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Understanding Online Dating – How to Spot Breadcrumbing and What to Do About It



Understanding Online Dating - How to Spot Breadcrumbing and What to Do About It

Last Updated on July 20, 2023 by Joshua Isibor

If you feel you’re getting less from a partner than you’re giving them, you might be with a breadcrumber. This is someone who gives their partner just enough time, affection, energy, or attention to make them feel like they’re in a relationship, but the partner is frequently left wanting. The behavior involves manipulation and is a sign of emotional abuse.

Likes, comments, superficial interactions 

Signs of a breadcrumber include sending the “WYD” message often, leaving likes and comments on social media, and sending GIFs, emojis, and superficial texts. They will react to your posts or videos, so you start thinking about them. They will leave short comments that don’t say much but remind you of the breadcrumber. 

They might text you wanting to meet up, but they don’t share an actual plan. Their messages tend to be generic and shallow. 

Throwing breadcrumbs through different channels

They don’t reply to you on Facebook, but they respond on WhatsApp or react to your tweets. This is to make sure you don’t forget about them or move on. 

When you try to make plans to meet, they make excuses or respond ambiguously. On the other hand, they’re big on spur-of-the-moment plans, usually involving sex. They might become more open during sex, but after, everything’s back to normal. Their future still doesn’t involve you. 

Words are misaligned with actions 

Victims of breadcrumbing fall for sweet words and fail to consider whether the person’s actions are aligned. The breadcrumber says wonderful things to sustain your interest. 

Someone who says they want a committed relationship but never makes time for you is showing misalignment between words and behavior.  

You’re more interested in them than vice versa

The breadcrumber isn’t likely to try to get to know you because they’re not looking for a serious relationship. They’re charming and flirt with you, but they don’t try to connect or ask questions. You’re the one asking all the questions and trying to get the relationship going. 

They don’t open up 

You might feel the breadcrumber is hiding something because they’re secretive about their life. They share small details but nothing too deep or major. They don’t want to get close, which is why they’re keeping you at arm’s length. 

How to deal with a breadcrumber

It starts with changing how you respond to their behavior. Following their lead won’t get you anywhere different from where you are now. 

Maybe they send you messages late at night, and you’ve been staying up to reply. Stop doing that and turn off your phone. Text them when you get up and suggest meeting. 

Establish what limits they’ve set on the relationship. Are they only interested in hooking up? Try to adjust these limits. It might be the end of the road if they won’t change. 

If they make plans and often cancel them at the last minute, tell them this isn’t acceptable. Make it clear you expect them to be more reliable in the future and stop waiting for them to call. Make other plans instead. 

Ultimately, you might reconsider the whole relationship with them. Don’t settle for breadcrumbers in the future. Watch for red flags and make sure the other person is as invested in you as you are in them.



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