Everything seemed perfect in the beginning. The person you’d just started dating made you feel special and gave you tons of attention. They showered you with gifts and compliments and even said “I love you” after a couple of weeks.
Woah. Pump the brakes.
If the person you’re dating starts putting the relationship into overdrive a little too soon, you could be headed into lovebombed territory.
When you’re just learning how to have a healthy relationship, it’s easy to think these are good signs. They’re all qualities in a healthy relationship, right? Yes, but when things feel excessive and way too early on in your relationship, it’s totally normal to question their intentions. The trouble is it can be hard to detect if you’re fully invested in this person.
A love bombing cycle can isolate and manipulate you before you even realize it, so you have to know what love bombing is and the signs to watch out for.
What exactly does it mean to be lovebombed? Love bombing happens when a romantic partner gives excessive attention and affection early on in a relationship. The receiver feels loved and feeds off the boosted levels of endorphins and dopamine. (Yay, love!)
But there’s an ulterior motive: making their partner feel dependent and obligated to commit. And it all happens at a rate that’s far from normal. Building a healthy relationship usually takes months – love bombing unfolds within days or weeks. That initial euphoria you felt? It’s temporary, and everything takes a turn for the worse. A partner who claimed to be your soulmate and the love of your life is suddenly insulting you and putting you down. What the heck happened?!
Once they’ve got you hooked, they might start to withdraw or ghost you and then come back with extravagant apologies and over-the-top gestures. Or they might gaslight you, knowing they’re totally in control and can return whenever they want to continue this love bombing cycle of emotional abuse.
Someone who lovebombs wants a partner who’s “okay” with emotional abuse and a controlling dynamic, and who’s overly co-dependent so they can boost their ego. After they win you over, they have no use for you start pulling away from the relationship.
How do you know if you’re being lovebombed? Here’s how to recognize a love bombing cycle. (You might notice some or all of these signs, so use your best judgment!)
A love bomber demands commitment – right away. They rush the relationship. They immediately make serious milestone plans, like moving in together or talking about marriage or kids. Remember, genuine relationships take time to develop. You can’t rush these milestones! Pay attention to how you’re feeling – and notice if anything feels like it’s happening way sooner than you’re comfortable with.
Your partner might start acting like your relationship is ripped from the pages of a romance novel. They claim you’re soulmates. It’s fate. You were destined to be together. Within days or weeks of your first date, they might even tell you they love you. Most couples don’t say “I love you” until at least the three-month mark or later – real love takes time! (Even if you are soulmates!)
A love bomber wants to spend time together non-stop. They can’t get enough of your attention and want it 24/7. They might bombard you with excessive text messages or calls – and that constant contact can feel overwhelming and one-sided. Your partner might also try to stop you from spending time with your friends and family. They might make you feel like you owe them something and guilt you into only spending time with them.
The love bomber wants you to fall for them quickly, so they’ll go overboard with compliments and praise so you attach your self-worth to their opinion. They may say things like, “I’ve never met anyone like you” or “I love everything about you.” Seems innocent enough, but when these compliments are doled out before you really know each other, you might be on the path to love bombing.
You might notice this sign early in the love bombing process. They’ll shower you with over-the-top gifts, like plane tickets, ten dozen roses, or expensive jewelry. If you try to refuse the gifts or say they’re too much, they won’t take no for an answer. For them, it’s all about the grand gesture and making you feel like you owe them something. And, yep, that can make you feel guilty and obligated to stay with them.
Let’s say you think things are progressing too quickly. Maybe you ask your partner to slow things down. The love bomber will get offended and upset if you try to set some boundaries. They might say things like “I thought you were different” or “I thought we had something special.” Someone who’s love bombing you will put you down and make you feel guilty if you try to stand up for yourself.
Getting lovebombed can feel intoxicating at first, but these are not qualities in a healthy relationship. Pay attention to your intuition and the anxiety you feel with this person. Always trust your gut and know that if you feel like things are happening too quickly, it’s a red flag.
As soon as you suspect they’re love bombing you, leave them, block them, unfollow them, and find the support you need from friends, family, or a therapist. You want to build healthy relationships (not toxic ones!), so the sooner you safely remove yourself from the situation and stop communicating with them, the better.
Our Love Appeal community is a great source of support for all things dating and relationships. We offer one-on-one coaching to help you learn how to have a healthy relationship and avoid the love bombing cycle so you can find the kind of love you deserve. Find out more about joining our community and all the benefits of membership here.
Hi, I’m Raghed!
Founder and lead relationship coach at HeartAppeal.
Our blog will be your new favorite place to go for advice, laughs, and comfort through all the stages of dating. We stay up-to-date on all the latest dating trends, so you don’t have to. Have a topic you’d like us to cover or a story you’d like to share with our community? Send me an email; we’d love to include it!