What is Breadcrumbing? 6 Telltale Signs & How to Effectively Deal With it

By Tatenda

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Last Updated: October 4, 2022

Breadcrumbing has nothing to do with the actual bread crumbs, but everything to do with how people behave when they are in a relationship or dating someone. 

When you have just started talking to someone, and there is a potentially budding romance, things are not always black and white. A lot might not be verbally communicated, and it is essential to pay close attention to one’s behavior. 

Falling in love with someone and then realizing that they do not feel the same way for you can be heartbreaking. In an ideal scenario, both parties should move at the same pace and be reciprocal. 

However, the world does not always go according to the most ideal scenario; that’s why it is important to know and understand what breadcrumbing is. This way, you can effectively protect your golden heart. 

“Belief can be manipulated. Only knowledge is dangerous.” – Frank Herbert

 

 

What is Breadcrumbing?

Breadcrumbing is when one person intentionally leads the other person on without the intention of further developing the relationship. 

Without putting much effort, they show signs of romantic interest just to keep you interested, but they are not willing to commit to a relationship. When breadcrumbing, people will flirt and communicate constantly with the other person. They give out mixed signals as they also give non-committal signs. 

In most cases, breadcrumbers do so as a way to keep their options open. They breadcrumb several people so that they have a few people interested in them, and when the time is ‘right’, they can choose. 

Moreover, it is usually a subconscious manipulative tactic. Sometimes the breadcrumbers are unaware that this is what they are doing. 

Sadly, this does not stop the other person from being hurt after some time. 

 

 

6 Signs of Breadcrumbing

They are not consistent.

Breadcrumbers tend to be hot and cold.

One minute they are making you feel special. They text throughout the day, tagging you on social media and sharing memes. The next day, they will be cold, making you feel invisible. When they come back, they pretend as though nothing ever happened, and this cycle continues. 

 

They postpone dates.

When someone is breadcrumbing you, they might make plans or schedule dates, but they will also postpone the dates.

They raise your expectations then at the last minute, they will have something come up. 

 

They are only interested in sex.

Conversations with them always become sexual.

If they end up meeting up with you, they may try to invite you over or insist on going to your place. It becomes clear that their only intention is to have sex with you. 

 

They avoid serious conversations.

Whenever you raise an important issue, such as asking them how they see their relationship with you, they avoid the conversation. They might go offline then when they come back, they might start a new conversation ignoring what you might have asked prior. 

 

They don’t want to get personal.

Breadcrumbers tend to have a huge wall around them. They do not want to share personal stuff about themselves, and they try to keep you an arm’s length away. This is despite the fact that you might be an open book to them. 

 

They don’t want you to leave.

When you let them know that you’re not happy with how things are going and express that you want to leave, they change.

They start being there and communicating consistently. They apologize and express their need to know you more just so you stay. Once you do, the cycle starts all over again. 

 

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How to Best Respond to Breadcrumbing 

Breadcrumbing is a manipulating technique used both outside and in a relationship context.

It can happen online or in person; however, it is more common in online interactions.   

When you start observing a pattern of the above signs, consider: 

  • Communicating your needs and expectations
  • Not falling in love too soon
  • Being honest with yourself
  • Meeting other people
  • Reciprocating their way of interacting with you 
  • Not taking it personally
  • Having firm and clear boundaries
  • Cutting off contact with them

 

 

Final Thoughts on Breadcrumbing

Being in love is beautiful.

However, relationships can also be complex. Some of us have found ourselves in scenarios where there was breadcrumbing, but we didn’t know what that was or at least didn’t know that there was a name for that behavior.

In some cases, we made excuses for our partners and hoped that if we continued loving them, they would also love us back. 

Now we know. If it looks and feels like breadcrumbing, it probably is. Communicate openly and let them know exactly where you are and where you want to be.

If they do not share the same vision, it might be best to end the relationship or continue while knowing exactly what you are getting. 

Never be afraid of being alone, rather be afraid of being with the wrong person. 

Photo by RODNAE Productions

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