Hi Tee, I think the man I like is breadcrumbing me. We met and have been speaking online. I liked him and I thought he liked me too but I just realized that he’s only been leading me on and is not really committed. He is not curious about me and he doesn’t really try to be. I think I have had it enough of him but I don’t want to just ghost him, I want to address it. How do I do so?
A tired babe.
Dear tired babe, the first step is acknowledging that you in fact do deserve better, so I applaud you for arriving here early, it takes a lifetime for some of us. While each relationship is different and we may not know the intricacies of your relationship with this man you like, you are a full human deserving of receiving and expressing love in its entire capacity. You deserve to have your own person if you so choose, who is genuinely curious about experiencing all the layers of you. Nigeria is too hot for anything less abeg.
Side note for our readers who might not know, breadcrumbing is a form of manipulation, where someone leads the other person on and feigns interest in them, pretending to be interested in building a sincere relationship. They give you just enough to string you on and keep you there while you question your sanity, and when they sense that you might be catching on to them, they intensify their efforts before it then goes cold again. See the nonsense pattern? Manipulation.
Now to your question, “How to address this before dipping for the hills or slowly disappearing from his life?”
You need to be very honest about how you’ve been feeling, it’s important to make up your mind fully before going into this conversation. Plan what you want to say beforehand, or at least the general framework of the conversation. You can practice in front of a mirror or record yourself speaking so you can stay on track and express yourself well.
Next, you have to nip it in the bud and address this directly. You can record a voice message, drop a text, or schedule a video call at a time that works for you both where you can explain the pattern so far and why this isn’t really working for you. Depending on how the conversation goes, you might gain a new perspective or learn something new about them, or maybe even get an ick, either way, some learning will occur and it’s okay to take time out if you need to process the information you receive, just remember to prioritize yourself!
Now that we’ve addressed this, you need to set clear boundaries and stick to them. Breadcrumbing thrives on them having access to you, knowing that you’d always be available and they just have to water the relationship like a low-maintenance house plant that will thrive against all odds, so you have to let him know that this isn’t how we’re rolling anymore. There’s a new government in place and the first thing on the agenda is you! Putting yourself first! Yes, it probably won’t be easy in the first few weeks and you might feel the need to reach and tug at the familiar string of conversation with them in hopes that they’ll offer something different this time but we’ve been down this road before, haven’t we? And as hard as it seems at the moment, you made this decision for a reason so you need to remember that. People will only respect your boundaries as hard as you enforce them.
I hope that this helps, there’s no one-size-fits-all in relationships and dating, and difficult conversations can be draining but I hope that this conversation gives you the clarity or closure you need to move forward or pursue a new love story. Remember that the universe is expansive and there’s never a shortage of people willing to love you just the way you want. You deserve a love where you’re not constantly second guessing where you stand in their lives, so before that comes, fill your day with all the things that spark joy for you.
Take a walk, hang out with your friends, eat loads of ice cream, binge-watch Netflix, or renew that gym membership, the love you deserve will come and it will be everything you want and so much more.
All my love,
Tolulope Aribisala is a hopeless romantic who expresses this through her writing. She enjoys exploring the complexities of love, friendships and relationships; as these are the tapestries that we weave as we journey through life. Tee’s column serves as a refuge for those navigating the maze of emotions, offering wisdom, empathy, and humour so think of her as a fairy sister. When she’s not eating chocolate cake, she’s clearing her shopping cart, and listening to music.
Ask me anything about your relationships: the scary, the fun, the ugly, the happy, the hard, the beautiful. All your confusions and dilemmas, your happiness and joy too!