In recent years, we’ve come up with some pretty interesting terms to describe the many aspects of dysfunctional relationships. One such term is ‘love bombing’. Perhaps you’ve read about it online or seen videos on YouTube from relationship counselors or couples therapists. But do you understand what love bombing is?
Love bombing can technically occur with any type of relationship. However, it is associated with romantic relationships in nearly every situation. It is also quite common when romantic relationships are new. If love bombing continues as a relationship progresses, it could be a warning sign of serious trouble.
A Basic Definition
The basic definition of love bombing is pretty simple. Love bombing is the practice of showering someone with extreme displays of affection. It is often accompanied by giving that person an excessive amount of attention. In a new romantic relationship, love bombing takes many forms:
- Frequently sending flowers
- Excessive emails, text messages, etc.
- Showing up unexpectedly at home, work, etc.
- Wanting to be with the other person 24/7.
None of these things is automatically bad in and of itself. But combined, they could be an indicator of something far more serious: an attempt to manipulate and control.
Too Attached, Too Quickly
Having done our fair share of couple’s therapy and individual counseling, we at Relationships and More can tell you that a lot of people first experience love bombing as the other person becoming too attached, too quickly. The one being bombed prefers to take things slowly while the one doing the bombing seems ready to jump in and get married after the second or third date.
Now, don’t assume that all inordinate signs of affection constitute potentially harmful love bombing. That’s not the case. People have different personalities. Some people are more affectionate; others are less so. It is entirely possible to be on the upper end of the affection scale and not be a love bomber.
Great Partner or Deceptive Manipulator
Love bombing can be good or bad. How do you tell the difference? By paying attention to how that other person treats you over time. They will either become a great partner or a deceptive manipulator. Here are some warning signs to look out for:
- Alternating Personas – A person who uses love bombing to control and manipulate generally shows alternating personas. One minute the bomber is kind and affectionate, the next minute they are mean and cruel.
- Narcissism – Bombers who become manipulators are often narcissists. They need constant reassurance that they are the best. They also end up making the relationships all about them.
- Mistrust – If a love bomber begins to mistrust you, be careful. Constant questions about where you’ve been, who you spent time with, etc. are warning signs.
- Isolation – The manipulative partner often seeks to isolate the other person from friends or family. This is a means of maintaining control. It is also a huge red flag.
- Guilt Trips – Some love bombers go out of the way to lavish with gifts but then use those gifts to put guilt trips on their partners. Your partner holding gifts over your head is cause for concern.
Again, none of this is to say that what you perceive as over-the-top displays of affection are bad. There are some people who just seem to be more affectionate than others. Being love bombed in the early stages of a relationship doesn’t necessarily mean you’re headed for trouble.
If you feel you are being love bombed by a deceptive manipulator, do not ignore it. Reach out to a professional and get some help in individual counseling. Professional help could make the difference in dealing with a potentially harmful relationship before things get any worse.