Ghosting, paperclipping, and breadcrumbing are all terms in digital relationships (sometimes in-person ones too) that victimize other men when the perpetrator already knows that there is no potential for a serious, long-lasting relationship.
If you are a receiver of these activities, it can be painful. You have poured a lot of time, energy, and let’s face it, love, into a man you believed would be your long-term partner. All of a sudden, he has disappeared and even blocked you from his phone. Or he is not responding to your calls and messages or has become distant and only calls or messages once in a while. What happened? Well, sir, you have fallen victim to one of these mean and nasty activities and a man who engages in them.
If you are someone who is only out for fun and games, one-night stands, or who just needs your ego stroked; if you are a man whose philosophy is not to get involved in serious long-term relationships, then that is a perfect lifestyle for you. But if you choose this lifestyle, it is only fair that you let your hookups know upfront that you are not into the serious stuff.
Let’s talk about these three painful activities from your point of view. If you are or have been on the receiving end, there are things you can do to get over the pain and move on. Yes, it takes some determination and self-control, but “you got this!”
You met a man online, at a bar, a spa, or even on a gay-friendly vacation. For you at least, the chemistry was there immediately, and it looked like it was there for him too. Now you are in a relationship and you believe he is the long-term partner you have been looking for. You are in a state of glee. You have told all of your friends about him and are busy making mental plans for your future.
All of a sudden, he disappears. He’s not answering your calls or your texts. Eventually, you may discover that you have actually been blocked. You have, in fact, been ghosted. What happened? What did you do wrong?
There are some things you have to do right now – no exceptions.
Don’t keep trying to reach out to him. The more you do this, the more thought you are giving to him. And you are relying on some false hope that he will return to you. That is not going to happen.
Repeat to yourself as much as you need to – this is not about you or anything you did. It’s all about him and his issues. When your thoughts turn to him and how much you loved him, stop. Repeat to yourself that he is the one who wronged you and not the kind of person you want in your life.
Don’t send angry texts or any other messages designed to make him jealous. He ghosted you for a reason – either he found someone else or he was just playing you all along and got tired of it. Either way, your messages will fall on deaf ears. He doesn’t care. Get angry all you want – you have that right – and anger can help you get over him.
Focus on your own positive qualities. What attracted him to you in the first place is still there, and you still have those traits – he didn’t take those away.
It’s time to get out and surround yourself with friends who can provide support. Not only can they help you stay busy, but there may also be some among them who have experienced just what you did. Knowing that you are not the only one this happened to will provide some relief. And when you are socializing with others, your thoughts will not be on him. Staying at home and having a pity party will just prolong the pain.
Move slowly into any new dating situation. Keep things casual until you feel ready for a serious relationship again. A fast rebound relationship will rarely last.
Above all, remember this: you can’t make someone love you.
You are over the man who ghosted you months ago. You are enjoying other casual dating relationships or you may even be in the early stages of a new relationship. All of a sudden, he pops up again with a call or message. He is paperclipping you. This can be for a variety of reasons, none of which are good. If you are tempted to believe that he has realized that he really does love you, just don’t. Paper clippers are immature, hell-bent on feeding their egos, and are usually narcissistic – not qualities you want in a serious relationship.
Here's how you handle this:
Don’t respond to the message. Remember, he is damaged and flaky at best, and he is ready to “play” you again.
Absolutely don’t respond in anger – if you do this, he “wins” – he has gotten some kind of a response from you
Block him immediately
You have moved on successfully. Why would you want to put yourself through that again? His return may have even caused your heart to flutter a bit – that’s normal. Think about it this way. After years of smoking, you finally gave it up. It was hard and took time, but you did it. He is just a cigarette you found, attempting to tempt you into an old habit – nope, don’t give in.
You have met someone, and the chemistry is real. You have fallen hard, and, by the way he is acting, you think he feels the same way. Maybe it’s a man you met while on vacation and you are now digitally communicating until you can get together again. In fact, you are trying to figure out how this can happen and may even be making plans. But, for some reason, you are not getting the attention you thought you would – and the plans are going nowhere. You are communicating and planning much more than he is. He just might be a breadcrumber. Here are some indicators that you are being breadcrumbed.
He’s all talk but no real action. They say they want to spend time with you but are never able to actually make the time to do it
His responses to your messages, calls, etc. are inconsistent. His goal is to give you just enough to keep you engaged with him.
He makes plans with you but then cancels out, usually with some “good” reason
He may follow through only on plans that involve getting together for short periods of sex.
He doesn’t reveal a lot about his life and doesn’t get into deep discussions about values, goals, etc.
So, how do you handle this behavior?
First of all, you need to understand that he is into control and manipulation, not a serious long-term relationship. This may be hard to accept.
You must confront the behavior. You are not getting what you deserve. Tell him it’s time to “sh##t or get off the pot.” And then watch how he reacts.
Stop taking calls and messages – block him.
Being the victim of any of these three dating tactics is painful and can cause you to question your worth. It may take time to recover, but recover you will. The key will be to cease any communication, understand their emotional weaknesses, and get out there with your other friends and supporters.
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