Compliments, affection, gifts, and lots of time together can seem like green flags at the beginning of a relationship. However, they can quickly turn into signs of love bombing.
Love bombing is when someone shows excessive attention to their romantic partner as a way to assert control. It’s considered a form of manipulation because the “love bomber” is often trying to control their partner through deceit and guilt. As a result, the person being love bombed may become dependent on their partner or feel obligated to be with them.
This is why it’s important to know the signs of love bombing and how to respond if it happens to you.
Knowing when you’re being love bombed
Love bombers may display very strong feelings for you quickly, shower you with praise and gifts, and not maintain boundaries. They may express a desire to be with you all the time and make you feel guilty for trying to set boundaries or spend time apart from them.
At first, their behavior can be endearing, making them seem perfect and the relationship feel effortless. But if it seems too good to be true, it likely is. The attention and flattery you receive will likely be short-lived.
After the love bomber has built up your self-esteem, they will most likely withdraw or become critical of you. This change stems from an inflated sense of ego resulting from the idea that they now control you and the relationship. The 180-degree turn will feel confusing, especially when you compare it to their previous behavior.
Dealing with love bombing
When someone gives you so much time and attention, it may be difficult to accept that it’s not genuine but instead a manipulation tactic.
Talk to a trusted loved one or mental health professional to gain an outside perspective. Be honest about what your relationship looks and feels like. Be open to what they share with you, and carefully consider their comments as thoughtful insights, not insults or criticism.
You can also try creating new boundaries in your relationship. If your partner doesn’t respect them, it may be time to move on.
After ending the relationship, continue to seek out the support you need. If you feel you’re in danger or unable to safely leave the relationship, help is available. You can reach out to The National Domestic Violence Hotline by calling 800-799-7233 or texting START to 88788.