It’s the dating trend that’s way worse than ghosting.
Just when we finished learning about ghosting, kittenfishing, breadcrumbing and other horrific toxing dating behaviors, along comes love bombing to take the cake.
Love bombing is the worst and possibly most insidious of the dating trends, because it’s the ultimate in manipulation.
It will make you think you’ve found the love of your life. You’ll be bragging to your girlfriends about all the amazing things your man is doing. You’ll feel like you’re on cloud nine. But it will all be based on lies.
Love bombing occurs when someone, who often displays narcissistic traits, attempts to control the relationship by dropping ‘bombs’ filled with love and affection at the start of the relationship. Their aim is to get you addicted to them, so that when they show their true colors, you’re already hooked.
So how do you know if you’re a victim of love bombing? Read on…
Everything moves really quickly
Get ready for dating whiplash. A love bomber will make you feel like you’re the most special person in the world, like they can’t believe their luck that they met you. They’ll tell you you’re perfect, you’re beautiful, you make them a better person, all in the first few weeks.
Before you know it, you’re doodling your name alongside his surname, but not in secret. Oh no, he will be right next to you, practising signing Mr and Mrs [insert your hyphenated surname here].
You’re talking about the future, way into the future
Speaking of surnames, you’re already talking moving in, holidays in 12 months’ time and maybe even engagement or marriage. Meanwhile, you just met three weeks ago, and you don’t even know whether he has any siblings or when his birthday is.
If the two of you have started planning way into the future before you’ve really even had enough time to know each other, it’s a surefire sign you’re under the alluring spell of love bombing.
You’re showered with gifts and affection
Flowers, chocolates, compliments, affection… whatever lovey-dovey thing it’s possible to shower you with, the love bomber has it covered. Think grand romantic gestures, lots of public touching and smooching, text messages just to say he’s thinking of you.
This is the stuff you dream about a man doing, and it’s actually happening, and you can’t stop bragging to your girlfriends about how amazing he is. Girl, you’re hooked. And he knows it…
He seems to agree with everything you say
At the start of the relationship, the love bomber will share all your interests. “Why, YES! I love the theatre, let’s go see the latest musical/ballet/opera!”, he’ll say. Or, “Of course your friend is right to be mad at her boyfriend, he should be more considerate of her!”, or, “I love how emotional and in touch with your feelings you are, it makes me feel so creative.”
It’s all bullshit. You haven’t got a boyfriend, you’ve got a yes man – but only for now. Later, the word “no” will become a mainstay, so brace for it…
He drops “love” in early, and often
When things move this fast, it’s not surprising the “I love you” peeks out way earlier than it normally would. Think a few weeks in. And then it gets used all the time, like some intoxicating spell to hypnotise you for what’s to come.
If you’re exchanging the word love less than a few months in, beware; it could be an indicator your dancing the love bomb dance.
You talk all the time. No, like ALL the time
He texts you just to tell you he’s thinking about you. He texts you to reminisce about how great your date was the other night. He texts you to say goodnight and good morning without fail. In fact, he sometimes texts you several times in a row when you haven’t even had time to reply yet.
The heady rush of wanting to talk all the time in the honeymoon phase is all well and good, but a love bomber will cross it over into obsessive territory. If you don’t reply to a text, he’ll send a Facebook message. Then a Snapchat. Then a WhatsApp. Maybe even a homing pigeon. Point is, he needs to be in contact with you, and while that might seem cute at the start when you’re similarly obsessed, if it’s continuing several months into the relationship, it could be a red flag he’s attempting to control you.
It seems too good to be true
You smile every time you look at him. Heck, probably every time you think of him. You’re bragging to all your girlfriends about how you’ve found the perfect man. You can’t believe it’s happening to you in such a passionate, intoxicating way. “How on earth did I get so lucky?” you think.
But stop, and think of the old adage “If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.” The love bomber is making it seem like sheer perfection so that when he reveals his true colors, you’ll keep thinking it’s just a phase he’s going through. That things will ‘go back’ to the way they were at the start. Except that if he’s a love bomber, they won’t.
The honeymoon phase ends abruptly
All of a sudden, your dream relationship turns into a nightmare. All of a sudden, instead of compliments, you’re getting backhanded insults. Instead of cute “I love you” texts, he wants to know where you are and what you’re doing, all the time. Instead of affection, you get the cold shoulder so that you’ll work harder for his love.
The bomber’s behavior will slowly but surely become emotionally abusive. They know you’re craving them, and they know you’ll fall in line to try to keep them happy and get back to the affection avalanche you got so addicted to in the beginning…
So how do you recover?
It can be utterly heartbreaking when all the romance turns sour in a love bombing relationship. Very similar to the pattern of the empath dating a narcissist, the victim will spend all their time trying to ‘win back’ the amazing person they started dating. But in a true love bomber scenario, the sad fact is, that person never really existed.
Keep in mind, if you can only tick off one or two of the above warning signs, you’re most likely not dealing with a love bomber. But if you spent the whole time nodding along, this may be the wake-up call you need. The truth is, if you’re in a relationship with a love bomber, you’ll probably already know something’s off. It’s an incredibly destabilizing relationship to be in, because you spend half your time being showered in affection and adoration, and the other half being devalued. You’re on your toes the whole time, not knowing if you’re going to get a kiss, or an emotional punch. It’s exhausting, and pretty soon, you lose your sense of self.
Recognizing the red flags and getting the heck outta there is your first step. If you break free from this type of abusive relationship, all the warning signs and behaviors should hopefully become apparent once your brain is more clear. The next step is to allow yourself to grieve; it’s almost like mourning a death, because that someone you thought you fell in love with, is no more.
Images via tumblr.com and giphy.com.
Comment: Have you ever been love bombed? How did you realize?
Elizabeth is a journalist and editor who’s great at providing relationship advice… for everyone but herself. She’s happy to share her own hilariously bad attempts at finding love, and in her spare time likes long walks down the makeup aisle. Follow Elizabeth on Instagram (@thebeautypalate) for all the beauty product eye candy and mouthwatering food you can handle.