Unless every single first date or hookup you've ever had has turned into a long-term relationship, chances are, you've experienced breadcrumbing to some degree. If you've never heard of the term, breadcrumbing is when someone leads you on just enough to keep you interested (anything from throwing you an Instagram "like" once a month to occasionally texting and hooking up with you), but not enough to actually be in a relationship with you.
"Breadcrumbing is the conscious act of leading someone on for the thrill of the ego boost," Susan Winter, best-selling author and relationship expert, tells Elite Daily. "It's the 'hot' cycle in the game of hot and cold. Designed to lure in one's prey through attention, flattery and sexual intrigue, breadcrumbing is completely self-serving. It's a head trip, played for control and domination."
Yeah, breadcrumbing is that sh*tty, you guys.
Here, five brave people share their personal stories of being breadcrumbed that will make you want to throw your hands in the air and give up.
This girl was breadcrumbed by a guy who "didn't want a girlfriend."
— Kate, 24
This guy was breadcrumbed by a guy who planned "well thought-out dates" for the two of them.
— Andrew, 24
This girl was breadcrumbed by a guy who dodged labels by saying "I know this is basically a relationship, but I don't want to call it that."
— Hannah, 24
This girl was breadcrumbed by a guy via weird social media likes.
— Sam, 25
This girl was breadcrumbed by a really good friend.
— Christina*, 24
* Name has been changed.
Who's ready to cancel dating forever?
Check out the entire Gen Why series and other videos on Facebook and the Bustle app across Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV.