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A Dating Coach Puts Us Up On The 2022 Dating Trend To Look Out For

Don't get got out here.

Dating

In the new age of dating, we seem to think that everything is new. Younger generations in the search for a life partner are under the impression that our grandparents didn’t deal with the f*ckery while dating. When I say our grandparents, I mostly mean our grandmothers because let’s face it, new socialization as a result of feminism has indeed created an evolution in the dating landscape for women more than anyone. We no longer have to put up or shut up. These days we have greater access to careers, and our own bank accounts, and are unapologetic about exploring our sexuality. In other words: WE GOT OPTIONS!


At times, all the drastic changes can make it seem like men and women aren’t experiencing the same dating patterns but as Nana might tell you, “There ain’t nothing I ain’t never heard or seen before.” Catfishing, ghosting, and breadcrumbing may all sound like funny new “millennial” concepts but the reality is, the only thing that has changed is the language.

Certified Dating and Relationship Coach Alison Wellington confirms to xoNecole that the latest dating “trend” of them all, breadcrumbing, is better known to past generations as “bullsh*tting.”

What is Breadcrumbing? And Why Does it Happen?

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Of course, we needed to know a little more about breadcrumbing for our own protection while in these streets. So shall we back this up? Yes, because what exactly is classified as ‘bullsh*tting’ or ‘breadcrumbing’? Well, Coach Wellington put us up on game for when trying to build your starting lineup of potential partners and then hopefully a future with someone special. She first explained very matter of factly what the phenomenon is, “Breadcrumbing is when someone gives a romantic interest just enough attention to keep them interested but they aren't really looking to commit to this person.”

Additionally, our expert provides two reasons breadcrumbing often occurs: 1.) They enjoy the attention of multiple people at the same time, and 2.) They want to keep their options open so when they do decide to commit, they have more readily available options open.

How to Avoid Breadcrumbing

Like most anything else we can avoid breadcrumbing by setting healthy expectations and boundaries for all relationships, especially in the early stages of dating when breadcrumbing would be most likely to happen. Though this is not to say that it cannot occur in an established relationship.

Wellington advises, getting “clear” on “what you require from those you date” and then communicating those expectations to the person(s) you’re dating. She offers the example of quality time, stating, “If you'd like to speak to the person you're seeing every day or to go out on dates once a week, etc. [Make this known to your person.] After you've kindly made your expectations clear, if the person is unwilling or unable to deliver, then move on.”

You’ve Been Breadcrumbed…What Now?

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Once you’ve been breadcrumbed, or the person has initiated the process, it’s essentially best to clock that behavior, set the boundary, and move on if it goes unchanged. Depending on who you are and how you operate in regard to red flags, it might even behoove you to get gone at the first sight of a red flag, especially because our expert states that more often than not the perpetrator “knows exactly what they are doing.”

When it’s all said and done, all is not fair in love and war but that doesn’t mean that any one of us has to accept less. That said, when you find yourself in this position it’s important that you move with integrity and thus on to the next. But, I will also add this is why it’s imperative that we get back to the true concept of dating. Not to keep deferring to our grandparents, but in the age of social media, it’s more critical than ever that we don’t put all our eggs in one basket.

Dating around is intended to see what our options are. Perhaps if we all continue to date this way until it is clear on both sides what the next steps are and what commitment looks like, then there would be no need for all of these games. Perhaps.

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When I was ten, my Sunday school teacher put on a brief performance in class that included some of the boys standing in front of the classroom while she stood in front of them holding a heart shaped box of chocolate. One by one, she tells each boy to come and bite a piece of candy and then place the remainder back into the box. After the last boy, she gave the box of now mangled chocolate over to the other Sunday school teacher — who happened to be her real husband — who made a comically puzzled face. She told us that the lesson to be gleaned from this was that if you give your heart away to too many people, once you find “the one,” that your heart would be too damaged. The lesson wasn’t explicitly about sex but the implication was clearly present.

That memory came back to me after a flier went viral last week, advertising an abstinence event titled The Close Your Legs Tour with the specific target demo of teen girls came across my Twitter timeline. The event was met with derision online. Writer, artist, and professor Ashon Crawley said: “We have to refuse shame. it is not yours to hold. legs open or not.” Writer and theologian Candice Marie Benbow said on her Twitter: “Any event where 12-17-year-old girls are being told to ‘keep their legs closed’ is a space where purity culture is being reinforced.”

“Purity culture,” as Benbow referenced, is a culture that teaches primarily girls and women that their value is to be found in their ability to stay chaste and “pure”–as in, non-sexual–for both God and their future husbands.

I grew up in an explicitly evangelical house and church, where I was taught virginity was the best gift a girl can hold on to until she got married. I fortunately never wore a purity ring or had a ceremony where I promised my father I wouldn’t have pre-marital sex. I certainly never even thought of having my hymen examined and the certificate handed over to my father on my wedding day as “proof” that I kept my promise. But the culture was always present. A few years after that chocolate-flavored indoctrination, I was introduced to the fabled car anecdote. “Boys don’t like girls who have been test-driven,” as it goes.

And I believed it for a long time. That to be loved and to be desired by men, it was only right for me to deny myself my own basic human desires, in the hopes of one day meeting a man that would fill all of my fantasies — romantically and sexually. Even if it meant denying my queerness, or even if it meant ignoring how being the only Black and fat girl in a predominantly white Christian space often had me watch all the white girls have their first boyfriends while I didn’t. Something they don’t tell you about purity culture – and that it took me years to learn and unlearn myself – is that there are bodies that are deemed inherently sinful and vulgar. That purity is about the desire to see girls and women shrink themselves, make themselves meek for men.

Purity culture isn’t unlike rape culture which tells young girls in so many ways that their worth can only be found through their bodies. Whether it be through promiscuity or chastity, young girls are instructed on what to do with their bodies before they’ve had time to figure themselves out, separate from a patriarchal lens. That their needs are secondary to that of the men and boys in their lives.

It took me a while —after leaving the church and unlearning the toxic ideals around purity culture rooted in anti-Blackness, fatphobia, heteropatriarchy, and queerphobia — to embrace my body, my sexuality, and my queerness as something that was not only not sinful or dirty, but actually in line with the vision God has over my life. Our bodies don't stop being our temples depending on who we do or who we don’t let in, and our worth isn’t dependent on the width of our legs at any given point.

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