Love bombing: What it is and 9 signs that will help you spot it – InsiderRelationship
Are you dating someone who seems to move at lightning speed, taking things way too seriously way too early in the relationship? If so, you might be the victim of love bombing.
While falling in love and beginning a new relationship can be fun and exciting, love bombing usually isn’t sincere. In fact, it could leave you reeling when the relationship turns out to be the opposite of what you expected.
Here’s how relationship experts define love bombing, and nine specific signs to look out for.
Love bombing is when one person is overly attentive at the beginning of a relationship, so that they can gain control and manipulate you.
“The degree to which the person ‘love bombs’ is inordinately strong and intense,” says Kyle Zrenchik, PhD, a licensed family and marriage therapist and co-owner of All In Therapy Clinic.
This experience is temporary. Zrenchik says once someone falls under the spell of a love bomber, the relationship will commonly take a turn for the worse. “The relationship may become abusive, controlling, manipulative, or codependent. It may not look like physical abuse, but could be filled with lots of guilting, caretaking, and sacrifice,” says Zrenchik.
Love bombers can also make it hard for their partner to leave the relationship since the abuser can come back with extravagant apologies or symbols of love in an attempt to guilt their partner into staying, says Kaylin Zabienski, LMFT, therapist in private practice.
According to Zabienski and Zrenchik, people who love bomb may have
Love bombing can vary from person to person, but here are nine signs you should be on the lookout for.
Of course, everyone loves to receive compliments, but if your partner is obviously going overboard and complimenting you non-stop, this can be a cause for alarm. Zrenchik says love bombers use this tactic so that your self-esteem and self-worth become connected to their opinion.
If someone is trying to spend an unreasonable amount of time with you, regardless of your obligations or commitments to other people, this can be a sign that they’re anxiously trying to move as quickly as possible with you, says Zrenchik.
For example, if you find yourself ignoring family or work obligations, or you’re missing out on other things you want to do because you’re spending so much time with the love bomber, this can be a problem.
“When your partner gives you gifts that feel over the top, and lets you know how expensive they are, that’s a love bomb,” says Zabienski. This can be a ploy to guilt you into staying with them, or feeling a sense of obligation to them since they’ve given you such nice things.
Love bombers might introduce you to people who are important to them, such as children, family, or close friends quickly after meeting, says Zrenchik. They may do this for a few reasons. can make you feel like the relationship is getting very serious very quickly.
“Perhaps they have a series of abandonment stemming from childhood. Perhaps they had abusive relationships and were captive, so they perpetuate the same thing and try to keep someone captive after they get them hooked,” says Zrenchik.
In some cases, a love bomber might purposefully try to morph into your perfect match by always agreeing with everything you say or everything you want to do, says Zabienski.
The key here is that this behavior is not who they really are, or even who they seemed to be when you first met. You may notice inconsistencies in what they said when you first met versus what they say and how they act now.
It usually takes time for people to fall in love and feel comfortable enough to say the L word. While it varies for each couple, the average time someone takes to confess their love is about three months or more, whereas a love bomber on the other hand might say “I love you” within days or weeks, Zabienski says.
“If it feels too soon and even too good to be true, it probably is. Love tends to take time to develop and blossom, and isn’t based on the other person’s perception of you being perfect,” says Zabienski.
Zabienski says a love bomber might get upset and guilt-trip you if you set a boundary such as asking them to move slower in the relationship, or if you tell them you don’t feel ready to say “I love you” back yet.
For example, they might say something like “Wow, I thought we had something special,” or “I thought you were different, but you’re just like everyone else.”
If a love bomber commits to you as a boyfriend or girlfriend very shortly after meeting, it can be a red flag. Zrenchik says this can indicate that the person lacks awareness of your boundaries (or their own) and that they may cycle through commitments frequently in life.
While moving in together is an exciting stage of a relationship, it typically comes further down the line once you determine compatibility and shared values.
Love bombers may try to move in with you early as a way to manipulate you. “Moving in that fast can be more about trying to infiltrate your entire life than actually wanting to start a life with you,” says Zabienski.
Love bombing is a tactic some people use to manipulate someone into jumping into a relationship sooner and more seriously than they’d like to.
It’s typically done by people who have a history of being in abusive relationships, are narcissists, or have an anxious attachment style.
Look out for signs of love bombing or any other red flags to make sure that your relationship is healthy.