What Is Breadcrumbing?

Young couple having argument at home

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The Macmillan dictionary describes it as "the activity of sending brief and sporadic messages, digital morsels such as short text messages, Facebook posts or Instagram likes, which indicate that you still like someone when in reality you're unlikely to meet up with them ever again, let alone pursue a full-blown relationship with them.

it's not as directly manipulative as gaslighting, which alienates the victim from friends and themselves with the intent to control.


- Low self esteem

- keeping access to multiple partners

- Post break up back up mating

- Narcissism


1. Inability to make or commit to plans

2. Microcommunication: likes, emojis

3. Hot flashes: Larger rewards give the recipient the false hope of a potential relationship or greater commitment.

4. Late Night Texts (or early morning) Lonely times only!

5. No effort to explain themselves: Even after absences, breadcrumbers typically make no effort to explain themselves or consider the recipient's feelings.


1. Imagine being without them or with someone else

2. Set a Boundary: Decide what you are willing to tolerate and don’t accept anything less

3. Train them: Don’t reinforce bad behavior!

4. Be direct. Tell them you’d like more and be ready to move on if it doesn’t happen

5. Know your worth. As you start saying 'no' to breadcrumbing and prioritizing yourself with greater care and honoring, you will attract others who.

For more information check out Very Well Mind.

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