Finally – it’s happened. You’ve met the most perfect man ever, the man you’d begun to fear you’d never meet. The man you’d begun to think didn’t exist. But now you’ve met him. He’s charming, romantic, devoted, in fact he already seems to know you inside out. He calls every day, he sends you flowers and you’ve just spent the most romantic evening of your life having dinner with him. At the end of the evening he escorted you home, kissed your hand and said he’d call tomorrow. And he did.
It’s called love bombing.
Soon he’ll start telling you he’s fallen in love, that you’re the one and only woman for him, that he’s never felt like this before, that he wants to love you, protect you, marry you and take care of you for the rest of your life.
It’s called love bombing.
Sorry but real, genuine, well-intentioned men don’t indulge in that kind of hyperbole or imply (not actually make) promises that are inappropriate in someone you barely know.
It’s called love bombing.
But he sounds so convincing. And he always, always says exactly what you wanted him to say, what you hoped he would say. And that’s because he’s saying it for exactly that reason. He’s giving you what you’ve always wanted from a man, but he doesn’t mean a word of it.
It’s called love bombing.
Why the Love Bomber is So Successful…
Have you ever been swept off your feet by a wonderful new man who just seems to completely ‘get’ you? He’s so attentive, so charming and all this attention and charm in the first flush of love is overwhelming. Can this be it? It must be.
It’s powerfully seductive for a woman when a man showers her with romantic attention. And not just once, but over a period of days and weeks. He calls every day, he texts in the morning and again last thing at night. He cooks perfect candlelit dinners, buys beautiful expensive gifts and tells her he’s never met a woman who made him feel so happy. At every parting he says he can’t wait to see her again.
It makes her feel appreciated and valued.
Soon she translates the attention into genuine feelings on his part; and why shouldn’t she? After all, he keeps telling her that he’s sure he’s found his soul mate and that they are meant to be together.
…And So Dangerous
There are several kinds of love bomber and getting mixed up with any variety never ends well. But the first thing all of them do it to put you on a pedestal.
They make feel good about yourself.
No, they make you feel AMAZING!
Sometimes it does feel like too much, too soon but the expert love bomber will avoid that pitfall. And being praised like this is physically addictive because it releases dopamine in the brain, which gives you all those wonderful feelings of happiness and security. There’s no doubt in your mind this time. This man is so convincing in his admiration and devotion that it is impossible to imagine it ever changing.
To him you’re perfect
In fact, EVERYTHING’S perfect
Now anyone on a pedestal is going to fall off sooner or later, and that’s when the love bomber moves on to the second stage. By now you’ve bought the dream that this man is The One and that happy ever after isn’t just within reach, it’s here.
So when the first cloud appears on the horizon it seems literally unbelievable, so you don’t believe it.
Perhaps he didn’t call when you expected or he made some criticism or he reproached you for something you said or did. You’re devasted by the sudden change from moonlight and roses; but he apologizes, he’s contrite and soon everything’s fine again.
Beware of Love Bombing: The Second Phase
Except it isn’t.
Because soon there’s another little tiff and then another, a bit bigger this time. But you’re still living in the stars and so every time it happens you’re desperate to put it right and return to dreamland.
Because somehow, it’s always your fault.
But dreamland has gone. The perfect lover isn’t swooning over you any more, but you’re still sure it’ll be fine in the end.
It’s just becoming harder to get there. And he’s not quite as attentive and devoted as he was.
He seemed to be so perfectly in tune with you – but when you expressed a contrary opinion he didn’t accept it with grace and try to understand it. Instead he got angry, asked how you could possibly think such a thing and lectured you on why you were entirely in the wrong.
You were mortified and agreed to agree with him. That last thing you want to do is quarrel, and it’s not that important.
Then something happens that matters too much for you to be ready to give way that easily. But you’re sure that if only you can explain your feelings to him, he’ll understand and support you.
But he doesn’t.
And when you stand your ground he get’s REALLY angry. He can’t believe you really care about him or you wouldn’t be making him so unhappy. He thought you were as one in everything. Now he’s utterly disillusioned.
This is a form of emotional abuse known as gaslighting. It leads the victim to question their perception of reality by twisting events to mean something other than they believed or intended. This leads to confusion and a loss of confidence and self-esteem, and perversely an increasing dependence on the perpetrator. The victim may even start to question their sanity.
In time the perpetrator turns to more overt manipulation. He rations his calls and the time you spend together. If you have a problem with that it’ll be you fault that it’s happening. If you want to see more of him and for him to be as sweet and loving as he was at the start then you’ll have to do what he wants. Not because he’s a selfish douchebag but because you have destroyed his trust and made him unhappy.
But he offers you a way back.
If you will be extra nice him – i.e. do what he wants – then he’ll be extra nice to you and everything will be just as it was at the beginning.
But if you don’t, well, he’s not sure he can stay with you. You obviously don’t really love him or you’d do what would make him happy instead of being selfish and only thinking about what you want.
And so it goes on, round and round in circles.
And by now you are constantly tense, walking on eggshells, trying so hard to keep him happy but knowing that sooner or later there will be another clash. But in between he still treats you to the occasional glimpse of the old him and whenever he does you remember why you’re with him and think: ‘This time it’s going to be OK. This time our happiness will last’.
But it doesn’t.
And the strain gets worse – and worse.
Beware of Love Bombing: The Third Phase
By now the dream days are long gone but he still holds out the promise of regaining them. But he’s made it quite clear that the loss is all your fault.
You still dream of the ‘love you once shared’, how happy you were (genuinely, even though it was based on an illusion) and how very, very much you want to get it all back.
In fact, he has you just where he wants you.
So what happens next?
Maybe all he wants is sex, another notch on the bedpost, so after he’s had it he loses interest in you and the calls and texts peter out. If you chase him he’ll probably ghost you. He might do that anyway.
That’s the good news.
It’s more common for things to continue on his terms. The relationship functions for his benefit and if you try to change it he’ll use anger, criticism or emotional blackmail to prevent you. The threat of leaving you will hover over your head.
In other words you are now enmeshed in an abusive relationship.
This can continue for years, and often leads to isolation from friends and family and increasing feelings of worthlessness and hopelessness about the future. He has convinced you that you are a useless, empty and pointless person: you are lucky he still bothers with you because no-one else would.
The alternative scenario is that he will clean you out.
This is most common in online relationships where the scammer sets up an alluring identity, grooms you to believe that he is in love with you and then asks for money (this is known at catfishing). But it happens in real life relationships too.
How to Recognize Love Bombing
How did you miss the signs that this was the wrong man for you?
Go back to where you first asserted your own wants and needs and found they were brushed aside. THIS was the red flag moment, which was compounded when you made the mistake of appeasing him. It’s a mistake many people would make and have made; but now you should use it as a gauge for the men you date in the future.
Do they listen to you and hear you?
Do they care if something they say or do upsets you?
Do they respect your boundaries?
Just because a relationship moves fast doesn’t automatically mean it’s love bombing. Sometimes you do meet the right person and just know from the start that you’ll be together. The difference is that your boyfriend isn’t framing the future by himself, it’s a mutual journey.
So if you say you’re afraid things are moving too fast, he won’t get angry or accuse you of not loving him, instead he’ll listen and talk about how you see the relationship developing.
In other words, he’ll show empathy.
The most obvious sign of love bombing is the lack of empathy the love bomber shows. He’s not interested in your feelings or wishes, only his own. Any deviation from his prescribed path is interpreted not as an expression of your individuality but as an attack on him.
How to Avoid Love Bombing
So how can you ensure you don’t fall into the love bombing trap again?
Well, people who are susceptible to love bombing are often lacking in self-esteem and the ability to assert themselves with confidence. It’s hard to stand up for yourself when you find social situations difficult or even overwhelming. And it’s easy to fall for someone who does all the hard work for you (in the beginning, of course), by pursuing you with such flattering tenacity.
But what if you could become more self-assured, more relaxed and more confident in social situations, especially with men? Imagine how much difference it would make if you could hold your own on meeting them and not just be at ease, but actually enjoy it?
It could transform your life. Go here to find out more.