‘Breadcrumbing is when someone is not into you enough to give you their full attention…but they want to keep you around’

With over 120k Instagram followers, Lala is the anonymous voice helping womankind through every bump in the road. An established sex, dating and relationship educator, she’s had her fair share of relationship drama and shares her wisdom on social media to a loyal army of followers. Every week thousands turn to her to answer their questions, (no matter how embarrassing), and her funny, frank approach to love and relationships has made her the ultimate feel-good guru.

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I once went on a few dates with a guy I really liked. I was keen to move things forward and to keep the dates going, and I thought that he was too, but after the third one he went a bit quiet.

Prior to that he had been in touch every day and we had been texting back and forth with regularity, so his sudden silence was deafening. I didn’t know what to do.

I went into that crazed infatuated mode, where you can’t stop watching their last seen on WhatsApp and examining their social media activity to establish whether they’re still alive.

I could not stop thinking about him and questioning what I might have said to mess things up, or what I did to put him off. I wondered if maybe he had a terrible accident or dropped his phone in a well. I was very stressed out.

After five days of silence, during which time I had aged about 40 years, he re-appeared saying ‘Hey. You Ok?’ ‘NO, I AM NOT OK GARY – I THOUGHT YOU WERE IN A COMA’ – is what I thought in my head whilst replying ‘Hey, yeah, all good, you ok?’.

We exchanged a few banal messages, but no plans were made. I sent the last message asking what he was up to at the weekend and then that was it. Blue ticks and radio silence again.

This time I decided to chill out. Instead of telling myself that mysterious illnesses were preventing him from contacting me, I reminded myself that he’s probably just not that into me, and that that’s OK. It happens. I was disappointed but I didn’t let it dominate my life. I accepted that things had fizzled out and I gave up.

Two weeks later he was back. Again, he returned without apology or explanation, just a ‘Hey, how’s things?’. Instead of telling him to duck off, I got all excited. My stomach flipped when I saw his name come up on my phone. I felt like ‘YESSSSSS, he’s still interested, get in there!’.

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But again, no plans were made, and the conversation died out pretty quickly. He stayed on my mind though. I thought that he must be pretty into me if he keeps returning, I assumed that he was obviously thinking about me a lot but that he must just have a lot going on in his life. I was totally wrong though.

I had no idea that what he was doing was ‘Breadcrumbing’. Breadcrumbing is when someone is not interested in you enough to give you their time or attention, but they want to keep you around, so they keep dropping crumbs and getting in touch sporadically to hold you there. There are several reasons why someone might do this.

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They might have narcissistic tendencies – so even though they have zero interest in you, they enjoy the fact that you’re into them because it feeds their ego. They know exactly what they are doing, they know that their messages cause you to feel excited and hopeful.

They have no intention of seeing you, but they love the fact that you are readily available any time that they want you.

Sometimes they do it because they are a bit interested, they kind of like you, but there is someone else in their life who they like more. They want to hold you there in case it doesn’t work out with the other person, so they give you just enough to keep you around, but not enough for anything to progress.

Breadcrumbing is also a favourite of the ‘no-labels’ f**kboy. He is the guy who you go on a few dates with and who is super keen at the start, he makes you feel like sleeping with him is the most natural thing in the world because it’s clear that you’re both really into each other.

Then the sex happens and everything changes, there is a big shift in communication, and suddenly he’s not sending good morning texts anymore. He still contacts you occasionally but that is usually only to ask if he can come over for sex, or to keep himself on your radar in between hook-ups so that you will definitely be available when he wants some vagina.

The thing about breadcrumbers is that they seem to have some kind of magical radar that tells them exactly when to get in touch. It always seems to happen just as you have stopped thinking about them, or just as you have told yourself that you need to let this one go, or just as you are feeling a bit lonely and fragile.

The key is to make sure that you don’t place meaning on sporadic interactions.

We often convince ourselves that the fact that they keep coming back means that they must have deep feelings and they just cannot let us go, even though their behaviour is really showing us that their feelings are minimal.

If someone is interested then they will be consistent, they will be in touch regularly because they want to be, and they will make plans because they will want to see you.

You won’t have to beg them to pay you more attention or to stay in contact more frequently, you won’t feel anxious for days on end wondering where they are and where you stand, you won’t only hear from them sporadically when they feel like it, you will know that they are interested and keen because they will show you with their actions. Take a lesson from Hansel and Gretel, they followed the crumbs and it led them to a cannibalistic witch. Don’t follow the crumbs, wait for the whole loaf.

Follow @Lalalaletmeexplain on Instagram for more relationship home truths.

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