Love has many dimensions. It is every woman’s (and man’s) dream to be swept off their feet by someone who showers them with attention and hankers on to their every word. But as they say, everything has a limit and so does love. Nowhere is it more visible than in the phenomenon of love bombing!
The subtle signs of love bombing can often seem like they’re genuine acts of affection, with no ulterior motives behind them. As a result, it can be notoriously hard to figure out how to tell if it’s love bombing you’re experiencing. Since the effects of going through love bombing include lifelong self-esteem issues and anxiety, it becomes imperative to catch the top signs of love bombing as soon as possible.
So, what exactly is love bombing? Why is it so damaging? What are the examples of love bombing and more importantly, why do people do it? Let’s answer all your burning questions to figure out if your “too good to be true” partner really is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
What Is Love Bombing?
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Love bombing means when someone showers you with excessive positive reinforcement, extreme displays of love, and over-the-top displays of affection, in an attempt to manipulate you once you’re truly obsessed with them and the relationship. Mostly done by narcissists, it is an attempt to get their way, i.e, fulfill their needs over yours by manipulating you through extreme acts of “love”.
If you have ever wondered what love bombing means and why it is considered to be part of a negative dimension of love, just know that anything that is done in extreme measures has a false note to it and that includes love too. Love, when used as a tool to manipulate, can be termed as an example of love bombing abuse.
There are many love bombing examples around in life. Love bombing in marriage is perhaps more common than love bombing in dating because in the latter, when a couple stays together for a long time, one of them gets to be dominant in the relationship and have his or her way all the time.
A hopeless romantic may think, there is nothing like ‘too much love’. But well, there is! And once you become a part or the victim of a narcissistic love bombing cycle, it may put you off love and relationships for a while! Simply because there are so many signs of love bombing that you may not even realize that you are being taken on a jolly good ride under the guise of being cared for and loved.
12 Signs You Are Dating A Love Bomber
A lot of people get caught up in the love bombing vs infatuation confusion. “Initially what seems to be like infatuation soon turns to stalking, and then your starry-eyed lover won’t seem to be so cute and attractive,” says Dilshed Careem, life coach. “The love bomber can make your life miserable with his or her constant interference and attempt to influence. All under the garb of being concerned about you.”
One of the main characteristics of a love bomber is that he or she would be rather narcissistic leading to the narcissist love bombing cycle. The exaggerated importance of self leads him or her to seek control over your life. Possibly without realizing, he or she may stifle your movements and freedom, in the misguided impression that s/he knows best.
“Coming over to your place unannounced, seeking your time and attention constantly, constantly giving and expecting reciprocation of gestures are all love bombing examples. But you may not feel it’s offensive. But the moment you feel uncomfortable with the attention and the actions it results in, take it as a massive red flag,” says Careem.
In the love bombing vs infatuation battle, it’s often assumed that the former is just a slightly exaggerated version of the latter. But love bombing is different from the regular attention-seeking behavior of an infatuated lover because there is often an abrupt switch in his or her behavior. One moment they would complimenting and idolizing their partner, the next moment they get angry at something not matching up to their expectations.
The ultimate motive is to control their partner. Here are some other classic signs of love bombing. And these are applicable to both scenarios – love bombing in marriage and love bombing in dating.
1. They will shower you with gifts
Expect grand gestures when a love bomber fancies you. You will get expensive gifts designed to draw out the ‘wow’ expression from you. Their idea is to guilt-trip you by initially lavishing you with gifts and outward expressions of love so that you become indebted to them.
As a way of controlling you through gifts, love bombing in dating could look like a partner getting you an expensive phone, only to make you feel pressured into constantly replying to every message they send you. To figure out if it’s love bombing or genuine attempts to make you happy, try noticing if they expect anything in return for the gifts they give you.
2. They have no respect for your privacy
Even when you are in love and start dating someone, you are entitled to your privacy. A love bomber has no concept of privacy. They’ll be bombarding you with incessant questions like ‘Where are you?’ ‘Who are you with?’ which is a blatant intrusion of privacy.
Love bombing in dating begins when you get texts and messages every hour or every few hours. They demand your attention to an extent that if you don’t respond, you might feel guilty! When you start demanding personal space, you’ll see an ugly side of them, one that very clearly states you’re not allowed a second to yourself.
The confusion between love bombing vs infatuation can be put to rest since a love bomber won’t let you get a moment’s rest. Someone who’s infatuated with you might still respect your boundaries, a love bomber probably won’t. When you start feeling guilty for not doing things you’re not obligated to, it can often mean there’s cause for concern.
3. They want to know everything about you
Some bombers talk a lot. They also want to know everything about your life and every little detail of what you did, where you went, who you saw etc. It might not be out of suspicion but a rather strange sense of possessiveness. In the beginning, it may appear as though they’re extremely interested in getting to know you, but with the incessant FBI-esque questions, you’ll see something’s odd.
A quick way to spot it could be when you go out and come back and they’re asking you every single thing about every single person and every minute of the day. When you go out again, they barrage you again, hence the love bombing cycle continues. Behaving as if they have a right over you is a sign of love bombing abuse.
Related Reading: She Became Obsessed And Wouldn’t Take No For An Answer
4. They will try to rush you into commitment
Love at first sight and marriage at second might sound cute in movies but real love takes time to develop. Love bombing does not give you time to think or reflect on the relationship. When you date a love bomber, he or she might insist on a commitment very soon into the dating cycle.
This might often be done since a narcissist, wanting to have his/her own needs fulfilled without consideration for yours, will want to do anything possible to alleviate his/her loneliness or need for a commitment. Soon, love bombing in dating turns to love bombing in marriage because such people do not change easily.
Examples of love bombing where a love bomber is rushing commitment can look like “We’re meant for each other, move in with me as soon as you can, I love you.” “We should get married tomorrow, no one understands me like you do” “We’re perfect for each other, promise me it will never change.”
5. They refuse to respect boundaries
As explained above, when love bombing in marriage takes place, you may need to forget about boundaries. These men and women refuse to respect your boundaries or limits. So if your spouse casually looks into your phone or messages or stalks you on your social media, take it as a huge red flag and one of the signs of love bombing.
When you do decide to put your foot down and ask for some boundaries to be set up, you’re most likely going to be met with anger and frustration along the lines of “what are you trying to hide from me?” “Why do you not love me?”. Insinuating mistrust to avoid boundaries is one of the top signs of love bombing.
6. They pride themselves on their intensity
Real love is about giving each other space but love bombers insist on breathing down your neck. At times, their intensity – as can be seen in the case of narcissistic love bombing – can get quite overwhelming. When someone is constantly behind your back, tailing your movements, questioning you and expecting you to respond every single time, it can get rather overbearing
What’s worse, they’ll think this way of “showing affection” is valid, since they’re proving to you that they love you so much. Without considering how you might be feeling (in true narcissist fashion), this type of love bombing in dating can make you feel suffocated.
7. They gaslight you
Often love bombing is all about complimenting too much, but at other times, a love bomber may make you question your thoughts and sanity by dismissing your feelings as trivial or petty. Gaslighting in a relationship means when someone plays off your feelings and emotions to suit their needs and is often achieved with phrases like “you’re crazy, stop overreacting” or “No, you’re making it up, that didn’t happen”.
Simply put, they manipulate you to do what they want, the way they want. Gaslighting is a form of love bombing abuse since it will leave you questioning your own sanity. If you’re looking for the difference between love bombing vs infatuation, at least someone who’s infatuated with you won’t drive you crazy by gaslighting you.
Related Reading: 12 Warning Signs of Gaslighting And 5 Ways To Deal With It
8. They make you feel unconfident
When you are dating a love bomber, you feel you are constantly walking on eggshells. A love bombing narcissist will not take no for an answer. They have a rather emotional reaction to everything you do. So be prepared for dramatics if you snap a little or express your emotions or put your foot down about things you don’t like. They are masters of manipulation, emotionally
9. They make unreasonable demands
The problem with love bombing is that once you give in to their tantrums, it sets a precedent. They expect things to be the same every time and that can take a toll on anyone. Their demands are rather unreasonable and may increase over a period of time. Failing to meet them might anger them and unreasonable anger in a relationship is again a love bombing example.
So if you have canceled a meeting to spend time with them, they will expect you to do that every single time. A reasonable demand would be to expect you to talk to them once a day or let them know you’re busy. An unreasonable demand would be if they expect you to sacrifice time with your friends or job to give your undivided attention to them.
If you’re wondering how to tell if it’s love bombing, notice that their unprecedented demand won’t seem absurd to them. That’s narcissism 101, their self-entitlement makes them believe you’re supposed to sacrifice every facet of your life for them.
10. There will be too many emotions in the relationship
Dating a love bomber is never going to be smooth. There will be too many emotions experienced as the relationship is likely to be a roller coaster ride. From the highs of being wooed incessantly and dramatically, it turns into something ugly with your date or husband constantly trying to exert their control over you. When you experience love bombing in marriage, your stress levels will go up without you realizing it. This is a toxic relationship.
11. They may cash in on your insecurities
Knowingly or unknowingly, love bombing in dating and love bombing in marriage results in your insecurities being exposed and exploited. Love bombers detect low self-esteem pretty quickly possibly because they suffer from it themselves. So if you have shared any story from your life where you have been vulnerable, it becomes an excuse to pick on you at a later date. Recognize that it’s a form of emotional love bombing abuse, nothing less.
Related Reading: 11 Strategies To Stop Being Jealous and Insecure In A Relationship
12. They put themselves at the center of everything
Love bombers love to make everything that happens around them about themselves. If you try to take a break from the relationship, expect the narcissist love bombing after breakup to continue. Their ego won’t accept rejection and once again, they will make it about their emotions and how they have been shortchanged despite all their efforts to love you. What they
don’t realize is perhaps that their very love was what was suffocating you.
Understanding the difference between love bombing vs infatuation is important. While your partner giving you gifts or genuinely showing you they love you isn’t really love bombing, lookout for signs of narcissistic tendencies and a complete disregard for your feelings.
Love bombing abuse is a serious situation even if it does not seem to be so. A relationship should make you feel empowered, enriched and happy. Anything that makes you feel the contrary – even if it is disguised as love and concern, – should be something you run away from. Stop being love bombed, focus on just being loved.
Lack of space, constant hovering around you, not being given enough of a say in matters and being
gaslighted every now and then are all sighs of love bombs in your relationship.
Love bombing can wreck your self-esteem. Also, it can make you feel suffocated as you may feel
manipulated and emotionally affected. The relationship may feel like you are walking on constant
The love bombing stage will last as long as you do not recognize the signs and decided to take action
against it. The love bomber does not change his stripes, you have to do something to walk away from the
situation or stop being manipulated in the name of love.
Narcissistic love bombing refers to a situation when your lover exerts extreme control over your life so that it revolves solely around them. This comes from an exaggerated sense of self-importance, which is one of the love bomber’s main characteristics.