Just in case we didn't have enough difficult dating trends, there's a new term out there that makes things even more complicated: love bombing is here. So what is love bombing? Well, if it sounds destructive — that's because it is. It's way more dangerous than some of the other dating behaviors out there. Basically, love bombing is when someone lavishes you with over-the-top attention, right from day one. Even though you barely know each other, they'll be super romantic, make grand gestures, and say ridiculous things about the future. But suddenly, it all goes away. Normally it's a manipulative tactic used to keep people close — and to set up the groundwork for possessive or messed up behavior down the line.
But, as soon as you do something they don't like, they withhold affection and claim that they're a good partner because all of the things they do for you— while you're a bad person for not answering your phone quickly enough or seeing your friends. It's really effing messed up.
"If someone starts showering you with so much love and attention too quickly, you have to question their pacing and their judgement."
"Personally I think that love bombing in and of itself is a key sign that something isn’t right," relationship therapist Aimee Hartstein, LCSW tells Bustle. "People can become infatuated with each other very quickly which is fine. But if someone starts showering you with so much love and attention too quickly, you have to question their pacing and their judgement. This person doesn’t know you. What exactly is missing form their life that they are throwing themselves into a romantic attachment so quickly without having time to assess fully how you are." And a lot of the time, they're just projecting this onto whoever they're with— before becoming controlling or withholding down the line.
So what can you do about it? Well, if you know the signs, it helps. But even then it's easy to get swept away in all the romance — so here's what you can do.
Think About The Motivation
If something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Be realistic about why they would be behaving that way. Sure, you're an amazing person— but they don't know that yet. So what are they doing? "Some people do like to have relationships this way," Hartstein says. "When two people immediately decide they are involved, they sort of skip over the stressful part of 'will [they] call?' , 'do they like me?', 'are we really dating?'. Some people have trouble tolerating these sort of unknowns. But the truth is, the love bomber doesn’t know you and you don’t know them. Getting to know and have feelings for someone actually does take some time. And yes, the love bomber might be trying to sweep you off your feet so dramatically and quickly that you don’t notice other things about them."
Think about if how their behaving you makes sense and lines up with how well you actually know each other. If it doesn't, that's a red flag.
Talk To Your Friends
"As usual, it can be very helpful to rely and the more neutral opinions of your friends," Hartsein says. "If they sense that there’s something wrong or off about this person, then you might want to try and hold back a little and assess them a bit more closely." We don't always have a clear view of these things ourselves, so really don't be afraid to bring in backup. If your friends think that something's not right and you feel like things are moving too fast— pay attention.
Love bombing is dangerous because you want to fall for it. It feels good to believe you just met the right person and suddenly everything is hearts and rainbows, but be honest with yourself because the consequences of falling for it could be huge.