Written by One Love staff member Gabriel Naccarato
A new relationship can be one of the most exciting times in your life. Whether that’s a new friend or partner, it’s easy to get caught up in the whirlwind and bombard them with a million text messages in a row.
You share every funny post you see on Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, any social media you can get your hands on. When you’re scrolling and scrolling, it’s hard to remember that not everybody is poring through content like you are. Then there’s the urge to give them gifts all the time, say “I love you” or make the relationship official. You really like the person and you want them to know it.
Everyone does this, especially when meeting someone new. But when does excitement end and love bombing begin? When can a honeymoon phase turn unhealthy and potentially dangerous?
What is Love Bombing?
Love bombing is a form of control that appears harmless on the surface. Love bombing may include showering a new partner or friend with affection, compliments, gifts, or favors. All of this is done early in the relationship to establish control and a sense of trust in a partner.
The true danger of love bombing comes when you try to assert your own independence or boundaries, which is when a love bomber will try and use that control and false trust, they gained over you.
What are the Signs of Love Bombing?
- You feel like the relationship is moving too fast
The harder you fall, the easier a love bomber can establish a dependency on their affection. Falling in love or making a new friend feels amazing, but they might be moving faster to find ways to control your behavior and take advantage of the butterflies in your stomach.
- Your conversations are mostly about receiving compliments.
Everyone enjoys a compliment. If you’re feeling emotionally exhausted from all the compliments or if they feel too extreme for the early stages of your friendship or relationship, that’s a red flag. Love bombers build up your self-esteem to tear it down later.
- Your friend or partner doesn’t like you hanging out without them.
Your new friend or partner doesn’t need to be besties with your loved ones, but love bombers try to isolate their partners from other people, becoming the sole giver of affection.
- You feel a cycle of building up and breaking down your self-esteem.
If one day, you feel amazing talking with them, then you feel horrible the next, this may be a love bomber fluctuating your self-esteem and training you to act in ways that will have the most control over you.
How to Protect Yourself
- Talk with your friend or partner.
Have an honest discussion about how you’re feeling. Identify problematic behaviors and give concrete examples. There may be defensiveness or hurt feelings, but a loved one who isn’t intentionally trying to love bomb you will listen, apologize and make the necessary changes in time.
Whether a friend or partner responds with a promise to change or continues their behavior, it’s time for some boundaries. Again, be specific in the changes you want to see and how you’ll limit the interactions that are making you uncomfortable.
If something feels off, listen to that feeling. Your gut is your number one defense and your first step in making a change. If things don’t change and you feel smothered, it might be time to end the relationship. Develop a plan to leave safely with trusted loved ones.
Love bombing can look and feel like a honeymoon phase, but it’s intense and unhealthy for a long-term relationship. It’s important to know the signs and how to protect yourself and your relationship.
If you or someone you know is experiencing an unhealthy or abusive relationship, check out our real-time resources, or call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233.