If you thought you’ve heard it all in terms of toxic dating behaviors such as the infamous ghosting or the popular kittenfishing, we’re here to surprise you with the newest addition to the lot: the insidious love bombing.
What exactly is love bombing?
“Love bombing is inundating a person with adoration and attention to the point that it gets overwhelming,” explains Kelly McNelis, founder of Women for One and bestselling author of “Your Messy Brilliance”.
It’s the ultimate form of manipulative behavior and one of the cruelest. That’s because the person lavishing you with their attention, compliments, gifts and seemingly, love, is only trying to control you, force you into reciprocating their feelings and constantly demanding your attention, all in the name of love, of course. But it’s far from that.
Love bombing usually occurs at the beginning of a relationship, but it can very well take place at any stage of your relationship. The purpose is the same. Trick you with grand gestures so that, by the time you realize what they are really like, you’ve already lost your sense of self.
How do you know if someone is love bombing you? Read on to find out.
Things advance super-fast
Prepare for a dating tornado. A love bomber will tell you that you are their one, true love, make you feel like the most special human being to have ever walked this Earth, saying hyperbolic things like ‘We were meant to be together’ and ‘We’re so perfect together’ from your second date.
They will lavish you with compliments and praises from the get-go and before you know it, you’re making plans to meet the family and go on a holiday together as Mr. and Mrs. [insert future surname here].
You’re talking about the distant future
Speaking of surnames, as Mr. and Mrs., you’ll need a place to live together, so, the planning and hunting for a new place begins well into your third week of dating. Engagement and marriage might also pop up in the conversation, even if you don’t know each other that well.
If you’re already talking and making plans about the distant future this early in your dating process, it’s a clear indication that you’ve been charmed by a love bomber.
You’re showered with gifts and affection
Flower deliveries, candies, flattery, undivided attention and whatever other gestures and words to sweep you off your feet, the love bomber knows the game and has everything under control. Think sweet notes, chivalry and good old-fashioned, romantic gestures. It’s everything you’ve ever dreamed of in a man and now you’re really dating one.
You’re under his spell and he knows it. He’s only one step away from creating “feelings of obligation and dependency in the ‘object’ of attention, the operative word being ‘object.’” You.
He agrees with everything you say
When you two start dating, the love bomber will be interested in all your hobbies and passions and, more than that, he will share them too. “I absolutely love Broadway musicals,” said no man ever. Except for your man. He’ll love whatever you love and hate whatever you hate, just to please you and make you feel like he’s your soulmate.
Unfortunately, it’s all an act. You think you’re dating a yes man when in fact you’re dating a narcissistic manipulator…just wait and see. Better yet, don’t wait, run the other way right now!
He talks about love too soon, too often
When things move with the speed of light, you can expect the L word to pop up sooner than it normally would. Way sooner, like a week from your first date. And then you’ll be hearing “I love you” every breath you take, every move you make…you get my point.
If he’s already proclaiming his undying love for you less than a few months into your relationship (or at least one month), it might be a red flag that you are being love bombed by someone who is desperate for a relationship.
You talk all the time
He texts you to tell you good morning, to ask about your trip to work, to tell you he’s thinking about you at lunchtime and to ask you about your day in the evening. Nothing wrong with a nice, lovey-dovey text every now and then but the problem is you receive so many texts in a row that you barely have time to reply.
In the honeymoon phase, it’s normal to want to talk as much as possible. But when a love bomber wants to talk, he really wants to talk. If you don’t reply to one text, expect two Facebook messages. Without leaving you any time to reply, he’ll write on WhatsApp and Snapchat, just in case. Don’t be surprised if you find a homing pigeon by your window, either! “That kind of almost-obsessive attention is also a red flag because it’s connected to patterns of control and abuse,” explains McNelis.
It seems too good to be true
You have a smile on your face every time you think of him. You’re telling all your friends how wonderful he is and how you’ve hit the jackpot by meeting him. “How did I get so lucky?” you think. But what do you think about the old adage “if it seems too good to be true, it probably is”? What does your intuition tell you?
According to McNelis, “If the person seems like they are too good to be true, that is likely the case. And if it feels like the person is pushing too fast too soon rather than respecting your space and boundaries, it’s likely that you are being love bombed.”
The honeymoon stage ends unexpectedly
One minute you are showered with compliments the very next minute those compliments turn into downright insults and disrespect. Instead of “I miss you so much”, he asks where you are, what you are doing and who you are with, like you’re part of some sort of interrogation.
After hooking you and gaining your trust, he retracts his attention and leaves you wondering what you did wrong. The relationship will gradually become emotionally abusive, and you will end up feeling guilty and responsible for him giving you the cold shoulder. You will struggle to make them happy and receive even a crumb of their past attention and affection.
See also 5 Signs You’re in a Toxic Relationship.
How to cut ties and recover from love bombing
The most important step is recognizing the signs you’re being love bombed. If you’ve been nodding your head while reading this article, then the red flags are somewhat familiar to you. If the person you’re dating is praising the ground you walk on half of the time and belittling you the other half, then you might be dealing with a love bomber.
You need to detach yourself from the relationship and connect to practices of self-love and self-care so that you can get back your sense of self. Being single for a while is better than being in love with someone that doesn’t really exist.
Don’t believe me? Then check out these 10 Surprising Reasons Single People Are Happier and Live Longer.