Are they love bombing you? 5 things to look out for

Love bombing is a form of psychological and emotional abuse in which a person goes above and beyond with presents, compliments and declarations of love to deceive someone into committing to a relationship.

The act of love bombing has been around for as long as relationships, although the term has become more prevalent in recent years.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, love bombing – which can happen intentionally or unintentionally – is a form of psychological and emotional abuse in which a person goes above and beyond with presents, compliments and protestations of love to deceive another party into committing to a relationship.

It’s important to note that the motivation behind the kind words and sweet gestures is to make the receiver feel obligated to maintain the relationship with the love bomber, not to make them happy.

The term love bombing reportedly dates back to the 1970s, though it has seemingly become more prevalent in recent years. (Photo: Adobe Stock)

So, how can you tell if your partner’s actions are genuine or a mere manipulation tactic? TheGrio has a few signs of love bombing to share.

  1. They give you an overbearing amount of compliments and lavish gifts.

Love bombers frequently shower their victims with expensive gifts and countless compliments as a way to receive recognition for their generosity and attentiveness. If they believe their acts aren’t appreciated, their attitude can shift from calm and loving to controlling, critical and confusing.

  1. They make you feel overwhelmed or uneasy.

It’s common to occasionally question whether you and your mate are on the same page. However, your partner exhibiting negative or unhealthy behavior when you express feelings of being unsettled, off-balance or overwhelmed could indicate love bombing.

  1. They lash out when criticized.

Love bombers will typically reveal their true nature if they’re subjected to criticism, no matter how gentle or constructive.

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  1. They disrespect your boundaries.

While their public facade may alter your sense of judgment, love bombers are insensitive people who don’t care about you or your boundaries. They don’t care about your safety or well-being but will pretend to if it means getting what they want — even if it involves harming you or going against your limits.

  1. They want to isolate you from everyone else in your life.

Love bombers get upset when you wish to hang out with other people, including friends or relatives. They also become envious of your hobbies, personal interests and work commitments, sparking mixed emotions of guilt and annoyance.

The speed at which the connection develops and whether there is mutual attraction between two people distinguish sincere affection from love bombing. Love bombing usually feels one-sided and progresses quickly, leaving one party feeling overpowered or swept up in a “whirlwind.” Even if someone says they are doing it with good intentions, consistently pushing boundaries can sometimes be a sign of manipulation.

It hurts to feel as though one is or was a victim of a love bomber. According to Psychology Today, experts speculate that the relationships could end in one of two ways: With the manipulative party “discarding” the other person once they get what they want, or the victim finally prioritizing their wants and needs, which can be mentally and emotionally challenging.

After surviving a love bomber, a person can move past that toxic relationship by severing all contact with the offending person, taking steps to reestablish a sense of self, rebuilding relationships with family and friends and learning to trust once more — often with the assistance of a therapist.

Relationships aren’t easy, and there are situations when jealousy is acceptable, understandable and not harmful. Chronic, severe jealousy, however, is deceptive and toxic.

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