What Is Love Bombing?

Since dating moved on from women dropping their handkerchiefs as valiant gentlemen rushed up to hand it back to them, to an online Garbage Fire where you now have to suspect those you’re attracted to are catfishing with images that, sure, might still be them, only from a decade or three ago – and let’s just say time hasn’t been too kind to them in the interim. The online dating space is fraught with challenges, and it’s already given us red flag terms like breadcrumbing and ghosting, Now, the latest red flag you need to know is a term described as ‘love bombing’, which could just mean you’re dating a narcissist. 

If you’re not yet familiar with the term, love bombing involves making a conscious effort to show lots of affection right at the beginning of a relationship or flirtatious interaction, with the sole aim of getting attention and making the other person dependent on you. It includes lots of romantic conversation, long talks about “our future” and long periods of staring into each other’s eyes. Through the combination of words and deeds, love bombing is pretty easy to execute and a powerful tool of manipulation. Given that social media also allows us to stay connected now 24/7, this tactic is on the increase too, according to the New York Post and Business Insider. 

It might sound trivial enough, but the impact of love bombing can be devastating. We saw this just recently, as FKA Twigs sued former partner Shia LaBeouf, citing physical and emotional abuse during the course of their relationship, which LaBeouf has denied. In the lawsuit, FKA Twigs describes how the early days of their relationship were marked with “over-the-top displays of affection” and gradually became abusive. This, right here, is evidence of love bombing. 

In an interview with Elle, the musician said: “If you put a frog in a boiling pot of water, that frog is going to jump out straight away. Whereas if you put a frog in cool water and heat it up slowly, that frog is going to boil to death. That was my experience being with [LaBeouf].”

This kind of manipulation is dangerous for obvious reasons, but it’s also a common trait for those with narcissistic personality disorder, where someone has an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for attention and admiration. Unfortunately, just like most other forms of emotional abuse, it can be difficult to escape. Cutting ties with the person is the obvious necessary step, but it’s easier said than done. 

If you suspect you’re dating someone engaging in love bombing, it’s important to say no, push back and ensure you put down boundaries that are respected. 

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