Love bombing has become a common term when talking about someone coming on too strong during the beginning stages of a relationship.
This tactic is most often recognized as the first stage in the narcissistic/sociopathic cycle as their first manipulative technique used to overwhelm you with words of affirmation, affection, and gifts.
Recently I have been asked if it is possible for someone to lovebomb another person without meaning for it to be manipulative and without having negative intentions.
I believe that they can.
Now, before you are confused as to why I am tackling this subject it’s because almost everything that speaks to love-bombing is around the negative aspects of love-bombing usually used by a narcissist in conjunction with other abusive/controlling behaviors.
I try to always keep an open mind and I have both observed and learned about other reasons as to why someone may use love bombing at the beginning stages of dating.
Here are the primary three times I have seen love-bombing outside of an abusive/manipulative relationship.
#1. The love bomber wants to be in a relationship
The reality is that many people do not want to be alone and they are willing to do whatever it takes to get a significant other.
When I was in college I dated someone that exuded love bombing behavior. The moment that we started dating he moved extremely fast. There were elaborate dates, gifts, he said that he wanted to marry me, all within a couple of months.
Eventually, I had to take a step back and realized that he had a ton of insecurities that were making it difficult to be in a relationship with him.
Shortly after we broke up he married one of his close “girlfriends” and I realized that he just wanted to be with someone and it didn’t seem to really matter who it was.
#2. They don’t want you to leave
At the core, this is still manipulative behavior but we have to keep in mind that not everyone is self-aware of why they do the things that they are doing.
The reality is that someone may confess feelings that are stronger than what they actually feel because they are afraid that you will leave before they are ready to fully commit and hope that their feelings will “catch up.”
This happened to a very good friend of mine who told her boyfriend that she loved him and continually showered him with gifts. A few months into the relationship she realized that her feelings didn’t match her behavior and cut things off. When I asked her why she had done those things to him she answered,
“I was absolutely terrified of being alone and I really liked him. I used my words and actions as a way to make up for the lack of love that I actually felt. I know that it was wrong but I just kept thinking that if I kept saying the words, eventually I would believe them.”
#3. They come from a different culture
A good friend of mine started dating a man that was from another country and was stunned by his immediate affection and the gifts that he gave her when they started dating. Several of her family members gave warnings that he was most likely love-bombing her and that she should run. Yet instead of pulling back, my friend went straight to her new romantic interest and expressed her concern.
He apologized, explaining that in his culture gifts and affection were shown very quickly and he didn’t realize that he was moving too fast which is actually true.
“Individuals may have grown up in families or cultural environments that encourage the expression of feelings of fondness or appreciation of each other. Their intent may be neither serious nor harmful, and they likely do not perceive that showering you with attention is causing concern and uneasiness. They may even say “I love you” and not understand the weight of those words.” -Psychology Today
My friend said she understood but requested they take things much slower and he obliged which most likely saved the relationship because he was respectful and willing to go at her desired pace.
Love bombing may not always come from a manipulative/abusive place but it should be viewed as a red flag
Affection, gifts, words of affirmation…. all these behaviors can feel fantastic when it’s in the right context of a relationship and the other person is comfortable with those actions.
However, if you have just met someone and they are doing it right away you need to take a step back and figure out their true intentions.
Time and time again I have learned that there is always a reason as to why someone wants to move so quickly at the beginning of a relationship even if they are unaware of the underlying meaning.