Breadcrumbing, as defined by Urban Dictionary, means “sending out flirtatious, but non-committal text messages (ie “breadcrumbs”) in order to lure a sexual partner without expending much effort.” Basically: leading someone on. 

This type of dating behaviour is being set in when you’re not overly interested in someone, but you’ll keep them on the backburner, you know ‘just in case’.

If it’s happened to you, you probably want to know the reasons why they will breadcrumb you. Below some answers.

1 Dating Isn’t A Priority

While this might seem pretty obvious, some breadcrumb because dating just isn’t a priority for them at the time, according to a thread on Reddit. Rather than taking the initiative and setting up dates (and following through), for some, it’s just easier to… not do those things, especially if you’re a stranger and there’s no real way for them to be held accountable.

2 They Don’t Want To Hurt Your Feelings

Some breadcrumb because they don’t want to hurt feelings. 

3 They Want A Quick Ego Boost

Sending breadcrumb-type messages, whether via text, email, or social media, can, undoubtedly boost the sender’s ego a bit, which is why some give in to the temptation to do so. According to a Reddit thread, exes who send breadcrumb messages often do so for the ego boost.

4 They’re Feeling A Little Guilty

If the relationship ended poorly for whatever reason, sometimes you’ll end up with a guilt-driven breadcrumb apologizing for problems in the relationship, the way in which it ended, or something similar, according to another thread on Reddit. These breadcrumbs don’t necessarily lead to long-term stringing along, they’re just a quick, out of the blue message to try to mend things and then move on.

5 They Didn’t Even Realize They Were

That’s right, sometimes a guy will breadcrumb you without even knowing that that’s what he’s doing. 

6 They Miss You

Sometimes a person will breadcrumb you because they miss you. An official breakup or time apart usually doesn’t negate all of the time the two of you spent together, during which you surely shared highs and lows. Whether you choose to act the same way or not, you likely miss them from time to time as well.

7 To Keep In Touch

Especially if you were friends before you got together, you might get breadcrumb-style texts as a way to keep in touch or find out what’s going on in your life.

8 They Were Just Lonely

Sometimes a person will breadcrumb you because he’s lonely. These kinds of connections make them feel less lonely in a new city, for example. It’s a virtual connection which allows you to feel less alone, as well as a distraction from whatever loneliness or other feelings with which you might be grappling.

9 They Didn’t Want To Lose You Completely

Sometimes you’ll get breadcrumbed because your partner wasn’t ready or otherwise emotionally strong enough to let you go completely when things ended. The breadcrumbing just might stop once they’re ready to move on.

10 It’s Just A Booty Call

Ultimately, it really might just be that he’s looking for sex.

11 They’re Scared

With the rise of online dating, some people are even more shy to make a move in real life. Some people use the apps and other forms of online dating specifically because they’re intimidated by the prospect of trying to make connections in person. Breadcrumbing, though hurtful, can help form connections while circumventing in-person risk, accountability, and commitment.