Although bad behaviour in the dating world is nothing new (my Grandma’s first fiance ghosted her), new terms for said bad behaviour keep cropping up. First ghosting. Then benching. Then breadcrumbing, stealthing, and hyping.
Now we have love bombing.
For those yet to encounter the term, love bombing is effectively what it says on the tin: the victim is essentially “bombed” with love. Here’s how it goes. You meet someone you like. And- yes!– they like you back! But they don’t just like you. They love you. They come in fast and heavy. They want to see you all the time. They take you out to nice places. They buy you things. They tell you how much they care about you and start planning the future. They want to make it official ASAP. Just when you think they’ve got hit the dating jackpot- they either ghost, get bored and change their mind, or just generally turn out to be a bit of a twat.
I myself have been a victim of love bombing. You can read the entire story of my ex-boyfriend here (it is indeed a thrilling tale), but for those of you who CBA I’ll summarise. Got drunk at the SU one night and kissed a guy who’d messed me around a bit before. He wanted a relationship, but I was put off because of his previous bad behaviour. Then, he “love bombed” me. He kept texting me all the time, showing up at work, and confessing his undying love to me until I agreed to date him. Then he took me out on nice dates, paid for everything, set up a date for me to meet his parents, and bought me a dress that cost over £100. Until we’d done *ahem* certain things, at which point he promptly got bored and ditched me. (Side note- the next guy I had a thing with got angry with me because I didn’t want to get sexual with him, so I guess you can’t win).
The problem with love bombers is that they’re quite difficult to escape from, as they prey on your deepest desires and insecurities. Let’s face it, most of us aren’t inundated with attention from the opposite (or the same) sex. We meet people we don’t like enough. We meet people who don’t like us enough. We meet people who don’t like commitment. Perhaps we’re even seeing people, but then it turns out they don’t want a relationship with us. Then along comes the love bomber who seems to be everything we wanted in a partner; who promises to be everything everyone else wasn’t. So we fall hard. And let’s face it, some relationships do just move quickly. I’m sure we all know at least one “love at first sight” tale.
The crux is though, that there’s no real reason to love bomb someone. If you meet someone you’re excited about, and you show interest, you plan things to do together, and don’t play games, they’ll know you’re interested and are free to return your affection. There’s no need to rush into the “I love you’s” or meeting the parents- it’ll happen naturally at its own pace. But in the two “love bombing” relationships I’ve witnessed, there was a reason to come on strong- doubt. In the scenario mentioned above, he’d messed me around before, so I doubted his intentions. A friend of mine got love bombed by a guy who’d just broken up with his ex, and people told her they thought he wasn’t over her. To combat the doubt- both men came on heavy with the affection, the promises, the declarations of love. So of course, we thought “He likes me so much! His feelings are so strong that they override [inset doubt]!”. Only once the novelty has worn off, it turned out the initial doubt was justified.
So the moral of the story is to trust your gut. There is a big difference between meeting someone, clicking, and having a relationship that happens to progress quickly, and someone who is deliberately coming on strong in order to manipulate you. If deep down you have doubts about someone’s intentions, don’t let those love bombs override common sense. Having said that though, I think there’s something to be said for an intense burst of passion even if it goes down in flames. And a bad relationship can teach you a hell of a lot of life lessons. My relationship may have ended badly, but I look back on the time we had together as the happiest time of my life, and it was great to experience something, even if it didn’t last as long as I’d hoped. And the friend I mentioned earlier is now in an amazing relationship with a guy with compatible values, so whatever lessons taught by the love bombing fellow have evidently led her in the right direction. Ultimately everything happens for a reason, and every relationship you learn from, whether good or bad.
Have you ever been love bombed? Let me know in the comments!