'Breadcrumbing,' 'benching’ and other millennial dating terms you ought to know

If you’re trying to navigate the dating world these days, you need to be aware of some of the current terminology daters are now using, as confusing as it may be.

Lori Bizzoco, a relationship expert and the founder of Cupidspulse.com, says it’s millennials really the ones defining these new terms.

“With the onset of technology and social media when it comes to dating, it’s harder to be in a relationship, so [millennials] want to be able to define what that relationship is,” says BIzzoco.

But even though millennials may be the ones coming up with the new dating lingo, it still benefits every other generation to become familiar with these eight new dating terms:


Breadcrumbing occurs when someone is sending your flirtatious text messages or showing their admiration or affection on social media through likes, comments and direct messages. However, they’re not really asking you out on a date — or maybe they are, but plans are never set in stone, and often get canceled. In essence, they’re just leading you on, says Bizzoco. “I used to call it 'cookie crumbles' — you like the taste of a cookie but you’re not getting the whole thing. It’s the same thing with bread crumbing — you’re not getting the full loaf, you’re being led on.”



Ghosting is considered one of the biggest dating trends as of late, with 78 percent of millennials admitting to being ghosted. “Ghosting means you’ve been seeing someone, and then all of a sudden they disappear. The ghosting period is when you haven’t heard from the person you’ve been seeing in a day or two, so you start texting and trying  to get a hold of them,” Bizzoco tells FOX News. Meanwhile, a true “ghost” will completely disappear from your life, and then weeks or months later, they reappear with a random text.  “If you haven’t been contacted for a week or more, then you’ve been ghosted and you really should cut him or her off.”


Micro-cheating basically constitutes of small acts that result in having an emotional attraction to someone else, all while keeping it a secret from a partner. There is no physical contact, so someone committing these acts might think they’re doing nothing wrong. As Bizzoco explains, “The key with micro-cheating is that you’re keeping it a secret from your partner, so there’s deception.  Perhaps you're putting this other person’s name in your phone under an alias, or you are texting, going to lunch with them, or [engaging in] even riskier behavior like driving in a car somewhere together.” She adds that it’s important to understand that the issue here is not the acts themselves, but the deception they imply.



Love-bombing is like explosion of affections all at once. “When you meet somebody and they have this instant chemistry or connection with you, it’s almost like they’re telling you it’s love at first sight," explains Bizzoco. "They are adoring you, sending you affectionate text messages, they constantly want to see you, they may even shower you with presents … The danger here is that anything that’s happening too fast is probably too good to be true.  What’s happening with a love-bomber is they’re reeling you in, they’re manipulating you, and all of a sudden, you’ve been love bombed … You’re doing things you wouldn’t normally do,” she adds.

"The danger here is that anything that’s happening too fast is probably too good to be true."

— Lori Bizzoco on 'Love-bombing'


Benching is just as bad as in the major leagues. “This is what happens when you’ve gone on several dates with someone, you’ve become really attracted to them, and while they continue to text or contact you, they’re not asking you out again,” says Bizzoco. “Just like a sports team puts the guy on the bench, we put our date on reserve almost like a backup option.” The reason people continue to “bench” is because they don’t really want to let you go, yet they want to see what else is out there.

Cuffing season

Cuffing season typically falls between the fall and winter period, when the weather starts getting cold and snowy, and you’re doing more indoor activities. “Singles want to be with a partner during this part of the year. They actually want to be tied down and attached so they can spend time in that manner,” says Bizzoco. But these cuffing season relationships don’t last forever. “When the warm weather starts coming back, all of a sudden they want to be free and single again, so they may end it with you, or ‘bench’ you while looking for more options.”

Catch and release

When fishing, "catch and release" means catching a big fish and throwing it back in the water, hoping that if you keep fishing, you will catch another bigger, better one. “In dating, this is someone who likes the chase of attracting a partner, but when they finally catch them, they get bored and release them or end the relationship,” Bizzoco tells Fox News.


The slow fade

The slow fade is similar to ghosting but more subtle. Bizzoco explains that slow fading is when a relationship is going really well and the natural next step is to take it to the next level — e.g, move in together, meet the parents, go on vacation, etc. “Instead of your partner communicating that the relationship is moving too fast, they slowly reduce the amount of communication until eventually, you're not talking anymore.” You know it's a slow fade when they stop being as responsive to texts or calls, or when they cancel plans and don't make new ones at all.