Do you ever feel like someone purposely leads you on by giving you hopes for a committed romantic relationship with him, but he never really follows through? If you have, then he is surely just breadcrumbing you.
Breadcrumbing is a type of emotional manipulation where someone gives another person just enough time, affection, words of affirmation, and attention to keep them interested.
Often, a person may lead you on by bombing you with too much affection at the start to lower your defenses but would disappear as soon as he gets what he wants, usually after getting in your pants.
You would notice he eventually comes knocking on your door again once you begin to show signs that you are no longer interested in him.
An easy way to tell if you are being breadcrumbed or not is if you generally feel that there is no equal reciprocity in the relationship. You feel like you are giving more than you are getting.
Here are eight signs to tell if someone is breadcrumbing you.
1. His words does not reflect his actions
Does he tell you he loves you and that he wants to commit to a relationship with you, but their words and promises never reflect in their actions?
A sure red flag in a relationship is if the other person’s words do not match his or her actions. They may claim that they genuinely care for you, but they never show up when you need them.
Being emotionally manipulated into believing that he loves you when he does not can be a bit difficult to recognize among victims of breadcrumbing.
To be able to evaluate a person’s sincerity in his words, have the strength to step back and unbiasedly look at the relationship you share with this person.
Really observe if his words and actions are lining up or if he is just manipulating you with his sugar-coated lies.
Related: Love Bombing
2. He mostly gives out delayed replies
Another observable sign that someone is breadcrumbing you is if that person rarely responds to your messages immediately. Especially if the person was super responsive when you first started talking.
Just so they could keep you interested in them, they could delay responding to your message for days and even weeks. This is typically followed by a long period of not hearing from them at all.
You would realize that they will go back to talking to you as soon as they realize that you are starting to lose your interest and patience in order to keep you from cutting off your ties with them.
Giving an immediate reply to someone is a way to tell that you are interested in that person and what they have to say. If someone is delaying their response on purpose, then they may just be breadcrumbing you.
3. He would often make excuses to avoid going on a date with you
Part of their emotional manipulation is coming up with dates or meet-up plans and keeping you drawn to them. They know they got you hooked with the idea of taking you out on romantic dates.
However, they would take a step back when you try to push through with the date plan. You are constantly met with excuses on why they can’t go on a date or meet with you.
They basically bait you with the idea of spending romantic dates with them, but when it comes to actually following through with the plans, he will come up with flirty remarks to subtly make an excuse, vaguely respond, or blatantly reject the thought entirely.
Related: Dating a selfish man
4. He would make plans with you but would cancel at the last minute
If he indeed agrees to take you out on a date, he would often cancel at the last minute and try their best to come up with a sound justification why they are unable to meet with you.
Experiencing this kind of emotional manipulation can put you in a loop where someone who breadcrumbs purposely keeps your hopes up, only for you to be disappointed.
Keep in mind that if a person has serious and sincere intentions for you, they will not treat you like that.
5. He treats you like a booty call
If a bread crumber may indeed push through with his plans to meet up with you, you would notice that it is typically sex-driven and impulsive, which typically does not last.
He would behave in a way that would make him seem more vulnerable as they let some of their walls down, but this would often last until he gets what he wants from you.
After being his booty call, he will go back to treating you like how he did before. And once he needs someone to booty call, he’ll come knocking at your door again.
6. He refuses to open up to someone emotionally
Have you ever felt like he is somehow holding back from entirely opening himself up emotionally to you?
While he may be fond of talking every now and then, you realize he never shares many things about his life at all enough to give you an idea about how he truly is as a person.
Experts say that bread crumbers purposely avoid having to open up to someone emotionally to avoid getting too attached to anyone. This may be part of his preference for non-committal behavior.
7. He’s not that into you as you are with him
Another sign that he may be purposely holding back from committing to you is if he gives you the impression that he is not genuinely interested in you as you are with him.
Despite his charming and flirtatious nature, you would observe that they rarely, if not never, showed any interest in getting to know you on a deeper level. They never ask questions about you or spend quality time with you.
8. He says things that make you feel insecure
Lastly, you will have an idea if he is keeping your hopes up for a committed relationship if he makes you feel bad about yourself most of the time.
He may directly or subtly tell you to make yourself more interesting by doing this and that. He may even go as far as bring up their previous relationships and compare his exes with you.
How to deal with being breadcrumbed
- Do not blame yourself for being breadcrumbed.
Being breadcrumbed may leave you feeling like there is something wrong with you, but you have to remember that although this behavior may have involved you, it is not because of you.
Breadcrumbers are too self-centered to care about how other people may suffer from the consequences of their actions. You are just another victim of his desire to satiate his thirst for self-gratification.
- Do not settle for anything less than you deserve.
Emotional abuses like being breadcrumbed can trick you into tolerating the abusive relationship. You may even try to justify and make excuses about why he treats you less than you deserve.
Insisting to stay in this kind of relationship is not healthy in the long run. By letting yourself be poorly treated by a breadcrumber, you allow him to purposely trap you into a loop of keeping your hopes up, only to feel disappointed.
- Take time to ponder if you truly want to continue the relationship.
After being breadcrumbed by someone, you must take your time to think if you want to continue the relationship or not. Ask yourself if the relationship is still worth your time and effort.
If you decide it is, then the next step to be taken is to tell him your boundaries. If you decide otherwise, then immediately break off the relationship.
- Be stern and clear about what is tolerable and what is not.
If you really desire to have a healthy relationship with your partner, you have to make sure that you have set clear boundaries on what is tolerable for you and what is not. Let him know as well that these conditions are non-negotiable.
By letting your boundaries known to your partner, you give him an idea on how you want to be treated. Doing so will lessen the chances of being breadcrumbed again.
- Be more vigilant of future red flags.
Whether you decide to break off the relationship or not, the most important thing to remember after being breadcrumbed is to become more vigilant of potential red flags in the relationship.
Observe if the person is as committed to making the relationship work as you are. If they begin to show abusive behaviors, set clear boundaries to prevent the relationship from spiraling.
No one deserves to be half-loved, or to tolerate being in half-relationships. Convincing yourself that breadcrumbs are all that you deserve in a relationship will never be holistically gratifying.
No matter how you try to look at it in a positive light, you are just setting yourself for a future full of anxieties and insecurities.
Nicole Graham is a relationship expert at Womenio.com. She is helping women grow into their best selves so they can be confident and bring more love, passion, and purpose to their lives. Nicole enjoys studying the psychology of love and is passionate about writing on them. She offers helpful tips and advice to help overcome any relationship issue, whether you’re single or already in a relationship.