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Relationships. They can be simple or messy, long or short, dramatic or anticlimactic. But, the majority of all relationships start with one thing: interest. One person is interested in another, then it continues by asking them out on a date, or “Netflix and chilling”, (is that still a cool term?) and the relationship continues. But what happens if that interest turns into something else, like an obsession? This obsession can be known as love bombing, and that’s when things get dangerous. According to Dr. Chitra Raghavan, a professor of psychology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, states that “everything that happens in a healthy relationship can also happen in an unhealthy relationship.” So what specifically should you be looking out for next time you’re on a date and want to make sure you aren’t being love bombed? 

What is Love Bombing? 

Love bombing is a manipulative tactic that a person uses to overwhelm their new partner with flattery, compliments, affection, overbearing gifts, and basically makes it so that the partner feels as though they just found their future forever spouse. As stated by Dr.Ravghavan, “The reality is, the person who is doing the love bombing is creating or manipulating the environment to look like he’s the perfect or she’s the perfect mate.” They show up on the first date and after an hour of being with you they exclaim things such as “you’re perfect for them” and “they’ve never felt this way with anyone else before”. These seemingly harmless exclamations sound like things we all want to hear from our partners, but do they really know you well enough after one hour to be saying it to you? 

Signs of Love Bombing

  1. Lavishing you with gifts

Now this one may seem like a pretty obvious one. You guys are out killing time before your reservations at a shopping mall, and out of nowhere they bring you into an expensive store and let you pick out whatever you want and pay for it all. Now, a lot of people already know that this is a red flag. You barely know the person yet you’re already buying them gifts? But some people will just be blinded by the attention and gifts, so much so that they are unable to sense the true potential danger in this action. It will overwhelm the victim, to the point where they don’t see the danger in front of them. Although, gift-giving isn’t always a red flag. For a lot of people, giving gifts is one of their forms of showing affection with no malicious intent. But if it’s on the first date, and they hardly know you, then there may be cause for concern. 

  1. Constant compliments

We are all human, and we all love receiving compliments (especially when we are trying to impress someone for the first time and they notice). Consistent praise can make us overlook the most potent red flags. What can be confusing is that if they don’t express their feelings, that can also be a red flag. It all boils down to what the recipient is comfortable with. The majority of the time, the love bomber will use over-the-top phrases. Some of the phrases they may use could be:

  • You’re the best thing to ever happen to me.”
  • “I can’t picture myself with anyone else.”
  • “I adore everything about you, you’re perfect for me.”

Although these compliments themselves aren’t causing any harm, it’s important to put them in comparison to the person’s behavior towards you. 

  1. They constantly need your attention

People, when they like someone, may constantly want their attention. You’re standing by your phone, waiting for a notification with their name on it, or you’re laying down eagerly waiting for that Facetime call. You’re typically doing other things while waiting, and you’re overjoyed when you finally hear from them. These are all normal behaviors when a person is attracted to another. What isn’t normal behavior is getting mad at the busy person. Some signs of this behavior can be ignoring you after you just got off the phone with someone or being mad when you say you have to be at an event early. 

  1. They constantly need to be texting and calling you

Going off of sign #3, this is a red flag. Of course, when you’re new in a relationship you want to be talking to them constantly. But normally, we understand when enough is enough and we back off. It generally becomes a red flag when texting and calling become one-sided and it overwhelms the victim. If you tell your partner that you have an important work call, they will typically understand and let you work. But, a love bomber will feel hurt and spin the situation into the victim not loving them anymore. 

  1. They are overly needy

You can give them all of your 24 hours of the day, and it still seems like it doesn’t satisfy them. You start canceling on your friends and family to spend time with them, start tensing up when they go a while without texting you, and they constantly need to know where you are. Usually, love bombers aren’t very good with boundaries. They expect the victim to receive all the love they are giving and feel threatened or insulted when the victim feels overwhelmed. 

Ways to End It

Being a victim of this type of abuse can be challenging. Your thought process is warped from their manipulation to the point where you feel as though you’re just overreacting. Always remember to trust your gut instincts. If you don’t feel 100% with this new relationship, try reaching out to a trusted friend, family member, or mental health therapist, so they can help you assess their behavior. Most likely, if you’re already feeling uneasy, your gut is right. There are so many resources for additional help on this matter below:

  • Love is Respect is a national dating abuse helpline that offers support and provides information on unhealthy relationships and behaviors.
  • One Love is a foundation helping put a stop to relationship abuse.

Not all of these signs mean that a person is love bombing you. Still, being equipped with this information and being able to trust your instincts can help you sniff out a dangerous situation.

Hello there! I am Yalines Medrano and I am a Forensic Science major at Lasell University with the class of 2024. I am from Peabody, Massachusetts and I love to read, watch anime, and hang out with friends! I am so excited to be involved in HER Campus!
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