— Researched and written by Dr. Sandip Roy.
Love bombing is being “carpet-bombed” with over-the-top gestures of love. It is a courtship technique used by narcissists to overwhelm their targets with affection and attention.
Love bombers will often bombard you with love, praise, gifts, and sweet words after you’ve just met them or started dating them.
The love-bombing phase of a narcissistic relationship can feel like a dream, until it turns hurtful and bitter.
At the start, these people try to make you quickly fall in love with them. Later on, they frequently ask you to prove your love for them, and even force you to do unnatural things to show it.
“If you love me, you’ll do it. If you don’t, I’ll feel horrible.”— A Love Bomber
By the way, do narcissists like other narcissists?
Table of Contents
Overview: How To Stop Love Bombing
- Educate yourself about narcissism. The more you know about narcissism, the better you will be able to spot the signs and avoid being manipulated.
- Trust your gut. If something feels too good to be true, it probably is. If you have doubts about their true intentions, listen to your gut instinct.
- Slow things down. Narcissists often try to rush their targets into a relationship. If they are pressuring you to commit before you are ready, that is a red flag to slow things down.
- Set boundaries. Do not ignore setting boundaries with narcissists, both physical and emotional. Don’t be afraid to say no to their requests or to limit your contact with them.
- Seek support from friends and family. Talk to your trusted friends and family members about what you are going through. They can offer you support and help you to see the situation more objectively.
Now, let’s dive into the details.
1. Know The Signs of Love Bombing vs. Love Courtship
The first strategy is to distinguish between courtship (or wooing) from love bombing.
Both acts involve romantic gestures aimed at winning a person’s long-term friendship or relationship, but one bears bad fruit.
The following are the differences between love bombing (fake love) and love courtship (real love):
- True romantics respect your need for personal space and are comfortable when you spend time with friends and family.
- Love bombers, on the other hand, often seek “coercive control.” Jealousy and suspicion of your friends, repeated insults, and financial abuse are common signs of coercive control.
- Love bombers often force you to cancel your other commitments to be with them. They also snoop on you and install spyware on your personal devices.
- Courtships allow for healthy negotiations in the relationship over time.
- Whereas love bombing often deteriorates into being pushy, manipulative, and insulting over time.
- Courtship in love is truthful behavior motivated by a desire to get someone to form a long-lasting relationship or marry. It has the heartening and reassuring intention of partnering for mutual benefit, respect, and love.
- Love bombing, on the other hand, is deceptive behavior with the sinister intention of taking control of your heart and mind and forcing you to serve the needs of the love bomber.
Do you know how long can love-bombing last?
2. Set Strict Relationship Boundaries With The Love Bomber
A love-bomber may text or call you at inconvenient hours to express their love, expecting an immediate reply. If you don’t respond, they may keep calling you or even drop by your house at 2 AM to deliver you a gift.
Love bombers do not understand your need for personal space.
They will brazenly invade your private and intimate moments without feeling wrong about it. It is the most vexing aspect of their behavior.
Set your boundaries with them right away as soon as you notice their odd romantic behaviors.
Moreover, you have to remind them of your six relationship boundaries from time to time.
And get them to commit to not overstepping those boundaries in the future.
A. Why set boundaries with a love bomber?
You need boundaries with them:
- To keep your sanity from being overwhelmed by their eccentric romantic behaviors,
- To prevent yourself from investing your emotions and money in them, and
- To save your “me-time” for keeping a balance in your life.
B. How to respond to a love-bomber’s reaction to your boundaries?
Observe how they react to your new boundaries and respond as follows:
- If they resist or disobey, then know that you needed those boundaries in the first place. Warn them about their encroachment and ask them firmly not to do it again.
- In most cases, the love bomber will move away quickly and not bother you anymore after a few more feeble attempts. Do not go back after them.
- If they don’t agree, or agree but keep breaking into your boundaries, then leave them, even if you don’t have any money.
- If they keep coming at you, engage your relatives and friends, and contact the legal authorities to report stalking.
- Set a time curfew on when they can reach out to you.
Finally, stop the unreasonably flirtatious behavior of love-bombers whenever you feel uncomfortable.
3. Ignore Their Efforts To Convince You That They Are In Pain And In Need
They typically share stories about being duped by greedy friends and scarred by a toxic family. The idea is to tug at your heartstrings and make you feel pity for their financial and emotional neediness.
Here’s how to respond to love-bombing that tries to evoke your empathy:
- Tell them that you would rather see them as strong and confident until you know each other better and can share each other’s vulnerabilities.
- Keep reminding yourself that it is an act they are putting up to make you fall for them.
Both moves help you maintain a more objective view of the situation and not get swept away by their empathy-arousing tricks.
Moreover, seeking support from friends, family, or a therapist to get an outside perspective and prevent you from being isolated in the relationship.
Remember, genuine love and affection should be based on mutual respect, trust, and honesty, not manipulative tactics.
4. Make Them Understand And Acknowledge Your Expressions Of Disapproval
They are not deterred by your unsaid irritation and mild anger at their persistent pushing of your physical and psychological boundaries.
If you catch them stalking you while you are out with your friends, they will justify their actions by saying, “I wanted to give you a pleasant surprise! We are soulmates, so we don’t really need any boundaries.”
Accept none of their justifications. Stand your ground that they made a serious mistake.
Remember, these love bombers are often cruel narcissists who cannot handle social rejections politely.
5. Enforce A Time-Off, Breather, or Temporary Break
Love-bombing people pester you almost constantly, wanting to know what you are doing and where you are, without allowing you a breather.
Most narcissists rekindle their love bombing when they fear you may leave them.
When you feel a relationship is moving too quickly, confront the other person and tell them about your uneasiness.
- Ask them to go slow or take a break.
- If they insist there is nothing to ponder since you are like “soulmates,” it is a sign that they may do it more oppressively in the future.
- Stay firm that you want your own sweet time to think things over and process your feelings.
Most likely, they will pull the disappearing or the “ghosting” act during or after the break. Do not try to get back in touch with them.
If you do, your dream world may come crashing down as you find all those love gestures being replaced by hateful gestures.
The crux is if they can’t change their behavior to match your needs, then it’s unlikely that they are a match for you.
The entire act of love bombing is like precariously clinging to the sidebar of a speeding train that refuses to stop at any station.
Why do love bombers rush and move so fast?
Love bombing feels rushed because love-bombers move quickly to finish their wooing act. It is unnatural to them and drains too much of their energy to have to put on their love act for long. They fear that if they keep up their act too long, they may lose control and their masks may come off.
Love bombers move on quickly when you thwart their advances because deep inside they fear that they are undesirable. They don’t want their self-esteem to be further lowered by you.
Love bombers always have the ulterior motive of putting their victims through great stress to dominate them and then force them to do things they would not have done otherwise.
Their first goal is to make you dependent on and addicted to them. Then suddenly, they threaten to take it away from you and leave you helpless and directionless.
The narcissist wants to finish the whole process of wooing fast so that when the person is under total control, they can relax. Now they can coerce the person to supply them with constant praise and validation in return.
We must not mark all ‘men in love’ as love bombers. Research by Harrison & Shortall (2011) indicates that men tend to fall in love faster and express it sooner, than women.
Why does love bombing stop?
Love bombing stops because it is extremely demanding for the narcissist to maintain the fake acting beyond their capacity based on their types. After a certain time, love bombers stop showering their targeted victim with compliments and presents.
Why do people love-bomb and then pull away?
Love bombing and then pulling away is a part of the narcissistic abuse cycle which includes idealizing, devaluing, and discarding. Other reasons could be a loss of interest, a finding of a new person (narcissistic supply), a pressing issue that an ADHDer must intensely focus on, or commitment phobia.
Why do love bombers leave?
Love-bombers leave either when they have successfully won over their victim and can now begin their narcissistic abuse, or when they lose interest because the victim would not budge to let themselves be won over.
What is love bombing?
Love bombing is a manipulative tactic that some people use to control others in romantic relationships. It happens at the start of a romantic relationship when one person gives a lot of attention and affection to the other. This can make the other person feel special and loved, but it’s not always genuine.
Love bombing is often used by people with narcissistic tendencies or who are insecure. It can be harmful to the other person’s self-esteem.
The term has also been used to describe a parenting technique in which some parents give their children undivided attention and affection for a period of time to help children feel more secure and loved.
How to not love-bomb?
How to stop love-bombing someone? How do I stop love bombing?
If you realize that you are love-bombing in a romantic relationship, take a step back and reflect on your behavior. It may be helpful to seek therapy or counseling to address any underlying issues, such as low self-esteem or insecure attachment styles. It is also important to establish healthy communication and boundaries in the relationship, and to take time to get to know the other person.
If you are love-bombing your children as a parent, and giving them undivided attention and affection for a period of time, you must stop. Note that love bombing should not be used as a substitute for consistent and ongoing emotional support and attention. Seek guidance from professionals and work on building healthy relationships based on mutual respect and trust.
How do you ignore love bombing?
Here are some ways to ignore love bombing:
1. Don’t respond to their messages or calls immediately. Give yourself time to think about how you want to respond, if at all.
2. Don’t engage with their compliments or flattery. Narcissists are masters of manipulation, and they know how to say the things that people wish to hear. Don’t let their words get to your head.
3. Don’t make excuses for their bad behavior. Narcissists often try to justify their bad behavior by blaming you or making excuses. Don’t fall for it.
4. Don’t feel guilty about saying no. You have the right to say no to anyone, for any reason.
5. Remember that you deserve better. You deserve to be with someone who loves and respects you for who you are. Don’t acquiesce to someone trying to win you over with flowery language and high praises.
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√ Also Read: Can Narcissists Fall In Love With You, For Real?
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