What is Love Bombing and Why It’s Dangerous?

Relationships come in many shapes and forms, and there’s no single recipe for a happy romance. Yet sometimes we find ourselves in situations that are not exactly healthy, and we might not even realize it.
So although we hope that none of our readers will have to personally deal with love bombing, we think it’s important to be aware. Sharing is caring, after all. That’s why we want to tell you all about love bombing meaning, the signs, the stages, the dangers, and the overall concept. Buckle up for a wild ride!

What is love bombing, exactly?

In short, love bombing is an abusive tactic that is used to manipulate the romantic partner.
A man showering (or should we say “bombing”) his girlfriend with gifts, flowers, calls, compliments, and signs of affection is not always love bombing. But if he does it to establish control and monopolize the GF’s time, then something’s not right for sure.
Another common example is jumping into marriage in a span of a couple of weeks since the first date. Some might call that meeting your soulmate and knowing what you want, but surely you’ll agree with us that more often than not it seems rushed and wrong. Usually, there is one person in that relationship who promotes the next step, and the other one who submits.

Signs of love bombing

As we’ve just learned, love bombing is – a psychological and emotional abuse masqueraded as deep affection. You will be able to spot most of the love bombing signs by the subtle feeling of discomfort and, sometimes, embarrassment. Like when you walk with your partner and suddenly they stop you in the middle of a busy street and put on a show for everyone around by dancing and singing to you.
Below is a list of love bombing examples:
  • Speeding through relationship stages and pushing the partner to take the next step. Think: meeting parents, moving in together, getting engaged, getting a pet – all way too early than you’d normally prefer to get to those milestones.
  • Feeling like you’re on call 24/7. A love bomber loves nothing more than taking up all of your time and getting annoyed if you can’t talk or chat.
  • Pulling a Kanye. When every date is over the top and anything they do for you is a grand gesture. Think of Kanye's proposal to Kim on a baseball field.
  • Exaggerated compliments that never stop. Surely, it’s nice to be praised sometimes, even if it’s a bit intense. Who doesn’t like a supportive partner who boosts our confidence after all? But if it’s something you experience all day every day – that’s a reason to be a little suspicious.
  • Boundaries who? Remember we said that love bombers are often narcissists? One thing love-bombing narcissists absolutely hate is boundaries. They don’t like to be told No, and they don’t respond well to any form of limitation. A typical love bombing situation would often involve the abuser pushing or ridiculing your boundaries, and persuading you that it’s all in your best interest and that those boundaries are nonsense anyway.
  • Alternating between being all over you and pulling away without clear reasoning.
A healthy relationship will not make you feel like you’re being rushed, controlled, or a part of a performance. With love bombing, victims often feel conflicted. They think they see red flags, but second-guess themselves because, on paper, their partner is doing everything right and is being generous with their emotions and material things. That’s a prime and scary example of gaslighting.
We sincerely hope that you’ll never have to experience any of them. But if you do – trust your gut and don’t discard them!

Stages of love bombing

Love bombing definition is not static, as it comes in different stages.

#1 Idealization

That’s when all grand gestures are happening. You might be getting outworldly flower arrangements, like thousands and thousands of flowers that Travis Scott used to give to Kylie. Or you could have daily convos about getting married, having kids, and living happily ever after. At this point, the victim of a love bombing usually believes they finally found someone caring and attentive, and fall for their tricks.

#2 Devaluation

Just like every fun night out clubbing inevitably ends with a hangover, the idealization stage is always followed by devaluation. At this point, the abuser doubles down on their controlling and manipulative ways. It’s common for them to blame the victim for wanting to spend time with other people and give them silent treatment as punishment. And if the poor partner brings up any of their concerns? That’s right, they’ll be gaslit into thinking they’re actually the problem and not the other way around.

#3 Discarding

The last love bombing phase is discarding. When the abused partner finally sees the situation as unhealthy and starts confronting their abuser and gaslighting no longer works, the walking red flag resorts to their final weapons – ghosting and abruptly ending the relationship. The love bomber sees that their tactics are not working anymore, so they might as well look for a new target.
Tip: Sometimes love bombers will wait for a few weeks and seek to make their way back into your life. This may come in the form of a like on Instagram pics, a check-in message on WhatsApp, or a call. If you accept their advances, you might get sucked right back into the vicious love-bombing cycle, so best stay clear and block them if you need to.

Love bombing vs genuine love

One of the reasons love bombing is so dangerous and bad is that it’s often hard to distinguish genuine love and affection until it’s too late. Especially if you had no similar experience in the past.
While exceptions are possible, a genuine love would develop at a much slower pace than a love bombing situation. You won’t normally hear “I love you” on the third date or get hundreds of gifts right after meeting someone. And if you do and those words or gestures make you uncomfortable, and things seem to be moving too fast – there’s a big chance you’re being love-bombed.

Why do people love bomb others?

That’s a million-dollar question, isn’t it? Here are the top reasons for someone to love bomb others:
  • They actually idealize their partner for a point in time.
  • They’re insecure and need constant reassurance that they’re loved.
  • Narcissistic tendencies got the best of them. They simply can’t help it!
  • Excessive affection covers the red flags and other issues that the love bomber doesn’t want you to see.
  • Love bombing is something they learned earlier in life, e.g. from their parents, friends, relatives, or past relationships, so now they mimic this behavior as the only thing they know.

Am I love bombing someone in my life?

Well, if you’re asking yourself that question, and you feel somewhat guilty about it, then we’d guess no, you are not love-bombing your romantic partners. Those who practice love bombing don’t see it as a problem or an issue. They know exactly what they’re doing and why they’re doing it.
But if you can’t shake off the feeling that you’re somehow in the wrong, here’s what you can do:
  1. Have an honest conversation with your partner. Share your worries with them, and ask if they feel like you’re being too pushy or too over the top with expressing your feelings.
  2. Sit back and analyze your past words and actions – did you at any point have an ulterior motive? Were you really treating your lover to an exotic getaway only one week into your relationship because you wanted to? Or is it possible that you wanted to assert dominance or make up for treating them poorly earlier?
  3. If you’re seeing a therapist, talk to them about it. They’re not directly involved in the relationship, and they’re professionals, getting advice from a licensed specialist would be incredibly helpful.

What to do if someone is love bombing you?

Love bombers like to isolate their “victims”, so seek to spend more time with friends and family. Ideally, take the time off from seeing this person entirely.
Love bombers are often narcissistic and can sometimes be dangerous, with intense honeymoon phases followed by gaslighting, cold shoulder, and even violence. That’s why it’s good to think through your options before you address the main issue. If things go south, do you have a friend’s or relative’s place to crash? Do you have the finances to move away? We’re not saying that you should stay in a dangerous situation until you figure everything out, but it’s good to think about what happens next.
But hey, maybe it’s not love bombing after all?
Sometimes love bombing happens unintentionally, and the person doesn’t even realize that. So before you do anything drastic, seek to have a heart-to-heart conversation with your partner. As you discuss this tricky topic, watch how they react to your concerns. Someone who’s genuinely interested in fixing the issue might still get angry or annoyed when confronted, but they’ll eventually cool down and want to cooperate and change.
The Flure team has dated all kinds of people, and if there’s one thing we can agree on – is that every person is different. What appears to be love bombing to you can be perfectly normal to the other person, especially if they come from a different background or culture. So perhaps an honest conversation and establishing a few healthy boundaries will do the trick?