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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at FSU chapter.

Forget ghosting, love bombing is on the rise in dating, and it is not pleasant. According to Psychology Today, love bombing “refers to a pattern of overly affectionate behavior that typically occurs at the beginning of a new romantic relationship where one partner ‘bombs’ the other with over-the-top acts of adoration” to gain control in the relationship. Love bombing is a manipulative tactic that creates a high level of infatuation and codependence, making it harder for the victim to recognize that they’re being manipulated. 

Why do Men Love Bomb?

Whether they are conscious about it or not, men love bomb because they are insecure. Insecure men who love bomb do not feel fulfilled in life unless they are actively making someone fall in love with them. Essentially, they need someone to have a perfect image of them so that they can recognize this and feel amazing about themselves.

When the love bomber starts to think that someone is falling in love with them or if they believe someone feels highly of them, they crave this validation and use it to manipulate. To get their victims attached right off the bat, the love bomber meticulously says the right things that they know their partner wants to hear. To help you avoid these types of situations, I give you warning signs to look out for when you first start dating a romantic partner to distinguish real connection from love bombing.

1. Unjustified amounts of love, attention, and compliments soon after meeting

Don’t get me wrong, when you start talking to someone new, it is amazing to feel wanted right away. On the other hand, it is important to acknowledge if this new romantic interest is coming in too hot too fast. If this man says “I’ve never felt this way before about anyone” after the first date, take note. Ask yourself, does he even know me? If this guy doesn’t know your favorite color but claims he’s never felt this way before, he’s telling you what he thinks you want to hear. He wants you to see him as you’ve never seen anyone in your past and he’s putting you on a pedestal to make you feel special. 

Gifts are another way the love bomber can reel you in. Sure, gifts can be an act of love, but they can also be exploitative and emotionally manipulative. Love bombers give gifts to their romantic interests in the hopes that their victim will feel indebted to them. As a result, they will have more power and control in the relationship.

2. Wants to be with/texts you 24/7

While communication is essential in any healthy relationship, a love bomber excessively communicates in an unhealthy way. If the communication is feeling one-sided and you feel yourself becoming overwhelmed with the constant stream of messages, this is a bad sign. For one, this is not just clingy, but also annoying and unattractive. He needs to realize you have a life separate from him.

Furthermore, clinginess often comes from an intense feeling of insecurity, and it can absolutely be seen in love bombing. The love bomber wants you to be always thinking of them. Even if they can’t physically be with you, they want to ensure you have their attention.

3. Wanting to commit right away

If someone is trying to spend an unreasonable amount of time with you shortly after meeting, this can be a sign that they’re anxiously trying to move as fast as possible with you. This is especially the case if they get upset if you can’t see them every day or have real-life responsibilities.

Another sign that the love bomber is pushing for quick commitment is if they introduce you to important people right away. If he is talking about meeting his parents during the first date, red flag. This sign can be hard to recognize when you’re constantly being showered with affection, but it may quickly turn sour. 

4. Offended by setting boundaries

Boundaries need to exist in relationships because it helps build trust and maintain individuality. A love bomber who doesn’t like their partners to set boundaries will get upset and emotionally manipulate their partner. Say you are casually dating someone and they ask to hang out one night. Although you may want to see them, you already have plans with friends and say you’re busy. The love bomber may come back and say that you don’t like them, or you don’t try hard enough to guilt-trip you into getting what they want. Unfortunately, many love bombers are entitled narcissists who feel the world revolves around them, so they expect undivided attention from you.

How do you tell true love from love bombing?

The main difference is that true love is two-sided and feels right for both individuals. Even if the relationship seems to be moving fast, it does not feel that way to you. If you are constantly confused by how you feel, if you don’t know the other person that well and if you feel overwhelmed with the constant affection, you’re probably being love bombed.

If you believe that is the case, you need to trust your gut and get out of this situation regardless of how you may feel for the other person. This is to protect yourself and stay out of a toxic relationship down the road.

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Lexi is a third-year student at FSU majoring in public relations. She enjoys spending time with friends, coffee, concerts, reading, and the beach.