Love bombing is when a manipulator shows excessive displays of affection and attention toward their dating partner to get them invested in the relationship early on without having to put effort in you in the long-term. Here are five concrete signs what you’re experiencing isn’t love – it’s love bombing, future faking, and intense physical chemistry.
The intense physical chemistry feels dangerous.
When you’re around a magnetic, charismatic manipulator, the spark between you two can feel larger than life. You feel physically drawn to each other by a connection that is not just physical but also emotional from the constant attention you’ve received from the love bomber. Yet you may experience a great deal of anxiety along with this chemistry – manifesting in heart palpitations, dizziness, stomachaches, and sweaty palms. That’s because a narcissistic manipulator has all the tools to get you to feel special and desirable with their tender compliments and extravagant displays of romance, but your intuition is screaming out for help. Love bombing is an adrenaline rush that warns you of danger ahead. Watch out. This type of spark tends to fizzle out quickly as the red flags begin to pop up.
The relationship moves too quickly for your comfort.
If a dating partner is asking for your hand in marriage only after a couple dates as anything other than a flirtatious joke, you should be wary. If they’re in constant contact with you, taking up hours of your time each day with texts, phone calls, and long conversations, they’re trying to fast-forward the relationship without putting in the time and effort to organically get to know you.
You feel entranced by the promise of the relationship, but not fully connected with them.
When you’re being love bombed, you’ll get the simultaneous sense that you’ve known your dating partner for decades, but that they’re still a stranger to you. That’s because they are. In the beginning, the love bomber makes grand promises to love you, take care of you, and build a thriving life of long-lasting marriage and children. But stay aware: this is likely future faking, not future making. If you do not know each other well enough yet to be making such a commitment, the love bomber is probably trying to carry out another agenda altogether: whether it’s trying to sleep with you or conning you into an exploitative relationship where they can use your resources and emotional labor.
You develop an addiction to the fantasy of the relationship rather than the person and experience withdrawal symptoms when they start blowing hot and cold.
The honeymoon period with a love bomber rarely lasts or evolves into a long-lasting love. Even when the love bomber starts showing red flags, you feel inclined to dismiss or rationalize them. That’s because experiencing the euphoria of love bombing can be akin to drug addiction. This is rooted in the biochemical nature of love. Love lowers an individual’s serotonin levels to a similar level as those with Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder and activates the reward centers of the brain, creating an intense dopamine high that is extremely difficult to detox from. Dr. Helen Fisher discovered that the brains of people in love resemble the brains of cocaine addicts. This is why you may experience a deep withdrawal effect when the object of your affection is not around or when they’ve withdrawn from you.
The nature of the relationship is turbulent and inconsistent.
One minute they were declaring you the love of their lives and the next they’re trying to provoke jealousy in you. One day they’re texting you nonstop and the next, they’re giving you the silent treatment. This is emotional manipulation – what psychologists call “intermittent reinforcement” of positive and negative behaviors to draw you in. Studies show it works to create a more addictive attachment to this toxic person than a “regular” healthy relationship. If you feel enmeshed and overly attached to a romantic partner, it’s time to re-evaluate. If you’re experiencing love bombing, it’s important to seek professional support and set healthy boundaries. You deserve a love that is genuine and fulfilling long-term – not short-term con artistry.