Another dating trend that doesn’t involve dating: Breadcrumbing

Breadcrumbing, is the latest dating trend and label that replaces stringing along. The New York times describes it as  “They communicate via sporadic noncommittal, but repeated messages — or breadcrumbs — that are just enough to keep you wondering but not enough to seal the deal (whatever that deal may be). Breadcrumbers check in consistently with a romantic prospect, but never set up a date. They pique your interest, of that prospective job, perhaps, by reminding you repeatedly that it exists, but never set up the interview.”

Basically, you’re keeping your options open while stringing someone else along with the least amount of effort or regard for the other person. Like ghosting, the other person is entertaining them when they reach out. What kind of reaching out you ask? Oh, “liking” a photo on IG or fb is the signal that game is back on. Right. What? It’s probably the saddest and minimal amount of effort to demonstrate interest in someone. I mean, we spend more time liking cat photos.

Urbandictionary.com

For us to accept these behaviors with disregard for how it impacts us emotionally is what the core of what I call, The Millennial Virus, is. What is it doing to our sense of self? Are we becoming more narcissistic? Are we becoming more insecure? Are we accepting sub-optimal relationships just to feel connected to something? Is technology driving dating, sex and emotion? Is it creating a generation that is passive-aggressive in life?

As a Behavioral Scientist, what amazes me is the hypersensitivity we all seem to have about almost all aspects of life EXCEPT relationships. Isn’t it interesting that we stand up against bullying, shaming, or political un-correctness; but with people we have interest in we act with total disregard? Some say it’s technology that’s driving our behavior, some say it’s the lack of employment, or that we are to attached to our devices or the way we are cognitively evolving.

Let’s look at some of the most common types that will most likely breadcrumb:

  1. Stalker types. These are the ones that reach out on your social feeds every now and then, but don’t follow-up with any sentences J They treat you like you are a notification on fb that they forgot they were connected to. If they can’t reach out to you in a text, what makes you think they are interested in having something pop off with you?
  2. Booty call types. These are the “DTF” “WYD” messages you’ll get at night. They aren’t interested in going beyond just the sexual set up you have. If this is acceptable to you, proceed with caution. Because it may not evolve into a
  3. Can’t get over you types. These are the ones that reach out to you months and years after it’s over in hopes of rekindling the relationship. If they failed the first time, chances are they aren’t new and improved. They just realize the error in not having you in their lives and hope that you are going to want to waste time with them again.
  4. Predator types. These types stalk you on your social feeds to keep abreast of the latest going on in your life. Once they notice a difference in posts or photos that indicates your seeing someone or they see that your seeing someone, they all of a sudden find you interesting. If they were on the fence about dating you and only reach out because you are happy in a new relationship, enjoy your new relationship.

In all these types, the underlying issue is not just their non-commitment issues, it’s their ego. Filtering through hundreds of profiles, spamming everyone, and getting rejected is rough on the ego. A way to deal with the rejection ratio is to find any kind of attention.  At the end of the day, people want to feel some level of relevance, importance or their own delusions of grandeur. Some get their rocks off by knowing that they’ve hooked you with a like or that you are still around when they disappear. Their ego is fulfilled when they reach out to you after months and you accepted their previous behavior and continue in a cycle of a dis-satisfactory relationship. Your ego, on the other hand, begins to take a hit to your self-esteem. Now you’re asking yourself questions like: why they reached out if they hadn’t ever planned to follow through, what’s the point of reaching out to me and why not meet up with me and finally why do I continue to attract these bullshit types?

 

The Millennial Virus

Most of the articles and research on millennials is targeted on marketing to them, how we could sell better to them, how we can better understand their preferences, or we characterize the hookup culture like it’s something new. We try to talk about their sexual patterns, how many, how often, variations of sexual practices, birth rates, and on and on. But, we never talk about what I call, The Millennial Virus (c), what they are at risk of. We never talk to them about the risk of getting an STD. Today, NYC announced increases in STDs among millennials. The hookup culture is nothing new-it was AIDS prior to this generation.
So, I conducted polls over quora, google + and reddit and 50% were aware of STD risk, but were unaware of the recent CDC report that states “ages 15-24 make up just over one quarter of the sexually active population, but account for half of the 20 million new sexually transmitted infections that occur in the United States each year.”
Credit: Anqa
According to a study conducted by Downing-Matibag & Geisinger (2009), “nearly half of participants were unconcerned with contracting a sexually transmitted infection from penetrative intercourse during a hookup, and a majority were unconcerned about diseases in hookups that included fellatio or cunnilingus. Most students reported not considering or realizing their own health risks during hookups, particularly those that occurred within their own community such as with someone else on their own college campus”. Another study by Paik (2010), reported “individuals involved in hookups are more likely to have concurrent sexual partners”. Which only compounds disease risk by increasing the spread of infection.
We like to blame Tinder, Bumble, and other dating apps for this behavior, but when I asked where people are hooking up; the top places were:
1. Tinder
2. College dorms
3. Instagram
4. Facebook
5. Bars
6. Clubs
7. Cars
8. Frat parties
When you ask why don’t people prefer to use a condom? The answer is obvious: “we don’t like the desensitizing feeling condoms have.” You know what is more desensitizing? An STD.

Top 5 ironic reasons you aren’t finding the right one

Summer’s here so people try to blame the weather for not wanting to commit (aka the break-up season). The summer isn’t the reason you can’t find the right type. The reason is simple: it’s the irony we create about love and relationships. Here are 5 examples of what holds some people back and how to change it:

  1. Some people allow one past relationship to disallow their future relationships and happiness. Re-read that statement. Does it sound like it makes sense? Doesn’t it sound paradoxical? Aren’t you looking for happiness? Aren’t you seeking out that one right person? By allowing one person to determine your future is delaying your happiness. Isn’t that counter-productive to your goal? The next time you find yourself thinking about the negative aspects of your past relationships, meditate on this mantra: Chalk it up to your ex’s inability to handle your greatness 🙂
  2. Your heart will keep seeking love, but your brain will identify patterns and stop you from seeking love. Harmonize the two by creating a list of the patterns you see. Sometimes you will find that these patterns reveal what you think you need and not what you want. Pay attention only to the aspects that you need. That part is responding to your nature and character. What you think you want is responding to your past experiences.

    Teddy Kelley photo
    Credit: Teddy Kelley
  3. You realize you took for granted someone that is gone and that becomes the very thing you want. Here the solution is simple: you’re just a dumbass. Each person we encounter makes us either realize something about ourselves or inspires us to be better people because of the nature of how they make us feel about ourselves. If you encounter someone that makes you a better person and you didn’t recognize that, ummm what’s my blog called? 🙂 Don’t fret. What is designed for you doesn’t disappear. Keep track of what you wish you still had and seek it out in someone else.
  4. You’re seeking happiness, but wind up settling. Deep down inside, when you’re settling, you know it. Sometimes people convince themselves that it is ok; other times they realize that they want more, but don’t think they can get it. In either case, why live only partially happy?
  5. The very type you don’t initially find attractive is the one you wind up with. Several studies show that when you ask successfully married people where physical attraction ranks in the scale of their relationship, initial looks ranks really low. Don’t believe me? Check out eHarmony’s take: http://www.eharmony.com/dating-advice/dating/little-physical-attraction-deal-breaker/#.V2sAaOsrIlg  Moral of the story: Stop treating people like they are your social networking streams. Focusing on the shiniest object. If you are checking them out based on their looks, chances are so are another 100 other people.

Why are men so non-committal?

Spring is near, so I’ve been getting a lot of women asking for relationship advice on non-committal men. If you ask men why they are so non-committal, why they cheat, or why they deceive their partners, the #1 answer you’ll get is boys will be boys. Doesn’t help, does it?

So, I’ve compiled a short list of things to help really get to the bottom of how to determine if your man is non-committal or commitment phobic. Aside from the usual signs, check out: Men and Relationships: 5 Signs He’ll Never Commit by SABRINA ALEXIS or or just go on Tinder. 🙂commt-yourejustadumbass

Here are some subtle cues to listen for on how to gauge if you’re in a non-committal relationship:

  1. Past relationship references. How he describes his past relationships could be a good place to start. Did he have a string of bad relationships with “crazy” women? If it was “most of them were crazy”, then he’s probably looking to blame others for his past relationship failures. Realistically, he may have deeper issues that he has to resolve that you might not be able to. Most people, especially men, loathe failure. They are designed to try to fix shit. If they couldn’t in the past and it became how they related to women, they hate taking chances. If you stick around chances are you’ll be one of those “crazy” exes.
  2. I intended on… That sounds good, doesn’t it. But, most people intend on doing a lot of things that they want, but just never get around to it. Marriage is one of them. Weight loss, exercising, you name it. If you don’t act on what you intend to do, it doesn’t happen. When men want something, they act on it. If they aren’t discussing a relationship, chances are they aren’t looking for anything committed.
  3. Fighting. Yeah, fighting. If you think there’s something better out there, you won’t try to resolve conflict. You’ll just exit out.

 

Top 3 things NOT to say on your online dating profile

People are attracted to what resonates with them. Online dating is no different. We are treating online dating as we do social media streams; the shiniest object is what grabs our attention. So, when we review profiles we are trying to get a better sense of who you are and what you say you are. If you start with a list of things you don’t want, that’s what you’re going to get.

What men say: Not looking for a gold digger.

You come off as someone who doesn’t want to build a relationship/partnership. Why? Because you’re letting past relationships control your future relationships.

What women read:  You got divorced and lost your shit. Does that mean you won’t be able to be in a dual income partnership? Are you blaming your life choices on someone else’s spending pattern? Are you unable to recognize someone that isn’t materialistic?

What men say: Drama queens need not apply. If you have an ex that is a FWB, don’t bother to contact me. If you have baby mama drama, don’t contact me.

Are you hoping to filter out drama queens by telling them not to contact you? Drama queens don’t exist if they don’t have an audience. You just set up a stage for them 🙂

What women read:  Your mailbox will be flooded with “F you just because I have a kid doesn’t mean I have drama.” Or “F you just because I have a past that you don’t understand, that doesn’t make me a drama queen.”

What men say: Don’t contact me if you’re not comfortable sexually.

Telling women they shouldn’t have standards, might not get you what you want.Leave the seduction for face-to-face.

What women read: That begs the question: “wtf is he into?” “F you because I’m not into casual sex/hookups/booty calls whenever you want sex, isn’t going to get you either a hookup or LTR.” Or “who the f are you to start with sex on your profile when you claim to be looking for something substantial.”

 

5 types to avoid

  1. The emotionally and financially needy types. Emotional and financial neediness makes you attract co-dependent relationships that, in the long run, don’t fill either of these needs. Both emotional and financial need can be addressed in the short-term (money can be earned and support can be given), but it establishes a false sense of security in the long-term. ITA18FXIBLAlthough emotional and financial neediness takes time to overcome and seems harder, so is divorce. Which will land you in the same category anyway 🙂 It’s better to overcome some of the hardships you encounter so that you can experience the true happiness you wanted in the first place.
  2. Fixers. Stop trying to fix people. You didn’t break them to begin with. Change can happen if the person: a) wants it or b) life forces it of them. You can be a change catalyst if the person is at either of these points in their lives. Other than that, you can’t correct other people’s fucked-upness to your partner.
  3. Sex your feelings away types. Know your worth. If you treat your vag or dick like it’s a common sandwich, why would it surprise you that you aren’t relationship material? You’re deluding yourself and expect the world to give you the opposite of what you say you want and are doing. Level with yourself and others. There is nothing wrong with not wanting a relationship because you’ve been hurt or aren’t emotionally ready for one. Sexing your feelings away doesn’t get at resolving the core issue. For some, it creates a whole set of new issues.
  4. Insecure types. Insecurity makes you stop seeking and makes you start settling. You may not even realize you have started settling because you may have created a relationship that makes you comfortable in your insecurity. If you are controlling or obsessively jealous, the other person will adapt a pattern to avoid confrontation of your insecurity. Ultimately, though, you’ve created a relationship that won’t really address the core issues of your insecurity.
  5. Cheating types. If someone cheats, they’re designed to do it again and again. It’s got nothing to do with you, it’s their ego trying to fill a void. If you’re filling that void through people, re-read #3.

Ahhhh the tangled web we weave

I have to say that I wasn’t surprised that a site like Ashley Madison existed, but that the Impact Team hacked it for the greater good, did. “Will The Impact Team be hacking any other sites in the future? If so, what targets or sort of targets do you have in mind?
Not just sites. Any companies that make 100s of millions profiting off pain of others, secrets, and lies. Maybe corrupt politicians. If we do, it will be a long time, but it will be total.” Impact Team to Motherboard.vice.com 

hmmm So, what did this grand social experiment demonstrate? Nothing new. That some people who want to cheat will? Let’s look at other not-so-surprising details. People are shocked that the site contained fake female profiles? Of the 37M users, only 5.5M were women. If you go onto POF, some men start their profile with DON’T CONTACT ME IF YOU’RE FAKE.

Ok, let’s look at what other things shock people. That people paid for privacy and their data was revealed? Wait. What?!?! You mean to tell me that someone created a business model capitalizing on your indiscretion and desires for a profit on the INTERNET?!?! You mean they took your money and never did what they said they would do? Paid delete=the Nigerian Embassy wants to give you 3.3M USD.

Of course, when you are looking to be discreet, you naturally log on during work hours, right? Sure, but from your work email or computer? AND you work in the government? OR better yet, you build your platform around family values?

Oh, the CEO stepped down? No way. Could it be all of the encounters he had off the site, the massive law suits, or the threats he’s getting by the minute?  “Life is short, Noel Biderman. Have an affair.”

Oh ok, since you didn’t think any of that might happen, let me tell you what might happen next: divorce, losing your home, losing half your shit, and maybe joint custody. Gee, isn’t that what you were trying to avoid? 

Divorce lawyers and the housing market thanks you.

YOU’RE JUST A DUMBASS

Want love? Stop doing dumb shit that gets you no one.

“I want tall, dark, and handsome.” So do plenty of other people. “I want barbie who can cook and clean.” Take a #. The problem with approaching online dating this way is that we’re treating profiles like we do our online social networking streams. The shiniest object is what we stop at. We should be efficient and select what we find attractive, but not where it discounts good candidates. Perception is an illusion. You know why? Because #1 person we lie to is ourselves.

We’re living in a self-absorbedie culture. Attraction is the first cut for dating. Are we trying to stand out? Yes. Do we have to go to extremes to stand out?

Let’s find out:

How many selfies do you take? How many final photos are filtered? A study found that women spend 753 hours on taking selfies and that includes filtering photos. Are these the photos that make it to an online dating profile? Yes. What’s the #1 complaint of online dating that I hear? That people don’t look like their pics! For men, posting selfies has been linked to having narcissistic traits. Not rocket science. It was also linked to self-objectification. Should men pose with tigers? WTF? [Not even lying! Check it out: TNDRGWTPhoto and article courtesy of Diamond Coleman at BuzzFeed] Is that upping sexy? Are men discounting other qualities like their accomplishments, drive, honesty, so that they could beat the guy above or below them?

Here’s what you can do:

Use an accurate photo. Men: No one wants to think they are meeting with a Brad Pitt look-a-like to find Mr Magoo showing up. Women: Most of the time we look better in real life. If the wrinkles bother you that bad, Botox not airbrush.

Online dating shouldn’t be a competition with the person above or below you. You’re looking for a specific set of qualities that compliment you. So is the person above or below you. At the end, you will get what you want and so will they.

Stop being a persona. Be you. Not the guy/girl you think women/men want to respond to. Women get too many messages from “undesirable guys” while men send hundreds of messages in order to get a response. One of the draws to online dating is efficiency. Filtering through hundreds of profiles from people who don’t fit your search criteria and spamming everyone is not efficient.

 

5 things you can do right now to change your online dating experience

1. Don’t force fit someone into your life because you are experiencing online dating fatigue. The process of several serial dates with people that you lack chemistry with or experience rejection from people that you think are potential candidates can be very frustrating and result in online dating fatigue. Where you just want to quit for awhile till you regroup. It’s totally understandable. Take a break, if you feel you need it. But, don’t let the fatigue inform who you choose.

2. Meet in real life. The point of online dating is to date, not to have a epenpal. If you haven’t gone on a date after a lengthy back and forth, cut it off. Two things are happening to you while you epenpal: 1) you are creating a false reality about who is behind the device and 2) you are delaying your own happiness by dealing with someone that isn’t on the same page.

3Screenshot 2014-11-06 at 1.56.54 PM. Diversify your dating approach. Don’t just rely on online dating as the only method of meeting someone. That will create online dating fatigue quickly. Include in your strategy both online and offline because love is a complicated process and has no formula. We can’t create the when and where. We just have to be there.

4. Approach online dating like it’s a social experiment. It really IS. Treat dating like you are collecting data on what you want and don’t want. See what combinations of qualities and characteristics better complement you. Approaching dating as though it is testing out our happiness hypothesis or algorithm can help minimize some of our own expectations. Create an equation (just like the dating sites) that includes the elements that you absolutely require (fixed variable) and the elements that you think you want (random variable). Focus just on characteristics, qualities and life desires.

5. This is the grand daddy of them all! Ready? Men, listen to me: don’t lie about your height. Women hate when you lie about inches 🙂 The reality is that men over 6’0″ in US society is about 15%. Seems like 100% online 🙂

Want to improve your OKC profile? Christian Rudder tells us how.

I recently had the honor of being a panelist with Christian Rudder, OkCupid‘s co-founder, on HuffPost Live about his new book Dataclysm: Who We Are (When We Think No One’s Looking). On http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/christian-rudder-okcupid-cofounder-dataclysm/53da6a2002a760346200058e  , I had a chance to ask Christian the burning question we all want to know: what are some of the reasons that people represent themselves as what they want you to see rather than the real person that will emerge in a relationship?

Christian attributes that to be something that is part of real life and human nature. He also added that the advantages of OKC is that people can meet each other in real life and determine chemistry quickly. I was hoping that he was going to provide stats about the discrepancy and maybe discuss some of the ways their algorithm may refine the process. Darn 🙁 Screenshot 2014-09-12 at 2.46.55 PM

Other highlights from the interview:

*Women search for men closer to their age, while men regardless of their age still seek 22 year olds. Christian attributes that to men still not growing up and that models in magazines are that age. Check out Dr Drew’s take: http://www.hlntv.com/video/2014/09/11/ok-cupid-online-dating-age-women-men-attraction

*50 year old men don’t usually contact 20 year old women for the realities of a higher rejection rate.

*The hot or not feature is not designed to have everyone flocking to the most popular person on the site, it’s designed to give everyone a chance to pair off with what they find most attractive.

*OKC does not manipulate factual data such as age, sexual orientation, they alter minor details like size of photo to help users have better compatibility results based on their desired characteristics.

Check out the full video for more behind the scenes insights on OKC and let me know what you think.  http://live.huffingtonpost.com/r/segment/christian-rudder-okcupid-cofounder-dataclysm/53da6a2002a760346200058e