You’ve been seeing this guy, but it seems that he’s been showing you signs of breadcrumbing. At least that’s what your friends told you...
With all these new terms that are used to try and describe modern dating, it comes as no surprise that you’re feeling confused.
Ghosting, gaslighting, and now breadcrumbing. How can you even realize what’s happening to you when there are so many things that you’re supposed to be on the lookout for?
So, before digging deeper into the signs of breadcrumbing, let me first explain to you what it is and how it actually works.
What does breadcrumbing stand for?
Guess what? Breadcrumbing is a manipulative tactic that shouldn’t have a place in a healthy relationship.
It’s passive-aggressive behavior where a breadcrumber leads you on through dating apps, text messages, and social media.
In general, it’s a term that goes well with the world of online dating.
He feeds you on breadcrumbs (aka he messages you from time to time) and he uses those messages to keep you on the hook.
A breadcrumber usually has no romantic feelings for you but gives you just enough attention to keep you interested.
This is usually done out of boredom or as an ego boost, as it makes the person who’s breadcrumbing (aka the breadcrumber) feel like he’s the one in control.
It gives him a feeling of power, which acts as food for his self-esteem.
He’ll keep you on a leash and the moment he needs validation that he’s the kind of a guy who can impress every single girl, he reaches out to you and proves to himself that he still has it.
By responding to his late-night text messages, you show him that even though he fed you on breadcrumbs, he was still able to get you to go running into his arms the moment he reached out to you.
It comes as no surprise that this type of behavior is usually present with narcissists and players who enjoy feeling in control and having people run to them whenever they want.
And in a world where we’re no longer sure what a real relationship is supposed to look like, it’s hard to know whether you’re being breadcrumbed or if the person you’re talking to is generally busy with life.
Obvious breadcrumbing signs that you should look out for!
Have you met a guy with whom everything seemed to be going perfectly well at first?
That instant chemistry was there and the conversation kept going back and forth.
After a long period of time, you finally felt like you’d found the person you’d been looking for.
You have been texting all the time and checking in with each other but that’s all you get.
You notice that he doesn’t make plans past the texting. He doesn’t invite you out on a date and seems like he won’t anytime soon.
At first, you feel confused. If everything is going so smoothly then why doesn’t he want to take you out to get to know each other better?
Is this a red flag? Are you stuck in some new-era dating trend that you’ll never be able to escape?
To be honest, if the same thing is happening to you, then you should know that you’re probably being breadcrumbed.
You’re being given just enough so you can stay interested, and that’s the maximum of what you’ll be getting.
These are some of the most common breadcrumbing signs that you should look out for if you want to be sure that you’re actually going through one of the agonies of online dating.
Let’s see how you can tell that you’re being breadcrumbed.
1. Sporadic messages are the first sign of breadcrumbing
You know what that initial infatuation feels like – sparks everywhere, text messages coming and going, smiling every time his name pops up on your screen.
Then, all of a sudden, like a tide that pulls away, his messages stop coming. But not completely – they’re just much rarer than they used to be at the very beginning.
This should be the first breadcrumbing sign that you should watch out for.
If his messages get more sporadic with time, the chances are you’re being breadcrumbed.
When a guy keeps texting you regularly and doesn’t change his pace, he’s probably into you and wants to get to know you better.
But when he gets off to a great start and then disappears a while before texting you again, you genuinely feel like you’re being ghosted.
You don’t need a relationship expert to tell you that things aren’t going the right way; that’s more than obvious.
If a guy is breadcrumbing you, he’ll message you every couple of days, when he feels the need for it.
Once his ego is satisfied, he disappears until the next time he needs your help to prove a point to himself – that he can have you whenever he wants.
The sporadic messages will keep coming as long as you let him treat you this way.
But once you say to yourself that enough is enough, he won’t be able to reach out to you anymore.
2. The messages lack any deeper interest
Another breadcrumbing sign that you should look out for is the content of his messages.
Do you receive messages that signify the wish for the conversation to develop and turn into a proper talk about serious matters?
Or is it a simple check-in or a text message that says, “What’s up?” which he sends only to reestablish your interest in him?
He knows that you’re drifting away and wants to make sure he’s not going to lose you.
In that case, he needs something simple and light-hearted that will keep you on the hook for a bit longer.
He needs you for himself at least until he finds a better option. Besides breadcrumbing you, this guy may also be benching you.
He’s keeping you on the bench for when he needs someone to relieve his boredom, while at the same time, he’s looking for a more suitable option for himself.
If he ever had any real feelings for you in the first place, he wouldn’t make you go through the dread of not knowing what’s going on.
Even though you might not see it that way, the breadcrumbs he’s been giving you won’t ever turn out to be the thing you need.
To him, you’ll always be an option he can run to when he needs an ego boost. That’s about it.
3. His messages contain unclear plans
Is it hard to know what he’s trying to say exactly with a certain message? It contains some kind of plan but there’s nothing specific?
It’s all very vague and foggy and you have no idea what to expect from him. This is another breadcrumbing sign you should look out for!
If a guy is breadcrumbing you, he’ll make sure to tell you the things that you want to hear, but at the same time, he’ll take control of it so he still gets things his way.
For example, he’ll probably tell you that you need to hang out soon but you won’t ever get a specific date or time.
This is because he knows that you want to see him in person, but it’s not exactly his preference.
That’s why he buys himself some more time by feeding you on breadcrumbs and sweet words, making you convince yourself that you’ll have your wishes come true.
At the same time, he has no actual plans to meet you for a real date because he would then lose all of the power he’s been trying to build.
However, you’ll still keep listening to his words out of curiosity for what could happen between the two of you.
His words are just mysterious enough to make you stay in his close proximity while at the same time, they’re giving him enough power to control you.
A guy who’s been breadcrumbing you would call this a win-win situation – you feel happy that he’s been making plans with you and he’s satisfied that you’ve fallen for his words.
A twisted mind game is playing out in front of your eyes and you have to see through his actions if you want to break free from his chains.
4. An obvious fear of commitment could be another sign of breadcrumbing
Usually, breadcrumbers show a deep fear of commitment.
They’re afraid of it to the point where they can’t imagine themselves being in a serious relationship.
Your guy might act as if he’s just about to make things official with you, while he knows very well that that day won’t ever come.
He makes excuses, saying that he doesn’t believe in labels and that he likes to keep his relationships private.
But there’s a huge difference between keeping a relationship private and keeping it secret.
Then, just to give you enough to stay with him, he’ll tell you that he just needs more time and then he’ll be ready to become official with you.
However, it’s more than obvious that he could never change for you and that he’ll never be able to commit to one woman only.
Every time you ask him what the two of you actually are, he’ll find his way out of the serious talk. That’s just how men like this work.
So, if your guy shows a deep fear of commitment in combination with other signs listed, there’s a strong chance that he’s breadcrumbing you.
Your so-called relationship won’t ever become the real deal because he won’t ever be ready for a change. That’s the sad truth.
5. Texts usually come late at night
If you’re expecting him to text you in the middle of the day, I must tell you that your expectations are in vain.
He’s a night-time type of a guy who texts you only when he’s sure that the sun has completely set.
We could call him a vampire when it comes to reaching out to you in the daytime. It’s simply damaging for his heart and soul!
If you notice that the guy you’ve been occasionally texting keeps avoiding you and sends you messages only late at night, you should see that as one of the breadcrumbing signs.
He genuinely doesn’t care about you but hits you up with a message just so he triggers you to think about him.
Plus, texting you in the middle of the night is so much better for him than texting you in the middle of the day.
When you receive that 2 am message, there’s a smaller chance that you’ll ask him to meet up.
It’s easier to reach out to you at a time of day when he doesn’t have to think of excuses as to why he can’t go out with you because it’s the middle of the night and that’s a good enough excuse.
Even if you ask him to meet you, it’s obvious why he can’t.
Just so you know – if he texts you late at night, it’s not an actual sign that he’s been thinking of you.
It’s more an attempt to make you think about him and to play with you once again.
6. You receive hot and cold signals
One moment you’re on top of the world, and the next, you’re falling deeper and deeper. That’s how it feels when you’re being breadcrumbed.
You’ll notice that he’s been ignoring your message while at the same time he liked your just-posted photo on Instagram.
This is his way of making you think about him because you’ll simply have to.
When you see that he’s right there and that he chooses to play with you instead of being honest, you’ll have to think about him and his intentions.
This is a natural reaction and no one can blame you for doing so.
7. You feel like you did something wrong
When you realize that he disappears from your life for a while, you have to wonder whether there’s something that you did that makes him act that way.
He ignores your messages but you see that he’s online so you think that he’s doing it on purpose. So you ask yourself why.
When that behavior repeats itself, you get a strong feeling that you might be doing something wrong.
It can’t be that he’s doing all of that because of nothing, as that makes no sense.
But don’t worry, you did nothing wrong. It’s just that this guy right here is breadcrumbing you and playing with your feelings.
If he was a real man, he would never let you hurt your self-esteem because of his foolish behavior.
But men like him don’t see the damage that they’re doing to the people around them.
As long as they’re happy, there’s nothing for them to worry about.
8. You notice that he’s seeing other people
One of the clear breadcrumbing signs is if he keeps seeing other people even though he’s texting you and making serious promises about your future.
It’s obvious that a guy like that is a player who has no intention of keeping his promises.
If he never told you that he’s in an open relationship or that he’s already seeing other people, then he’s playing with you.
To him, you’re just another option he can use until he gets what he wants.
It’s obvious that he won’t get rid of the other girls because he has no real intentions with you.
You’re there to boost his ego and show him that he can keep anyone on the hook for as long as he wants.
At some point, once he gets bored with you, he’ll be out of the game and you won’t hear from him ever again.
9. He never asks to see you in person unless he needs something from you
Do you get the feeling that the only purpose you have in his life is to be his bed-warmer? Someone he calls when he feels lonely?
Usually, if you ask him to go out, he looks for an excuse and rejects your invitation.
But when he needs something from you, he’s fine with calling you just for the night.
The next day, he forgets that you exist until he gets bored again.
This is also one of the signs of breadcrumbing and it goes to show how heartless breadcrumbers can be.
He’ll keep you as an option so he can get what he wants from you whenever he wants it.
Once his needs are satisfied, he will ghost you until the next time.
10. He bails on you every time because he’s breadcrumbing you
Sometimes, a breadcrumber will give you the illusion of plans. He’ll make you feel like you’ve achieved something and persuaded him to meet you.
Perhaps you’re leaving the house to go and meet him when he texts you that he’s not going to make it.
Something came up unexpectedly, and he’s sorry for canceling your plans.
When it happens once, you can’t blame him because it’s acceptable.
But if you realize that he keeps bailing on you every time you make an arrangement, then you should ask yourself whether he’s giving you another sign of breadcrumbing that you should look out for.
It’s obvious that it can’t be a coincidence that every time you want to meet face-to-face he has something else, something more important, to do.
It makes no sense!
To be honest, he probably has no intention of ever meeting you besides when he has a reason for it.
To take you on a date or for a coffee so you can get to know each other better – that isn’t a part of his plan.
11. It feels like he knows how to read your mind
Every time you make a deal with yourself that you’re going to end this ‘relationship’ with him, he appears out of nowhere and makes another promise.
It feels like he knows when you’re too close to getting over him because that’s exactly when he reaches out to you again.
The thing is, this keeps happening all the time.
He senses that he hasn’t been giving you enough of his breadcrumbs lately and slides into your inbox just so he can prevent you from moving on after him.
Deep down, you know that his sweet words are there just to make you go back to him.
You know that his promises are false and that they won’t ever become real.
Still, he makes it all sound so nice that you can’t resist him. You simply fall for his words because he knows what to say at the given time.
He almost lost you but now he has full control over you again. His dream came true and you’ll be feeding on false hopes until the next time.
It’s obvious that him taking back control is a sign of breadcrumbing that gives him away.
If only you would put down your rose-colored glasses and see reality the way it actually is.
It would make everything much easier.
12. Passive-aggressive behavior is another sign of breadcrumbing
The final sign of breadcrumbing that gives your guy away is his passive-aggressive behavior.
Once you realize the name of the game that’s he’s been playing right in front of your eyes, the chances are that you’ll face the player – the one who’s been fooling you.
But the second you ask him to admit the truth, he gets passive-aggressive and avoids admitting anything you’re accusing him of.
He might get aggressive at first and defend himself like his life depends on it.
He might even blame you for thinking that he’s a terrible guy who plays with other people’s feelings.
Then, if he realizes that this tactic isn’t working, he might opt for a different approach – the passive one.
Instead of trying to convince you that you’re wrong, he’ll ghost you and disappear from your life for as long as he thinks he needs.
He’ll give you enough time and space to think about him and maybe even convince yourself that you were wrong.
Breadcrumbers love manipulation and they love the feeling of victory when they finally get what they want.
So, if you’re feeling like you’re being breadcrumbed, I hope that this article helped you to realize what is actually going on.
If you found yourself in many of the signs, I hope that you’ll do the right thing and save yourself from the agony of chasing after someone who has no intention of making you his priority.