Being on the receiving end of breadcrumbing in relationships is not a good feeling. You get led on by someone. You hope there’s something more to it, but there’s none. Breadcrumbing is designed to lure you in through attention, flattery, and sexual intrigue. It’s a terrible power play where another person dominates and emotionally controls you.
Breadcrumbers proceed with the relationship, knowing they have no intentions of taking things to the next level. But maybe you like them enough to make excuses for their bad treatment of you. You don’t want to believe they’re just stringing you along since they’re giving you “small doses of hope.” But sad to say, those are the “breadcrumbs.” They’re designed to draw you in romantically, but that’s all they are, “crumbs.” They don’t lead you to a serious relationship. It’s just a game for them.
You may think, “But what’s the harm in seeing where things go?” Honey, the thing is, they’re emotionally manipulating you and using you for their own personal gain. It is highly unlikely that they will change. If you are being breadcrumbed, there are some ways to respond. Don’t ignore the signs and hope things will change if you wait it out because honestly? It probably won’t. That said, we’ve given you some tips that could serve as a guide on handling a breadcrumber.
What Exactly is Breadcrumbing?
Breadcrumbing is a dating trend that involves someone leading you on with small, intermittent acts of attention. For example, someone sends you messages online constantly for weeks and suddenly goes AWOL. After a few days of wondering what is happening, they’ll message you again.
These acts of attention are just enough to keep you interested but not enough to establish a meaningful connection. Essentially, the person is leaving a trail of “breadcrumbs” to keep you following along, but they have no intention of being in a serious relationship.
Why Do People “Breadcrumb” Potential Partners?
So, you might be wondering why someone would breadcrumb in the first place. Let’s be real— sometimes people aren’t sure what they want. They like having someone there for them but are not ready to fully commit. So, instead of being upfront about their intentions, they breadcrumb. They’ll send the occasional flirty message, maybe even make plans to hang out, but when it comes down to doing activities that provide real connection, they tend to pass.
Not only that, but social media and dating apps made it easy for people to have multiple choices when it comes to dating. Some people don’t want to take the time to get to know someone and just want the “highs” of a relationship. It’s frustrating, but unfortunately, it’s all too common in the dating world these days.
How to Handle Breadcrumbing in Relationships
One of the reasons breadcrumbing in relationships can be so frustrating is that it can be hard to recognize at first. When you’re excited about someone, it’s easy to mistake their occasional messages for genuine interest. However, over time, it becomes clear that they’re not invested in the relationship. This can leave you feeling hurt, confused, and rejected.
It doesn’t have to be this way forever. You deserve someone who’s 100% sure of you. That said, below are the things you can do to stop this madness and move on.
1Acknowledge the situation.
The first thing you need to do is be honest with yourself. Stop telling yourself “Oh, she’s too busy right now to reply…” or “He’s just dealing with something for sure; he’ll message me back this week!” when they’re not replying to your messages or declining your dates.
No matter how busy their schedule is, a person who is serious about you will try to contact you as much as possible. It may not be hour-long conversations, but they’ll be consistent with calls and texts. They’ll also try to see you if you’re nearby. So enough with the excuses, sweetie. If you keep believing their lies, then you won’t be able to move on from the breadcrumber, so it’s important to acknowledge the situation first.
2Confront the other person.
If you think that he’s breadcrumbing you, talk to that person. Get in on the conversation with genuine curiosity. Don’t directly go into attack mode, as this may not produce desirable results. Ask them what they think they’re doing to you and tell them why it doesn’t quite sit well with you. Hopefully, this will be enough for them to change his pattern for the better or be more honest with you. If the person still keeps breadcrumbing, you better follow the next step.
We know it’s hard, but sometimes the best way to deal with a breadcrumber is to flat-out walk away. You also have to think of yourself and your well-being. The best way to avoid getting hurt is to not fall for their tricks or be a victim of their game. If they’re always away and sporadically talk to you, then you deserve better.
4Don’t stoop on the breadcrumber’s level.
Have more respect for yourself. Do not willingly pick up the crumbs that your partner throws you. The more you respond to his random and inconsistent messages, the harder they will play. Eventually, it will be a toxic relationship that will be so unhealthy for you. If you want a serious relationship, ensure you’re not settling for anything less. Start with absolute respect on both sides. They shouldn’t be playing with anyone’s heart.
5Block them on your social media accounts.
As the saying goes, out of sight, out of mind. Aside from walking away, ensure the other person cannot reach out.
If possible, block them on all your social media accounts as they may try a different approach to get your attention, such as liking your posts or watching your stories— this is also known as orbiting. It’s also a dating trend wherein a person you dated previously will constantly like and check your social media profile just so you can see their profile again. That way, they’ll still be taking a space in your mind, which will be helpful if they try to swoop in again like before.
6Don’t be afraid.
It is truly upsetting to be alone again after investing time and energy in someone you thought was worth it. A relationship breakdown can be frightening. Looking for someone new may seem daunting. But sometimes, there’s no other way out of the dark well you’re in.
You must push yourself out or drown in all the bullshit. You are worth more than a few miserly breadcrumbs. Find a guy who will put real effort into getting to know you and make you happy. So many out there will give you a whole loaf of bread.
7Get support from friends and family.
We understand if you want to spend a few days off from your friends and family, binging ice cream while watching your comfort films. However, bottling your feelings inside isn’t healthy in the long run. That said, we recommend talking to your trusted friends and family. A simple vent can help you get those negative vibes off your chest. You don’t have to be say all the details or tell this scenario to each of your family and friends; talking to your most trusted friends can suffice.
We also recommend spending more time with them than isolating yourself; doing what you love with the people you love can help you focus on the good things in your life instead of thinking about your broken heart.
8Don’t complain about it on social media.
Though talking to your trusted circle about what happened is okay, we highly recommend keeping mum on social media. It’s easy to get swayed by your emotions and post vague posts about breadcrumbing in relationships, how you thought that person was the “one,” and other similar posts.
Unless that person did something that should be known by the public, you’re simply fueling what the breadcrumber wants from you— time and attention. The more you share posts about what they did, the more they take up space in your life.
9If you’re dating someone new, don’t over-invest in the early stages.
Once you’re back on the dating scene again, prevent the heartbreak by not over-investing in the early stages of the relationship. Instead of going all out after the first few weeks of talking to this new potential partner, just be casual with the setup.
Avoid using too much of your time to hang out. Don’t let go of your hobbies, bonding time with friends, and other activities that you were doing before meeting this person. This will help ensure you’re not overly reliant on your partner for happiness and fulfilment. Build that solid foundation first, then gradually invest your time and feelings once the connection is established and expectations are communicated.
That said, it’s important to pay attention to any red flags that might indicate that you’re over-investing in the relationship. If you find yourself constantly thinking about your partner or putting their needs ahead of your own, it may be a sign that you need to step back and reevaluate your priorities.
10Don’t be a breadcrumber yourself.
It’s easier to tell when someone is breadcrumbing you rather than the other way around. Sadly, sometimes it’s hard to recognize that you’re actually breadcrumbing someone. With all the modern dating behaviors, keeping track of everything and your actions is hard. They can be so common that you don’t realize you’re doing it. But that doesn’t mean it’s okay.
To avoid being a perpetrator of breadcrumbing, be honest, straightforward, and upfront.
If you’re dating other people, say so. If you’re dating and hoping to find an exclusive partner or want marriage or a family, say that as well. In other words, be yourself. Don’t pretend to be someone you’re not. Be clear and consistent with what you want.
Most importantly, let others know your feelings about them through your actions and words. If you don’t see future potential with someone, then be fucking honest. You don’t have to beat around the bush or keep them on a string.
As they say, don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you. This is the golden rule. They don’t deserve sadistic shit like breadcrumbing from you. Just be honest and tell them. It can be hard, especially if you’re not confrontational, but it’s the right way out. This way, you can move on, and, importantly, so can they.
So there you have it: Know yourself, be true to who you are, and above all — keep it real with anyone you date.
Breadcrumbing in relationships is the latest brutal dating yet. The person leads you on and keeps you wrapped around their finger to keep you as an option.
Most of the time, it becomes painfully obvious after several days or weeks of “dating” that you’re being breadcrumbed. Even if you give them the benefit of the doubt, they might be busy with work or personal obligations. You still have to confront them with the issue since it affects you.
Check with the person whether you’ve misunderstood something. Be polite, but at the same time, be assertive. Go to the conversation with a curious perspective rather than a full accusation. Attacking the person upfront may not lead to the results that you want. It’s also better to be civil, as it’s the most mature way to deal with breadcrumbing.
If, after the conversation, it’s clear you’re being breadcrumbed, then you need to ask yourself if you’re okay with it. Maybe you’re also exploring your options, so it’s okay to have a mutual understanding of things. At least it’s clear what’s happening with the two of you rather than getting left in the dark.
But if you’re unhappy with the situation, it’s probably a good idea to break things off. It’s okay to want a “better” relationship status. It will all depend on you.