Kate Strong | Intuitive Healing

What is Breadcrumbing in Relationships and How Can You Avoid It?

The term “breadcrumbing” comes from the phrase “breadcrumbs left behind.” In fairy tales, breadcrumbs are used to lead lost people back home. In the same way, a breadcrumber strings along his or her partners with just enough attention to keep them hooked.


What is breadcrumbing?

Breadcrumbing is the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal text messages (i.e. “bread crumbs”) in order to keep someone interested without ever having to commit to anything more serious.


The term “breadcrumbing” was coined by Urban Dictionary in 2006, and since then, it has become a popular way to describe the frustrating dating phenomenon.


The psychology behind why people do it and why people put up with it

Have you ever been talking to someone, only for them to suddenly go MIA? Or, maybe you’ve been on a few dates with someone, only for them to start gradually backing away until they eventually disappear completely. If so, you may have been the victim of breadcrumbing.


Breadcrumbing is the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal messages in order to keep someone interested without ever having any intention of actually dating them. A breadcrumber will keep you on your toes by texting you just often enough so that you never totally write them off, but they’ll never actually make any solid plans with you.


Often this is to do with someone’s attachment style. ie: Fearful avoidants. They can breadcrumb because they were breadcrumbed in their childhood. The pain of staying in the relationship with breadcrumbing is less you think at a subconscious level than the pain of the alternatives. You might be fearing abandonment, fearing you cant be on your own, fearing you won’t find anyone better, or fearing breaking up etc.


So why do people put up with breadcrumbs?

While breadcrumbing can happen in person, it’s most common on dating apps and social media, where it’s easy to send a quick message without any real intention of following through.


Breadcrumbers typically string along multiple partners at once, leading them on with just enough attention to keep them hooked while they wait for something better to come along.


If you’ve been breadcrumbed, you’re not alone.


How you were treated as a child and how your needs were met is how you learned to treat yourself. And you can breadcrumb yourself, which means you really don’t have any reserves in your tank, your love gauge is down, and so there isn’t anything left over to give others. So to someone who has no reserves then everyone is going to look like a squawking baby bird wanting to be fed by the mother bird, which is a repellant to someone who has little to give to start with. So anything someone gives you will feel like an oasis because it’s more than you give yourself.


The effects of breadcrumbing on both parties involved

Breadcrumbing is the act of sending flirty but non-committal messages to a romantic interest in order to keep them interested without ever fully committing. This can be done through texts, social media, or even in person. Although it may seem harmless, breadcrumbing can actually be detrimental to both parties involved.


For the person being breadcrumbed, it can give false hope that the relationship may eventually turn into something more. They may continue to wait around for the other person to finally commit, only to be disappointed time and time again. This can lead to feelings of insecurity and self-doubt. There may also be subconscious fears around how it might be worse if you don’t accept breadcrumbs, not wanting to be abandoned, not wanting to be engulfed as well.


The person doing the breadcrumbing may also eventually get tired of leading someone on and ghost them completely. This can leave the other person feeling used and confused.


Oftentimes the push pull that the breadcrumber does is a reflection of the push pull inside of them, one part wants to connect and then another part doesn’t and wants freedom.


How to spot a breadcrumber

If you think you might be getting breadcrumbed, here are a few things to look out for:

  1. They never make concrete plans with you. A breadcrumber will always have an excuse for why they can’t meet up with you or why they had to cancel last minute. They may even say they want to see you, but then never follow through.
  2. They take forever to reply to your texts. You may find yourself constantly waiting around for them to respond, only to get a one-word answer hours later.
  3. Their texts are always vague and lack substance.


How to avoid being breadcrumbed

When it comes to relationships, breadcrumbing is the new ghosting. If you’ve been dating someone for awhile and they suddenly start blowing up your phone with random texts or Snapchat messages, you might be getting breadcrumbed. Breadcrumbing is when someone gives you just enough attention to keep you interested, but not enough to actually pursue a relationship. It’s a way of leading someone on without any intention of following through.


If you’re being breadcrumbed, the best thing to do is call the person out on it. Let them know that you’re not going to tolerate being led on and if they’re not interested in pursuing a real relationship, they need to back off. Chances are, they’ll either step up their game or move on to someone else who’s more willing to put up with their BS.

Kate offers Healings and Intuitive Guidance. She offers sessions in the Emotion Code, Body Code, Cord Cutting Past Life Healings, Soul Healings and more. She offers these by email.

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