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What is Love Bombing? Definition, Signs, Causes, Effects, and Everything Else

What is Love Bombing? Definition, Signs, Causes, Effects, and Everything Else

Updated on May 27, 2022 | Published on Feb 03, 2022

Reviewed by Julianne Cantarella, MSW, LSW , Certified Relationship Coach

Love Bombing - Definition, Signs, Causes, Effects, and Everything else

So, you want to know what’s Love Bombing

Well, if you are dealing with it already, you definitely have a faded idea of what it is. But let me assure you, you aren’t alone in this!

Yet, not many people are aware of the true meaning and aspects of love bombing. I’ve heard people calling love bombing fatal. Well, that’s partly right, partly wrong.

Love bombers aren’t criminals, nor God-like; they are humans… and they may have their own reasons to behave in a certain way. 

To help you steer clear your confusion about love bombing and the myths attached to it, in this think-piece, I will tell you all about it – the meaning, the signs, the side-effects, how to cope with it, and everything else.

So first, let’s begin with…

Love Bombing Infographic

Love Bombing - Definition, & Signs
Love Bombing – Definition, & Signs

Love Bomb Meaning

Summary
The act of bombarding extra love on the beloved and forcing dominance and dependency in a relationship, is called love bombing. 

Love Bombing is an act of asserting power and dominance in a relationship.

It is a process where one of the partners starts investing extra admiration, attention, and efforts to please the other partner and in return they expect the other partner to be dependent on them and oblige to whatever they ask.

Sounds crazy? Yeah… but that’s how it is!

This act cannot be recognized easily. A person who is love bombing will obviously not tell you what’s brewing in their mind.

People who love bombs will be the best versions of themselves and shower you with utmost love and admiration you’ve ever seen.

These people might have suffered from abusive attachments, are dominant and self-centered, which eventually turns them into a love bomber.

He/she will have a constant urge to please you by giving you extensive pleasures. They will act as the most loving person you’ve ever come across. They’ll send you premium gifts for no reason!

No, this is not the same as the normal honeymoon phase between couples.

Soon you will realize what is going on when they start demanding more from you as well.

Yes, they will remind you about all they did to please you and will ask you to please them in return, by simply adhering to what they say.

This is a very smart technique of dominating the other partner, not with violence or force, but with extra love and care.

Still confused? Let me explain.

Examples

Unfortunately, it’s really hard to understand if someone is love bombing in a relationship.

Because when your partner is showering you with SO MUCH love… What else would you ask for?

The cues are in their actions… Anything that’s TOO much can be a red signal. Let’s read about some easy examples that will help you identify Love Bombing from a lot of love.

1. A few sticky notes when your partner is not around can make you feel special but if you spot them everywhere you turn your head to… that’s love bombing!

2. They send you flowers every day. It’s like having a mini garden in your home.

3. They will keep sending you texts and also want you to reply to each. There is no stopping. You won’t be able to hang up their calls even if you’re occupied.

4. They will surprise you with vacation plans without asking you.

5. Love bombers will always be in a hurry to take the relationship forward. And if you refuse, they will create unnecessary pressure on you.

6. If their social media profiles are full of love quotes and pictures of/with you, this is a solid example of love bombing.

7. In the initial days, they will make you feel like you’re the best person alive and how they can’t live without you. They use hyperbolic phrases and cheesy dialogues in every conversation without fail. Like “You’re my soulmate” or “My day seems better when I look at you”. It may feel good for the first few times but eventually, it will start to bother you.

The definition and the examples might make you think: Love Bombers are toxic!

Wait, don’t make any conclusions until you know about…


Love Bombing Psychology

Love bombers are self-centered but apart from that they also suffer from inadequate deep feelings.

Remember me warning you that not all love bombers are bad humans?

They feel unworthy to have someone in their life and so when they have one, they try all their might to keep them close. Low self-esteem often leads them to behave over-the-top in every situation.

This self-doubt also explains why they tend to two show dual-faced personalities.

They will shower you with extraordinary love, grand gestures, and too-good-to-be-true gestures – but if in return, you fail to comply with their emotional needs, they try to abandon you and make you crave for this relationship.

Behind all the negative activities and dominating gestures, there lies a broken heart, and shattered self-esteem.

You never know if they have been subjected to similar abuse, dominance, and control in their past.

That brings me to the past of love bombing… i.e, the History.


Love Bombing History

Love Bombing was first coined by the unification church of the United States.

The term was usually used to refer to friendship, empathy, and cooperation.

Later on, this phrase faced a lot of criticism and most of it was on the basis of the fact that the church used this phrase to build a stronger bond between church members only, abandoning the outside world.

Another explanation for the term love bombing was given in 1996 by a psychology professor named Margaret Singer. She said that love bombing was a manipulative technique used to attract people to join the cults.

In a cult, this term was used to establish dominance between the members.

But as time progressed, we finally reached the definition we’re discussing today: a manipulative technique often employed by narcissists to get involved in a controlling and abusive relationship.

Moving on, let’s dig into the…


Two Types of Love Bombing

According to Durvasula, love bombing is of two types: Grandiose and Quiet.

1. Grandiose love bombers

People belonging to this type will shower you with grand, expensive gifts and plan extravagant surprises for you in disguise of “expression of love”.

They will strike deep, emotional conversations to establish dependency. They will make you feel like you’re the most beautiful man/woman this world has ever seen.

All this may seem too good to be true but you’ll love it all while you’re experiencing it.

2. Quiet love bombers

Quiet love bombers come with sad sob stories. They will reveal a lot about them even without knowing you completely. They might keep ranting about their struggles.

They will also be curious to know about your life. They make you feel important by saying that they haven’t met a person like you before and that you understand them better than anyone else.

Conversations with them often lead to emotional, heartbreaking stories.

Definition, History, Psychology… and you’re still confused.

Don’t worry, I got your back…. Just keep reading.


Love Bombing vs True Love

The line between true love and love bombing may seen blurred as you often don’t know how to identify the differences between True Love and Love Bombing.  

ActionsLove BombingTrue love
Excessive giftsYes.No. Only when needed.
AbuseYes. They may start abusing you verbally or even physically after a while in the relationshipNo. They won’t abuse you if it’s not something they did before.
AuthenticityIt all seems too good to be true, as someone straight out of a fairytale.You may see flaws but you accept it with all your heart.
Time sensitivityThe grand gestures and romantic acts are extremely short-lived. They are gone as soon as they can feel the dependence.In True Love, there might be some changes as you grow together but you wouldn’t spot any dramatic changes.
Rush for everything in the relationship.Yes. They’re in a hurry to get married, become physically intimate, etc.No. They take one step after another.  

To achieve a crystal-clear view of love bombing so that you are able to recognize this first hand, it is best to read the signs of love bombing.

Even when you want to identify your own traits, just to ensure whether or not you are a love bomber, all you need to do is go through the signs of love bombing…. And see if you relate to any.


Signs of Love Bombing

It is very difficult to differentiate love bombing because you are actually blindfolded with love.

But if you pay attention to these warning signs, you can save yourself from the negative impacts of this manipulative technique.  

1. Your intuition is voicing loud

If something is not right, your subconscious mind can feel it. You just have to believe your intuition and give it a thought.

Things may look good and fairytale-like from the outside, you are getting a lot more than you expected but if your gut says something else, there may be red flags your conscious mind is not picking on.

Some people trust their intuition and react accordingly while some choose to ignore it. Who wants to give up a life and a partner they’ve fantasized about…

2. You receive over-the-top gifts

In grandiose love bombing, we’ve learned how you are showered with expensive and lavish gifts in the initial stage of the relationship.

Have you ever thought about it this way, that who bears such heavy expenses one or two days into the relationship?

Who plans an out-of-the-box vacation with a person they’ve known for a week? These quick decisions are nothing but the warning signals poking your nose.

The never-ending compliments and praises are another red flag. A genuine compliment from the heart will hit straight home… but when they’re surface-level and a technique to invite you in, you’ll know.

3. They ask you to stay longer… and longer

Love bombers want never-ending conversations. No number of hours is enough for them.

Even if you have other important things you need to tend to, they will still want you to stay.

They don’t want you to leave, not even for a second. Communication is good but only when it is not hindering other aspects of your life.

This might not be because they love you. It can be because they feel better in your presence. You satisfy their ego and self-esteem. In other words, you are their support group.

4. Your opinions don’t matter.

They won’t wait for your yes before planning something. Even if you have genuine reasons, they will refuse to listen to you and will use emotional manipulation to change your opinion.

Your individual desires simply don’t matter to the love bombers. They don’t even respect your choices. Yes, you may call them selfish here.

5. They’re all about future planning.

You will see that right from the initial days, the love bomber is planning a future with you.

While you’ve just started to know them, they’ve already planned about the number of children they want to have with you/

Honestly, you may feel delighted when you see your partner plan a future… but eventually, you will start feeling the pressure.

You believe it’s more important to work on your present to build a happy future.  

6. Play the victim card: Always!

If you find a person trying to lure you into a relationship by gaining sympathy, that’s definitely something to worry about. Love bombers usually play the victim cards to gain one’s love.

The base of a healthy relationship should be the truth. You should be able to discuss everything that your partner must know. But that needs time and trust.

You cannot go on narrating your story to every other person you meet. It requires time and also the comfort where you feel secure.

7. They can charm you within seconds.

Love bombers have the ability to charm people in seconds. They will go off the bound and beyond your imagination to prove their love.

They can stand in the middle of the road or climb up a wall. You never know. But they will surely win your heart… over and over again. That’s the trick, buddy… that’s the trick!

8. They force commitments too early.

Have you ever seen a person asking you to be with them forever in a week of a relationship? If you’ve, then you’re in trouble because your partner is a love bomber.

They might propose to you just a few days into the relationship or may ask you to move in with them.

They will try to rush things. If you feel indebted to the love that you’re receiving, you will fall into their trap but if you are smart enough you will know that everything needs time.

Do not get attracted by a shining mirror, it’s not a diamond!

9. You will be one of a kind for them.

You will often hear statements like, you are the person they were waiting for. You are one of a kind. They’ll use words like ‘soulmates’, just to make you believe in them.

These are the manipulative tactics they will use to impress you. They wouldn’t appreciate any kind of boundaries that you create for yourself.  

10. They know too much about you.

You will find yourself engaged in a lot of deep interrogations.

You do not know much about the person, while they know every tiny detail of you.

And most times, the conversation is all about you and never about them. They barely let you enter their world.

11. They know what you want to hear.

You will see that most times, you relate yourself to them. Their habits, interests, phobias, and thoughts are much similar to yours.

The things that you have only kept to yourself are being narrated by them or you often get excited upon hearing them.

Well, the actual point here is that there are no similarities between you two, but they are just copying your thoughts and narrating them back to you.

When they finally let you in their world, will you be able to see the actual world?

12. Your self-esteem is challenged.

If you have self-respect, the gifts and expenses will seem like a debt to you. It might even take a dig into your self-esteem.

You may want to return it back in the same way but you know you can’t. So, instead, you accept the wrongdoings by lowering your self-esteem.

13. They’ll be needy.

A person always complaining about their family or their past relationships or friends, is not a person you want to be with.

They always seem to play the victim card. This is the red sign, spend some days with them… you will know exactly where it’s coming from.

14. There’s no end to the compliments

Another adhering sign of love bombing is limitless compliments and praises. It’s good to hear a compliment, but love bombers overdo it to a limit that it starts to make you feel irritable.  

What makes it more weird is that you will almost always guess that the praises are not genuine.

15. They keep talking about their past struggles.

Love bombers can easily reveal about their terrible childhood. They can talk about all the bitter experiences without any hesitation.

If you pay attention, you might be able to guess that they’re trying to glorify their struggles and prove to you how they’ve been through so much in life.  

Now you know that love bombers are not criminals – they may be at fault but they don’t do it by choice.

They have a back story that led to here… if you still don’t get it, here’s a peek into their back story.


Why do people love bomb?

Now that you’ve already understood the basic concept about love bombing, I know there is one question that you want to be answered right away, which is: Why do people love bomb?

The reasons for love bombing are not the same for everyone. For different people, the causes are different.

However, there are a few common causes that have been lately discovered. Take a look!

1. They’re trying to hide their toxicity

They are the powerhouse of toxicity and nothing else.

Probably they are tired of people who complain about their super toxic behavior and they are just trying to hide their toxic traits with you.

While you feel sorry about these people, that they are so innocent and probably are stuck in unfair circumstances, the case might just be the opposite.

2. They’re money minded

Expensive gifts and grand gestures are nothing but a way to lure you in. According to them, money can impress anyone, so they try to show off their elite side to trigger dependency in you.  

Once you fall into the trap, you’ll realize that it was nothing but a wall of lies that you believed to be a castle. At that time, it may be too late to react, so instead, take charge today!

3. They are dominating in nature

They are controlling and dominating in nature and you will never know because they hide their real personality under a charming facade and fake showering of love.

These people are really dangerous because you have no clue what’s going on in the back of their minds.

4. They don’t like accepting faults

They will never accept their own faults or apologize. Instead, they will make-up stories and emotional situations that will force you to forgive them.

They have got terrific manipulation tactics and they employ them all to keep you tied.

5. They are lonely

Love bombers have their own list of sufferings and challenges. One of the most prominent causes for such behavior is loneliness.

These people might have faced a lot of abuse, judgments, and inferiority complexes that have simply attacked their self-esteem, self-confidence, and ego.

Neither friends, nor family, nobody helped them come out of this phase. Probably, they are too toxic to be understood.

Having uncovered the reasons behind love bombing, you should also know its dangerous effects. That’s what you are going to read next.


Why is love bombing dangerous?

Love bombing is nothing but a trait, where a person goes beyond limits to prove their love, which in reality is nothing but fake.

They try to persuade people with over-the-top romantic gestures and then when someone falls for that, their toxicity unveils itself in layers.

They do so to hide their low self-esteem and come across as a modern-day Romeo.

But the real question is, what are the bad consequences of being in a relationship with a love bomber. Let me tell you.

1. They will make you feel indebted to you

Love bombers will shower you with expensive gifts, abroad vacations, luxury dinners, and what not… but soon after the honeymoon phase, they will reiterate all that they’ve done for you up to a point that it starts becoming a burden for you.  

In fact, when you go against their wishes or stand up for yourself, they will not like it and ask you to return everything they have gifted you. These are signs of an abusive relationship.

Even if they don’t ask for a return, they’ll make sure you know all the favors they’ve done for you, by heart.

2. You may find difficult to trust people

You will often see that they will express love to you in every conversation and try to flatter you with cheesy dialogues.

In the first few weeks of a relationship, they will say that you are special and totally different from others.

You are the person they have been longing to meet. You might feel good but you will also know that you’ll feel something amiss as these compliments are not genuine.

Everything that you assume to be true love, is nothing but a fake pleasing. This may later come back to haunt you and you may have trouble trusting others in life.

3. You’ll be ripped off your independence

The relationship seems all good and happening when you agree with the love bomber. The problems start when you disagree with them.

They won’t like it if someone talks back at them, they want you to enjoy the privileges by being quiet.

The moment you start arguing with them, love bombers are just not going to tolerate it. They might either try to put you down with what they’ve done for you so far, or self-victimize.

In short, love bombers get very angry when you try to live an independent life.

4. They can desert you anytime.

On some days, they will love you so much that you may forget about the outer world.

While on some days, they will abuse you and leave you in the middle of the sea. Even if they return, there is no guarantee that the abuse cycle will stop.

This hot-cold attitude can really take a hit on your mental peace and emotional belonging.

5. Anything in excess is not good for you.

Compliments may win your heart in some situations. But if a person compliments you every passing hour, you will start losing interest.

Also, these compliments must be genuine and from-the-heart, otherwise, they’ll be nothing but a misleading path to abuse.

You might start feeling proud and on top of the world, grow apart from current relationships and consider yourself “superior” to most others out there.

…and when these love bombers start to show their true colors, your castle of fake love and fake admiration will come crashing down.

6. Love bombers might be narcissists

Narcissism is not the sole reason behind love bombing. Some love bombers may naturally possess some similar qualities as narcissists without them knowing.

In most cases, you wouldn’t be able to recognize if your partner is a love bomber plus a narcissist, which will further impact your mental stability.

7. You may feel being betrayed

Falling in love with a love bomber is dangerous because once they start unveiling themselves, you will feel betrayed.

Feelings of unrequited love, depression, self-hatred, poor confidence, and hopelessness that follow would take a toll on your mental health.

I know it’s not easy to face the negative consequences of falling in love with a love bomber in a relationship.

So, let me help you weigh the odds of being a victim to love bombing.  


Who is at most risk for being love bombed?

Some people fall into the trap of love bombing quickly while some are able to identify it as toxic.

It may be because of different past experiences, different upbringing, or different personal choices.

People who have dealt with a narcissist partner or who have previously been subjected to narcissistic abuses and rebukes are most likely to suffer from love bombs in a relationship.

The fact that they have experienced so much already makes them immune to most abusive behavior and they often tend to overlook the love bombing acts of their partner.

Your partner may be showering you with overwhelming love but this will be only short-lived. Eventually, the roles shift and you find yourself to be the only giver in the relationship.

There should be a balance in the relationship, where you both give and receive equally. The needs and expectations need to be understood on both sides.

People who have fantasized about a fairytale-like romance and have also idealized unrealistic and overbearing romantic gestures shown in most Hollywood movies are also at a high risk of either becoming a love bomber themselves or being victim to it.

Now that you’ve realized that you are being love bombed, what’s should you do next? Just, keep reading!


What to do if you’re being love bombed?

Everything in this world seems meaningless when you fall for a love bomber. These people fill you with so much hope and expectations that when you face reality, you just cannot find the ground back again.

It is obvious that if you get so much love, care, and affection and suddenly it all proves to be unreal, it hits you differently.

You lose your self-esteem, your sense of individuality and are left with depression and trauma.

But here are ways you can deal with the situation…

1. Ask a friend or family member

You can simply seek a third-person perspective on your situation. I’m not asking you to make decisions based on their advice, but this is just going to be an external help for you.

Ask them whether or not your partner is a love bomber. See what they say, give it a second thought and relate their suggestions with your intuition.

2. Accept the truth

When you already know so much about the devastating consequences of love bombing, it is best to act just when you find out that you’re dating a love bomber.

Don’t worry, once you have accepted the truth, it will only make you stronger for the future.

3. Discuss about your situation

“It Quits” is not a solution. After all, not every love bomber is a smart ass who is just playing tricks on you.

Probably, they themselves don’t know about their expectations from the relationship… probably they are being abusive without knowing that it is abuse.  

I know it’s going to be utterly difficult to make these people understand that they are love bombing, but atleast make attempts.

Share resources about love bombing with them or share the link to this one… answer all their queries if they have any or reach out to an expert who can help you both.

4. Open up about how you feel.

If you’re feeling the lobe bombs are getting a little too much on you, SAY it to them. Tell them how you feel everything is rushing too fast and you need some time to process it.

This will serve as a warning for the love bomber that you are not a person who can be easily manipulated or forced.

Even if you love this person madly, don’t hesitate from keeping yourself first. Let them know about your aspirations, your desires, your wishes, and what ‘you’ expect from the relationship.

If you both are on the same page, nothing like it. But if not, and are willing to compromise, remember it is always both ways.

But if nothing seems to work, here is what you can finally do…

5. End the game

Find your way out of this relationship and cut all ties with the love bomber who is trying to dominate or control you. Do not let them manipulate you.

You have already been through a lot, and you don’t want it to get worse. You never know when the abuse may take a turn towards domestic violence.

So, before it’s too late, just leave.

6. Give them a chance but don’t fool yourself

It’s fine if you want to take a chance or give them a couple of chances to repair the damage, but don’t get emotionally invested in the process.

I know you love this person but don’t be blinded by it… and overlook the signs of toxicity.   

7. Learn how to deal with a Love bomber.

If you’ve given them a second chance, it is important to know how to deal with a love bomber. That’s next!


How to deal with a love bomber?

If you’re already into the trap and deeply in love with this person, I know you’re already asking this question.    

The first step is to start showing that you are not interested in getting into these materialistic pleasures.   

Gently deny everything that costs you your self-respect. You will notice that a person with genuine intentions will not be impacted by it but someone who has something else in mind will keep trying to lure you and the situation may turn into something horrible.

Make your point clear and stay firm in your beliefs and actions. If you don’t want them to hurry, make it loud and clear.

If you don’t want compliments that go off-limits, stop them right there. Don’t tolerate any kind of domestic violence.

A person with genuine intentions will not force you, instead they will understand your feelings and respect them.

On the other hand, a love bomber will obviously not take your opinion into consideration.

Finally, if you have friends outside and the person doesn’t want you to be associated with anyone except him, this is your cue to find your way out of the suffocating relationship.

Furthermore, if you feel too depressed or hopeless you can simply seek external help.

There are so many renowned relationship experts and relationship advisors with a credible history of helping people out of a toxic relationship.

So, just schedule an appointment, and get out of the situation. Above all, help yourself.

If you think love bombing is a temporary affair, you may want to know…


How long does love bombing last?

Often when you are in a relationship with a love bomber, you feel like you are under the influence of a certain strong love potion.

This love dose has such an intense effect that it stays longer than you can imagine. But it does fade away at a certain point, leaving you with a reality check. All the attention and love do not last forever.

It may last for weeks, months, and even years but not forever.

And when the time comes… you will have a hard time accepting the phase when the love bomber withdraws all the attention from you.

The avoidance and disrespect leave you startled and you want things to return to what it was initially.  

You’ll see yourself drowning, losing your self-confidence, self-esteem, and self-independence bit by bit.

You’ll soon realize that you’re being dominated and manipulated… that’s when you’re going to end things all by yourself.

Having said that, there is another aspect of love bombing that deals with narcissists specifically. So, it’s narcissism + love bombing.

You can well imagine the strength that one requires to cope with this kind of relationship.


Narcissist Love Bombing

This combination is tricky to deal with. But once you understand the real concept of narcissistic love bombing, I’m sure you’ll be able to find your way out of it.

You already know that people who love bombs suffer from a lack of self-confidence.

They continuously struggle with a sense of insecurity, which is why they need constant verbal affirmations and assurance.

This is where people with narcissistic personality disorders and love bombers find a similarity. However, amidst narcissists, the huge void is simply hard to be filled with your verbal affirmation and validations.

No matter how strong they pretend to be, if you take a look inside their true self, you will come across a person who does not value their own self. Love bombers feel unworthy and undesirable.

Thus, they try to balance all this with the love bombing and narcissism. Love bombing plumps up their ego once again and they get a reason to live.

However, being a narcissist and a love bomber is not good because the person gets overly obsessed with attention and flattery.

They will use a narcissistic form of manipulation to keep you trapped forever.

The moment you stop the narcissistic supply of these drugs, they will leave you deserted, abused, confused and deceived.

Narcissistic love bombers have a great technique of manipulating people according to them.

A word from ThePleasantRelationship

Most of us fantasize about our soulmates from a very young age. These fantasies are mostly fuelled by movies, books or fairy tales.

From childhood, we dream of a simple and perfect relationship, but adulthood treats us differently as compared to our expectations.

The bitter experiences often make us believe that True Love doesn’t exist.

Amidst all the heartbreaks and unfulfilled romantic desires… when you’re showered with SO MUCH love, you’re bound to consider yourself blessed and feel guilty about finding this love toxic.

But hey, here’s me telling you: love bombing is real and unhealthy.

…and you must take steps against it.

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