Being swept off your feet by the person of your dreams is an incredible feeling—and a big reason why love bombing feels intensely satisfying and real.
It touches on the more emotional side of all of us that craves a level of attention and intimacy that makes us feel completely cared for, special, and loved in a way that we’ve never been before.
The interesting thing about being love bombed is that the people who do it are especially talented at mimicry. They know how to give us exactly what we want without, well, giving us exactly what we want.
That’s right—it’s all a façade. And a really good one, at that. Some would say that love bombing is just an over the top expression of love and affection we all indulge in when a relationship is fresh and exciting.
However, being drowned in what feels like a never-ending flow of gifts, affection, attention, and compliments may have a more sinister motive lying behind it that all those feel-good emotions are causing you to overlook.
Yes, it’s a lot more layered than someone simply being kind. So let’s get into the detail of love bombing: what it is, what it looks like, and why you should avoid people who engage in it.
What exactly is love bombing?
Love bombing is when you’re flooded with all of the surface-level expressions of love. You get all the compliments, gifts, romantic gestures, and promises in the world, and usually very quickly and very often.
And while it might feel good in the moment, it’s actually a very popular manipulation tactic used by potentially deceptive, codependent, or abusive partners. It sounds odd, but think about it: how can a person have bad intentions if they did all of these things to show me that they love me? I think I should give them a chance.
You see, that’s the trick of it. Bombing someone with what seems to be love and all the desires of their heart is an easy way to confuse them, and really, blur their vision to the reality of the situation because when you’re so deep in your feelings, you have a hard time looking at things logically and objectively.
So to be clear, what exactly does love bombing look like:
- Excessive compliments and flattery.
- Talking about their feelings for you too early and/or too often.
- Being really needy and clingy about their time with you.
- Showering you with gifts that you don’t ask for or even want.
- Early and intense talks about a future together.
The signs: Too good to be true.
Have you ever been in a whirlwind romance with someone who completely swept you off your feet by being everything you wanted, and seemingly what you needed, but turned out not to be that great of a person in the long run? There’s a chance that you were being love bombed and didn’t even know it.
Love bombing seems genuine at first, but it’s not. That’s because the very act itself is only driven by a person’s desire to feel their own needs out of insecurity, narcissism, or a desire to gain emotional control over you.
This behavior can be a result of your love interest experiencing this same kind of emotional abuse or manipulation from a previous partner or even by their own parents. In this situation, it’s not necessarily don on purpose. It is simply learned codependent behavior. However, it is still exceptionally unhealthy and needs healing.
On the flip side, there are narcissistic and abusive partners who weaponize making you feel loved as a way to excuse previous or upcoming bad behavior such as physical, verbal, or emotional abuse, cheating, lies, broken promises that were made to you, and even romancing you into waiting for a commitment that’ll never come.
In either case, love bombing will leave you with the short end of the stick. You are simply a source of energy that these people can plug into, get what they need, and never give anything back—leaving you depleted.
So to be clear, what are some examples of love bombing in action:
- Showering you with nothing but gifts and affection after a fight or betrayal instead of offering up a sincere apology and changed behavior.
- Rushing you into a deeper commitment by professing their love for you very early on. This includes using words that they know are trigger terms for you like soulmates, marriage, children, etc.
- Placing you exceptionally high on a pedestal so that if you ever challenge what they want, they’ll be able to verbal or emotionally knock you down (Think: Buying you an expensive dress because they love you, but destroying it and berating you when you want to wear it when you go out with your friends.)
- Being extremely clingy and codependent. Not because they want to spend time with you, but because they want to take up your time and control what you accomplish and what’s on your agenda.
- Not “allowing” you to breakup up with them by begging, pleading, and repeating the initial love bombing phase all over again: unwanted gifts, affection, compliments, and undo flattery.
The importance of avoiding it—lies, manipulation, and potential for abuse.
There are three phases that come with love bombing: Idealization, Devaluation, and Discarding. It’s important to note that, if you buy into phase one, the other two stages only get progressively worse. This is why it’s important to nip love bombing in the bud before it becomes something that’s believable and hard to disconnect from.
So, let’s get started on the three different stages of love-bombing—how they develop, what they might look like in action, and how to detect if you’re currently in this stage.
1.) Idealization: They sweep you off your feet with excessive love, praise, and adoration as a way to make you feel comfortable enough to let your guard down. The excessiveness of it all is the red flag, but you don’t always see it because at this stage, your person is checking off all your boxes and hasn’t presented their true self yet.
2.) Devaluation: This is when the red flags begin to appear. They start off by doing smaller, easily excusable things like “jokingly” making fun of your clothes or demand to spend more time with you. You may oblige because it doesn’t seem particularly harmful.
Over time, however, their need for control and attention increases because now they know you’re invested and comfortable in the relationship. This is when gaslighting, manipulation, and in some cases, physical abuse occurs.
3.) Discarding: This where they either refuse to acknowledge their wrongdoings and continue to gaslight you, or they simply discard the relationship as a whole. And while this is the easiest time to identify their lack of love and care for you, it may somehow still result in you feeling guilty or like you failed to fix the situation.
Love bombing is not the same as being in a healthy, loving relationship. When someone really loves you, they’ll respect your boundaries and be supportive of all the things you do to fulfill and grow yourself, and only yourself.
Healing from a love bomb situation is tough and may require the help of friends, family, and any other members of your community that may be of service to you—including therapists and law enforcement, if necessary.
You’re not alone, you’re not to blame, and you shouldn’t allow a negative experience to alter the good you see in yourself and in the world as a whole.
National Domestic Violence Hotline
National Suicide Prevention Hotline
Therapy for Black Girls
A platform to help you find a black-woman therapist in your area –