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Breadcrumbing is the newest 2024 dating term that will make you want to be single forever

Breadcrumbing is the newest 2024 dating term that will make you want to be single forever

It joins being ghosted and benched on the list of awful dating experiences

The world of dating is full to the brim of terms and labels that we attach to various relationship behaviours.

There's ghosting, which refers to completely disappearing from a person's life without warning, and benching, which is when you're not entirely interested in somebody but you keep them around as a back-up plan while you date other people.

There's so many, in fact, that websites have started creating entire glossaries dedicated to the best (and worst) dating practices - which brings us to 'breadcrumbing'.

It might sound delicious but can in fact be incredibly harmful.

Having started making the rounds last year, breadcrumbing is essentially a move that sees someone leading another person on by sharing small pieces of information and glimpses of hope for their relationship, with no intention of actually pursuing them fully.


The term comes from the story of Hansel and Gretel, who leave crumbs in the forest so they can return home. But, when they try to follow the crumbs, they don't take them anywhere.

'Breadcrumbing' is the latest dating term used to describe bad relationship behaviour.
Getty Stock Image

Breadcrumbing can be really harmful for those being led on. It can cause a lot of confusion, doubts and problems with trusting others.

Dr Cortney Warren explained to Indy100: "Breadcrumbing is a manipulation tactic that only benefits one party - the breadcrumber enjoys the romantic attention they receive from you without having to truly invest in the relationship in any real way, as a committed partner would."

The problem with breadcrumbing is that it is not always so easy to identify, since the person doing it gives the impression that they are interested and that you're on the same page, when they reality is very different.

Dr Warren has warned of several indicators that you might be the victim of breadcrumbing.

"They give you little text messages or you maybe met them a few times if you want it on a couple of dates, and so they showed some interest, but now when you're trying to get a hold of them or make a plan, they're really noncommittal,” she said.

It's like Hansel and Gretel who leave crumbs in the forest so they can return home but when they try to follow them, they don't lead anywhere.
Getty Stock Image

"Or they only give you like a little emoji as opposed to like an actual direct response and so often for the person who is being breadcrumbed, they feel very confused."

But, she does say it may not always be intentional on the part of the breadcrumber and that many factors such as ill health or being stressed at work can explain the behaviour.

"And so that's why having the conversation is so important because they might come back to you and say, 'oh gosh, I am so sorry. I am so preoccupied with you know, this work project or a breakup that I'm going through that I just don't have much energy and bandwidth to give back right now and it has nothing to do with you.'"

Featured Image Credit: Getty Stock Images

Topics: Sex and Relationships, Mental Health