What if you knew what men secretly wanted but they could never tell you

It’s simpler than you think and I’m here to tell you how.

How To Respond To Breadcrumbing – 5 Relationship Experts Reveal Exactly What To Do

by Barbara Bourgeois – MBA, MS, LPC, NCC, Remy Dowd – MSW, LCSW, Andrea Kosten – PsyD, Margalis Fjelstad – Ph.D., LMFT, Lori D’Elia – MA, LMFT, CPC

How To Respond To Breadcrumbing

“A busy, vibrant, goal-oriented woman is so much more attractive than a woman who waits around for a man to validate her existence.”

~ Mandy Hale

Mandy Hale Busy Vibrant Woman Quote
Lori D'Elia

When being on the receiving end of breadcrumbing, a woman should first be honest with herself about how she feels about the individual sending the luring messages. 

If the woman sees the sender as a potential partner or someone they would at least like to date, they are more likely to respond to every breadcrumb sent. In responding to every correspondence, this also means being disappointed if every breadcrumb leads nowhere. 

If you see sporadic communication from a potential mate and breadcrumber, then try and notice a pattern. 

If you notice a pattern, you will most likely be able to predict when they will reach out or comment, giving you more power and control. Responding to a breadcrumb is a choice, not an expectation. 

  • If you choose to respond, then you are in control. 
  • If you feel obligated to or manipulated into responding, the other person is in control, and you are likely to experience more emotional heartache. 

Attention is lovely, but the wrong attention can be detrimental to one’s sense of self. 

A man is never going to confess to breadcrumbing if you were to accuse him of it. If you can establish an underlying communication pattern, maybe test your theory? 

After all, if you suspect you are the victim of breadcrumbing, you should be able to show some self-protection and determine whether you are right.

But, let’s bring this back to the beginning, how you feel about the person sending the luring messages. 

If this is an individual you have interest in, you are more likely to respond to every breadcrumb, because you don’t want to “miss an opportunity.” 

This is entirely normal; however, use some self-talk to tell yourself that this might not lead anywhere, and it is your choice to respond. 

In this action, you might feel more like a player of the game and less likely to feel like a victim of the game. Self-talk is empowering for women. It gives us control of our own emotions, intentions, and in turn, control over our behaviors. 

The bottom line is that this can be a confusing experience that leaves you feeling out of control of the dynamic and possibly your emotions. 

Be honest with yourself about your intentions, employ self-talk regarding your responses, and realize you are a player, not a victim. 

If you can apply these strategies you may find, you have suffered less heartache or maybe even lured in your own date.

Lori D’Elia, MA, LMFT, CPC – www.deliafamilysolutions.com

Remy Dowd

Breadcrumbing can feel exciting at first – who wouldn’t want to receive little signals that make us feel noticed? 

These flirtatious gestures are typically what we file under the “he is into me” category. 

As time goes on, however, we may want to see the relationship progress in some way and those “does he or doesn’t he” flirty signals might become a source of frustration. 

We often find ourselves ruminating over the situation and desperately trying to read between the lines. 

It’s true, there may be some people out there who are just stringing others along. But, we hope that the majority of breadcrumbers fall under a different category. 

Sometimes, people genuinely may not know that they’re behaving in this way or that you want something more serious with them. 

They might be inexperienced and not know how to behave. Some may have low self-esteem, anxiety or difficulty being vulnerable. They may be dropping breadcrumbs as a way of virtually taking your temperature on how you feel about them and to see if they can continue to hold your interest. 

It may be difficult to tell these breadcrumbers apart, but perhaps you don’t have to figure out what type you’re dealing with. 

The solution lies with you: you could maintain the status quo, have an honest conversation or walk away. 

The question to ask yourself is: What do I want out of this relationship? 

For some people, breadcrumbing isn’t always a bad thing if they are happy with the current situation and a non-committal relationship. 

Some may desire to maintain the casualness of what the relationship is. 

Great! Those individuals can place their breadcrumber in the “non-serious” category and set their expectations as such. 

If the answer to this question falls along the lines of wanting more from the other person, then it’s time to make a choice when you feel it is appropriate to do so: walk away or be direct. 

There is no shame in saying goodbye.

On the other hand, having a straightforward conversation may give this relationship a fighting chance. Demonstrating your own ability to be vulnerable may encourage your breadcrumber to reciprocate. 

By suggesting to take your courtship to the next step, you are messaging to your breadcrumber that you are not at a point in your life where you care to play games or waste time. 

You know what you want and that’s something to be proud of. The response you receive next will shed light on where your breadcrumber stands; if he is able to – or truly desires to – move forward with you. 

If he steps up and agrees about advancing, pay attention to the follow through. 

But, be prepared for a response that you may not like and that may feel hurtful. 

In time, you will come to recognize that being upfront and getting answers sooner rather than later was a blessing in disguise and saved you a lot of time and deeper heartache – a feeling that may also resonate with those who chose to walk away. 

An important time to say goodbye is if you find yourself continuously feeling anxious or you begin to question your self-worth. 

Nobody is worth that.

Remy Dowd, MSW, LCSW – www.remydowdtherapy.com

Andrea Kosten

When dealing with men who are breadcrumbing, you might be asking yourself 

  • “What does he want,” 
  • “Is he interested in me,” 
  • “Maybe he really likes me, but doesn’t want to commit just yet,” or 
  • “What if he thinks I’m too needy?” 

Far too often women are looking to prospective partners for what direction to take. 

We’ve been raised to put the needs and desires of others (especially men) above our own, waiting patiently (okay, maybe not patiently, but waiting nonetheless) for any sign to give us a sense of what the other wants. 

Unfortunately, breadcrumbing can feel ambiguous. 

One moment he appears to be extremely interested, and the next moment he’s completely withdrawn and unattainable. This can leave you feeling confused on what direction to take with the relationship. The more it goes on, the more confusing it can get, evening leaving you feeling like you’ve missed your opportunity to say anything. 

The most important thing to do when dealing with a man who’s breadcrumbing is to check-in with yourself. 

Ask yourself, “what do I want,” “what do I need,” “how do I feel about this situation?” 

It’s never too late to check-in with yourself, and you should be checking-in with yourself often. 

What feels enjoyable for a month, might not be so fun four months later. If you find yourself enjoying the game, by all means, enjoy it! Allow yourself to have fun with the uncertainty, the flirtation, and the potential sexual tension. 

If, however, you find yourself wanting more, perhaps a commitment from this person, or at least some consistency, then use your words! 

This is far easier said than done (believe me, I know). Communicating your needs and desires is extremely risky. We open ourselves up to vulnerability, and far worse, rejection. 

But if we don’t communicate what we need, we put our lives on hold waiting for someone who may never give us what we need and deserve. 

The best thing you can do for yourself is clearly communicate what you are looking for in a partner and how his breadcrumbing is making you feel. 

You have needs, and they are perfectly valid! Worst case scenario, he’s unwilling to give you what you’re looking for, freeing up that space for someone else who might be willing. 

Best case scenario, you might find he’s more interested than he appeared to be and is willing to give you more. 

Andrea Kosten, PsyD – www.facebook.com/AndreaMKostenPsyD

Barbara Bourgeois

“Breadcrumbing” is like wading in the ocean instead of diving in and getting your hair wet.

You want to see how it feels, but you are not willing to look silly or risk feeling embarrassed.

A man who “breadcrumbs” may think he is protecting himself, but he is doing quite the opposite. 

He is revealing much about who he is and what kind of partner he would be.  Likewise, how you handle being “breadcrumbed” says a lot about you.

Learn to listen to the words you hear. 

Do they sound hollow or solid?  When you find yourself saying this is too good to be true, chances are you are right.  

Are his promises defined or vague?  Does he say “I really want to get together.” Or does he say, “I’d love to get you know you better, are you free this Saturday night at 7:00?”

Notice how you feel in these interactions. 

Is he speaking directly to you with good eye contact? Or is he speaking to the air around you, never really connecting to you individually?   

More importantly, notice how you feel after your interactions. 

Do you feel more grounded or more confused?  Do you find yourself rationalizing why he hasn’t followed through and giving him the benefit of the doubt?  

Use this knowledge as information. When you find this happening in your relationship, don’t be a victim. Instead advocate for yourself.

Confront the breadcrumber!

State the facts. 

This might sound something like….

I notice you telling me you would like to get together, yet when I suggest a time you are unable to commit.  This has happened several times so I am questioning your motivation for reaching out to me.” 

Or, “I feel like I am getting mixed signals from you and here is why…..Can you help me understand where you are coming from?”

Addressing a “breadcrumber” like this is non judgmental and will allow for real conversation to take place. 

It also serves to give you the information you need to either give the “crumber” the benefit of the doubt or move on.  

Some “breadcrumbers” are actually just really shy guys trying to play it safe. 

Hearing how this comes across to a girl may actually help them get the courage they need to move forward in a more intentional way.

 When all is said and done…breadcrumbing is a form of noncommitment.  If you notice this before your first date, take off your blinders and see it for what it is.

Barbara L Bourgeois, MBA, MS, LPC, NCC – www.bbtherapyct.com

Margalis Fjelstad

Breadcrumbing is the experience of being led on by useless flirtation and implied interest. Narcissists are masters at this and sure to break your heart.

Narcissists sweep you into a relationship with promises, idealization, relentless attention, and even marriage proposals in the first few weeks. But beware. These relationships are not what they seem in the beginning. 

Narcissists portray themselves as successful and intriguing, and seem to share so much so quickly that you can easily get caught up in thinking you’re in a deeply intimate relationship. 

He’ll tell you no one’s ever understood him like you do, that you are the center of his life, and you are soul mates. You may find yourself quickly letting go of your own life patterns, preferences, activities, and even friendships to be with him and to fit into his life.

Narcissists don’t join your life or integrate into your friendships they pull you full on into theirs. 

The truly important elements of a relationship for a narcissist are how much time, attention, and adoration you can give him and how much he can be in control. 

Your connection will last only as long as he gets both of these needs met or as long as his attention span. 

It’s typical for a relationship with a narcissist to last only a couple of dates or at most a couple of months. You’ll discover that the intense soul bonding that you thought was going on was just a sham.

Narcissists seem devoted until they get you hooked into loving them, but when you start asking him to do things you like or be with your family and friends, he’ll try to charm or trick you to doing what he wants instead. 

If that fails, he may resort to blaming, dismissing, or belittling you. Things have to go his way or he’ll feel insecure, emotionally overwhelmed, and highly anxious. Narcissists are too self-centered to participate in a give and take relationship, so ultimately, the relationship will fail. 

Unfortunately, most narcissists also make it hard for you to leave. 

He wants to be the one to leave. So, until he’s ready to move on, he’ll do a lot to keep you dangling. If you find yourself confused, getting mixed messages, and trying to hang on to a guy who can’t give you a straight response, you’re likely with a narcissist. 

Unless you want to give up your whole life for whatever he wants, it’s best to quickly exit. 

Cut it off. Quit listening to emails and messages about how he’ll act better, or wants you back, or you’re so wonderful. On the other hand, if you’ve been the one dumped, let him go. 

Any reason he gave you about why you weren’t good enough, or didn’t have what he wanted is simply his crushed ego trying to make himself feel less of a jerk. With a narcissist, nothing that he thought or felt or did was every about you. He did everything to meet his own needs. 

Your best protection for staying out of a relationship with a narcissist is to be as completely and honestly yourself from the moment you meet a guy. 

Trying to be too agreeable, pleasing, and accommodating signals to a narcissist that you are a good target, and it makes you pretty uninteresting to a guy who wants a real relationship. 

Being authentic, sharing your ideas, and genuinely saying yes and no to what you want gives you a much better opportunity to meet a guy who could be a real match for your life.  

Margalis Fjelstad, Ph.D., LMFT – www.margalistherapy.com

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