Have you ever felt like your relationship with someone you are newly dating is too good to be true? In the beginning it may have felt like things were moving quickly. They would have showered you with attention, compliments, grand gestures, and made you feel special by neglecting their obligations just to spend time with you. However, after a while, they would have either completely changed, or you felt stuck in the relationship. If this sounds familiar, you may have been the unlucky recipient of a love bombing.

Interestingly, this concept was coined by the Unification Church (a controversial religious organisation) as a recruitment tactic. It involved making potential recruits feel special and loved because of excessive attention, praise, and affection. Since then, the term has gained traction in the fields of psychology and counselling as a warning sign of potential emotional manipulation.

At first glance, love bombing can seem positive

Who wouldn’t want to be showered with love and attention, right? Additionally, if you have been on a series of bad dates, a love bomber may feel like a welcomed break. However, the difficulty lies with their behaviour not being genuine or sustainable. To make matters more complicated, in many cases, it takes time to for true colours to show.

Love bombing can take many forms, from lavish gifts and extravagant gestures to constant communication and dramatic professions of love. The beginning stages of a relationship are also known as, the ‘honeymoon stage’ and some of these elements may be completely natural and almost expected. However, with love bombing, the key is that the attention and affection are excessive and disproportionate to the length and depth of the relationship.

Another important difference is that genuine gestures in the primary stages of a relationship tend to be without an intent to impress, on the other hand, love-bombers will expect recognition from their partner and others in response to their behaviour. Therefore, the difference between genuine love and love bombing lies in the intention. According to psychoanalyst, Babita Spinelli, the goal of love bombing is to make the recipient feel indented to or dependent on the love-bomber.

Being aware of the signs can help you get out of a relationship sooner rather than later. However, this list is not exhaustive, and it doesn’t necessarily indicate that you are being love-bombed if your partner is exhibiting some of these behaviours.

How do you know if you’re being love bombed?

  • They communicate non-stop and get frustrated when you don’t respond immediately: It is important to reflect on how your partner’s communication style makes you feel. If your partner implies that you are disrespecting them if you don’t constantly check in whilst you are out with others, this is a red flag which indicates that they could be trying to isolate you through controlling behaviours.
  • They bombard you with gifts and tell you how much they spent: They want to be praised for their attention and generosity. Gift giving is not inherently bad but by telling you how much they spend, they are quantifying their investment in and value of you.
  • The relationship feels unusually intense: saying ‘I love you’ and planning for a future can indicate that your partner is trying too hard to get you close before really knowing you. A relationship that feels as if it is moving too fast is another red flag.
  • You feel uneasy with their level of affection because you feel like you owe them: Continued overwhelming compliments such as, “My life is complete now that you are in it,” over time will bait you into returning these excessive displays of attachment.

The patterns may be quite subtle so if you are feeling uneasy, slowing down and reassessing your situation can be helpful

  • Communication and Boundaries: talking with your partner about your needs and boundaries can be a helpful starting point in bringing your thoughts to your partner’s attention. Remember that it is okay to take things slowly and get to know someone before jumping into a relationship. Don’t let someone else’s fast pace dictate your own.
  • Create Space: spending time with friends for a portion of your day and doing a self-care activity can allow you to check-in with yourself and your values. Based on your partner’s response to more space in the relationship, you can get an idea of whether they are respecting your needs.
  • Talk to an objective outsider: speaking to a date coach / therapist or even a trusted friend about your concerns can help you to gain perspective on the situation.

Your intuition should be trusted first and foremost. If something doesn’t feel right, listen to your gut, and take a step back

Maclynn is a boutique, multi-award-winning international dating agency. We’re world-renowned for bringing together highly compatible singles, and our matchmakers are relationship experts in their own right. So, whether you are struggling with noticing the red flags, would like further advice on how to manage your expectations, or to get tips on how to connect with someone, get in touch today!