Love bombing is a phrase that's been gaining a lot of traction lately. But what does it mean? And more importantly, is it something you should be worried about?
This ain't your average lovey-dovey Valentine's Day post. But, if today's a day for love and lovers, then we owe it to ourselves to talk about all aspects of this L word. How else can we learn and grow and ensure we're involved in healthy, enriching relationships?
Keep reading to find out....
Define Love Bomb
Well, dictionary.com defines it as:
"...the practice of showing a person excessive affection and attention as a way of manipulating them in a relationship...."
Yah, so that's not good....
Why does something that sounds like it could be good (like bath bombs) or perhaps harmless (like photo bombing) have to actually be something so awful?
Beyond the Basic Love Bomb Meaning
What this is really saying is that love bombing (LBing) is not a healthy behavior. It can be a sign of an abusive or toxic relationship. So be en garde.
By overwhelming that other person with words and actions that — at the surface — seem to scream "AFFECTION!", the LBer is trying to earn trust so that s/he can then gain an upper hand or create a one-sided power dynamic (with him/her enjoying the advantage). With the relationship out of balance, it can go sideways super fast.
The Love-Bombing Cycle — How It Works
Frequently, LBing happens at the front end of the relationship. It kicks in when everything's still sparkly and new. You're riding that swell — it just (perhaps unnoticed at first) goes really high and rolls on for longer than realized.
This is typical of the LBing cycle. But, because this is a method of manipulation, the LBer may let it ebb at times.
Then, when moments arise that the LBer needs to re-exert control — the LBing starts fresh or goes into turbo gear. It's a tool to be wielded as the perpetrator sees fit. Dial it up, dial it down, repeat.
25 Signs You're Being Love Bombed
In the beginning, all the bravado and adoration being showered on you could feel great. Ahh, new love....
But, at some point, it crosses the line. And this tipping point can be really hard to detect while you're in the throes of it all.
LBers can be incredibly good at executing these behaviors. The drivers of this behavior may be baked into their character — it's a part of who they are and how they operate in this world.
There are hallmarks common to LBing. Here are some ways it may manifest itself:
Giving you inappropriate gifts
Paying you nonstop compliments
Communicating with you excessively and expecting the same in return
Requiring your constant attention
Making “soulmate“ and "life partner" type claims
Demanding your commitment
Pressuring you to move the relationship forward too soon/quickly
Disregarding your boundaries
Being overly needy of you
Being abnormally intense towards you
Making you feel uneasy or like something's "off"
Making over-the-top grand or romantic gestures to you
Wanting to be around you all the time
Always spoiling you
Checking in on you beyond what's reasonable
Doing things to try to isolate you from others
Telling you what you want to hear
PDAing way too much
Feeling like you have to be on eggshells around your partner
Feeling like you're on a short leash
Acting like they're rescuing or validating you
Bringing up troubled times in your past
Criticizing you in the name of helping you "be your best self" (or giving back-handed compliments)
Making you feel guilty or wrong when you aren't
How to Stop the Love Bomb
Let's preamble this with the disclaimer that we aren't trained counselors or therapists. So what follows is along the lines of suggested general guidance rather than a hard-and-fast prescribed action plan.
OK, now on to taking care of your sitch.
This is all pretty common sense and a heck of a lot easier said (written) than done. But it's so important. Your safety and happiness are non-negotiable — so ya gotta do what's going to bring you into a place of wellbeing.
Once you pinpoint how, specifically, you're being LBed, you need to define counter-measures. For example, if your LBer is:
All up in your business all the time — lay out exactly what your boundaries are and demand that they be observed.
Lavishing you with presents to the point that you feel uncomfortable — don't accept the gifts and articulate why.
Texting you incessantly and expecting an immediate response — make it clear that you'll reply when you're ready and able to, on your schedule, not theirs.
If at any moment you feel this is too much for you to do on your own, or you're unsure of what to do, reach out for help. Maybe a family member or friend will be able to assist you. Or, connect with professional resources (e.g., therapists, doctors, support groups, organizations, etc.). You don't have to deal with this alone!
And be sure to give yourself a break. Treat yourself with kindness, gratitude, grace, self-love. This isn't an easy scenario — and you're doing the best you can. You're taking steps in a healthier direction. Honor that.
Personal Experiences...? It may feel like you're the only one going through a love bomb cycle when you're in the middle of it. But you aren't. Feel free to use the Comments section below to swap stories, strategies, and support. (But, please, for your privacy and safety — don't overshare. Keep sensitive details or PII to yourself. The objective is to give and get help, not cause new probs!) 👇👇🏿👇🏽👇🏻
Bombless Love is Better
Love bombing goes beyond sweeping you off your feet, into unhealthy relationship zone. It can be a really confusing, and sometimes scary or dangerous, thing.
But knowing what to look for can help you protect yourself from it. If you think you're being love bombed, you need to take action ASAP to put a stop to this harmful situation. Don't be afraid to get support or professional help if you need it.
You are a wonderous and worthy being, deserving of pure love and wholesome connections with others. Remember this, always!