Love Bombing 101

Have you ever dated someone who showered you with adoration and made an abundance of references to how special your connection was after just a couple of dates?

Were these continuous compliments replaced by ceaseless criticisms once you were in a committed relationship with this person?

Were you the recipient of thoughtful gestures and gifts that made you feel like the most special woman or man on earth, behaviors which vanished into thin air once the relationship progressed?

If so, you have likely experienced the confounding effects of love bombing.

Love bombing is an attempt to influence another person with displays of attention and affection. In a romantic situation, it is designed to disarm a potential partner’s screening process so she or he develops a quick affinity for and connection to the person exhibiting these behaviors. 

Those who engage in the art of love bombing are charming and romantic. They are skilled listeners and observers who quickly size you up and accurately ascertain what you want to hear and experience.

They portray themselves as ideal partners with such precision, even you yourself couldn’t have done such a good job identifying what you wanted in a relationship.

Attention will be plentiful via texts, calls and social media. You’ll hear an abundance of incredible things about yourself and about the connection between you.

If someone tells you he or she has been waiting for you all his or her life, or makes other dramatic statements of this nature very early on in a relationship, beware. How can a person know you well enough in such a short span of time to ascertain this?

The more someone exhibits love bombing behaviors in the beginning of a relationship, the more difficult it generally is for the partner to notice red flags, inconsistencies in words and actions, things that don’t add up and intuitive feelings that suggest something is off.

It’s hard enough to see through the surges in dopamine and serotonin, feel-good neurotransmitters which increase when falling in love, and oxytocin – the “bonding hormone,” that can easily confuse an orgasm with a soulmate.

Factor in love bombing, especially for someone who has never experienced it and has no idea what’s occurring, and it’s almost impossible to walk away.

Someone who is being love bombed is far more likely to go all-in, regardless of what cards have been dealt. The relationship is far more likely to progress at lightning speed.

Those with codependency issues are particularly susceptible to love bombing. They unconsciously project unmet parental needs onto partners, looking for the unconditional love and approval they didn’t get as kids and haven’t yet learned to give themselves. They eat up the adoration and stick around for dessert, only to find themselves eventually starving for what was given so freely in the early stages of the relationship.

Don’t let this scare you away from the next potential partner who pays you a compliment or makes a hopeful comment about your connection. Emotionally healthy people also engage in some of these same behaviors. What differentiates normal expressions of affection and love bombing is the intention, pacing, frequency and consistency of such words and actions.

Intention: Someone who is love bombing is not being nice for your sake. It’s all about agenda. In the early stages, it’s about securing you as a partner. If you leave the relationship or there is a sense that you might, bombing can also occur to lure you back in. This is also known as “hoovering.”

Pacing: The longer you’re dating and the better you know someone, the healthier and more likely sincere the comments and gestures are.

Frequency: An early comment here and there expressing enthusiasm about your connection might be honest, but most people hold their cards closer until they know you better and whether or not something will develop. If it happens several times a day after only a couple of dates and/or this person is already discussing your future together, this is a glaring red flag.

Consistency: If the person’s intentions are sincere, the kind behaviors demonstrated during the courting phase will continue. If they stop once the relationship progresses or the person’s actions aren’t consistent with his or her words, there is cause for great concern.

Someone who is generous by nature isn’t going to stop giving a few weeks into the relationship and isn’t going to make negative comments about money they’ve spent on you in the past.

Someone who appreciates your characteristics is not going replace the compliments of such with criticisms, sometimes of these very same traits, when they’re angry. 

To avoid the trap of love bombing, get to know a prospective partner at a slow and healthy pace. Ask a lot of questions, including ones about family and past relationships.

If someone refers to a previous partner as “crazy,” and talks about all their negative traits and actions without mention of the positives, and without demonstrating any awareness of his or her own role in the dynamics or lessons learned, you are dealing with someone who lacks consciousness and quite possibly a narcissist. 

It’s very likely she or he will soon see you in that same negative light and refer to you in the same ways as that ex.

Share slowly about yourself. Make sure you’re with someone who is worthy of your trust before you give it freely.

Do not connect with dating prospects on social media right away and keep your accounts private. Studying your Facebook or other profile pages can be the quickest way for someone to learn about you and what makes you tick without you having a clue this is happening. 

If you notice inconsistencies in behavior, question them. If a story doesn’t add up, express doubt. If the person flies off the handle, which many who demonstrate love bombing behaviors will when you question their sincerity, politely move on. No physical attraction is worth what comes next. 

Every client I’ve worked with who has been in an abusive relationship, particularly one with a narcissist, identified love bombing as an early factor. All the relationships got off to fast and passionate starts. They all ask, “Why didn’t I see this coming?” before understanding what love bombing is. Those who have never experienced it or don’t at least know about it don’t stand much of a chance against it.

For those who are experiencing this and think it’s different with your partner because you have such a strong and destined connection, I encourage you to slow things down. It almost always feels that way when someone is love bombing you. 

Someone who is love bombing will not take well to you wanting to take things slowly. But a healthy partner will be happy to get to know you at a healthy pace. There won’t be any pressure to have sex or move the relationship forward any faster than you’re entirely comfortable with.

Set boundaries. People who exhibit love bombing behaviors won’t respect them. Even if they initially pretend to, it will be obvious within a very short period of time that your own needs and desires don’t actually matter to this partner. 

If someone disrespects your boundaries, pressures you to have sex before you’re ready or starts talking about moving in together or marriage within a few dates, take shelter.

It’s extremely likely you’re being bombed.

If this resonates and you want support or a complimentary consultation, reach out 516 526 8455.

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