Ever heard of “love bombing”?
According to Bumble’s sex and relationship expert Dr. Caroline West, love bombing is a toxic behaviour that happens when a person bombards the person they’re dating with over-the-top romantic gestures.
She explains: “This practice has the aim of overwhelming the person, and makes them so focused on or distracted by the love bombing that they miss red flags.”
“There can be constant contact, which might seem romantic, but really is an attempt to not allow any time away from the relationship to reflect on it. This kind of emotional manipulation has no place in a healthy relationship.”
Dr. Caroline has shared her tips on how to identify love bombing.
Take a look:
It can be natural to be excited about spending lots of time with a new partner, but not to the extent that they take over your life. If the person wants to be around you 24/7, or is constantly texting or calling, this is a sign of love bombing.
Healthy relationships allow time apart and time to be spent with other people or on hobbies. Subtle or overt demands to spend all your time together mean that the relationship is too intense and all consuming.
Relationships should just be one aspect of our busy lives, not the only aspect.
Gifts can be a lovely part of a relationship, and can be a way to show someone that we care about them. However, if gifts are constant, extravagant, and unwanted, this can be a sign of love bombing.
Leaving gifts that are unwanted is a sign that the person does not respect someone’s boundaries and is forcing their presence. The gifts are used as a way to distract someone from the reality behind them, which can be controlling or obsessive behaviour and a need to be in constant contact even if they are not there in person.
The gifts also often come with strings attached and might be given in order to make you feel indebted to them.
Everyone loves a compliment and giving people compliments can be a great way to express affection.
However, when compliments are excessive and constant, they are being used to flatter someone to the point where they become blind to red flags and toxic behaviour.
Everyone has flaws, and the constant flattery will be an attempt to tell you what they think you want to hear, rather than a genuine compliment.
While our brains can be taken in by love bombing, our gut instinct can often tell us that something is wrong.
If you feel a sense of unease or anxiety around them or when gifts arrive, take a moment to reflect on why, and take some time away from the person to gain some perspective. If the person objects to this distance, that can be confirmation that something wasn’t right.
Our gut instinct is like a second brain that is an early warning system, so listen to that feeling that something is off and talk about why you feel like this with a friend who can offer some third-party advice.
Love bombing behaviour will often mirror what you like in order to try to fool you into believing that you have similar hobbies and interests.
They will just so happen to love your favourite band, place, or food, which is an attempt to make you think that you are a great match.
Underneath this facade, you don’t really know this person on an authentic level as they are pretending to be who they think you want to get past your boundaries.