The term ‘Love Bombing’ means just that, an explosion of excessive affection, compliments, lavish gifts and declarations of love. This might seem positive at first, however, it could be the first red flag of an unhealthy relationship, abuse or control.
Things like compliments, gifts and excitement with a new potential partner are totally normal; some call it the honeymoon period or being swept off your feet. But, people can often confuse controlling and coercive behaviour for love and affection (because that is what the abuser wants - to break down your barriers). An abusive person is rarely abusive at the beginning of a relationship, as few people continue to stay and become even more attached. This over-the-top show of affection could be a manipulation technique, a way to charm you and trap you once you are emotionally invested.
Here are some classic ‘Love Bombing’ tactics and red flags to look out for.
Lavish Gifts & Excessive Compliments
Showering someone with excessive compliments or expensive gifts before you have properly gotten to know each other is a bit extreme. This can leave you feeling overwhelmed, but its intent can be to manipulate you into thinking you owe this person something in return, creating an unhealthy dynamic within the relationship from the get-go.
Another red flag to look out for is if someone gets you a gift or does something nice for you in the relationship and then brings it up at a later date. If they choose to do something nice for you or buy you a gift, that is their choice, and you are not indebted to them in any way.
Too Much Too Soon
People who want serious commitment from you but haven’t known you for very long. This could look like this:
Asking you to move in together straight away (or offering you keys to their house)
Speaking of marriage and babies after only a few dates
Calling you their soul mate, love at first sight before really knowing you that well
Real relationships take TIME, time to develop feelings, time to get to know each other’s good (and bad) habits, and feel truly comfortable and confident. Ask yourself, can someone truly love you more than anyone or anything after 2 minutes (or even 2 months) together? Remember, there is no rush!
Constant Calls & Texts
At the talking stage before entering a relationship, it can be normal to want to speak/text all the time. However, something to look out for is:
If the conversation is one-sided
If it ever makes you feel uncomfortable or pressured in any way
Someone who always wants your undivided attention
Being with your partner 24/7 is not healthy. If someone truly cares about you, they will want you to have time for yourself, respect other relationships in your life, such as friends and family, and respect your boundaries. If someone guilt trips you for spending time with others and makes you feel like you are doing something wrong, this is classic controlling behaviour, and it is never okay.
Overly Needy/Jealous Behaviour
Everyone has different preferences in a relationship, which is a good thing (life would be boring if we were all the same), but if someone is overly needy and you feel obliged to do things in a relationship, this could be another red flag. Make sure you are doing things because you want to, and not to please your partner or to try and avoid an argument.
Also, jealously is a normal human emotion, but relationships should have trust and someone else having trust issues is NOT your problem. People need to take responsibility for their own feelings and not project them onto others and try to pass them off as care.
What To Do
If you recognize some of these signs, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are in an unhealthy or toxic relationship, but always try and be mindful of people’s intentions and trust your intuition. If something seems ‘perfect’ or ‘too good to be true’, maybe it is. Some people go back to ‘Love Bombing’ in a relationship if they feel their control start to slip away. Try not to be deceived by any over the top gesture or gift to make up for disrespect within your relationship.
Abuse can come in many different forms, such as emotional abuse, financial control, threats and physical abuse – If any of this is or has affected you, it's important to remember it's never your fault - and always the abuser’s fault. If any of these issues affect you, try and speak to a friend or someone you trust. Ask yourself some questions about how things in the relationship make you really feel – and listen to your gut!