This post was updated on Nov 29, 2022
While it has become easier to connect to more people than ever thanks to the unprecedented popularity of online dating, many of the intricacies of the dating world nowadays leave people perplexed. Breadcrumbing is a particularly hurtful behavior that you could come up against while searching for that special someone. If you’d like to find out what it is and how to deal with it with the help of online relationship coaching, read on.
What Does Breadcrumbing Mean?
While the behavior it describes has been around forever, the term breadcrumbing is one of the newest additions to the dating jargon. Breadcrumbing means that someone is showing interest in you without becoming fully invested in the relationship. This person is effectively leading you on by providing you with the bare minimum of their time and effort, that is, breadcrumbs.
What Are Some Examples Of Breadcrumbing?
Breadcrumbing usually happens in the first stages of a relationship, while people are just getting to know each other. It can also happen with an ex, especially if your relationship ended recently. It can take many forms, such as:
- Communicating inconsistently: They may shower you with different forms of attention one day and then ghost you for a while.
- Disappearing without explanation: They don’t tell you why they weren’t responding to your texts or calls, or provide an unconvincing excuse.
- Sending mixed messages: For example, they may like your posts on social media while not replying to your texts or returning your calls.
- Keeping you at arm’s length: Even though you’re communicating relatively regularly, they don’t reveal much about themselves. For example, they may routinely respond to your texts with emojis or memes instead of communicating in a meaningful way.
- Wriggling out of dates: They say they’d like to meet up while not setting specific dates and wriggling out of your attempts to schedule a date.
- Not being honest about only wanting a sexual relationship: They’re only interested in having sex without building emotional intimacy and they don’t disclose it openly.
- Showing up when you grow distant: If they feel you’re losing interest, they may start contacting you more frequently only to go MIA again after a while.
Why Does Someone Keep Breadcrumbing?
People leave breadcrumbs when they’re in two minds about the relationship. They aren’t entirely enthusiastic about pursuing it. However, they don’t want to completely dismiss it either. There are many reasons why someone would do this, like:
- They may be playing the field and holding off on the relationship in case someone else comes along.
- They could just be passing the time without any serious intentions.
- They may only want casual sexual encounters and not be after a relationship at the moment.
- They could be emotionally unavailable because they’re thinking about someone else.
- They may have intimacy issues that keep them from establishing deep, meaningful connections.
- They may be stringing you along intentionally because your affection boosts their ego.
- If they’re an ex, they could be finding it difficult to move on while not willing to actually rekindle the romance.
Sometimes, while it may seem like the person is breadcrumbing, they may just be too afraid of rejection. They may be too insecure to let their feelings show, so they keep you at bay, waiting for you to make the next move. However, if this is the case, they will typically respond well to your attempts to set dates and build a more intimate connection.
Is Breadcrumbing Emotional Abuse?
Breadcrumbing can be deeply hurtful, confusing, and disorienting to the person who’s on the receiving end. Holding onto a breadcrumber isn’t only emotionally underwhelming and unsatisfying. It also keeps you from establishing a fulfilling, supportive relationship.
Breadcrumbers may or may not be aware of how painful their behavior is. Some people don’t realize that the other person wants a deeper connection, so they feel like a superficial relationship suits both of them. Others may breadcrumb intentionally, so they can get sexual favors or an ego boost.
Whatever the case, if you’re experiencing it, it’s advisable to find a healthy way to deal with it and stop getting hurt.
Can You Confront A Breadcrumber?
Yes, openly talking to the person about your relationship is one of the ways to find out what’s going on and potentially grow a deeper connection. You can tell them that it seems like you’re looking for different things in a relationship. Talk to them about what you expect and don’t feel like you’re getting. Also, ask them how they envision your relationship. If your ideas differ significantly, it’s better to go your separate ways. Otherwise, someone’s expectations may go unmet.
What To Do If Someone Is Breadcrumbing You?
There are several ways in which you can find out if the situation really is breadcrumbing and try to progress the relationship. For example, you could:
- Discuss the situation with them openly. If they aren’t up for the same level of commitment or say they are and nothing changes soon, it may be best to move on.
- Suggest the time and location for a date. If they cannot find the time for you or say yes and then cancel at the last minute, it’s a red flag.
- Clearly show that you’re interested. If they’re only shy and need some encouragement, they’ll be receptive to your advances.
How Can Coaching At The Glass House Center Help Me Overcome Breadcrumbing?
Here at PIVOT’s Glass House Center, you can attend personalized individual coaching to find out more about yourself and your relationship. You may explore your experience with breadcrumbing and realize how to build stronger, more lasting bonds with romantic partners.In addition, some of our workshops are attended by couples who wish to understand their relationship better. For example, you and your partner may be wondering why you’ve become so alike and would like to delve deeper into how you influence each other. Reach out to us and begin this revealing experience today!