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What is love bombing?

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Lonelygirl10 posted 6/5/2014 14:24 PM

This is not about my current situation, but just an in general question that I'm curious about now that I'm trying to date again. I was reading the thread on red flags, and saw several people list love bombing. So it made me curious what it is.

Is it just moving too quickly? In IC, I discussed that my ex moved very quickly. He said he loved me after about 2 months, and started throwing out moving in together at around 4 months. He was incredibly sweet and romantic during those early months. My IC suggested that moving that quickly was a red flag. Is that what you all consider love bombing?

I want to avoid that red flag, but I also very much enjoyed the beginning of that relationship. I was very happy with it. He made me feel special. So I guess I'm asking how do you know when it's love bombing versus real affection?

cmego posted 6/5/2014 15:20 PM

I'd call that love bombing. My ex did it too. We moved very quickly, he literally swept me off of my feet. We were engaged at the 5 month mark. In reality, I was a "prize" for him to win, to use me as his cover. Nothing else.

Now, when a relationship is moving fast, I have my eyes open. Moving fast is one thing, but love bombing is a different beast. Current relationship moved fast, but we were talking about how fast it was moving. We discussed that we needed to probably catch up on other things, like communication styles and such. He didn't overly flatter me or say he was in love with me in 2 weeks. We were just seeing a lot of each other and talking a lot because we were happy to have met and had the time. But…eyes open.

I didn't just "fall in".

Nobody is lured by anyone through initial criticism and abuse. If a psychopath undermined your self-confidence on the first date, you’d quickly dispatch him on his way. Relationships with psychopaths are about utility and power. The psychopath will use you for whatever purpose he wants–sex, money, a mask of normalcy–and keep you in your place by getting you to focus on your weaknesses and pouncing on your insecurities. However, no relationship with a psychopath starts that way. On the contrary, once they set their eyes on you as their main target (their “prize”), psychopaths typically engage in whirlwind romances. They can’t get enough of you. They want to see you and make love to you all the time. They flatter you constantly. They tell you that no woman they’ve ever been with is as smart, as beautiful, as classy as you are. You are the one true love of their lives. Their only love. Victims tend to eat the flattery up, since after all, who doesn’t like to be told such positive and beautiful things? They don’t ask themselves a common sense question: Why is this guy flattering me so much?

^^^^ This is what to watch out for.

Lonelygirl10 posted 6/5/2014 15:30 PM

Interesting quote there. My IC discussed moving too fast in relation to borderline personality disorder. Basically, that the person needs lots of attention at the beginning and then pulls away once he "wins" you. I guess it's a classic sign of BPD.

And that quote really describes my ex. I was the best thing that ever happened to him. He told me that all the time. And he wanted to see me all the time. He bought me flowers at least once a month. I was his soul mate, his other half. And I fell for it completely. I got hooked very fast. I thought that this was what "real" love was like.

I just don't know how to distinguish between the red flag of moving too fast and genuine affection. Other than my recent ex, my last "new" relationship was when I was 21 I think. So, long time ago.

I think I maybe was so scared of the red flag, that I picked someone now who is the complete opposite. It made me feel safe at first, but I also sort of miss the way my ex was.

[This message edited by Lonelygirl10 at 3:33 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

cayc posted 6/5/2014 15:56 PM

I think the idea of moving too fast (which is really what love bombing is) changes when you get older.

So a guy who says I love you a month in when you're in your 20s is love bombing. A guy who says it in his 40s may not be. Note the *may*. The other factors matter too. Expressing a deep emotional connection and thrilling over a lot of commonalities and deciding to be exclusive quickly when you're older is imho ok. We all know that the dating market is thin on the ground when we're older, we have a much better idea of what we're looking for, so attaching quickly emotionally is normal. Still though, getting married a month in or moving in together or getting finances tied together quickly isn't.

So if it's "ooh I love you I'm thrilled with you this is awesome give me all the free time you're willing" doesn't read love bombing to me at 40. But that plus "let's marry, here's my CC, etc." is.

LineInTheSand posted 6/5/2014 17:00 PM

A guy who says it in his 40s may not be. Note the *may*

So true!!

I met a guy on Saturday night at a service club. He asked me to dance and while chatting, he asked to be my man! Really! Within minutes! Don't even know the dude's name nor does he know mine but he wants a relationship. Later in the evening he proceeded to tell me he would pay all my bills if we became a couple. (Hey, Ladies, maybe he'll pay all our bills??)

I live in a small community and happen to know one of his relatives. I've discovered he has three kids with three different women. And the man is 55!

Now I call THAT coming on TOO strong! Sheesh!


burnedcanuckEMS posted 6/5/2014 17:10 PM

Yes, this totally describes my exH. Three weeks in pressure for me to say I loved him. The flattery was out of control. We moved in together after about 9 months of long distance dating. Waaaayyyyy too soon now that I look back. Now I would say yes, if I saw this pattern developing again with a new partner I would say it would be a massive red flag.

wildbananas posted 6/5/2014 17:28 PM

XSO told me he loved me and proposed (for the first time - hundreds to follow ) on our THIRD DATE.

Now THAT is love bombing.

[This message edited by wildbananas at 5:28 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

cmego posted 6/5/2014 17:47 PM

How's this one for love bombing? I met my ex at my sister's wedding. We were both in the wedding party and arrived a few days prior for the festivities. We hung out, in a group, but were slightly flirting.

He told my mom, on the day of the wedding, he was going to marry me. We had known each other maybe 48 hours, had never kissed, never gone on a date...and both went home.

Ex "forgot" my phone number, so to get me to call him…he sent a dozen pink roses to my work, because he remembered where I worked.

To get me to call him. He sent a dozen roses.

I fell…hook, line and sinker. It seemed so romantic at the time.

Guys I date are always so surprised to learn how hard ex pursued me…like, just because he is now openly gay…I must have gone after him and convinced him to marry me.

[This message edited by cmego at 5:48 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

libertyrocks posted 6/5/2014 17:52 PM

I still keep an eye on my first playboy bf from high school. He's extremely handsome and charming, a tattoo artist, drinker. I've noticed in the last 7-8 years, he's gone through women like crazy. I notice HIS patterns because it tells me a lot about the kind of guy I keep picking. grrrr

Anyways, he's typical NPD. Love bombing I noticed is when they do whatever it takes to prove to you they are into you. Flowers, special dates, too much way too soon. I now think real affection takes time to develop. Lust is different and I think that's what they feed on - the chase, the prey, the elation they pour upon a new lovely lady interest. That, the sex, and how they feel when they pump us ladies up with all the right things to say. Then, once they've got you, it's on to the next challenge. My STBXH the same way. My new guy, well first new old guy the same, too. But, I'm going NC with him.

And, yes, my new 10 day rebound fling asked me to be in girl!! Kept saying I'm gonna make you my girl. Then, asked me while we were making out!!!!!!!!!!!! Big RED FLAGS! I will admit, after being alone, the flattery and attention was nice. And, I still think about him. But, he's a bad bad bad choice IMO. Oh, yes, and this new guy, I also found out from a friend he had 2 MORE other kids he never even sees and didn't tell me about them. When I asked about them, he said that type of information takes time to reveal.

[This message edited by libertyrocks at 6:01 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

Lonelygirl10 posted 6/5/2014 18:44 PM

Some of your stories seem totally obvious, and I see how that's love bombing. I guess my ex was more like yours, cmego. He would do things like that all the time, and I just saw it as being romantic. Ideally, I want a guy who does those things. But now I don't know how to distinguish when it's real versus when it's some personality disorder that I should run from.

New guy has taken things really slowly. Nothing even resembling love bombing. I sort of miss the things my ex did, even though I know it wasn't real and wasn't healthy.

I guess I'm still trying to figure out what I want in an ideal partner.

cmego posted 6/5/2014 19:01 PM

I think the "ideal" is somewhere in between. I don't need the flowers and candy and gifts. It just feels like a guy is trying to buy me. Now I look for smaller things. (My love language is not gifts)

Is he sweet to me? Does he do small things that shows he cares? Opening doors? New guy, it is the smallest thing that gets me. For example, I laid my watch on the table, he got it and put it back on my wrist. Or, one date we sat outside and looked at the stars for an hour…just talking. He makes sure that I go through doors first. When we walk, he walks at my pace. He thanks me if I pay for something. He gives true and genuine compliments, and not how I look, but how I treat people. He listens to my opinion. He notices ME.

Little things. Sometimes it is hard to see the little things, since they happen very quick and fast. But, in the long run, mean so much more to me. I'm not sure it will work for us…but I'm paying attention to how he treats me.

With ex, I noticed early on that he refused to walk at my pace. There were no "small things", everything was over the top. Trying to impress me. I can't remember him doing the little things. I think that is why they stand out so much to me now.

Lonelygirl10 posted 6/5/2014 19:23 PM

That makes sense. Looking back though, my ex did a lot of the same small things that you describe. I think that's why I fell so hard for him. He would text me good morning every day. He did my dishes, which just amazed me. Took out the trash. Opened doors for me. He'd carry my bags for me. Even silly stuff, like wanting to go grocery shopping with me. One of the things that really got me was that he changed his facebook status to "in a relationship" with me immediately after we had the talk, before he even drove all the way home. He would put his profile picture as us. It made me feel like he was proud to be with me, and wanted to tell the world about it. And then he did big stuff too, like flowers at my office every month. Taking me to look at engagement rings about 9 months after we started dating. He told me he loved me at 2 months, and he would usually say the words 20 times every day. I want that kind of attention in a relationship, but my IC told me that he moved too fast and it was a red flag. Especially since he would do that for 4-5 months, and then drastically pull back for a few weeks.

I wonder if it's possible to have that level of attention in a healthy way.

jjct posted 6/5/2014 19:47 PM

It is about attention, though 'at that level' sustained? Not so sure. Here's a point you wondered about

I just don't know how to distinguish between the red flag of moving too fast and genuine affection.

At some point in every relationship I have had, there comes a difference of opinion. A disagreement.

Stepping back, I'd ask; How does (s)he handle disagreements?
They're inevitable, disagreements. And if you start a fight because of this, I'm going to command my dragons to come and shit all over your front lawn, and if you remain hard-headed, I'll call the dinosaurs in. You won't like my dinosaurs.

cmego posted 6/5/2014 19:58 PM

Honestly, I'm not sure it is healthy to be so much into another person like that. I don't know if that is infidelity and pain talking, but I just don't think so.

I was ENGAGED at 5 months. Talk about fast!

The good relationships that I know don't have that. Yes, they care deeply for each other. They do things for each other…but it isn't so "out in the open". It doesn't need to be. It isn't to impress other people, like changing your FB status immediately. That is for other people. Does that make sense? Flowers at your office? To impress who? Profile pics? To impress who? Those sound like things my ex does with his current partner. It is always "proclaimed to the world!!" Why??

The good relationships do the things that mean something to the other person. "He brought home my favorite chicken salad." "He picks out the best necklaces when he travels for me." My BIL put his FB status (on SIL's birthday), as an old rumpled photo of my SIL that he carries in his wallet and says, "Still as beautiful as ever." Neither needed to change the photos on their FB…they all have their own photos.

Good relationships, each person has a solid sense of "self" and a solid sense of "together". Each is separate. The attention/affection is personal and meaningful.

But, on the other hand, when I was your age, the over-the-top stuff seemed romantic. Now, not so much. I want solid and respectful and cares about ME. You've had the chance to see love-bombing. Now you have to look for "normal", watch for those smaller, intimate things that shows the guy is getting to know YOU.

To this day, ex probably couldn't tell you what my favorite flower is. He bought what HE liked to give me. Jewelry was what HE liked. It looked nice from the outside, "Wow, he sent her flowers for no reason!!" But, they weren't even flowers I liked. Or, when I agreed to relocate with him, he sent this HUGE bouquet of flowers to my work. But, he didn't actually say the words to me: "thank you for relocating, I know this is going to be hard moving away from your family". No empathy. No emotional understanding. But, big, showy gifts. At work.

You gotta pull apart why you want huge amounts of attention and affection. In all the things you mention you liked…none of it was an emotional connection.

My new guy….one of the things I noticed is how he compliments me. NOT how I look. But, when I was telling him about an interaction with my dd and ex, he said, "Wow. That really shows what a good person you are and how well you handle your situation." THUD. Or, when he came to my house for the first time, "You house is so warm and inviting." THUD. I was massaging his very knotted legs and my arm got tired, so I stopped. He rubbed my arm, then made sure I put ice on it when I got home. THUD. If he compliments me, he tells me what a great smile I have, or that I said "Dang it!" 14 times when we played ping-pong and it made him laugh.

I'm not saying new guy is perfect and all is happy. What I"m saying is I want someone who is looking at these emotional connections and therefore is noticing ME. Not how I make him feel, not showing "us" off to the world. Who cares what other people think? It is like the people on FB who change their photo once a day of a new pouty duck face, looking for attention and affirmation.

Ex felt like a pouty, duck-face attention seeking 17 year old girl on FB. New guy doesn't have an active FB account.

[This message edited by cmego at 8:27 PM, June 5th (Thursday)]

Lonelygirl10 posted 6/5/2014 20:37 PM

You gotta pull apart why you want huge amounts of attention and affection. In all the things you mention you liked…none of it was an emotional connection.

It felt like an emotional connection to me. The stuff like good morning texts and flowers at the office made me feel like he was thinking about me, like he was excited to be with me. I've never had a guy do things like washing dishes or going shopping with me. It made me feel like he wanted to be there for me, to help me. He made me feel special.

Right after Dday, I actually hated facebook. It seemed pointless to me. The whole time he was cheating, he had me as his profile picture. So I vowed that I would never care about facebook again, because it's pointless. And I didn't... until recently. New guy is still listed as single on there. I'm still listed as single on there. We've talked, and he said he considers me his girlfriend. I guess it's possible he doesn't consider facebook important, but it makes me question whether he's just not that excited about me? The ex changing his facebook status made me feel like he was excited about me. But I guess you're also right that facebook is more about other people than it is about the couple. So maybe the ex felt the need to brag about having a girlfriend? Maybe it would have been the same regardless of if it was me or some other random girl? I don't know.

Ex would also compliment me on my personality. He said that he liked that I always saw the positive in people. And then would go on to say how I was the best girl he's ever met, and how I was his soul mate. I guess I fell for all the lines. The hardest part after Dday was understanding how I could feel so special while he was with another girl. I never saw it coming.

New guy is much more low key. No texts until 8:30ish at night. No flowers. No random sweet texts. No talk of love. No facebook stuff. But he does meet my love language, touch. He's very cuddly, and he's always holding my hand in public.

You've given me some stuff to think about though. My ex made me feel special. Current guy doesn't really. Ex cheated though, and for some odd reason I completely trust current guy. Current guy is just a lay it on the table and be honest type of guy. He doesn't try to flatter me or impress me I guess, which makes me feel safe. But not as special.

somer222 posted 6/5/2014 23:31 PM

I was love-bombed by my ex, who I now know is a psychopath. Time from the day we met to date of engagement - two months. He was 50 years old when he did this. Presented himself as a completely normal person, good-looking, charming, nice man and he was madly in love with me after the first date. He could not wait to marry me. He wooed me like I have never been wooed in my life. I thought he was absolutely wonderful. He also had a seemingly wonderful family who welcomed me with open arms. Of course they did - he'd been a problem to them for years but they guarded his ugly little secrets.

Why is love-bombing a red flag? Because psychopaths use this technique to get what they want out their target. They do it because it is works so well. There are people who fall in love very quickly, make commitments to one another and have a great life together. The difference is the psychopath is not capable of love. It is all about what they can get out of you and what you can do for them. They will live a secret life that you know nothing about, they will cheat on you repeatedly, they are professional-quality liars, and they will take your last dime and turn your life inside out. They always cause damage and they feel no remorse for what they have done.

How do you know if this person is for real or if they are a psychopath who intends to do you great damage? If you are feeling you may be getting love-bombed, slow them way down. Be firm. This is hard to do when you are so enjoying the love you are feeling from this person. If they are "normal" and are really falling in love with you, they may be disappointed, but they will respect your need to pace the relationship. If they are a psychopath, they are probably going to move on to their next target if you stand firm. You have ceased to be fun and they get bored very easily.

There is also something else to watch for. It is called the "predatory stare". Google it. Psychopaths tend to do this (my ex did) and it is most unusual and it is very noticeable. It is way outside the norm. They stare very intently at you when they first meet you. It is so intense that you feel as if they are looking into your soul. And really, that is exactly what they are doing. They are assessing what it is that you can offer to them and they are sizing you up and figuring out just who they need to be in order to get you to fall for them.

If a new guy or woman is love-bombing you and there is a disparity in income or assets (you having more), be on your guard. Money is a huge thing for psychopaths. You do not have to be wealthy to be a target. A little home equity money, a small inheritance, a good job and any asset you have that can put cash in their pocket will do. They are very adept at ferreting out if you can be useful to them.

The website has a lot of good information about psychopaths. It is a little scary, but they are out there, and they are hard to spot if you do not know what to look for.

Hope this helps!

norabird posted 6/6/2014 08:55 AM

I see this post and wonder coming from a dissatisfaction with the current guy--and that's okay. Love bombing does feel good, which is why we fall for it and then crave it (lord knows I did), but you're not really dissastified right now because he's not love bombing you; you're dissatisfied because he not only isn't love-bombing you, he's not really going out of his way to be in touch and make you feel secure. It is perfectly fine to want to be shown he is thinking of you and to need to feel secure and you aren't right now. There is a middle ground that he's not meeting you on and because your past history is so extreme, it can be hard to make the distinction. But you can want more without wanting to be swept off your feet in an unhealthy manner.

Lonelygirl10 posted 6/6/2014 09:56 AM

How do you know if this person is for real or if they are a psychopath who intends to do you great damage? If you are feeling you may be getting love-bombed, slow them way down. Be firm. This is hard to do when you are so enjoying the love you are feeling from this person. If they are "normal" and are really falling in love with you, they may be disappointed, but they will respect your need to pace the relationship. If they are a psychopath, they are probably going to move on to their next target if you stand firm. You have ceased to be fun and they get bored very easily.

That's good advice, thank you. I remember when my ex started talking about moving in together at the 3-4 month mark, I told him that I would not move in with someone until at least a year. Because I thought it took that long to get to know them. He seemed okay with it. He didn't push me. But that was the first time that I noticed him pulling back from me, and there was distance there. I guess I should have paid attention to it.

Nora, I think some of my longing for the love bombing affection of my ex might be related to lack of affection from new guy. It's just hard to know whether it's a me problem or a new guy problem. I've looked back at my history, and I had one long term serious relationship that ended on good terms. The beginning was very similar to the beginning now with new guy. He wasn't jumping at calling me his girlfriend, and he was seeing another girl at the beginning. It was slow at the beginning, but then at about the 6 month mark we got really close. Dated for 4 years, ended on good terms. So I wonder if that's more normal, and I'm just perceiving things in a certain light now with new guy due to the love bombing that I had with my ex?

I also think that maybe the love bombing caused my feelings to grow a lot more toward the ex? I've never felt so in love with someone before. It was like I was walking around on this cloud of happiness for the first year of our relationship until Dday. I remember at the 2 month mark feeling like I was going to explode from wanting to tell him that I loved him, but wanting to wait until he said it first. It's not like that with new guy. We've dated since end of February I think, and I don't have any feelings of love toward him. I enjoy being with him, and I have fun with him. But it's not an over the top crazy feelings of love thing.

norabird posted 6/6/2014 10:25 AM

I worry about craving that intense crazy feeling of love too. The Incredible Amazing Connection That Was So Special! The thing is it really did feel like it was the most intense love possible, that it was the best and most reliable thing in my life; and I loved that feeling. Now, I want to feel in love again eventually, and to feel connected...but I know the type of intensity I had was a mirage and that it was based on a careful presentation of only the most flattering aspects, while hiding a lot of the truth. So how do I know what normal love is going to feel like and how do I avoid being disappointed by it when it's not a mass of flattery and butterfly-causing eye contact? I definitely wonder about this. It's not easy to walk the line.

Lonelygirl10 posted 6/6/2014 10:32 AM

So how do I know what normal love is going to feel like and how do I avoid being disappointed by it when it's not a mass of flattery and butterfly-causing eye contact?

That is exactly what I'm wondering right now.

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