This may be a new phrase but it’s nothing new to the dating world. Learning what is love bombing and how to spot it can save you a lot of time and pain.
What is love bombing really? At first thought, love bombing may not sound too bad. Being bombarded with love sounds great, right? Well, it is misleading in that way and many others.
Love bombing is a weapon disguised as affection. It is when someone showers you with what seems like love and affection, but the endgame is to manipulate and influence you.
The problem with love bombing is that at first, it seems wonderful. It seems like you are entering into a wonderful relationship. Love bombing looks like what you have always wanted from a relationship, but it quickly becomes volatile. [Read: The 25 early warning signs that signal a toxic person]
What is love bombing?
From that brief explanation of love bombing, you might wonder how you differentiate between actual love and love bombing. Well, according to psychologists, love bombing was first introduced as a term referring to cults.
If you are familiar with David Koresh, a narcissistic cult leader, he used love bombing as a method of fabricating intense loyalty from his followers. Love bombing uses not only positive reinforcement to enact certain feelings, but it uses this reinforcement to excess.
But, how do you spot the difference between this and someone actually showering you with love? Well, that is where things get tricky. And that is how so many people get victimized by it. [Read: Signs to spot a love bomber before it is too late]
When first dating someone that uses love bombing as a tactic to control you, it feels great. Being showered with words of affection, compliments, flowers, and more feels like you are finally being validated. You feel like you finally found someone who knows how to treat you right.
This is something people with little dating experience can easily get caught up it. People with lower self-esteem also tend to be victims of love bombing which only leads to even more troubles later on.
If you’re wondering what is love bombing really and how do we get trapped into it, start with this. Love bombing is infectious. It feels good and you get accustomed to it. This type of behavior can sway your thinking. Even if you are normally pragmatic, an excessive amount of adoration can cloud your vision. It can make you see someone as better than they actually are.
This is the first step of the love bomber. They have you hooked to this behavior. They have you involved and connected to them. While they come off as sincere, their motive is to get something for themselves in the long run. This is the behavior of a narcissist. [Read: Why a narcissist and an empath always draw each other]
The effects of love bombing
Love bombing is essentially a trap and a way to hook you into a relationship quickly and deeply. It is what pulls you toward your partner and often away from friends and family.
It can even drive a wedge between you and your family because you may be blinded to this person’s bad side. Love bombers are master manipulators. They know how to ensure you only see one side of them; at least until it is too late. [Read: 22 secret signs you’re dating someone who likes themselves more than you]
This can lead to you staying in an abusive, controlling, or even violent relationship. It can also lead you to severe issues in future relationships. If a relationship based on love bombing ends, you have been conditioned to base your self worth on affection from this person.
Now, without that excessive validation, you can go through a type of withdrawal. You then have to learn how to pick yourself up from that and receive love in a healthy way.
But, instead of facing this, let’s try to outsmart the love bombers of the world.
How to spot love bombing
Now that you actually know what is love bombing, let’s look at ways to outwit these master manipulators before it’s too late. The best way to combat love bombing is by seeing it coming. If you can avoid it and catch it head on, you will never become a victim of it. So, look out for these early warning signs of love bombing.
#1 Too much interest. This is something I am always wary of. Some people call it picky, but once you are well-versed on love bombing, it makes sense. Dating is exciting. When you like someone it feels good. But, when someone is too interested right off the bat, it is not normal.
Sure, you can be attracted to someone or feel a connection, but if someone acts like they truly like you before even getting to know you, they are showing signs of love bombing.
I recently had an experience like this. I had a guy compliment me. Literally, everything I said was followed by praise. I don’t put much weight on compliments, but it felt off. I even questioned it.
I told him he couldn’t compliment things about me that he didn’t know, but after only two dates he claimed to know me. That is when I ran in the opposite direction. I could tell his compliments were meant to sway me in certain directions, but I was not having it. [Read: Emotional manipulation – 14 ways people mess with your mind]
#2 Perfection. No one is perfect. This is something a lot of people need to realize. Even the person that is perfect for you is not perfect. Things will go wrong. You will have disagreements. So, if you are dating someone and things seem perfect, it is time to question it.
I hate to be a Debbie Downer, but when things seem too good to be true, they often are. I am not saying to look on the negative side, but be aware of someone that seems to have no faults. It may seem that way because they are taking great lengths to conceal it.
#3 Guilt tripping. This is a classic sign of manipulation. Even if it is not a part of love bombing, it is not healthy. Love bombers give gifts, make promises, and tell you everything you want to hear. So, when you do not fit the mold they preset for you, they guilt you into it.
Going to visit your family this weekend instead of staying with them? They may question your loyalty when they have done nothing but love you. They use all their love bombing as examples for why you should pick them first. [Read: 14 common traits of controlling people and how to handle each of them]
#4 Positive manipulation. You know how a parent will promise their child a treat if they behave in the store? Or maybe how you get your dog to do a trick for a biscuit? That is essentially how this person treats you. It may sound shallow and you may think you would never fall for something like this, but we are all vulnerable to it.
Once you grow accustomed to this person’s love bombing, that is all you know. And you are addicted to it in a way.
For example, if you don’t want to see his softball team lose another game? Well, he may flood you with love and kisses to sway you. Eventually, though, that sweetness melts away, and the conditioning you endured will keep you around when that love bombing turns angry. [Read: Never ignore these signs of manipulation in your relationship]
#5 Quickness. Some relationships naturally move quickly. And often times successful couples with that beginning say it just felt right. But, when things move quickly we can get overwhelmed and before we know it, we are living with someone we barely know. That makes ending things or slowing them down that much more difficult.
That is exactly what a love bomber wants. They want to trap you with kindness, so they tell you that you’re the one. They make promises and treat you like a queen or a king. You will be so caught up in the fairytale of it all, you won’t have time to sit back and think about it until it is too late.
If you started dating someone with the intent to take things slow or even just see them casually and things take off running, ask them to go at a more comfortable pace. If they use any of the earlier tactics to convince you everything is right on schedule, they are most likely love bombing you.
A healthy partner will have no problem making you feel comfortable. But, do look out for someone that says slowing down is fine, but doesn’t live up to that statement.
Now that you know what is love bombing, you can understand just how people can use this complicated weapon of control in a relationship. But, spot it from the start and protect yourself from its shrapnel.