It’s the age of new dating terms and practices as we have already documented here. One more dating trend, apart from the ones spotlighted in that previous piece, is the one called love bombing.
Essentially, love bombing is when someone — typically a new partner — showers you with extreme amounts of affection and love right off the bat in order to win you over. As soon as you settle into the relationship and get comfortable with them, they withdraw all that affection and show their true colors. As you would guess, that is never really a good thing because more often than not, what they reveal is a slew of toxic patterns and behaviors.
According to Jonathan Bennett in a chat with Bustle, "love bombing is an effective tactic because everyone wants to feel good.
"If you’re insecure, lonely, or have been burned in the past by relationships, hearing how great you are and how much someone loves you can be literally addicting."
A love bomber would normally exhibit one, more or all of the following traits: they say "I love you" right away, express their love in extremes, good at telling you what you want to hear, compliments are quick, rosy and incessant, the relationship with them carries an air of being too good to be true and they usually move very fast and expect same from you.
Apparently, the whole idea of this behavior is to create enough false impression on you to the point where you become unsure of how to react when they begin to show the toxic side of their personality.
You are confused as to what they truth is, as to what their real identity is. On one hand, you see the unhealthy traits and feel repulsed and think of dumping them, but then you remember the great partner they were just a little while back and think maybe this new toxicity is an anomaly, maybe they are going through a phase that needs support rather than abandonment.
And that’s the thing – love bombing is such a manipulative trick that messes up your mind and leaves you at the mercy of this manipulator. The goal, of course, is to have wooed you with their extreme romance at the beginning of the relationship so that you're willing to tolerate (or totally overlook) abusive, toxic behavior that comes later on.
Ultimately, what makes love bombing so scary is that it can be really hard to discern whether a new partner is genuinely head-over-heels for you, or whether all their affectionate, loving behaviors are really love bombs in disguise.
"Love bombing is ultimately inauthentic and manipulative," Bennett says. "Your brain gets hooked on the highs of the attention. So, once the abuse and controlling behavior come, you’re less likely to recognize it and act on it.”
It's difficult to pinpoint love bombing in the short term, because all new relationships are exciting. There is promise and potential, and getting to know someone you like gives you butterflies. The emotional highs and feelings of giddiness are normal and not necessarily cause for alarm.
In reality, this person never existed — it was a mask and the earlier you realized this and moved on, the better.