Is it true love or are you being love bombed?

Is the adoration and attention you’re receiving from your new beau a sign of true love, or is it love bombing? Here’s how to tell and what to do about it.

From sifting through potential dates to spotting the walking red flags, navigating the dating world in the quest for love is hard.

Then you meet someone who sweeps you off your feet and in the whirlwind of a new romance, you’re convinced you’ve found “the one”.

The question is: Is this your fairytale love story, or are you being love bombed?

What is love bombing?

Love bombing is when someone showers you with compliments, affection and attention – from over-the-top adoration and lavish gifts to excessive texting and calls.

They’ll tell you what they think you want to hear, with a focus on how wonderful you are and how much they like you, to create a strong attachment quickly.

According to dating and relationship coach Jiveny Blair-West, this behaviour can be confusing, particularly when starting a new relationship.

“It’s natural to be excited that someone is showing interest in us,” Jiveny says.

“But the difference between normal excitement and love bombing is when part of us feels uncomfortable because what they’re saying isn’t earned; it’s too much too soon.”

Is love bombing bad?

Love bombing can be a symptom of someone who is a narcissist or sociopath, dating and relationship coach Samantha Jayne says.

“It’s their strategy to get you in because they don’t have the emotional capacity to connect with you; they lack empathy,” she explains.

“Then, later on in the relationship, when the love bombing stops, they’ll have their tantrums and then go back to love bombing.

“It’s abuse and coercive control.”

What are the signs of love bombing?

Jiveny says there are four telltale signs to look for:

  1. Trying to move the relationship on quickly
    “They want to see you multiple times per week; they want your attention and promise a future,” Jiveny explains.
  2. Demanding your attention
    “They guilt-trip you if you’re not giving them enough attention,” she says.
  3. Disrespecting your boundaries
    For example, if they want to see you on Tuesday but you tell them you don’t have time and suggest hanging out on the weekend instead, they get upset and try to make you feel guilty, Jiveny says.
  4. Attempting to isolate you from family and friends
    “They will put the people in your life down and criticise anything they perceive to be a threat to their relationship with you,” Jiveny explains.

“In worst-case scenarios, it can lead to abusive relationships where they attempt to separate you from all other supports.”

How long does love bombing last?

“It depends on the motives of the person doing the love bombing,” Jiveny says.

This manipulation can last anywhere from weeks to years in the case of a longstanding relationship.

In a dating scenario, the person may initially come on strong, offering many compliments, only to “ghost” you soon after.

They may also love bomb multiple people at the same time.

Why does someone love bomb then ghost?

When it comes to dating and relationships, there are many reasons why someone will love bomb then ghost, including being unable to keep promises, finding someone new or feelings of shame.

“It could be a promise of commitment – I’ve heard stories of people being told, ‘I can see us getting married and having kids,’ and a few months later, the person who said these things realises they didn’t mean it,” Jiveny says.

“It’s too much (for them), so they run.”

What to do about love bombing

If you suspect you’re being love bombed, listen to your gut and run a test.

For example, set a boundary such as making yourself unavailable for a week or taking a step back from communication to see how the person reacts.

“Take a breath and start to distance yourself from that person to ground yourself … (and) gain a better perspective,” Samantha says.

“If they sense what you’re doing, they’ll feel like they’re losing control and go harder to draw you back in – that’s a red flag.”

Samantha suggests you compose yourself, check in with someone outside the relationship and wait for the love bomber’s reaction.

Written by Kate Salemme.