What Is Love Bombing: The Red Flags To Look Out For

We’ve all been there: sold a dream by a love interest very early on and – due to a lack of experience in the often savage dating world – take their word on it and get excited, only to later learn the hard lesson that lasting love isn’t built this way.

This common dating experience is called love bombing. Basically, they promise the world and then, unsurprisingly, fail to deliver. Often you’re being kept there as an option until the next thing falls their way. It’s brutal, and frankly if you find yourself encountering it, know you deserve better than this!

While some forms of love-bombing might seem mild, its a term that can actually refer to a more serious red flag in a relationship, especially when seemingly loving acts such as sending flowers and gifts, texting and calling – among other behaviours – are used to assert control over another person.

“Love bombing is an attempt to influence and manipulate a partner by repeated and intense demonstrations of attention and affection, such as bombarding with gifts or messages,” explained Ruth Davison, Refuge chief executive officer. “It is commonly used by perpetrators of domestic abuse to assert power and control.”

The Crown Prosecution Service (CPS) has recently updated its guidance on the ways in which abusive partners can emotionally and physically manipulate and control people and love-bombing has officially been added to this list.

The guidance says prosecutors should consider whether these acts form part of the course of conduct.

So what should you look out for if you suspect you’re being love bombed?

It can come in many forms, but often includes things like:

  • Being promised heavy commitment early on
  • Being complimented or gifted things non-stop
  • Being showered in affection right from the off (when it’s just too soon)
  • They give you lots of attention and expect that back (again, when it’s too soon)
  • They don’t respect your boundaries or try to take things personally, making you compromise on your non-negotiables
  • Signs of intense jealousy – accusing you of flirting with others, making you feel guilty for having interests outside of your relationship.

Love bombing is ultimately a form of manipulation, because it makes you feel a certain way that benefits the love bomber (e.g. they feel secure that they have your affections). What might look sweet and cute at the start can quickly turn sour.

Love-bombing may also often be used as part of reconciliation, after a victim has pulled back from an abuser after a particular incident of abuse.

Where to seek help if you are being love bombed

If any of our love bombing examples sound familiar and you’re worried about someone’s behaviour, help is available.

Charities such as Refuge, Women’s Aid and Solace can all help women and children find support in abusive relationships. There’s also Galop, which is dedicated to LGBT+ people, Men’s Advice Line for men, and Southall Black Sisters to Black and ethnic minority women.