Breadcrumbing – What Is It? And how Do You Know You’ve Been a Victim of Someone Doing It to You?
Breadcrumbing is a modern dating trend and if you aren’t sure what it is, you aren’t alone.
Breadcrumbing occurs when someone has no intention of taking a relationship further, but they signal that they are because they like attention. They’re essentially dropping metaphorical “breadcrumbs” to their suitor, but they fully intend to stay single.
You are being breadcrumbed by someone if their actions and words indicate they want a relationship, but no matter how much you chase them, it never goes anywhere. It’s a romantic trail of breadcrumbs leading nowhere.
Relationship experts believe that dating apps like Hinge and Bumble have given rise to practices like breadcrumbing because it dehumanizes the dating experience. You might “swipe right” on a person, go on a date, and then not hear from them for a few weeks. Suddenly, she pops up again, sends a few flirty text messages, maybe you get another date, and then radio silence again.
People who breadcrumb seem to have suspiciously good timing. They know how long they can go without contacting you before you lose interest and they slide in right at the buzzer.
These types of actions used to be known as leading someone on, but today, especially with the technological aspects of relationships, it’s known as breadcrumbing.
How Do You Know Someone is Breadcrumbing You?
We lead busy lives. Chances are you’ve gone on a date or two with someone and time got away from you before you reached out to them for another date. Your intentions were good, you wanted to get to know the person better, but life got in the way.
That’s not breadcrumbing.
Breadcrumbing occurs when someone is not interested in a relationship, but they act as if they are just enough to keep you coming back. It can be difficult to recognize because people don’t have 100 percent of their time to dedicate to courting a new love interest as they once might have. If someone doesn’t call you for a few days it might actually be because they were busy.
But not if they intend to breadcrumb you.
According to Rosaria Torrisi, Ph.D., an AASECT certified sex therapist and the founder of the Long Island Institute of Sex Therapy, “I think for the most part this happens because of social anxiety and a lack of being able to verbalize feelings. “Every once in a while they’ll say ‘hi’ to see if you want to talk to them. But they’re usually pretty afraid, and don’t want to put themselves out there consistently.”
According to Matt Hilliard-Forde, a relationship coach based in Toronto, and a member of The Men’s List, breadcrumbing can add uncertainty to an online dating world that for many people already has its own unique brand of confusion. “There is a silver lining though. If you’re a recipient of breadcrumbing, it provides an opportunity for you to be clear and direct about the type of relationship you want. So if you’re seeking a deeper and more consistent connection, set a limit on the amount of breadcrumbing you will tolerate, and let the breadcrumber know what you’re looking for. letting people know what you value in your relationships really helps you get to what you want more quickly. You’re either filtering out the people who don’t want what you do, or getting on the same page if they do.”
It can be difficult to separate breadcrumbing from the normal progression of an adult relationship between two busy people. Torrisi believes that the vast majority of people playing breadcrumb games aren’t hurting their partners on purpose, but she also knows that some people are.
Some people get pleasure out of stringing people along. Their anxiety makes it challenging for them to navigate the dating world in a healthy way. They could be inexperienced or have low self-esteem and need to know that people want to be with them, even if the feeling isn’t mutual.
What Should You Do with a Breadcrumbing Love Interest?
The best way to deal with someone you suspect might be breadcrumbing you is to talk to them. Instead of agonizing over whether the relationship is going anywhere or feeling annoyed that you keep getting pulled into something that may or may not be serious, speak up. The more direct you are about the situation the better off you’ll be.
If the person is not intentionally trying to do you harm, you can open the door to a frank discussion about things. Acknowledge you like them but you feel confused because their efforts to build a relationship are inconsistent. Allow them to be honest about their feelings by being honest about yours. This is how you stop playing games – something people have claimed to not want to do for decades but continues to happen after all this time.
And if you have been breadcrumbing someone?
It’s time to be direct. Own your feelings and let it be known that you occasionally enjoy the person’s company, but you aren’t interested in a long-term exclusive relationship. You might find out the other person feels exactly the same way and the pressure is off of both of you to try to be something you aren’t.
The important thing is to get the truth out there so you can both evaluate where you stand and go forward from there.