person and keep your guards up.