As a culture, we have been moving toward more casual relationships for quite some time now. The digital age has made it easier to meet people, interact with them, and move from relationship to relationship without committing to anything long-term. With this freedom and opportunity also come relationship struggles like dealing with breadcrumbing. But what exactly is breadcrumbing? And is your date breadcrumbing you? Let’s find out all about it!
What Is Breadcrumbing?
Breadcrumbing is the act of leading someone on through text messages, social media interactions, or any other form of communication. It is done by sending out flirtatious signals and then backing off before the person they are interacting with becomes too invested in a relationship. The breadcrumber withholds communication and affection when the signals are reciprocated. Breadcrumbers start looking for their next hookup while they keep in touch with you. They feel insecure with the prospect of any sort of commitment. They prefer digital communication over any IRL plans. These individuals may not be aware of the impact of their actions on the recipient.
Breadcrumbers may possibly feel like they will suffocate if they commit to one person. So, instead, they string people along by placing them on a long line. They often fear that strong connections will only end in rejection and pain, so they are quick to pull away before anyone can really get to know them well. Breadcrumbers may pull away when things get serious because it is hard for them to imagine being loved by someone else when they don’t love themselves enough to commit. They will often blame their behavior on your lack of commitment if you try to accuse them of breadcrumbing.
Breadcrumbing can make you feel confused, frustrated, angry, and even depressed after being led on for so long. This type of behavior is unacceptable if you want to avoid hurting others’ feelings. If you feel that a person is throwing breadcrumbs at you, it is best to delete them from your life by blocking all forms of communication and moving on with your life.
Check out the next section for some signs that you should look out for.
Signs Of Breadcrumbing
Breadcrumbers use flirtation tactics to come off as interested in someone while simultaneously trying to avoid getting too close, often fearing rejection if they commit to one person romantically. The best way to deal with a breadcrumber is to simply walk away.
If you have not been able to tell yet, here are some examples. Your partner may be breadcrumbing you if they:
- Only contact you through text messages rather than calling or seeing you in person.
- Talk about their other relationships even though they are not serious.
- Stay in touch with their exes from a previous fling.
- Try to make you jealous by talking about other people or by flirting or sexting them.
- Only show up when they are in the mood to hook up.
- Make plans but fail to follow through on them.
- Ask to see you but never make it a priority.
- Talk about future plans but are never specific.
- Are always available on the weekends but disappear during the week.
- Are often around their ex and never make an effort to cut ties.
- Often react with hostility whenever their flirty behavior is challenged.
If your partner is breadcrumbing you, it is best to confront them or distance yourself from them. They are likely using this tactic because they have no interest in being in a relationship with you at all. Keep yourself busy and keep looking for someone who will truly value your company.
Keep reading to learn how to deal with breadcrumbing and move on from an unfulfilling relationship.
How To Deal With Breadcrumbing
If your partner is breadcrumbing you, the best thing to do is to move on. For example, if someone tries to draw you into a flirtatious chat that leads nowhere, end the conversation with a smile and move on. Be patient and keep your eyes peeled for someone better. Otherwise, you will find yourself wasting time and losing hope. You can avoid getting breadcrumbed by not putting too much effort into the relationship if your effort is not being reciprocated.
Breadcrumbers will quickly fade out of your life if you don’t put too much effort into the relationship. When they feel like you are not putting in enough work, they will slowly start to pull away. Set boundaries with them and wait until things get serious before defining the relationship and making it more serious.
If someone tries to convince you that they are committed to you while ‘friendly-flirting’ with other people, it is best just to walk away. If they can treat you this way during the initial days, they are likely to take you for granted once things get serious. Breadcrumbers want others to fight for their affections constantly. If you make it seem like you don’t care about them, they will seek out other people who will satisfy their ego. Don’t allow yourself to be strung along with empty promises – it is not worth the trouble.
Many people confuse breadcrumbing with ghosting. Learn the difference between the two in the following section.
Ghosting Vs. Breadcrumbing
Ghosting is when someone ends a relationship by completely disappearing rather than breaking up with you face to face. When they don’t even have the courtesy of saying they are not interested anymore, that usually indicates a ghoster.
On the other hand, when someone breadcrumbs, they give you crumbs of attention while pulling away for extended periods, so there is no scope for a confrontation. In this case, they still want to keep their options open, but they don’t want to cut ties with you completely.
Now, you must be wondering how to respond to a breadcrumber when they text you. Find out in the next section.
How To Respond To A Breadcrumbing Text
If someone is breadcrumbing you, it can be difficult to respond. If they are only giving you crumbs of attention, they will continue to pull away no matter how much you pursue them. So, whether you are excited about receiving their text or are furious at their behavior, it is best to avoid responding emotionally. Contact them via a polite message on social media. Tell them that you noticed how they treated you and ask what their intentions are with this behavior. If their response is not satisfactory or does not contain any valid explanation for their absence, don’t be afraid to tell them that you are not interested in someone who does not believe in your potential for a future together.
Many people also engage in something called narcissistic breadcrumbing. Learn what that is in the next section.
What Is Narcissist Breadcrumbing?
Narcissist breadcrumbing is a form of emotional abuse. Narcissists become increasingly aggressive when they feel like their partner is not giving them what they want from the relationship. They give out crumbs of affection and attention to keep someone interested, but as soon as they have had enough of that person, they will completely cut them off without a second glance. They will also go back to old relationships that they have already ended just to get a taste of what they are missing out on. Narcissist breadcrumbers are usually very charming at first, but when things start to get serious, their true colors begin to show. This is why it is crucial not to let your feelings for them overshadow who they really are.
Don’t make the mistake of thinking that any efforts from your end regarding a breadcrumber will lead anywhere – because it won’t. The only thing that a breadcrumber wants is for you to keep putting all of your time, effort, and emotions into them while not reciprocating even the bare minimum. This makes them feel powerful. Hence, the less effort you put into the relationship, the faster they will give up trying to pull you in, and the faster you will be emotionally free to pursue a good life partner.