Dating, or at least trying to date in this generation is an activity I want to stay away from. As someone who’s been manoeuvring her way through the rocky pathways of modern dating, I can confidently say that I’m ready to retire from it at the ripe age of 25. I met a ‘charming’ man at a flea festival, a few months ago. Sparks flew, and the infamous talking stage began. Constant communication, excessive flattery and the ‘rush’ to take things further seemed like a romantic movie to me, but in reality, what was happening was love-bombing.
The romantic in me refused to spot the obvious, blatant red flags despite the obsession and excessive communication, because who doesn’t enjoy constant flattery? It was only when I found out this person was getting involved with other women behind my back, did I decide to withdraw myself entirely from this situation. While I was lucky enough to find myself in just the initial phase of love bombing, not everyone’s as lucky. Ask all the victims of ‘Simon Leviev’ aka the Tindler Swindler who love bombed his way to stealing millions of dollars from his love interests.
“Characterised by the sudden bombardment of ‘love’ in the form of extreme affection, intense feelings of passion and attention, love-bombing may seem harmless at first sight, but it’s often a tool used by narcissists and abusers to gain control and manipulate emotions,” explains Ruchi Ruuh, a relationship counsellor. What may seem charming at the beginning of a relationship is a tactic to make sure you’re emotionally dependent on your partner explains Shanaya Boyce, a trauma-informed relationship therapist.
Signs That You’re Being Love Bombed
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This isn’t a one-size-fits-all scenario where every person experiences the same signs. With ghosting and emotional unavailability at an all-time high, mistaking red flags for actual feelings of romance is common. Ruchi explains that the rapid progression of your relationship is a clear sign of being love bombed. While Shanaya also adds that intense idealisation and putting your partner on a pedestal can be a tell-tale sign of being love-bombed.
To make it a tad bit simpler, here are a few things a love bomber would say to you.—
“Do you really want to hang out with your friends today? I thought it could be just you and me.” – Shanaya explains that love bombers often isolate their partners from friends, family and other sources of support.
“Why aren’t you responding to my calls or texts? I’m just worried about you.” – Ruchi elaborates that a love bomber needs to keep lines of communication on constantly as a way to control you.
“I’m so crazy about you, I got you this bag from Marc Jacobs.” – Shanaya warns that these people have the tendency to shower their partners with expensive gifts in order to manipulate you into believing that they care about you.
The Difference Between Being Love Bombed & The Honeymoon Phase
If I’m being extremely honest, there’s a thin line between love bombing and being in the middle of the classic honeymoon phase. Because the signs of love bombing can be so subtle, they can be mistaken for actual feelings of love. Trust me I’ve been there. Shanaya points out that differentiating between these 2 phases can be challenging since they both involve intense emotions and heightened excitement.
“But the honeymoon phase is characterised by a sense of joy, fascination and exploration of the relationship where both partners are actively involved in building a relationship based on trust and open communication”, says Shanaya. Whereas she asserts that love bombing displays one-sided and manipulative behaviour where the love bomber rushes the relationship, crosses boundaries and becomes jealous in the smallest instances.
Ways To Withdraw Yourself
If you’ve been a victim of love bombing, I use the word victim because the United Kingdom has officially recognised this as a form of abuse—you should know that it’s absolutely normal to harbour feelings towards your love bomber. Ruchi points out that there are a couple of things one can do to withdraw from a relationship that’s built on love-bombing. “It all begins with trusting your intuition, if something feels too good to be true, believe and acknowledge it.”, she suggests.
Shanaya adds that setting boundaries is a must when you suspect your partner might be coming on too strong. I wish I’d established clear-cut boundaries to maintain my autonomy! Additionally, Ruchi also suggests seeking professional help in case one feels like they cannot get themselves out of this particular situation.