Love bombing may be the scariest thing that can happen while dating. It is a manipulative tactic used by narcissists and abusers, but it’s very, very hard to detect and suss out as it’s happening.
“Love bombing is characterized by excessive attention, admiration, and affection with the goal to make the recipient feel dependent and obligated to that person,” says licensed therapist Sasha Jackson. “And as the recipient, love bombing feels really good because of the boost of dopamine and endorphins you receive. You feel special, needed, loved, valuable, and worthy, which are all the components that contribute and increase a person’s self-esteem.”
At the beginning, everything may seem perfect—maybe even too perfect. You might think you’ve found someone who is not only into you but also showers you with attention, love, gifts, etc. Like, all the validation and affirmation you’ve been waiting for. But then, later on, your relationship may turn into something you don’t even recognize.
“Love bombers seek to quickly obtain the affection and attention of someone whom they are romantically pursuing by presenting an idealized image of themselves,” says Lori Nixon Bethea, PhD, owner of Intentional Hearts Counseling Services. The overall goal? To enhance their ego by gaining power over those being pursued.
Here 5 signs to recognize a love bomber:
- “I want to spoil you.” If your partner buys you excessive gifts in a short amount of time.
- “I just want to be with you all the time.” If you feel guilty for wanting boundaries or space, not a good sign.
- “I like to check on you because I get worried.” Constant checking in on your whereabouts, checking on social media pages, or asking for passwords? Love bombing.
- “We are meant for each other.” Be cautious if things feel really intense really fast or they mention you being their soul mate or twin flame early on.
- They give you constant compliments