By Chris Seiter

Published on May 11th, 2022

Today we’re going to talk about how to know if your ex is breadcrumbing you but looking specifically at real life tactics exes have used to breadcrumb.

First things first though,

What is breadcrumbing?

Breadcrumbing often occurs when an ex does just enough to make you think they are interested in “re-pursuing” a relationship with you. To keep you on the hook, so to speak. However, usually that ex hasn’t made a decision whether they want to pursue you romantically just yet. They are keeping their options open.

It’s never fun to be on the receiving end of behavior like this but in this article I’m going to show you some of the most common signs that breadcrumbing exes engage in and after that, I’m going to peel back the layers psychologically to help you understand why exes breadcrumb.

Let’s begin!

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

The Most Common Breadcrumbing Signs We See In Real Life

I wanted this to be the most comprehensive guide on breakup breadcrumbing in the world and I thought in order to do that it would be good to actually ask real people going through breakups what kind of breadcrumbing behaviors their exes were actually exhibiting.

As always, our private facebook support group is perfect for this so I went ahead and asked them,

Here were the signs that really caught my eye,

  1. Asking For A Favor Or Doing You A Favor
  2. They Set A Date To See You And Then Stand You Up Last Minute
  3. Repeating Your Wants Directly To You But Never Following Through On It
  4. A Lot Of Talking To You While They Have Another Person They Are Dating
  5. They Engage In Pogo-Sticking Behavior

As always, I’ll provide proof of my findings and a little bit of commentary. Let’s begin!

Sign #1: Asking For A Favor Or Doing You A Favor

This one is probably the only add to this list that sort of shocked me but in hindsight it makes complete sense. It’s just often overlooked.

So, I got addition from this comment,

“Asking me if I had some clothes for a funeral (of course I did) and then proceeded to talk about his family drama the entire conversation, said he procrastinated, don’t worry about the clothes he’ll buy some.”

So, what we have here is an ex who is going through some stuff emotionally and usually the person who he would vent to is no longer in the picture so he makes up an excuse to talk to her so he can vent.

The excuse was the favor of borrowing clothes.

Yet our member doesn’t probably take it that way. Because of the emotional nature of the conversation it’s probably taken as if he’s opening back up to her in the same way that he would as if he was in a relationship with her.

Let’s move on to our next sign.

Sign #2: They Set A Date To See You And Then Stand You Up Last Minute

I blurred out the rest of the comment for the commentors privacy since personal information was shared that I was certain they wouldn’t want out there for the public but it doesn’t really revolve around the point I’m trying to make here.

This sign might be the most common example of a breadcrumbing I saw amongst comments.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Essentially an ex acts like they really want to see you in person and then at the last moment they never follow through with those plans.

Since I myself am classified as a dismissive avoidant I want to admit that this as my “go to” tactic.

I can’t tell you how many dates I literally stood up this way simply because I was afraid of losing my independence. I’d make plans and then about a day or two before the plans would be due to happen I’d suddenly cancel.

It all stemmed from my insecurities though and had nothing to do with the women I was dating. It’s important to remember that.

I think when we look at the breakup avenue this loss of independence an ex potentially feels is heightened because they’ve already felt a loss of independence at one point when they dated you.

It causes them to re-live the trauma even if you weren’t the one to trigger their offer of meeting up.

Sign #3: Repeating Your Wants Directly To You But Never Following Through On It

My favorite comment out of them all was this one,

“He knew the right words that always got me. Marriage, love, commitment. He’d drop them and knew I’d come back to him. Ugh.”

This one stuck out to me because it’s essential an ex using tactical empathy for their own evil purposes.

If you aren’t familiar with tactical empathy it’s essentially where you repeat a persons worldview back to them. Their hopes, dreams and desires. As long as you show you are empathetic towards those things and literally repeat it back to them then that person is a lot more likely to be pliable to your own wants.

When I get into the psychology section of this article I’m going to talk about puppet relationships and I feel like that’s what is happening here.

The avoidant ex breadcrumbs because they want that “love adrenaline spike” from you and they know exactly what buttons to push to get it.

Sign #4: A Lot Of Talking To You While They Have Another Person They Are Dating

This one wasn’t so much of a specific sign as opposed to just an observation from one of the commentors. But they kind of have a point,

For reference BTM is equivalent to the being there method which is a strategy we teach to people who have exes that have moved on to someone else.

What’s interesting from the data I got on the post is that there were a lot of mentions of “the other person.” Meaning a lot of the breadcrumbing is occurring while the ex is with someone new.

Remember, these are real life people giving these stories up and I’d say a good five or six comments out of the 20 I looked through mentioned “the other woman.”

This kind of behavior sort of tracks with what we know about the avoidant attachment style. Specifically, the phantom ex syndrome which I’ve talked a lot about in the past.

Sign #5: They Engage In Pogo-sticking Behavior

This is my own late addition because I know it does happen even though no one immediately said they were experiencing it on the post.

When I usually refer to pogo sticking behavior I’m usually referring it in reference to an ex blocking you and then unblocking you on social media.

Which I supposed could be argued as a type of breadcrumbing sign.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Nevertheless, what I’m looking for here is a lot of hot and cold behaviors. Your ex has an emotional conversation with you one day and the next they aren’t anywhere to be found.

They pogo stick around the spectrum with regards to hot and cold.

This is a type of uncertainty that is consistent with breadcrumbing.

Why Exes Breadcrumb?

Perhaps the best place to start when psychoanalyzing exes like this is with attachment theory. Really, 2022 has been the year of avoidants.

Not only have I written an insane amount of articles on them but I’ve filmed dozens of videos on them like this,

The reason I’m hyper focusing on avoidants is that I think understanding the nuances of their specific attachment style can teach us about breadcrumb because you’ll find it’s very on brand for the avoidant.

First things first though, did you know that most of the people reading this website will have an avoidant ex?

According to Web MD,

Avoidant attachment is an attachment style a child develops when their parent or main caretaker doesn’t show care or responsiveness past providing essentials like food and shelter. The child disregards their own struggles and needs in order to maintain peace and keep their caregiver close by. They still struggle and feel anxiety or sadness, but do so alone, and deny the importance of those feelings.

This attachment style often stays with a person through adulthood, potentially impacting their romantic relationships, friendships, and other connections.

Specifically when it comes to breakups though some interesting things happen to the avoidant attachment style. Today I’d like to talk about two of those things because it really helps explain breadcrumbing behavior.

  1. The Core Wound Of Independence
  2. The Nostalgia Weakness

Let’s dive into those for a moment.

The Core Wound Of Independence

I can’t really claim credit for this concept as one of the Ex Recovery coaches first brought it to my attention in this interview,

It’s believed that every core insecure attachment style has a core wound. A singular fact that can explain away most of their insecure behaviors.

For example,

  1. Anxious attachment- The fear of being alone
  2. Avoidant attachment- The fear of losing independence
  3. Fearful attachment- Both core wounds are present

We are of course interested in the avoidant core wound of losing independence. So, here’s an interesting thing. The avoidant values independence at such a high level that they literally prefer puppet relationships.

Puppet Relationships = Ones where they can keep control and have you on their strings much like a puppeteer.

Here’s an example of how this works. An avoidant like the initial feeling of being in a relationship but not the strings attached to a commitment. So, what they often will do is set up this scenario where they “semi commit” but never actually follow through with it.

Starting to sound familiar?

Well, it gets even better. They even know what to say and what to do to keep the puppet relationship going so you don’t leave.

Their end goal is always the same, keep a relationship flowing for as long as possible without actually having to commit. One of their tactics for achieving this effect is breadcrumbing.

What Are Your Chances of Getting Your Ex Boyfriend Back?

Take the quiz

Of course, there’s another interesting thing we learned about avoidants.

They Almost Always Fall Victim To The Nostalgia Weakness

To me, this is perhaps the most interesting thing about the avoidant attachment style. You see, whenever I think of an avoidant I don’t really think of them as nostalgia based creatures.

Rather, I think of the as cold and calculating.

They get what they want, the affection of another, and then after their “cup is filled,” so to speak, they leave.

Technically speaking the avoidant is very much like that but there’s a little bit more nuance going on than you would expect.

One nuance is a fascinating finding we located within their psychology relating to nostalgia.

I talk about it a lot in this video,

So, here it goes,

If you give an avoidant enough time they are bound to fall victim to this period of nostalgia. Of course, this only happens if they’ve been left alone for long enough, a mistake our clients often make.

Since most of our clients tend to veer more towards the anxious side,

And their core wound is essentially a fear of abandonment we find that a lot of our clients aren’t leaving their exes alone long enough to for their exes to feel the period of nostalgia.

Now, the reason I’m making a big deal about this is because I think a lot of breadcrumbing occurs because an ex falls victim to a period of nostalgia and then is authentic with their intentions at first.

So, all of sudden the ex goes from cold to hot and you start thinking, “Wow, they are really interested in me. This is amazing.”

But it’s a flash in the pan. Lightning in a bottle. Eventually that core wound causes an avoidant to freak out. “Reliving the past” even momentarily, is enough to engage their core wound again and they disappear.

That’s what I think happens a lot of time with breadcrumbing. That’s why I think studying the avoidant nature is essential to understand how to handle them.

What to Read Next

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 thought on “How To Know If Your Ex Is Breadcrumbing You”

  1. Steve

    August 6, 2022 at 7:58 pm

    My FA of 5 years long term rebound 2 months later after breakup. She start to text and calling me showing that she cared about me, helping me and she missed my daughter (breadcrumbs). she became friends with my friends and visit the places I frequent. She looked for a way to chase her. everything has been very confusing. she unblocked me from instagram and liked my photo(breadcrumbs). I invited her out on her birthday and she said no. Then I asked her about his current partner and told me that it was not official . She was meeting a lot of people. She said that only remembered the negative more than the positive of our relationship.

    Her parents are narcissists and controlled her.

    After 35 days of no contact she is disconnected and stop posting on social media.