How To Deal When Someone Is Breadcrumbing You, Because It's Best To Get Out Early

Ad failed to load

You may have heard of the latest dating trend called breadcrumbing aka when you're seeing someone, have gone on a few dates with someone, or have been texting with someone you met online who gives you just enough attention to keep you in the picture but in reality, they're stringing you along via text. Like ghosting, benching, or zombieing, it's pretty much another crappy way to phase out someone you're seeing. But breadcrumbing is nothing new.

"Breadcrumbing is ridiculous and hurtful," Dr. Jennifer Rhodes, licensed psychologist, relationship expert, and the founder of the bi-costal consultancy, Rapport Relationships, tells Bustle. According to Rhodes there are two ways to handle this behavior. One is to place the person in the category of "non-serious" dating material and don't invest any of your time or energy into reading into his or her behavior. And or two, be direct. Ask them what their deal is.

"Sometimes the breadcrumbing happens due to circumstances in someone’s life and they have no idea that they are dong it. Other times, someone is just not ready for a commitment," Rhodes says. "Showing up as a grown-ass adult and asking for what you want is really the only way to maintain your sanity with this new trend. You do not need to be angry or confrontative but learning to set appropriate personal boundaries will make you feel empowered."

Ad failed to load
"Why give these morsels of hope any time of day when someone else out there is willing to give you their whole loaf?"

If you know the signs that you're being breadrcumbed and you feel like it's happening to you, here are some ways to deal:

Ad failed to load

1Get Out Early

GIPHY

The best way to deal with breadcrumbing is to avoid becoming victim to it in the first place. "If you met someone online who talks about getting together, yet when you suggest that you find a mutually acceptable time and place to meet in person they are never available, RUN,"  As Toni Coleman, LCSW, CMC, psychotherapist and relationship coach tells Bustle. "You can only be breadcrumbed if you go along with it."

According to Coleman, this type of behavior can be acceptable once or twice. After all, work can get hectic and schedules can jam up temporarily. Keyword: temporarily. But if you see this becoming a pattern, just forget about it. "There's no need to enter a relationship if you are repeatedly annoyed by someone's behavior before you even meet them," Marni Amsellem, Ph.D., licensed clinical psychologist, tells Bustle. "You would already be starting a relationship with several strikes against that person. If you've given more chances than you are comfortable with, it is time to move on."

2Be Upfront From The Very Beginning

GIPHY

Don't be afraid to set boundaries from the get go. "My approach with my clients who are on the dating scene is always to encourage them to be direct and upfront as much as possible, right from the start," Dr. Jennelle, a PhD psychologist and relationship advisor tells Bustle. "People often feel nervous to put their needs and wants out on the table or ask the hard questions (e.g., Do you want to see me again?) on the first few dates, but when you don't, it can set up a precedent for dishonesty and ambiguity."

If you aren't getting clear answers from someone you've just met and you've clearly stated your intentions, they're just not worth your time. According to Dr. Jennelle, the issue here has more to do with personal standards, values, and boundaries than anything else. "You are worth a direct, honest answer if you are being direct and honest yourself," she says. "If someone isn't providing you with clear answers and you are asking that they be clear, it's time to move on. You have to choose to be vulnerable but also self-protecting. Put your best intentions and true self out there and only accept those who do the same."

3Be Honest With Yourself About The Situation

GIPHY

"The number one rule of dating is: if someone wants to see you, they will do everything they can to make it happen," Yue Xu, dating expert and co-host of the Date/able Podcast, tells Bustle. "When we have feelings for someone, somehow we become their PR person and spin everything they say in their favor." For instance, how many times have you told yourself or others a variety of the following things:

  • He's just super busy with work. That's why he's so successful.
  • She's in the middle of finals because she's smart and takes school seriously.
  • He's helping out a friend because he's super loyal.
  • She always has family obligations because she has strong family values.

As Xu says, it's time to stop with the excuses because truth be told, no one is ever that busy. If they really are, chances are, they shouldn't even be dating in the first place. "Just keep reminding yourself that if someone wants to see you, they will move mountains to do so because you'd do the same," she says. "So if it seems like they're busy all the time but give you a glimmer of hope, let it go and move on to someone who will give you the attention, time and energy you want."

Ad failed to load

4Call Them Out

GIPHY

"Breadcrumbers don't actually think someone will call them out, because technically, they're doing nothing wrong," Xue says. "However, you deserve better than that. And frankly, you're more mature than that."

So let them know you know what's up. If you've noticed that things haven't escalated passed texting back and forth for a while say something like, Hey, I'm not really big on texting. Let me know when your schedule frees up. "Now if he or she still breadcrumbs you, they're obviously the asshole," Xu says.

5Don't Play Into Their Game

GIPHY

"Expert breadcrumbers will give you morsels of hope," Xu says. That means a cutesy text here and there. A flirty Snapchat. A couple of likes on Instagram. Maybe they'll even allude to something in the future, i.e. I can't wait until the weather's nicer so we can go on a hike.  

"Don't play into their game by responding with something they want to hear," Xu says. "Instead, the best thing you can possibly do is ignore their breadcrumbs. Why give these morsels of hope any time of day when someone else out there is willing to give you their whole loaf?"

6But If You Really Want To Play Their Game, Do So On Your Own Terms

GIPHY

"While this may not be the best option, you can always get some satisfaction by giving it right back to them," speaker and counselor Davida Rappaport tells Bustle.

Taking the high road is of course the more mature way to go about it. But then again, sometimes human nature kicks in and you just want to give it right back to them. So if someone's stringing you along and taking their sweet time to get back to you, do the same. Throw them a crumb. If you hear back from them, then you can decide whether or not you want to throw them another one. Will it hurt them? Maybe, maybe not. Will it make you happy? Possibly. "The downside to doing this is you might be wasting energy you could put into finding someone worth your time," Rappaport says.

Ad failed to load

7Move On

GIPHY

"If you begin to wonder if this person is ever going to ask you out, then it’s probably a sign that you need to move on," Rhonda Milrad, LCSW, is the founder and Chief Relationship Advisor of Relationup tells Bustle. "Take control and regain the power of the relationship. Cut them off and send the message that you have only two settings, in or out and you’re out unless they take action."

8Always Be True To Yourself

GIPHY

"When you're looking to start a relationship, don't ever try to sell yourself or manipulate the other person into doing what you want," Patty Newbold, author of the award-winning AssumeLove.com blog, tells Bustle. "You really won't like the long-term results, no matter how tempting they look at first glance."

I know how easy it is to fall into these dating traps. Sometimes it feels like it's easier to just go along with whatever's happening to you than to leave the situation entirely, but don't ever think you don't deserve better than just enough. Like Xue Yu said, forget the breadcrumbs. You deserve the entire loaf.

Ad failed to load
Must Reads

7 Signs Your Partner Is "The One," Even If They Have Commitment Issues

There's nothing better than finding that one person you could actually see yourself spending the rest of your life with. However, realizing that your partner has commitment issues can put a damper on things. It may even have you questioning whether o…
By Kristine Fellizar

Bustle's Editors On Florida + Fergie

Welcome to a new week, Bustle readers! February is already more than halfway through, and the weather feels way more like spring than winter right now — but don't get used to it. There's a lot to recap today, from the latest on the tragic Parkland sh…
By Rachel Simon

Here's Where Your Next Trip Should Be, Based On Your Zodiac Sign

If you've been craving a vacation, now is a good time to take the plunge. According to data collected by travel site Expedia, late winters and early spring are pretty much the best times of the year to go on vacation. Based on average airfare ticket …
By Callie Tansill-Suddath

How This Quadriplegic Beauty Lover Beat Cancer & Became A Professional Makeup Artist

In 2010, one day before she was supposed to start cosmetology school, Steph Aiello was involved in a car crash that left her paralyzed from the waist down with limited ability to move her hands and one of her closest friends dead. She would spend the…
By Sara Tan

7 Common Marriage Rules That Aren't Good For Relationships

When it comes to marriage, everyone loves to give their two cents, and with all the warnings and advice floating around out there, no wonder people find marriage intimidating. Luckily, you don't always have to play by the rules, and there's some bad …
By Carina Wolff

The Infuriating Way Hollywood Movie Sets Are Designed To Make Life Harder For Women

Whitney Cummings is fed up — with the way Hollywood treats women, and in particular, the way the it treats female directors who have children. While the entertainment industry may be working hard to get more women behind the camera, Cummings wants to…
By Casey Cipriani

19 Things Your Parents Told You Were Illegal In The '90s

Kids say — and think — the darnedest things. We have overactive imaginations, adults like to mess with us, and we don't always understand everything we hear. That's why some kids call strawberries "straw babies" — a boo-boo so adorable, you don't eve…
By Megan Grant

Why Uggs Are Never Going Away, Whether You Like Them Or Not

Uggs. The word alone can conjure up memories of teenage years, regrettable outfits, and undeniable comfort. But if, like me, you thought that you've already said goodbye to those fleece-lined tan boots, you can think again. It seems fashion has adopt…
By Lauren Sharkey

I Never Want To Write This Essay Again

I don't know where you were when you heard about Wednesday's high school shooting in Parkland, Florida. I don't know what you were doing, or how you tried to process the news. I do know this: you thought to yourself, not again. And yet, again. Of cou…
By Jenny Hollander

Netflix's New Romantic Movie Will Have You Crying Like It's 'The Fault In Our Stars'

Cancer movies are a heartbreaking staple of Hollywood and have been for decades. It's almost a law of nature: new year, new cancer movie. This year, it's Netflix's Irreplaceable You, a heartbreaking original about a longtime couple who get thrown for…
By Olivia Truffaut-Wong

Here Are All The Terms You Need To Know If You’re Watching Olympic Ski Events Right Now

Every four years the Winter Olympics rolls around to remind me that A) there are so many important Winter Olympic sports, and B) I know virtually nothing any of them. And I know for a fact, I'm not alone, I bet most people don't know what the differe…
By Danielle Colin-Thome

Kate Middleton Made Sales Of This $1 Secret Accessory Spike & She'll Turn You Into A Believer

There's a royal epidemic going on, people. It's one that causes any and everyone to obsess over the royal family's wardrobe and beauty routines, even if it means breaking the bank to look like them. So a frenzy was expected when Kate Middleton report…
By Summer Arlexis

Adam Rippon and Mirai Nagasu Have Matching Tattoos & The Story Is So Cute

Olympic season gives people the feels. From those shipping Canadian ice dancing pair Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir to Shaun White's gold medal win on Tuesday, the feels are real. Now, there's another reason to get all up in your emotions. Adam Rippon a…
By Shea Simmons

A New Study Says Being In A Relationship Could Change Your Taste In Wine — Here's How

I’d be willing to bet that for many of you, a nice bottle of wine is awaiting you in your near future — and if you’re planning on sharing that bottle with a partner, there might be more to your choice than meets the eye: According to recent research,…
By Lucia Peters

Carrie Brownstein On Why Even The Obama Era Should Have Enraged You

An icy January morning soon after Hollywood's show of solidarity for the #MeToo movement at the Golden Globes and almost exactly one year into the Trump Administration feels like a momentous time to be sitting across from Carrie Brownstein. The Sleat…
By Samantha Rollins

Here’s What The Upcoming Year Of The Dog Means For Your Chinese Zodiac Sign

On Feb. 16 the world will celebrate the Chinese New Year, welcoming the Year of the Dog in like the good doggo it is — we hope. A new year means new zodiac predictions for the 365 days ahead. So, what does the Year of the Dog mean for your Chinese zo…
By Brittany Bennett

7 Signs You're Ready To Get Into A Relationship, According To Experts

It can be difficult to tell when you're ready to start dating again. Maybe you're coming off of a bad breakup, maybe you've just been focused on other things. And, ironically, one of the signs that you're ready to be in a relationship is that you're …
By Lea Rose Emery

I Got A Breast Reduction & It Was About So Much More Than The Size Of My Boobs

As a young teenager, I pretty much reached peak physical maturity overnight. One day I was wearing my first training bra a la Lizzie McGuire, and the next I was sweatily fumbling around a Victoria’s Secret with 32DD boobs, trying to summon up the cou…
By Sierra Taylor Horton

This Is, Hands Down, The *Grossest* Thing Babies Do Inside The Womb

Your baby's life in the womb may be safe and warm, but it's also kind of grody. Seriously, the whole process of growing into a human being includes more than a few icky moments along the way. But this is the grossest thing babies do inside the womb b…
via Romper

The 15 Best Fiction Books Of February Feature Tons Of Extraordinary Women

When the cold winds of February blow in, there's nothing I want more than to hide under my covers with a good book. Luckily, there's more than a few fantastic new fiction books coming out this month, so the only tough decision you'll have to make is …
By Melissa Ragsdale

17 Moms Reveal The Most Disgusting Part Of Their Pregnancy

Pregnant bodies do weird-ass things. Weird-ass, gross things. I mean, my pregnant body did (twice), and I have long-suspected I'm not alone. So I asked other moms to share the most disgusting part of their pregnancy and I learned that, not only am I …
via Romper