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Love bombing is a term that has gained more attention in recent years, and for good reason – it’s a pattern of behaviour that can often be the precursor to manipulation, control and more sinister abuse.
Up until recently, many people didn’t have the language to describe this behaviour, which often makes it difficult for someone to understand or explain to themselves (or others) why things might have been feeling a bit ‘off’ when on the surface things look peachy.
In this article, we’ll break down what love bombing is and give you some tools to help protect yourself from it.
Love bombing is a form of manipulation in which someone showers another person with excessive affection, attention, and promises in an attempt to establish an intense and quickly-formed bond. However, this intense display of affection is often insincere and can later set the tone for an abusive dynamic.
Let’s say you’re early into dating someone new and they quickly express strong feelings for you, showering you with excessive attention and affection. They send you messages almost everyday checking in and telling you how wonderful you are. While this can feel exciting and flattering at first, it can also be uncomfortable if you do not know each other well enough to warrant this level of attention.
Because here’s the thing: love-bombing is not actually a sign of a healthy, well-rounded relationship. It’s a tactic often used by manipulative and controlling individuals to win over their targets and gain control in a relationship by later guilt tripping their unsuspecting partners into submission. Sometimes this is a conscious pattern – other times they may not even be aware that they are doing it as they are driven by more unconscious motives.
Love bombing can last anywhere from a few weeks to several years, depending on the relationship. In an abusive scenario, ‘love bombers’ might come across as hot and cold as they turn the charm and affection on and off to re-engage a partner who they sense could be thinking of leaving them.
At other times, love bombing can occur when it’s not even a genuine relationship at all – perhaps they’re just someone you’re talking with online who reels you in with lofty promises, but fails to follow through in any meaningful way.
Likewise, someone may love-bomb multiple people at once, only to ghost them once they’ve gotten what they want e.g. sex, validation or emotional support – and sometimes this strategy is even used by scammers for money.
At times, they might be looking for control. Other times, they could just be looking for some attention. Either way, it’s a toxic and manipulative behaviour that can have some serious consequences.
So, how can you spot the signs of love bombing? Here are a few red flags to watch out for:
If you are experiencing any of these behaviours, it is important to remember that it is okay to set boundaries and to prioritise your own needs and feelings.
First and foremost, trust your gut. If something feels off, it probably is. Take a step back and assess the situation. Is this person really interested in you, or are they just trying to control you? Are they respecting your boundaries, or are they constantly trying to invade your space and control your life? If it’s the latter, it’s time to get out of that relationship.
Next, have a think about what you want and need in a relationship, and don’t let someone else pressure you into something you’re not comfortable with. Know that love-bombing is not the same as genuine affection and love. Real love is about mutual respect, trust, and communication. It’s about building a strong foundation of support and understanding.
If someone is love-bombing you, it’s unlikely that they have your best interests at heart.
It’s also important to maintain your connections with family and friends and seek support from a professional coach or therapist if you are feeling overwhelmed or concerned about the relationship.
At Dating for Love, we believe there’s no such thing as “the one” – rather there are many potential “ones” out there, and it’s up to you to choose the right one for you. Remember that great relationships are built, not found, and it takes time and effort to build a healthy and fulfilling partnership.
So, don’t fall for a love-bomber’s charms. Trust yourself, set your boundaries, and go out there and find the love you deserve!
Understanding your dating strategy takes you closer to truly understanding the dynamics of attraction, improving your relationship skills, and expanding your opportunities to find a great partner!
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