We’ve already had to suffer through ghosting and breadcrumbing – but ‘love bombing’ is the latest form of dating torture. In fact, this technique has been used by notorious cult leaders to manipulate their followers.
What is it? We’re talking guys who shower you with love, texts, dinners, flowers, talks about the elusive ‘future’. He showers you with ‘love bombs’. Lures you into a false sense of security. This guy is an actual unicorn. Until he isn’t…
Because after an intense period of throwing love bombs left, right and centre – he turns. The love bomber uses all the brownie points he’s earned as an excuse to treat you poorly. Because, you know, he did give you flowers at the start. Eye roll.
So how do you tell the difference between a guy who’s just genuinely affectionate and a controlling love bomber? According to Dr Dale Archer of Psychology Today, these are the three warning signs that your new “true love” could be a love bomber:
You’ve just met but you’re already “soul mates”
“Manipulative love bombers don't just walk up and say: ‘We belong together,’” says Archer. “Masquerading as ‘good listeners,’ the bomber gathers intel on your likes, dislikes, insecurities, hopes, and dreams. Before you know it, they're saying you have so much in common, therefore you must be soul mates.” Archer says to think of your best friend and how long it took to develop your bond. Is it likely this guy you just met knows you as well as your BFF? If your answer is, YES! Then you should be waving a red flag right now.
They’ve planned out your future
This guy is throwing out statements (not questions!) like ‘When we go to the Amalfi Coast together…” and “When we buy a golden retriever…” “Love bombers don’t ask; they declare how things will be, with conviction,” says Archer. “They don’t sound crazy, because chances are you’ve already shared your hopes and dreams, while they were being such ‘good listeners.’”
They put you on a pedestal
They build you up to be an idealized object – they say you’re absolutely perfect. In this way, it makes it easier for them to bring you down, too. “Just as the love bombing is the positive reinforcement (you do what I want, and I’ll shower you with love), the devaluation is the negative consequence (you did something wrong, so I’m punishing you,” explains Archer.
All the more reason to go slow in a new relationship. And if this controlling behavior is already happening to you – speak to a counsellor or psychologist immediately.