What is love bombing and how can it affect you?

He who flatters cannot be trusted—or so Jesus said. 

11 July, 2023
What is love bombing and how can it affect your relationship?

Think of Heath Ledger in 10 things I Hate About You, when he disrupts a school day while singing Can’t Take My Eyes Off You or when Chuck screams his love for Blair when he sells his hotel to bring her back or even Mr Big from Sex and the City. These were the ever-so charming men who fell in love at first sight, were unafraid to express it, and were almost always successful in wooing the first not-so-interested girl into their lives. But love is hardly the overtly exaggerated experience of flowers showers, chocolates, and promises of a happy forever that we watch in a movie. Nonetheless, they’ve been instrumental in shaping our understanding of love and relationships and perhaps not in the best way.

Whether it’s Chuck or Noah, their overbearing gestures of love may not actually be an unconditional expression of their feelings for their significant other. According to psychologists, such behaviour is termed as ‘love bombing’—defined by the Cleveland Clinic as a form of psychological and emotional abuse that involves a person going above and beyond for you in an effort to manipulate you into a relationship with them. 

Imagine someone telling you they love you and want to spend the rest of their lives with you in the first few weeks of a relationship or incessantly showering you with gifts and remembering each and every date that the two of you spent together. Uncomfortable, right? According to an article in Cosmopolitan US, “Love bombing is a manipulative dating tactic used by narcissistic and abusive individuals.” While this may happen intentionally or unintentionally, the ultimate goal is often to seek control of the other person and not simply love them. “It’s about really getting the other person. Then, when they feel like they really got the person and they feel secure in the relationship, the narcissist typically switches and becomes very difficult, abusive, or manipulative,” the article reads. Such behaviour patterns often arise out of immense insecurity and the incessant need to pamper one’s ego. 

Here are some eye-catching signs of love bombing 


More often than not, love bombing can look like flattery or excessive praise, one too many presents within a short period of time, or even having emotionally intense conversations at an early stage in the relationship. But sometimes, it can be difficult to identify such behaviour—initially doing everything they can to gain your trust and then resorting to manipulation and abuse to gain control, at which point it may be too late. Here’s what love bombing can also look like. 

They’re moving at a faster than usual pace and are impatient to settle down

If you’re in the early stages of your relationship and your partner can’t wait to settle down with you or claim you as their forever-partner, it is likely to be a sign of love bombing. Such behaviour can also be seen through their efforts in introducing you to their family members or friends, speaking about moving in together, and proclaiming you as their soulmate. 

You feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable with their gestures

Given the normalcy of such behaviour, you might be wondering how to distinguish a loving relationship from love bombing. The difference is, in a loving relationship your partner would never do anything that would make you feel overwhelmed and even if they did, they would respect your boundaries thereon. But when it comes to love bombing, if your partner does something that has made you feel uneasy or uncomfortable, chances are, you won’t be able to communicate those feelings with them or when you do, they won’t be received well. 

They don’t want you spending too much time with your friends and family


In other words, they want you to spend all your time with them and no one else. Of course, they will not put it across as directly as this but will send convoluted messages. It may sound like, “I didn’t know you were going to spend time with them this evening,” or getting upset when you go somewhere without them. They will try and isolate you from your close ones, sometimes even ruining relationships with them and controlling your social activities. 

They are overtly expressive about their love for you 

Are you met with regular ‘I love yous?’ or frequent text messages expressing their feelings for you? Chances are you’re being love-bombed. This may also look like checking up on you frequently with questions about where you are or who you are with and sometimes expressing their love for you through frequent posts on social media to gain acceptance of your relationship. 

How can you heal from it? 

It goes without saying that love bombing is hardly the ideal picture of a relationship. In fact, such behaviour can have severe consequences on one’s mental and emotional well-being. What starts as early signs of toxicity may build up to become a full-blown abusive relationship. It can be hard to understand and even identify at first because you may feel validated and heard like never before, but remember, this person is unlikely to have your best interests at heart. 

If you begin to notice signs that your partner may be love bombing you, we’d definitely urge you to have a conversation with your partner and communicate what you are feeling and your need to draw certain boundaries. If you find they haven’t received this well or get defensive and argumentative about it, it might be best to end the relationship as their behaviour is unlikely to change and may even worsen with time.

If you have been in such kind of a relationship for a long time now, it may be difficult and messy to get out of it. Seek help and support from your friends and family members—open up about your feelings. They will be there for you, no matter what. You can also seek professional help and therapy if you find that the relationship is having a detrimental impact on your mental and emotional health.