Ugh, as if we weren’t already traumatized by recent dating phenomenons like “ghosting,” where the person you’re seeing literally disappears from your life or “breadcrumbing,” where your partner doesn’t totally disappear, giving you just enough bread crumbs to miserably hang on to. If all of that has you swiping with trepidation these days, you’re going to hate the next dating trend — it’s called “love bombing.”
At first glance, love bombing might seem like the exact opposite of breadcrumbing or ghosting, and the truth is, it’s actually way worse than being breadcrumbed or ghosted. Love bombing might sound like a luxurious bath bomb you’d buy, exploding with bubbly goodness in your tub before fizzling out — and that’s pretty much exactly what it is, unfortunately.
Much like a fizzy bath bomb, love bombing occurs at the start of a whirlwind romance, when things are new and fun and exciting.
It can be scary and downright unhealthy to find out that your partner is love bombing you, so here are some tell-tale signs you’re being love bombed, so you can hopefully figure out what’s really going on with your partner.
1Things move fast.
Your new bae might shower you with constant love, affection, lavish gifts, and over-the-top gestures. Clinical psychiatrist and the author of Better Than Normal: How What Makes You Different Can Make You Exceptional Dale Archer M.D. told Psychology Today that this is a calculated tactic to win you over, before suddenly turning on you and showing off an abusive, controlling side you weren’t expecting — and your new romance fizzles out fast.
2There are immediate promises about the future.
“Love bombers aren’t just confident you belong together for all time; they describe the future in detail, as if it’s a Hollywood screenplay…This is how the love bomber tricks you into thinking he is indispensable to your future happiness.”
3You’re being lavished with gifts and romantic gestures.
Of course, it can be super tricky to determine if your partner is love bombing you or is merely a hopeless romantic, so other than reserving judgment to see if it fizzles out, you can try and read between the lines in the meantime: What does the note that comes with the flowers say? If there are promises for the future very early on, you might have yourself a love bomber.
4You two are in constant communication. (No, but like, constant.)
5The honeymoon phase ends quickly.
6They’re making unreasonable demands and expectations.
7They begin exploiting your insecurities.
“Love bombers exploit the natural human need for self worth, and turn it into shame, regret, and self-loathing.”
This is often because the love bomber is actually the one with the insecurities in the relationship. There’s no two ways around this – it’s emotional abuse, and the victim has done nothing to deserve being treated this way.
8The relationship becomes an unending cycle of emotions.
If you find yourself in this situation, it’s crucial to remember that this is a form of psychological abuse, period. Healthy relationships take time to build and establish closeness, despite what romantic comedies want us to think. Archer adds,
“When one person intentionally manipulates and exploits another’s weakness or insecurity, there’s no other word for it. Love is not about controlling who you see or what you do.”
The best course of action is to cut the love bomber out of your life — for good.