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Whether you’re talking to guys you are interested in dating or guys you’ve dated in the past, there’s a red flag to watch for. It’s “breadcrumbing.”
Breadcrumbing is when someone sends out flirtatious but noncommittal messages, either through social media or text just often enough to keep you interested, but not frequent enough to put any deposit into the relationship.
In other words, if he senses that you may move on and forget about him, he’ll send you a digital bread crumb to remind you that he’s still there.
Some of the more obvious bread crumbs are likes on an Instagram photo that is several weeks old, not to mention you haven’t heard from him in months. Why? He knows you are about to forget about him, so he’ll slide into your DM or tag you in something, seizing the opportunity to make you turn your attention toward him. It’s interesting to note that leaving you digital bread crumbs takes serious strategy on his end. If only he had put this much effort and intentionality into dating you.
As tempting as it may be, don’t fall for it.
You’ve probably known a breadcrumber. I have. His messages are sporadic, with just enough content to pique your interest, but not enough to give you any sort of clarity about his intentions. Breadcrumbing falls somewhere in between ghosting and a slow fade. They don’t instantaneously vanish on you, but they also don’t slowly remove themselves from the picture over time. Instead, they are incredibly inconsistent and incredibly annoying.
The most common form of breadcrumbing that I’ve encountered is from the guy who has flirted with me, both in person and digitally, but never makes a committed move. Yet every month or so, he’ll “love” my new profile pic or some random picture from last year—which had to take some serious digging to find, I might add. As women, this toys with our emotions. Particularly if this is a guy we would have been interested in. It reignites the possibility of “what-ifs?” all over again. To me, however, this is selfish on the guy’s part. His contact is intermittent and vague for a reason. He wants to keep you as an option. Women, don’t fall for it.
A real man won’t play digital games with you.
As best you can, delete the messages and move on.
Dating is a two-way street, and it’s unfair to put all the weight and responsibility of dating on men. As women, we need to take ownership too. Breadcrumbing, is not exclusive to men. Women do this all the time. Have you ever found yourself wondering if the guy you like is dating anyone? You scroll through his social media; one thing leads to another and you find yourself looking at pictures and comments from eight months back. It doesn’t hurt to throw out a comment or leave a heart behind, right? Maybe let him know you’re still out there and paying attention to him? Listen, that’s breadcrumbing. Now you’re the one who is doing it.
If he is not paying attention to you currently, resist the urge to play games and try to lure him back in.
You don’t want to settle for the guy that you had to convince to like you, or the guy that you had to remind that you’re still available. If he is interested, he won’t need to be convinced.
Besides, you’re worth more than that. Believe it.
‘Digital Breadcrumbs and Marriage’ by Danielle & Russ West
Now let’s take a look at what this looks like in Marriage.
Nobody plans to enter into a difficult marriage. Nobody plans to ruin his or her finances. Nobody plans to struggle with an addiction. What steps do you take to make sure these things don’t happen? Set up guardrails. You can tell yourself that you’ll “be careful.” Well, setting up guardrails is how you “be careful.” – Guardrails message – Northpoint Community Church
Since no one plans on ending up in these difficult situations, how do we get there? We simply live on the edge of what we can do vs what we shouldn’t do. This same digital breadcrumbing can happen in marriage where you ‘like’ a picture of an ex. You tell yourself you’re just friends but what message are you really sending?
What if the ‘like’ lands on a day when you’re ex is lonely, so they respond back. They start saying things you wish your spouse would say. Now you’re taking it offline and privately texting. Next you’re meeting up for lunch. It’s okay, you’re just friends.
Ask anyone who has had an affair. Did they wake up one day and schedule it? Of course not, but it happens without any planning and without any guardrails. Your circumstances may be unique but how you fall into an affair is not unique. Setting up guardrails sets you back far enough so you don’t live on the edge and accidentally cross the line. Be careful of the digital breadcrumbs you are leaving behind.
No one regrets setting up guardrails but there are plenty of people who wish they had. – Andy Stanley
The integrity of the upright guides them… Proverbs 11:3
Have you heard of digital breadcrumbing? Did you experience this when you were dating? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!
Also, if you’re interested in purchasing a book for a single friend who is dating in this new digital era, you can pre-order Kristin Fry’s book on Amazon. Just click on image and it will take you directly to Amazon.