Love Bombing: True Romance Or Manipulation?
Have you just begun a new relationship? At first, everything appears to be ideal: Constant chat and detailed attention are paid to everything you say. He wants to get to know your family and friends.
He makes you feel like the centre of the universe by giving you gifts and singing your praises. In a way that no one else has, he even spends every available moment with you.
Suddenly, everything progresses quickly. The affection becomes very persistent and overwhelming. He keeps tabs on everything you do and insists on spending every moment together. Two weeks into the relationship, he tells you things like: “I want to spoil you.”
“You are the most gorgeous person I’ve ever seen.”
“Spending every second with you is all I want.”
He even goes as far as constantly seeking reassurance through his messages. He makes frequent use of phrases such as:
“When we get married.”
“When we have kids.”
“I just can’t help myself when I’m with you.”
“Our love causes me to act erratically,” among others.
Though the relationship is intense, exciting, and makes you feel like you have bees in your stomach as often captured in romance movies, where you feel joyful, happy and alive. It even appears as though your new partner is too good to be true.
Initially, all these grand gestures make you feel safe, secure and overjoyed, because they boost your self-esteem and make you feel important and desired, there is, however, a part of you that occasionally feels extremely overwhelmed and infatuated. This could be a sign of a love bombing.
Love bombing may make a relationship appear wonderful at first, especially when you are all caught up in the love-struck lighting, but in reality, it does not define true love, as it’s frequently employed as a form of manipulation and can result in a toxic relationship used by narcissists, abusers and con artists. He attacks you with praises and strong connections, and eventually, you become enthralled by his purported love.
You’ll understand what I’m talking about if you’ve seen the Netflix documentary, ‘The Tinder Swindler’. The film gives a detailed and deeply personal account of how Simon Leviev love-bombed his victims and later defrauded them of their money.
Leviev uses a range of skilful grooming techniques, social engineering practises, and psychological abuse tactics to gain compliance from his victims and ultimately gain control over their finances.
Love bombing is a relatively new term in the dating lexicon, and many people don’t know what it is or how to recognise it.
The distinction between “love bombing” and an actual display of affection is becoming blurred, as it continues to gain popularity in the modern dating scene.
What is love bombing?
Love bombing, which can occur either intentionally or accidentally, is a term used in psychology and sociology to describe a type of behaviour in which a person exhibits excessive amounts of love and affection for another person.
Making the recipient feel loved and important is the main objective of love bombing. However, beneath those grandiose displays of affection and declarations of love, love bombers seek to undermine the self-assurance, insecurities, lack of ability to trust, and reliance on others of their victims.
Love bombing can be committed by anyone, but it’s most frequently associated with an anxious or insecure attachment style.
People may also learn this behaviour from their parents or from previous abusive relationships. In some cases, it can also be a complication of unresolved childhood trauma. A love bomber will buy you the most beautiful things and say all the right words, and then use that against you later on. The problem is that this loving façade is only a mask, and what starts like a fairytale or whirlwind romance quickly turns into a controlling, abusive nightmare.
Love bombing, according to experts, may indicate a toxic or abusive relationship. It can be used as a technique to control or manipulate someone or to win thei person’s affection, as the recipient may depend on the bomber’s constant attention and affection. Love bombers can also make it hard for their partners to leave the relationship since the abuser can come back with extravagant apologies or symbols of love in an attempt to guilt their partner into staying.
You may have been love bombed if you’ve ever felt your partner’s pace to be overwhelming or their attention to be unwavering, and you weren’t sure whether it made you feel unbelievably happy, uncomfortable, or a mix of the two.
Love Bombing Phase
The honeymoon stage of a relationship may conceal warning signs of love bombing; however, if the gestures are thoughtful and personal, they are more likely to be sincere. Beware of those signs, as a love bomber’s attempts to intimidate and impress typically happen in three stages:
The Idealisation Phase: During this time, your partner shows you excessive amounts of love and affection to win you over and persuade you to lower your guard. It might initially seem too good to be true or too simple to be completely taken by surprise.
The Devaluation Phase: Once you’ve relaxed and become at ease in the relationship, warning signs start to emerge. Any number of tactics could be used by your partner to try to control you. He might start to demand more of your time and become angry if you make plans without him. Additionally, he might try to restrict your contact with your family and friends and gaslight you into believing that nothing is wrong with his actions. In the worst scenarios, he might resort to physical violence in addition to using intimidation and fear to influence his behaviours in a different way than usual.
The Discard Phase: When you confront your partner about his unhealthy behaviour or attempt to reestablish healthy boundaries, your partner might try to evade responsibility by refusing to cooperate, caving in, or ending the relationship. You may experience confusion, disorientation, or a sense that you were unable to resolve the situation as a result of this.
The duration could be weeks, months, years, or even longer. It’s crucial to understand that as the benefits of the love bomber’s behaviour wear off over time, he is likely going to start altering his behaviour. As a result, there may be a withdrawal of love and the use of other emotionally manipulative or abusive techniques, such as undermining you, criticising you, making you feel guilty, shaming you, gaslighting you, creating irrational expectations, or invalidating your experiences or feelings.
Is love bombing a relationship a red flag?
For many of us, the more love we get, the happier we are. But that’s the problem; the more we allow ourselves to be sucked into the onslaught of love and attention, the more challenging it can be to recognise other relationship red flags.
Love bombing is deemed unhealthy by relationship experts. Many people view this as a warning sign because it can be challenging to maintain personal boundaries and encourages one person to feel obligated to the other, which can have a variety of negative effects on the relationship and those involved.
It imposes pressure on both parties and creates controlling boundaries:, the person who is being love bombed can feel overwhelmed by the pressure to be so good and perfect, while the bomber is stressed about creating a romance that keeps this perceived perfect person around, creating a kind of vicious cycle. It’s crucial to remember that being love-bombed can have a long-lasting effect on someone’s mental or physical health. Numerous emotional abuse victims experience persistent problems with their sense of self-worth and self-esteem, according to research.
Escape route if you are being love-bombed?
Whether his actions are intentional or not, the love bomber is looking for control and power. So, if you believe you are being love bombed, take all necessary precautions to leave the relationship.
Sitting down and having an open discussion with your partner can be a good first step in a new relationship. Setting clear boundaries, maintaining open lines of communication and making sure you both abide by them are all foundational elements of a healthy relationship.
If you see your partner consciously attempting to cross your boundaries or if you notice that the same behavioural patterns keep occurring, it is better to discuss your concerns with someone, whether this is with a friend, family member or professional therapist. This can help you see behaviours in a new light and validate how you are feeling.