When you first meet someone, being swept off your feet can feel fun and exciting. Having someone shower you with affection and admiration is especially exhilarating when you’re in the beginning stages of a new relationship. Love bombing, however, is a whole other story. It happens when someone overwhelms you from the very beginning of your relationship with loving words, actions, and behaviour as a manipulation technique.
It’s often used to win over your trust and affection. Then, once you’re settled into the relationship, those initial ‘caring’ ways of showing you they care are withdrawn, casually replaced with their true colours, which is usually manipulation and controlling behaviour. And all the things you loved about them, to begin with, start to disappear.
You then begin to wonder what went wrong, and will most likely blame yourself for the change in their behaviour. But it tends to happen so gradually, that anyone can be affected. Especially those who are more vulnerable and drawn in by someone who showers them with love. Love bombing is effective because everyone wants to feel good, and the person love bombing may not even realise what they’re doing.
Here’s a look at some of the classic signs of love bombing. If you recognise some of these, it doesn’t necessarily mean your partner is toxic, but listen to your intuition if the person trying to woo you seems too good to be true.
01. THEY’RE OVERLY COMPLIMENTARY
A sincere, well-meaning compliment is never a bad thing. But if your partner is love bombing you, they’ll shower you with compliments that feel shallow or inauthentic simply to butter you up. If someone’s expressing their undying love after just a short amount of time, it’s a potential red flag that their feelings aren’t genuine.
Constantly telling you how beautiful, gorgeous, or stunning you are, etc will feel great at first – but after a few weeks alarm bells should be going off with the sheer excess of it all.
02. THEY SAY ‘I LOVE YOU’ SUPER SOON
You’ve known them for a week, they say those three little words: I love you.
I’m sorry, but WHAT!?
It may seem all ‘love at first sight’ and romantic, but how on earth is someone meant to know if they love you after such a short amount of time? How can they possibly understand the complexities of you – you at your best, your worst, your family, your friends, your loves and your hates? It’s simply not possible. After all, they barely know you.
So, if they’re a fast mover, and exhibit some of the other signs on my list, you should definitely be sceptical.
03. THEY MOVE REALLY FAST
Someone who is love bombing you will talk about the future all the time – moving in together, meeting the family, having children, marriage – the lot. You may feel overwhelmed with affection to the point where you’re so enamoured that you join in – yes! They want what you want! Right?
This is a HUGE red flag. These are major relationship milestones. And, if rushed, you can end up not really knowing what you want.
People can become infatuated with each other very quickly, which is fine. But if someone starts showering you with so much love and attention too quickly, you have to question their pacing and their judgement. This person doesn’t know you, after all.
04. THEY MAKE LOTS OF GRAND, DRAMATIC GESTURES
There’s absolutely nothing wrong with making a romantic gesture or two in a relationship. But if someone is taking you on hot air balloon rides or holding a boombox outside your window when you’ve just started dating, that might be a clue that their love bombs aren’t all that sincere.
05. THEY’RE VERY INTENSE
If it feels like your new partner has a knack for saying or doing just the right things to make you feel good, then ask yourself if he or she is being authentic or manipulating.
Legitimate love has its ups and downs, but it should be respectful and not overbearing. It’s patient, kind, and gentle. So if they never turn down the charm and seem to be running on all cylinders when you’re with them then you’re probably being love-bombed. Especially if you never know what to expect from one moment to the next and feel pressured into seeing them round the clock.
06. THEY’RE OVERLY NEEDY
No matter how much time and energy you give them, it never seems to be enough. But ask yourself: Are you bailing on friends because they can’t stand to be alone? Or do you feel obligated to answer every phone call and text message because they gifted you that expensive iPhone?
Someone toxic will make you feel indebted to them so that they can rely on you day and night.
07. THEY GET UPSET WHEN YOU PLACE BOUNDARIES
When you try to tell them to slow down, they’ll continue to try to manipulate you to get what they want. Someone who legitimately cares, on the other hand, will respect your wishes and back off. Love bombers also get upset about any boundaries with regards to access to you or you accepting their displays of ‘love’. It’s like a tsunami of affection and they expect you to accept it all.
08. THEY BOMBARD YOU WITH TEXTS AND PHONE CALLS
They call, text, and message you over social media 24/7. While being in constant communication is normal when you’re first dating, it’s a red flag if the communication feels one-sided and becomes increasingly overwhelming. You need to be especially careful if they suddenly begin texting you early in the morning and every hour on the hour.
09. YOU FEEL UNBALANCED
Being love-bombed can feel intoxicating at first, but you might also feel a bit uneasy, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Make sure you pay attention to any feelings of anxiety you may have – it’s important to be attuned to your intuition, so you can be informed instead of being carried away by their love-bombing tactics.
10. IT FEELS ABSOLUTELY HEAD-OVER-HEELS PERFECT
You know that phrase, if it’s too good to be true, then it probably is? Well here is a prime example of when this is relevant! Trust your gut instincts and if you feel that the person is too perfect, take a step back and re-evaluate. They may be great, but everyone has flaws. And we can easily overlook them when we love someone. But if they’re almost too shiny in their perfection, take my advice … do a runner!
LOVE BOMBING IS SCARY
What makes love bombing so worrying, is that it can be really hard to tell whether a new partner is genuinely head-over-heels for you, or whether all their affectionate, caring behaviours are really love bombs.
Your brain will start to get addicted to the affection. So, once the abuse and controlling behaviour comes, you’re less likely to recognise it and act on it, no matter how strong you think you are. Plus, all your partner has to do is throw out a few more love bombs and you’ll most likely forgive and forget.
Love Bombing is dangerous. And if you suspect your new partner of it, then honestly? Run a mile. Don’t wait around to find out what happens …
Have you or anyone you know ever been love-bombed before?
If so, let me know in the comments below.