Are you a Victim of Breadcrumbing when Dating?

Are you a Victim of Breadcrumbing?

(Original Q & A for BRIT & Co article; by Riana) —

Why is breadcrumbing such a bad thing to do to another person? In your opinion, why do people do it? 

The term, breadcrumbing is best described in the Urban Dictionary as, “the act of sending out flirtatious, but non-committal text messages (i.e. ‘breadcrumbs’) to members of the opposite sex to lure a sexual partner without expending much effort.”

This is a form of a Toxic relationship and very cruel emotional abuse; and best played by a Narcissist; who are in a category of Emotional Manipulators which I describe in my book, LOVE Beyond Your Dreams, Break Free of Toxic Relationships to Have the Love You Deserve. Narcissists are extremely selfish people who have an excessive and constant need to be admired, adored, praised and appreciated. The Relationships are one-sided; as these individuals never apologize nor accept responsibility or blame, and think of themselves as superior to their prey.

Breadcrumbing could also be done in a more severe way by a Sociopath; who is often charming, popular and well-liked; but they do not care about other people. They are out for attention and sex; and anything else that is good for themselves. They are extremely toxic; they pathologically lie, break rules, are manipulative, lack remorse and never feel any guilt from their actions. They see seduction as a game, and like to ruin people’s lives for the sheer fun of it. Some sociopaths are violent because they totally lack conscious. They choose a prey who is kind, supportive, attentive, and work hard to get their admiration and attention. According to Martha Stout, PhD.; author of; The Sociopath Next Door, 25% of people are known to have Sociopathic traits, making this a high number of singles out there who could be breadcrumbing.

The DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) describe Sociopaths as an “Antisocial personality disorder which is characterized by a lack of regard for the moral or legal standards in the local culture. There is a marked inability to get along with others or abide by societal rules.” The old standards of dating seem to be practically gone. But you can find love if you know what to do, and refuse to play into the dysfunctional games that are out there.

Unfortunately, people tend to do breadcrumbing to seek attention, without commitment. In the hetero and same-sexed dating world, many people are looking for a “fast sexual hookup” without responsibility, love, connection or obligation. This has become rampant. The “swipe apps” where you quickly choose, “Are they Hot or are they Not?” and “Let’s meet up – right now!” feeds into this “hit and run” pattern of dating. If not having sex upon the first meeting, one partner will give their prey plenty of flirtation and attention, until the deed is done; and then throw out some attention just to keep them on the line for another fast hookup. It’s a very dangerous, toxic pattern that innocent people can get caught up in quickly. One must be aware it goes on, and stop it quick once they spot it. These are not nice people; they are Users.

Breadcrumbing can also occur after a breakup, when one partner doesn’t want the other to find Love; or they want a stable of dates available; or “on-call” for intimacy at their whim. This used to be called a “booty call.” Anyone texting you for attention after 9 pm, don’t answer; anyone texting you after 11 pm, block their number.

How do you recommend dealing with it when you think this might be happening to you but you’re not sure? Is there any way to confront the situation without jumping to conclusions? 

When dating, there are certain rules to follow and questions one must ask before, during and after a date, to ensure this doesn’t happen to them. Someone who really wants to find an exclusive partner will not be playing these types of games if they are good people and really like you. As a Dating & Life Coach, I teach what the red flags are to watch for immediately. My clients know when to trust their intuition so they don’t get played. Unfortunately, dating and relationship skills are not something taught to us in schools. If you suspect you had a date with someone playing emotional games, flirting excessively that they loved the date, then don’t text you back for 4-5 days; and then come back to you strong late at night, or for a last-minute date – block their number, and move on. Trust your gut.

If you’re 100 percent sure that you’re being breadcrumbed, what should you do? Is it better to just end the conversation, or do you think the situation is salvageable? 

Definitely stop texting and dating this person. Block their number; error on the side of safety. All Narcissists and Sociopaths have come from Childhood Trauma; which makes them seek attention to win your affection (or sex) but also have a lot of anger and psychopathy inside. Due to our society; many people in their twenties and thirties have come from broken homes, toxic parents, have suffered from neglect, or verbal and emotional abuse. People who are kind, sincerely looking for love and who have a conscious do not play such games.

How can you check yourself to make sure you’re not breadcrumbing someone else? Are there any questions you should ask yourself when you’re texting or messaging with a new potential date to keep yourself from doing this? 

Be honest and straight-forward up front. If you are dating other people, say so. If you are dating for the hope to find an exclusive partner, or for marriage or a family, be authentic about this. If you are interested in someone, do text them back, but don’t do the opposite – chase, over-text, or try to control someone into “loving you.” Don’t play games. If you don’t see future potential with someone simply say, “I think you’re very nice, but I don’t quite think we’re a match;” and move one to date someone else.

Also, don’t become intimate early on. Protect yourself and your heart; move slowly in dating to see if this date could become a potential partner. “Hooking up” never wins a partner for marriage. Your body is a gift; many women think being sexual early will win a man; but the opposite is always true. It’s important that one learns the rules of success for dating to ensure that they don’t get hurt and instead, get the Love They Deserve. Breadcrumbing is just plain mean; you are toying with someone’s emotions, that could cause Love trauma long after your game is over.

Riana Milne, MA, LMHC, CAP is a Certified, global Relationship, Love & Life Coach, a #1 Best Selling author, a Life & Relationship Coach for the new TV Show, Radical Dating – Finding Lasting Love Over 40; Host of her former TV show: Lessons in Life & Love, a motivational speaker, Licensed Mental Health Counselor and Cert Addictions Professional at Therapy by the Sea; 15300 Jog Rd, Suite 109, Delray Beach. Her free App: My Relationship Coach offers more articles and her 5 star rated books, LOVE Beyond Your Dreams – Break Free of Toxic Relationships to Have the Love You Deserve and LIVE Beyond Your Dreamsfrom Fear and Doubt to Personal Power, Purpose and Success, addresses life transitions and relationships with yourself and others. For a FREE Coaching Strategy session, to learn more about Riana’s Coaching programs or suggest a topic, go to or email Worldwide Coaching Phone: (201) 281-7887. Delray office: (561) 701-8277; Skype Coaching and FB: Coach Riana Milne.

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