Linda, 36, an accountant in Chicago, was frustrated and confused. She went on three dates with a guy she met on Tinder. When they made plans to meet the next Saturday, he texted her that morning, saying that he had a family emergency; he asked for a raincheck. They texted back and forth for the next three weeks, but every time they arranged to meet, something came up at the last moment for him. . Yet he kept flirting with her through texts; that totally confused her. “If he wasn’t interested, he wouldn’t keep texting me, right?” she asked me.

If you have experienced something similar, when a guy keeps texting you or reappears every few weeks or months, know that he might be “breadcrumbing” you.

Breadcrumbing is a new term; it refers to a dating trend, where a guy gives you just enough occasional attention to keep your hope of a relationship alive.

Why would a man do this?

A study done by eHarmony in Australia revealed that a typical single guy dates about six women at the same time. That number is lower for older men, but the trend is the same because having so much choice makes it difficult for a man to make up his mind. With more dating options, the man shows less consideration and respect for each prospective relationship.

But the current dating environment with all its dating apps and instant communication, isn’t the only reason a man would use the breadcrumbing technique.

He does it because he gets something out of this technique for himself. For instance, he’s bored and just wants some attention. Or, he feels crappy and wants to boost his ego. So he strings you along, because he’s just playing games.

So what do you do when you figure out that a man is breadcrumbing you?

It comes down to being crystal-clear about the kind of relationship you want to have. If you’re clear about how you want to communicate and how you want him to treat you, you won’t allow him to toy with you and waste your time. And you won’t end up disappointed weeks (or months) later when things haven’t worked out.

Watch my interview on CBS to learn more about bread-crumbing and how to deal with it.

Please comment here and let me know your thoughts about breadcrumbing.