These Could Be the Signs to Tell if You’re Being Love-Bombed
As conversations about emotional abuse are gaining momentum, we’re putting names on things that many people, especially women and children, have long experienced from those who have power over them. Today, gaslighting, grooming, and guilt-tripping are just a few things being discussed in online and physical spaces. One that is very insidious, yet still lesser-known, is love bombing.
Love bombing is a very dangerous manipulative tactic that begins in the early stages. At first glance, it may sound like love bombing is simply romantic behavior, but the intent behind it makes it so insidious. So what is love bombing, and what are the signs of it? Read on to figure out if you’re being romanced or manipulated.
Well, what is love bombing? Many dreams of scenarios like those we see in movies or TV shows. Characters meet someone and immediately hit it off, leading to grand proposals and fairytale-like gestures that sweep the characters off their feet. It can happen in real life, too. Your partner could be extra chivalrous; they may wine and dine with you in expensive restaurants, serenade you with love songs, and make you feel like royalty with opulent gifts. If this is done within reason, you can feel like the luckiest person in the world. However, too much turns this behavior from good to bad like most things. This is how love bombing begins.
When a new partner suddenly showers you with gifts, praise, and affection even though they don’t know you well and don’t have any particular reason to be doing this for you yet, they may be love bombing you. This is different from long-term partners because of one crucial thing: timing. Love bombing happens during the early stages when you’re still getting to know each other. They don’t have any reason to do so much during this stage except to gain your love and affection. But is that such a bad thing?
To put it shortly, yes, it is. Love bombing is a form of emotional manipulation. As the gestures become over the top, those on the receiving end may feel like they owe their partner for all of these gifts and gestures. Love bombing has also been recognized as a red flag for relationships that may become physically and emotionally abusive further down the road. So how do you draw the line between romancing and love bombing?
While romancing and love bombing are indistinguishable in many regards, there are things that a manipulative love bomber will do that a respectful romantic interest would never consider appropriate. Here are signs that your partner may be love bombing you.
Too Many Over-the-Top Gestures
Sure, it’s nice to receive the occasional flowers or be treated to a night out here and there. Who doesn’t like being spoiled? These gestures are usually a sign of a good relationship, showing that a person is willing to put in a little effort to show that they care about you. However, a love bomber will dial things up to 11 or even further.
A bouquet to celebrate a special occasion is nice, but regularly, dozens of roses sent to your work can feel inappropriate. If your partner books a vacation for the two of you without your prior approval and pressures you to go, this is also a red flag. You may hear the classic line “I won’t take ‘no’ for an answer”; this is a direct challenge to making your own informed decisions and setting your own boundaries. However, at the end of the day, many people in these situations accept the gestures even if they find it humiliating or inconvenient, all because they feel like they owe it to their manipulator.
Having good communication with a partner is healthy and encouraged. If you’re comfortable talking about anything and everything with your partner, then that’s a sign that you’re with someone who knows how to listen. Unfortunately, healthy communication practices are often corrupted by love bombers, making communication feel overwhelming.
The most obvious sign of this is constant messaging on every channel or social media platform. This can manifest as frequent phone calls, text messages, or comments on your social media posts. Because of this constant bombardment of notifications that you can’t keep up with, it can feel like communication is becoming one-sided. You need to evaluate whether their amount of communication is normal for a person you just met; if you’re already waking up to a couple of “I love you”s in the morning and falling asleep to a few more, then that’s a red flag.
Persistent Need for Attention
Dedicating time and attention to your partner is a pillar of a good relationship, helping it grow and strengthen. It can be as simple as pouting when you check your phone or as restrictive as prohibiting you from going out with your friends. However, a love bomber will vie for your undivided attention and make you feel guilty if you don’t provide it.
This is dangerous because it’s a manipulative tactic to isolate you from other people. They can ostracize you from your support system, leaving them as your only “voice of reason.” This means that if you have doubts about your relationship, you’ll have no one to turn to except them; this puts them in control of your perceptions, as they will always make it seem like everything is okay to keep you within their grasp.
Mirroring Your Interests
You might wonder why your date seems like your soul mate; aside from showering you with attention and lavish gifts, they seem to know you so well. They know your habits and interests, favorite things, and pet peeves — and it all matches with theirs. Again, if it’s too good to be true, it probably is. Mirroring your interests is one of the hallmarks of love bombing.
The person will try this to create a facade that makes them seem like the perfect match for you. However, this is to gain your trust and affection. Once you’ve committed, they’ll show their true colors. It will be straightforward to spot if they keep pointing out how similar you two are; they want to highlight their performance in hopes of it catching your attention.
Gets Upset When You Want Boundaries
Excessive attention, constant messaging, and the need for immediate commitment can easily leave you overwhelmed. Hopefully, you can use this frustration to see the relationship without rose-colored glasses, recognize the issues, and start putting up firmer boundaries for your personal space. If you’re seeing an average person, your partner will respect this. Unfortunately, a love bomber will not.
Love bombers will not respect these boundaries and may get moody, mention everything they’ve done for you, or promise more, all to stop you from moving at a slower pace. In their rush to do so, they will try to make you feel guilty for even considering boundaries. This is because their entire manipulation tactic hinges on getting you to commit quickly so they can cut you off from your support systems and take control of your life.
Too Quick to Commit
Fully committing to a partner is one of the biggest steps in any relationship, so many people find it difficult to do so. Most couples can take months before they say “I love you” or label their relationship, and this is perfectly normal since courtship is a necessary step in building the relationship.
On the other hand, a love bomber will rush things and force you to commit even after a few dates. They’ll start thinking about your future together, want to become exclusive after a few dates, or plan to move in immediately. If you hesitate or refuse, they may even threaten to leave the relationship or guilt-trip you into agreeing. These manipulative tactics make love bombers even more dangerous since these decisions shouldn’t be rushed. It may feel like the whirlwind romances you’d see in movies, but such dynamics only end in unhealthy relationships.
Pushes for Intimacy Too Quickly
Hookup culture has skewed society’s metric for when sex should happen in a relationship, so it’s always good to know the difference between a hookup and a real relationship. Even then, everyone has different opinions on when physical intimacy should happen. All that matters here is that your partner respects when you want it and vice versa.
Love bombers, on the other hand, will push for physical intimacy way too early into the relationship, regardless of what you say. They press for physical intimacy because it creates stronger bonds and intense connections. Touching, kissing, and other associated actions help establish trust, and love bombers will do everything to achieve this perceived familiarity and safety. It helps them manipulate you much easier.
A good partner would never force you into physical intimacy if you weren’t ready. They would gain your trust by building real connections where your needs are put first. If you’re with a partner who presses for this, whether or not they’re love bombing you in other ways, this is a dangerous red flag.
After assessing your partner’s actions, you may have realized that they’ve checked all boxes. If they only suit one or two of the above criteria, it could just be that they’re very enthusiastic about their relationship with you. However, more than that is an indication of love bombing.
You might want to sit back and reflect on your relationship with that person. Check-in with your own feelings about it; do you feel like you owe them for all of the gifts and experiences they’ve given you? Are you overwhelmed by their constant calls or messages? Do you feel the need to engage in sexual intimacy to placate them? If you answered “yes” to these questions, then you’re probably being loved bombed.
While this may be upsetting to recognize, understanding this will help you take steps to resolve it. If you truly care for this person, you can start putting up firmer and clearer boundaries. Respond to them at your own pace, refuse their expensive gifts, and tell them how fast you want the relationship to go. Make sure that you maintain a strong support system outside of your relationship, whether with friends or family. If your partner can’t accept this or becomes hostile, they aren’t truly worth your love and attention.
Love bombing is a manipulative tactic that forces someone into a relationship quickly and without much choice. When someone showers their partner with over-the-top gestures, maintains constant communication, and pushes for intimacy, the recipient is pushed into a guilty and overwhelmed state. They may feel like they owe the love bomber, which only keeps them in a relationship with a potential abuser.
Love and relationships must be savored. Dating and getting to know someone takes time. If someone rushes for exclusivity through love bombing, they likely have an ulterior motive that will lead to your heartbreak and pain. Pay attention and watch for the signs to avoid falling under their spells.