For bread lovers, it is a joy to eat the wholesome pieces of baked flour. The connoisseurs will know their types of bread: rye, breadstick, loaves, naan, brown, white, sourdough, etc; the varieties are many. What many bread eaters and lovers will not mention are breadcrumbs. Yes, breadcrumbs will only be mentioned in reference to when they cover a succulent piece of meat, fish or other dish. In essence, the breadcrumbs are mostly neither here nor there.
Some of you might wonder what bread has to do with Eve and Adam and I might be tempted to say, “a lot”. I was in a relationship for two years, give or take, because actually in hindsight, I can no longer say when the relationship started – I can only (vividly) recall when it was no more. Now, I am probably partly to blame for not sticking up for myself more, demanding more for myself, etc but I want to look at the log in the other eye and ignore the speck in mine. Truth be told, I am not a great fan of bread, especially not white bread but I can recognize a good loaf when I see one. It just so happens that in this relationship, the bread-knife was see-sawing on the loaf and instead of getting wholesome slices, I was getting crumbs. I will admit that I put up with the crumbs, until the day I woke up and realized that there was no loaf, just dried remnants.
To make a long story short, this was a long distance relationship; we were introduced by a mutual friend and as life would have it, we ended up having to be miles away from each other. As it goes with these sorts of relationships, a lot of effort goes into keeping the relationship afloat, given the distance and time spent apart. Since you’re only hearing my side of the story and may not have the benefit of listening to his side of the story, you will just have to believe me when I say that I put my all into it – I was knee deep in those boots, working it away with more hope than assurance that this was all worth it. In hindsight, I was getting breadcrumbs: all I got from my ‘virtual-half’ were emails, chat messages or text messages and very little human interaction. A lot of words were said but there was little action to show I was in a relationship with a real flesh and blood Adam. The online communication was safe and although a lot of time was committed to it, it was just that – time. If he knew what he wanted from the relationship, he would have done more – we would have done more. Instead it was lazy, convenient communication throughout and in the end, it just didn’t do it. I realized this after many, many moons had passed.
Some of us are in relationships where we are getting breadcrumbs instead of enjoying the bread that we deserve. Now, many might ask how we can tell if we are enjoying the loaf or all we are seeing are breadcrumbs. Well, I guess relationships are different and maybe you might have to put up with breadcrumbs for a while. What is unacceptable is prolonged spells of breadcrumbs. Here are a few that come to my mind when I think of breadcrumbs and relationships.
When the person you are romantically linked with is finding time to spend with everyone else and their cat and little quality time with you, that is breadcrumb time. This is especially when he or she is spending such time with ‘just friends’ of the opposite sex.
Breadcrumbs is when you are dating someone who is emotionally unavailable – yes, you will definitely be on the receiving end of the crumbs if s/he is married or already with someone else or if his only way of expressing his (her?) emotions to you is between the sheets. Now, it takes some time and wisdom to learn to detect emotionally unavailable people but sometimes it is just staring you in the face and you’re just making excuses for him or her.
Breadcrumbs is when a significant other tells you stuff but you do not feel it; for example, s/he tells you that you mean a lot to her/him, she/he loves you etc. but to you, they are just mere words because there are no actions to back up those words. Ever heard of that song by Extreme, More Than Words?
Breadcrumbs is when there is a lot of attention showered on you once in a blue moon. You are dating someone, they treat you so well but it is so sporadic, more like throwing something at you to keep you around longer.
Breadcrumbs is when the person you’re dating cannot let go of his or her ex – remember when Project 44 wrote about the smoldering embers? Enough said!
Respect is a fundamental element in the sanity of any relationship and when you’re getting less than the respect you deserve in a relationship, only crumbs of that relationship are falling on your plate. Now, no one is asking that Adam or Eve lays down a red carpet for each other (laying down a carpet of rose petals once in a lifetime will not hurt ;)), simple acts of respect will suffice.
Breadcrumbs is when one party is making 90% of the effort to keep the relationship afloat. I think the writing would be on the wall for such a situation and all the ‘90% party’ has to do is read it. Breadcrumbs is also when you do your part in keep the relationship alive and kicking, but your effort simply doesn’t seem to be appreciated. I think there is a strong link between bread crumbs and signs – you know those vital signs that one ought to be able to read about a relationship.
A healthy relationship is one where two individuals come together to share life but also recognize that they are not joined at the hip and are separate individuals. Breadcrumbs is when one party in the relationship is manipulative, controlling and even unfortunately, abusive. Actually, this is less than crumbs – it is actually bread dust if there was ever such a thing!
Breadcrumbs are when the Eve or Adam you are with cannot keep their word – inconsistency is almost always a red flag. Sometimes we try to give things a chance, to see whether the flag will flap in a different direction; sometimes we just have to accept that even if the flag flaps in a different direction, it is still a red flag.
Bread can make crumbs, but crumbs make no loaves.
By B.S. – Guest Writer