Are you worried that a man is leading you on, even though he has no real interest in dating you long-term?
This trend – known as breadcrumbing – is particularly common among players.
In this guide, we’ll explore the most common signs this is happening to you.
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Breadcrumbing is easy enough to spot though, once you know the signs to look for. First off we need to understand exactly what breadcrumbing is.
- 1 What Is Breadcrumbing?
- 2 Breadcrumbing Behaviors to Look Out For
- 2.1 1. His messages are sporadic
- 2.2 2. He only wants to hook up
- 2.3 3. He sends late-night text messages
- 2.4 4. He is psychic when it comes to your feelings
- 2.5 5. Shows signs he doesn't commit to anything
- 2.6 6. He sends meaningless messages
- 2.7 7. He displays passive-aggressiveness signs
- 2.8 8. He sends vague messages
- 2.9 9. You always question yourself and the relationship
- 2.10 10. You don’t feel good
- 3 FAQs
- 4 To Sum Things Up
What Is Breadcrumbing?
Breadcrumbing is the conscious act of leading another person on for long periods, in a bid to gain some thrill and a significant ego boost.
The end goal of breadcrumbing is self-serving, making it a very selfish and mean act. Many relationship experts state that breadcrumbing is a head trip, often played for control and domination.
Breadcrumbing Behaviors to Look Out For
1. His messages are sporadic
So, you met someone, felt a severe attraction towards him, and realized he felt the same way towards you! That's the best feeling ever, right? Well, everything started well, with daily texts floating around from one end of the world to the other. They laughed at everything you said, and you laughed right back. Those days were fun for both of you until it suddenly became nonexistent.
One month down the line this special someone still texts you, but not as much as he used to. Also, the texts aren't as consistent as they used to be. Weird? Well, there's a high chance you're being breadcrumbed, honey. Regular communication with a guy means they have a vested interest in you, and typically, they will want to know more. Once that communication becomes a message after every couple of days, usually based on their mood and terms, you might not be their priority anymore.
This usually happens because, at that point, his ego is fulfilled, and you're not needed anymore. But wait a couple of weeks, when he needs some form of male validation, and your phone will vibrate ever so violently, with sweet nothings. If this goes on consistently, it means you've accepted this behavior as a norm, and as such, they feel entitled to continue.
2. He only wants to hook up
They just want a mini banging session, and they’re off, sis! One of the significant reasons why breadcrumbing is done is for sexual satisfaction. Guys typically want to hook up without any significant commitment; thus, the entire breadcrumbing experience. Yes, it is possible that breadcrumbing is being done unintentionally, but in many cases, if someone does it to you, it might be because the guy isn't ready for a serious commitment.
Your relationship with this one guy started great, but suddenly, he's only texting you at night for a cute ‘late night' date night, which always has a quickie session following. If you think this is what real relationships are about, kindly think again and stop fooling yourself. Chances are you're not the only one they're doing this to.
If that special someone is all about hooking up, you need to view this as a very red flag and treat it as such, the relationship needs physical intimacy, but that isn't the main ingredient for relationships thus if you're meetings always get intimate quickly, consider the option that you're being breadcrumbed.
3. He sends late-night text messages
There are 24 hours in a day! Twenty-four hours, and he couldn't text you at any time, apart from one o’clock in the morning. I mean, you have to admit that this is a little bit (or very, very) weird. Chances are these dawn messages all have the same format: him asking you what you’re doing. Let’s try to forget that its dawn and every average human who adores beauty sleep will most likely be asleep by this time.
Breadcrumbing is done at such times, usually to bring your mind and thoughts to him, even though he might not be thinking about you in return. He only wants to play with you, but he doesn’t want you. Girls who experience this form of breadcrumbing are often left confused with lots of heartaches.
Late-night text breadcrumbing messages are better left ignored since they're not an exact representation of the person's feelings. If they wanted to know what you were up to, they would've texted you at 3 pm, and not 3 am when the entire world is meant to be dreaming of what's for breakfast the next morning.
4. He is psychic when it comes to your feelings
Or they're into witchcraft? These people always seem to sense just when you're close to getting over them. They can smell if from a mile away, and it disturbs their spirits. A lot! This might also be because they are always on social media scrolling through your feed to see what's up with you. From your coffee house post, they can sense you moving on, silently and they need to act…. Fast!
What’s more, if someone you are seeing senses your absence, take it as a cue to start sending flattering messages and tempting verses of empty promises and a bleak future that can't be seen in this lifetime. In fact, they make this bait so alluring, and you can't help but fall back into their trance. What was almost lost is now back in their control, and they feel content.
Also, if this person usually reaches out when it seems you've started leaving them behind, most often to ensure that you will always remember them. Drawing you back in is their only way to keep you on their hook for the next time they need validation and ego-boosting. Girl, no one needs such a mess in their life; my advice? You deserve better, so, keep things moving.
5. Shows signs he doesn't commit to anything
No doubt, these people cannot be pinned down for anything! They're the ones who created the ‘I don't like bales' line, and they use it the way we all breathe in oxygen to live. Some people aren't into PDA and the worldly proclamation of love, but most of such people, I admit, are breadcrumbers.
Also, people who make use of breadcrumbs, are often described as sporadic, non-committal, and repeated messages. These messages are sent as often as possible to keep you wondering whether or not you're both officially an item or not. They will always make things look like they're about to get official and severe, but the day of proclamation never comes up.
If he's always running away from commitment related questions or is ever-changing the subject when you ask ‘what are we?' rethink your position in his life, and be wary of how often he keeps in contact with you, and the reasons why.
6. He sends meaningless messages
No, I’m not saying that every message this special someone sends makes no sense. There might be some with substance, but usually, they're only asking what's up with you, or what you're up to. If you look closely at the signs you see that these messages have no depth, show no serious interest, and are a major turnoff when used consistently.
Also, such people usually make use of the above words when they feel you drifting away, and they need to pull you back in. Meaningless messages might sound sweet and caring initially until they become monotonous and strenuous on your mind. Stay alert, sister. Don't let these breadcrumbs lead you to a home you don't want.
7. He displays passive-aggressiveness signs
So you’ve realized that this special someone (or fling mate) is breadcrumbing you, being the sweetheart that you are, you calmly bring this to their attention. Someone who is truly breadcrumbing will get passive-aggressive, or extra manipulative when they're made aware of your knowledge on what they're trying to do. This usually happens because breadcrumbing is naturally a passive-aggressive behavior.
In fact, a passive-aggressive partner doesn't see you in their long term plans and is merely keeping you around for when they need to feel good mentally, emotionally, or physically. They love the manipulation and will go to lengths to play with your mind and heart if you let them.
8. He sends vague messages
When such a person sends you a message, it is always hard to decipher. All the messages seem to have a vague hidden message that cannot be understood no matter how much you think about it. The curiosity and mystery are what keeps you hanging on, watching, and waiting to find out what they're meant by the 2 A.M. ‘What's up with you?' text.
In fact, these type of people can mention daily that you need to hang out, but will never commit to a specific day or date for this hangout. Unless, of course, they're assured of an excellent quick session before they say goodbye. Be guided, sweethearts!
9. You always question yourself and the relationship
You call and never get a response when someone is playing on you. Your texts don't seem to go through almost all the time, and you can look to get a hold of them when you need their company or thoughts. In many cases, the extended wait that exists between text responses can leave you questioning if you did something wrong unintentionally.
There's nothing to worry about, honey; you did nothing wrong. You know deep within that you're not to blame, but you can't control the guilty feelings that don't want to leave, so let the marinate, sinking deeper and deeper until your self-esteem is significantly bruised.
10. You don’t feel good
You’ve been waiting for Mr ‘almost’ Right to reply to your text messages. It's been six hours, and just when you're about to forget he exists, there's a beep from your phone. You're excited, but not so much. You don't feel right about what his reply might be. Maybe it's because of his previous responses, or the way he's been acting lately.
Perhaps the initial excitement you felt the first time you met him is now a faded memory, and you're slowly seeing who exactly he is as an individual. As the days go by, you begin to dread his responses, feeling mighty anxious about the next time he is going to contact you. Girl, the only reason you are feeling this way is because he is just not right for you.
Breadcrumbing is incredibly wrong and can be very damaging to the esteem of others. Once you realize someone is breadcrumbing you, be sure to call them out, asking them the reason for their actions. If they persist, simply ignore their messages and give them a break until they wake up from their ego desires. Never give in to someone to make them feel better about themselves at your expense.
In a relationship, breadcrumbing is the process of stringing someone along via text or social media platforms romantically, to keep them interested in you even if you don’t see them in your future. Experts see breadcrumbing as an emotionally manipulative tactic that people use to make others dependent on you or vice versa.
Responding to someone who sends breadcrumb texts is very simple and can be done almost immediately without much thought. The first thing to do is to alter the way you respond to their messages.
If they try to make plans with you, which you know they will bail out on, you can instead make IRL plans with your friends or family. If they're still flaky, be sure to call them out, confronting them directly. If they persist with the breadcrumbing, cut them off completely.
If the breadcrumbing is coming from someone you used to be romantically involved with, chances are they're going through something that's challenging emotionally. Your partner may be feeling vulnerable or weak and needs some form of support from someone they can be vulnerable to. The most likely option in such an instance will be you.
In the dating scene, the urban dictionary explains benching as any instance where you have some feelings for another person, and the emotions are big enough for you to keep seeing them, but not sufficient for you to want a long term commitment with them.
As a result, the person feeling this way just keeps someone around as an option, while they have their dating windows still open. If a guy does this to you, it’s a good enough reason to end the relationship.
To Sum Things Up
Many relationships and flings experience the breadcrumbing phenomenon. The sending of flirty, non-committal messages to others to gain their attention whenever are very common and often very annoying to the person on the other end of the spectrum. If your relationship is showing all the signs that he is breadcrumbing you, that is making you feel like second best, I will advise doing away with such people – you just don’t need them in your life.
I hope you enjoyed reading this article, and you're more experienced to know when you're being placed on standby, being stung on, or being used. Share to as many girlfriends as you can or someone else that might need this advice, making sure to keep everyone well informed and equipped to deal with cold breadcrumb partners.
As hopeless romantic I struggled tremendously in my love life. After many years of searching, trial & error, and countless failed relationships, I finally found my Mr. Right. It wasn't an easy road, but one that has taught me an incredible amount about the workings of relationships between men and women, and this is what I hope to share through my writing on this blog.