Love bombing is a term widely used within the context of a romantic relationship. It’s essentially a form of manipulation that attempts to artificially create intimacy. When someone love bombs you, it means they lavish you with intense affection, attention, and praise in an attempt to win your trust and affection early in the relationship. Like, too early. In the first few days or weeks.
This phenomenon also relates to oxytocin addiction (which is more than just another red flag).
What is Love Bombing?
Love bombing is an extreme form of romantic manipulation in which a new partner showers you with affection, gifts, and attention very quickly in order to woo you into a false sense of intimacy. They sweep you off your feet, like in the movies. You feel like Ginger Rogers being spun around the dance floor by Fred Astaire.
However, this isn’t the movies, and such behavior rarely results in a happy ending. More often, it’s a sign that this is a ploy to form a bond (which you’ll later realize is a trauma bond), so you’re less likely to walk away once you get to know them better.
Love bombing can occur over email, text, phone calls, or even face-to-face conversations as a way to speed up the bonding process between two people who are feeling each other out romantically. It’s especially common in online dating settings where people often don’t have an opportunity to get to know each other in person before getting involved in a relationship.
How to Spot Love Bombing
Love bombing is largely dependent on the amount of time you and the person who is love bombing you have spent together. For example, if you have only been seeing each other for a few weeks, but they are showering you with gifts, compliments, and attention—even telling you they love you—this is more than likely love bombing.
This manipulative person is maximizing the effects of oxytocin, the love hormone. It gives you that feeling of excitement and attraction in a new relationship. The polyamorous community calls this NRE (New Relationship Energy). Oxytocin is very addictive, and I’ve met more than a few men who jump from relationship to relationship every three months to ride that oxytocin high again and again, leaving a trail of heartbreak in their wake. Love bombing from one woman to the next.
Other red flags that may indicate that you are being love bombed are having a partner who is very eager to move things along very fast, perhaps attempting to control your time and/or social activities, Love bombing is a very impulsive form of behavior and is often fueled by an intense desire to capture your trust as quickly as possible.
Love bombing is a tactic used by narcissists in particular. They dump all the affection and attention on you at the beginning, often expressing love very quickly, because they know that sex with a woman in love is better. It’s all about them, make no mistake. The other reason they do this is that it’s all they have to give. Narcissists are incapable of love or empathy, so this grand show is part of their mask. It’s how the entrap someone to ensure their narcissistic supply.
Such manipulative behavior could spark a lot of “chemistry” between the two of you, and the sex will be phenomenal; but please remember, that thing we call “chemistry” is your brain telling you to RUN! When you’re inexplicably, intensely drawn to someone like that, it’s your brain telling you …. “Here’s some unresolved childhood trauma we can play out, again and again.” Seriously, run.
Oxytocin is a powerful hormone that is released during moments of intimacy such as sexual intercourse, childbirth, and breastfeeding. It’s referred to as the “love hormone,” as it is also responsible for promoting feelings of trust and social bonding. People become addicted to the rush of oxytocin that occurs during these moments.
Due to the nature of love bombing, it’s highly likely that the person who is love bombing you is exploiting this natural phenomenon for their own benefit. This is particularly problematic if you are a person who is hypersensitive to the rush of oxytocin.
If you crave the rush of oxytocin more and more, it’s possible that you may be addicted to the feelings of love bombing. You are trapped in a trauma bond, but you may not be able to recognize it due to the fact that you are addicted to the rush of oxytocin. This is common in the abuse cycle on the upswing, the make-up phase.
When love and abuse comes from the same person, we begin to confuse the two. We can no longer tell them apart.
Why It’s Dangerous
Love bombing is, in general, a bad sign; however, it can vary in intensity. If the person who is love bombing you also exhibits controlling behavior, has a borderline personality, or has a history of assault, this is cause for extreme concern. Love bombing by itself is unlikely to escalate into an assault or controlling situation. Many just ride the oxytocin high, dump you, and find their next target.
However, if they also exhibit jealous or controlling behavior, it could lead to stalking, threatening behavior, or an attempt to isolate you from your friends and family. If one day you no longer recognize them, perhaps they’ve gone cold or all the affect has drained from their face, they could be a narcissist or sociopath, then their response to the slightest criticism or complaint could result in violence, as it did in my case.
Generally speaking, love bombing is a red flag because it indicates an attempt to capture your trust and affection as quickly as possible. This can be a sign that the person who is love bombing you is, at best, someone desperate for a relationship and, at worst, a dangerous person who’s manipulating you, nothing more.
If you find yourself in a situation where you feel extremely uncomfortable or notice you’re being love bombed, it’s important to set firm boundaries and communicate to the person that you would prefer if they didn’t lavish you with gifts and attention so quickly. If they respect your boundaries, perhaps they are just excited to have found someone as awesome as you. If they don’t…RUN.