February 26, 2024

Breadcrumbs or a Four-Course Meal for your Relational Dynamic?

emotional health, love, mind body medicine, relationships

I was sitting across from him, we had been talking for the last hour. “I am looking for a four-course meal relationship, and this is what it looks like and feels like.” I had spent the evening before curating the list, and with every line I read out it felt life-giving, exciting, unwavering, and clear. 

He listened to all of it. “That all sounds amazing, but I am not capable of that right now,” to which I replied, “Thank you for being honest about where you’re at.” And even though I had the gift of him being self-aware and being able to tell me that verbally, he had already told me with his actions those exact sentiments. 

The above was the end of a trial of dating between me and someone in the recent past. It was a real opportunity to stay unwavering in what I had been practicing for a while… which is the concept of, “No more breadcrumb dynamics, whether it’s personal or professional.” No matter what the relationship is, we all are in relationship to various degrees. It is inherent to being human. The health of the relationship, whether it be a co-worker or co-parent, are determined by the dynamics that are being utilized in the relationship. And it is important to get clear on the kind of relational dynamics we want to have and bring into our lives. In this blog, I am discussing breadcrumb dynamics vs. four-course meal relationship dynamics. 

So what is a breadcrumb dynamic? It is one where it is really really good in short and inconsistent bursts, where one person is showing up consistently, and the other one does in those bursts but withdraws otherwise. The consistent one will stay around for the short and inconsistent bursts of energetic availability from the other, hoping there will be more of the good stuff if they’re just, “Patient, work harder, communicate harder, or the other person finally gets it and understands.” There’s all kinds of thoughts that fuel one staying in a breadcrumb dynamic. But at the end of the day, breadcrumb dynamics (even if no one intends it to be that way) are:

  • Inconsistent
  • Confusing
  • Devaluing
  • Anxiety-inducing
  • Stressful

What can be so confusing to many is there is often a GREAT connection between two people in a breadcrumb dynamic. The gentleman I mentioned in the beginning of the blog… it was clear we had a great connection from the first date. But as we continued to see each other, that connection became less and less available on his end. And where those breadcrumb glimmers of our great connection would’ve kept me around in the past, I knew it wasn’t going to keep me around further, because I know I’m wanting and worthy of a four-course meal dynamic. 

So then what is a four-course meal dynamic? It is one where there is a great connection, BOTH people show up mutually, are energetically available and vulnerable, and are curious about other’s needs, wants, emotions, and desires, and show through action they take them seriously. And to top it all, ALL of these are consistent. In stark contrast, these dynamics are:

  • Consistent
  • Clear
  • Value-fueling
  • Calming to the nervous system
  • Flowy

A four-course meal dynamic feels highly fulfilling, satisfying, energy-giving, and sustainable, where the breadcrumb dynamic has so many high’s and low’s. This can eventually lead to burnout, and I can honestly say that much of my burnout in the past was engaging in relationships, both personally and professionally, where the breadcrumb dynamics were at play, and I was the consistent one showing up and giving regardless. 

So how do you shift breadcrumb dynamics in your life?

The first step to anything is awareness, so recognize if you’re engaging in those dynamics, and whether you’re taking the breadcrumbs or giving them. 

Both giving and receiving breadcrumbs comes from a lack of self-worth and love, either on a conscious or subconscious level. If you want to change the dynamics of your relationships, you need to be changing the dynamics with yourself first and foremost. Yes, you can work on yourself and your relationships at the same time, but regardless you need to address getting back to your wholeness. 

Lastly, start consciously making different choices and different requests. If it’s clear things over time are consistent breadcrumbs and not just a bad week (those do happen and we can give grace for those weeks) then we get to choose differently. If it’s a breadcrumb say no and flip it to a four-course meal request. You can start playing with this with your relationships at home, at work, or with friends. What would feel consistent, clear, value-fueling, calming, and flowy? Those are some compass points to get you in the right direction. Remember, a good CONNECTION is never enough. Dynamics are how the connection is fueled or starved. So remember, as you’re choosing relationships, also choose with regard to who are capable of the dynamics that can fuel it. 

  It’s time for us to shift the dynamics and get well-fed, y’all.

Shine on,

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