Signs of Love Bombing
Love bombing is often romanticized in TV and movies. The typical story involves an uninterested character who is being pursued by an eager suitor. The pursuer consistently violates the uninterested character’s boundaries until they fall in love and decide to be together. However, this unrealistic depiction of a relationship is actually a story of love bombing and how it can manifest in real life.
So what is love bombing? According to Psychology Today, “love bombing is an attempt to influence another person with over-the-top displays of attention and affection.” This kind of behavior is a form of emotional abuse, and although it can be experienced during any stage of a relationship, it is often seen in the early stages of getting to know one another. It may seem like your new partner really likes you, but love bombing can often serve as a warning sign of an unhealthy relationship.
There are many ways a person can exhibit signs of love bombing, but here are four common examples that will help you identify if love bombing is happening to you or someone you know.
- Sign #1: "Soulmate" Status
Finding a partner that feels like a perfect fit is gratifying. But it can take time to really get to know your partner. When love bombing occurs, often labels such as “soulmate”, “their person,” or “their other half” are applied early in the relationship. While it may feel validating to be considered as an important figure in their lives, it could be a cause for concern if you have not known them very long, or if you feel uncomfortable. Even being told “I love you” within a couple of weeks of starting a relationship can be a red flag. If you feel unsettled about how fast you’re moving, it may be time to speak with your partner.
- Sign #2: Exaggerated Compliments
Compliments are a great way to show that you’re interested in each other. It is not unusual to exchange compliments in a relationship, especially as you are getting to know one another. However, if the comments your partner is making seem over-the-top, it could be another sign of love bombing, especially if they make you feel uneasy.
Here are some examples:
- “My prayers have been answered now that I have you in my life.”
- “I feel like you were created just for me.”
- “I can’t imagine finding anyone more perfect than you.”
- “My life would be nothing without you.”
These types of comments can feel overwhelming, and if you are still getting to know them, it may come across as grandiose. A gut check with yourself may be helpful to decide if you are comfortable with these types of statements. If they do not feel right to you, try to address these feelings with your partner. If possible, discuss creating boundaries that work for both of you.
- Sign #3: Gifts
Giving presents is a thoughtful way to show you care about your partner and can express how much they mean to you. Exchanging gifts can also strengthen your connection. However, receiving presents could be a tactic to used to manipulate the relationship later.
Here are some examples of these gifts:
- Paying for every single date even if you want to.
- Financing living expenses, such as mortgage or car payments.
- International airline tickets or hotel stays.
- High-end designer clothing and jewelry.
If gifts are later associated with stipulations such as “I paid your mortgage this month, so don’t speak to me like that,” or “I bought you drinks, so you owe me and dance,” they could be an additional sign of love bombing. If you feel uncomfortable about the gifts you receive, it could be a good idea to have a conversation with your partner about your concerns.
- Sign #4: Communication Overload
When you first establish your relationship, you may speak to your partner more frequently, because you are learning about each other and your desires for your relationship. Good communication is required to have a solid and healthy relationship, but you should not be feeling overwhelmed by the amount of communication you are receiving. This could be an excellent time to talk about how you feel and find a way to communicate with each other that works for both of you.
Ultimately, you are the only one who knows what makes you feel comfortable and what does not. We know that all relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive, so it always helps to check in with yourself and decide if you need to speak to your partner about your concerns. If you think you are experiencing love bombing or have additional questions about the signs, our advocates are ready to speak with you. Call 1.800.799.7233, TTY 1.800.787.3224, or chat with us at www.thehotline.org.