Relationships

How To Spot The Signs You’re Being Love Bombed

There is such a thing as too much, too fast.

what is love bombing? here's how to spot the signs
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A lot of daters have experienced the whirlwind of falling for a crush super quickly and feeling the strong feels right away. But they usually don’t start inviting the object of their affection to destination weddings that are years away within the first week or two of meeting. Or tell them that they’ve deleted all their dating apps after just one date. Unless, of course, they are love bombing.

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 unrealistic things about the future. But suddenly, it all goes away. Normally (but not always) 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.

As soon as you do something they don't like, a love bomber may withhold affection and claim that they're a good partner because of all of the things they do for you— while calling you a bad person for not answering your phone quickly enough or seeing your friends. It's really messed up.

What Is Love Bombing?

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The basic meaning of love bombing is too much, too quick. “Love bombing is a cluster of excessive affectionate behaviors with a potential romantic partner that happens too quickly into a new dating relationship,” Anita Chlipala, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love, tells Bustle. “The key part of love bombing is the number of attentive and loving behaviors that are disproportionate to the amount of time spent with the new person. They try to create a deeply intimate connection without truly knowing their date.”

It’s totally normal for a date to let you know that they enjoyed meeting you, are looking forward to seeing you again, or like getting to know you. But if you met two weeks ago and they’re telling you you’re their soulmate and are planning children with you, “they’re probably a love bomber,” says Chlipala.

"If someone starts showering you with so much love and attention too quickly, you have to question their pacing and their judgment."

"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 judgment. This person doesn’t know you. What exactly is missing from their life that they are throwing themselves into a romantic attachment so quickly without having time to assess fully how you are?" A lot of the time, they're just projecting this onto whoever they're with — before becoming controlling or withholding down the line.

Oftentimes, love bombers will pull out all the stops to get you wrapped around their finger as a manipulation tactic — but this isn’t the only possible case, according to Chlipala. “I see online that a lot of articles say that a love bomber is a narcissist or an abuser,” she tells Bustle. “But someone who is avoidantly attached can love bomb ... and then end the relationship or ghost you.” This type of dater may feel uncomfortable with long-term intimacy, but they feel safer with the infatuation from the very start of dating. “They get swept up in their feelings and usually have a fairytale idea of the beginning of a relationship ... [then] they dump you back on the floor,” Chlipala explains, adding that many of these individuals don’t realize they have avoidant attachment and might think this is normal behavior.

So, what can you do about it? Knowing the signs is a good place to start.

Signs Of Love Bombing

  • They make travel plans with you after only a couple of dates
  • They start texting “I miss you” after a first date
  • They start saying they want to get you pregnant or get pregnant by you “now” after only a few dates
  • They tell you you’re “special” when they really don’t know you
  • They say “I love you” within only a couple weeks of dating
  • They shower you with gifts right away
  • They use pet names or kiss and heart emojis very early on
  • They tell you “I told my mom about you” before you’ve even had a date
  • They lay the compliments on thick
  • They’ll change their personality based on what they think you want
  • You’re bombarded with texts and calls from them
  • They don’t respect your boundaries
  • They want your undivided attention all the time
  • They pressure you to commit very early on
  • They say all the “right” things to the point of being cliché

How To Protect Yourself

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“Tell your date to pump the brakes,” Chlipala says. “Be honest and tell them that their behavior makes you feel uncomfortable since they don’t know you well enough yet.” Then, you can observe how they respond and gauge what that tells you about their intentions. Chlipala tells Bustle, “Are they understanding and explaining their behavior, or do they gaslight you or even ghost you?”

If something seems to good to be true, it probably is. Be realistic about why they might be behaving this 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 whether their behavior makes sense and lines up with how well you actually know each other. If it doesn't, that's a red flag.

"As usual, it can be very helpful to rely on the more neutral opinions of your friends," Hartstein 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 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 quickly — pay attention.

You can also assess whether you’re someone who is susceptible to love bombing. “People who are anxiously attached love this level of attention and affection so quickly because it makes them feel safe,” says Chlipala. “If you are [anxiously attached], as difficult as this may be, don’t be so available,” advises. “Your date might want to see you three days in a row — even if you’re free, say ‘no’ or make plans with friends to keep yourself occupied. Don’t engage on their level.” You can set the pace yourself and stay grounded to avoid getting caught up. Chlipala even suggests trying to date other people at the same time to see each person in a more realistic light.

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.

Experts:

Anita Chlipala, LMFT, licensed marriage and family therapist and author of “First Comes Us: The Busy Couple’s Guide to Lasting Love”

Aimee Hartstein, LCSW, relationship therapist

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