What Is Love Bombing Anyway? Here Are 5 Signs Your Partner Is Doing It to You
If your partner's grand gestures always come with a motive, it might be time to get out.
A weekend getaway to the Bahamas, jewelry and flowers "just because," a candlelit dinner at the toughest table in town—and you've only been dating them for a few weeks. If you suspect the person you're with is too good to be true, as dates with them are so over the top that even the producers of The Bachelor would call it "a bit much," you might be experiencing "love bombing," especially if these grand gestures tend to come with a price.
Love bombing is a dangerous form of manipulation often used by narcissists. It's identified by excessive attention, affection, and admiration with the intent of making the victim feel obligated and dependent on the love bomber. Keep reading to find out five signs your partner might be love-bombing you, according to relationship experts and therapists.
5 Signs Your Partner Is Love Bombing You
1. Grand gestures tend to turn into grand requests.
When it comes to love bombing, strings are always attached, as the goal is to control you.
"A major key to spotting love bombing is that the grand gestures usually turn into grand requests," says Bethany Nicole, a relationship expert and author. "The partner begins to make big asks of the other person, things like moving in together, sharing bank accounts, lessening their time spent with others outside of the relationship, or checking in on a regular basis."
"One partner can shower another one with constant affection, attention, and grand gestures, making them feel like they're the most special person in the world," adds Laura Wasser, a relationship expert and chief of divorce evolution at Divorce.com. "But the thing is, it's not genuine—it's just a ploy to keep their partner hooked and under their thumb."
2. It's too much, too soon.
If you feel your parter is displaying these over-the-top gestures before you even know their middle name, or more importantly who they truly are, this can be another sign of love bombing.
"They rush to define the relationship or accelerate commitment," says Madeline Lucas, LCSW, therapist and clinical content manager at Real. "They might want to introduce you to their family and friends immediately, or they very quickly start speaking about 'locking down' or formalizing the relationship, instead of allowing [it] to take its natural course… Love bombing is in turn more a projection of a connection or bond that isn't there yet and may never be."
3. It feels disingenuous.
Love bombing can feel like the lyrics to Taylor Swift's "Blank Space," where their affection doesn't seem to be specific to you.
"I had a client whose boyfriend showered her with gestures of gifts, flowers, and love letters but… the gestures seemed to be more grand than thoughtful," shares Nicole. "For example, gifts of two dozen roses when she didn't even like roses, and love letters that shared a lot of emotion but not a lot of individualized details. It felt like the gestures could be translated to any partner, as opposed to a specific partner."
For more relationship advice delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for our daily newsletter.
4. It's intrusive and overwhelming.
While grand gestures are often one-time things, such as a birthday present or anniversary gift, love bombing is more of a constant barrage of attention.
"If your partner is love-bombing you, he or she might also be very annoying and always trying to control you in other ways, like constantly checking in on you, monitoring your social media, and getting jealous easily even without any reason," says Wasser.
Since your love bomber is giving you so much attention, they will begin to expect the same from you. "This can be in the form of forcing you to prioritize their needs and time with them over time with your other loved ones in your life," says Lucas.
"If you're feeling overwhelmed by the attention and are unsure if it's love or manipulation, trust your gut," Wasser advises. "Don't let the love bomber cloud your judgment, and remember that a healthy relationship involves mutual respect and trust."
5. Your boundaries are not respected.
You can't seem to set boundaries with a love bomber. "They don't listen when you say 'no,'" says Lucas. "Instead of respecting your 'no' they will try and convince you to do what they want you to do."
"If your partner is unwilling to respect your boundaries, it might be time to cut ties," adds Wasser. "It's important to prioritize your own well-being and safety. Don't be afraid to reach out for support from friends, family, or a professional if you need it."