Love Bombing Or Romantic Gesture? How To Spot The Difference

You’ve probably heard about love bombing – at least, that it’s a dangerous and manipulative tactic used in dating, but perhaps the scariest part about it is how similar it looks to regular romantic gestures.

By Keelia Clarkson2 min read
shutterstock 1303061311 (1)

You’d be hard-pressed to find a woman who doesn’t enjoy being properly wooed. We love the feeling of being thought of, pursued, and sought after by the guy we’ve had our eye on. We dream of finding a guy who surprises us with a croissant or flowers or tickets to a musical. We want to be wanted enough that he goes through the trouble of showing us how much he wants us.

Yet it’s also this very same desire to be chased that leads us into tricky territory – namely, finding ourselves falling victim to something called love bombing, a term that’s garnered quite a bit of attention over the past few years. Love bombing describes a manipulation tactic used in the early stages of a relationship that, unfortunately for us, looks an awful lot like romantic gestures. So how can we tell the difference?

What Is Love Bombing?

Love bombing refers to someone’s desire to influence another person by performing grand gestures, inundating them with affection and flattery, and making them feel incredibly special to the love bomber. Praise, gifts, and romance are all key ingredients when it comes to love bombing.

Love bombing often plays into a cycle of emotional abuse.

Psychologists have warned that love bombing often plays into a cycle of emotional abuse and that, despite how wonderful it may feel to begin with, it’s dangerously manipulative and indicative of an unhealthy person who could even be narcissistic. 

What Are the Signs of Love Bombing?

How can we tell if a guy is love bombing us or just desires to show his affection via thoughtful gifts and sweet words? As tricky as it is, there are a few ways to tell. Here are some of the warning signs of love bombing:

  • His gifts go way overboard, like buying an expensive diamond necklace after only a month together.

  • He compliments you all the time – to the point where you wonder if it’s genuine.

  • The relationship is the most intense one you’ve ever had.

  • He can’t go more than a couple of hours without calling/texting you.

  • He doesn’t react well to your boundaries and guilts you into giving him what he wants.

  • He said “I love you” very quickly.

  • He introduced you to his friends/family almost immediately.

  • He expects all of your attention at all times.

The Difference Between Love Bombing and Dating

When someone is love bombing us, it eventually becomes clear that these “loving” gestures come at a steep price; a love bomber uses their seemingly affectionate actions in order to control, guilt, and dominate their significant other. From their perspective, we’re indebted to them for all of their “nice” behavior.

A mature man is aware of what’s appropriate for the phase of your relationship and stays within those bounds.

This is where the key difference between love bombing and healthy romance gestures lies: What is the intention behind the acts of kindness, gifts, and praise? Whereas a love bomber uses them solely for their own gain, a guy who simply likes us is just hoping to make us feel special while standing out from the other guys we’ve dated and expressing his interest in moving forward. 

We’ll be able to tell if the guy we’re dating is sincere if:

  • His gifts are more sweet and thoughtful than they are grand.

  • His compliments don’t come by the dozen.

  • Even if the connection you feel is strong, you wouldn’t describe it as “intense.”

  • His communication is regular but not incessant.

  • He respects your boundaries fully.

  • He’s not shy about showing his interest but allows the relationship to progress naturally rather than running at top speed into it.

  • He’s open to discussing introducing us to his friends and family but also wants to let the relationship develop first.

  • He’s understanding when you’re busy and can’t pay attention to him.

Another question to consider is: Are his words, gestures, and gifts appropriate for the phase or age of your relationship? Giving you flowers and complimenting you on your appearance is suitable for the first month of dating – spending hundreds of dollars on you is not. A mature, well-adjusted man will be aware of what’s appropriate for the state of your relationship and will try to stay within those bounds.

Closing Thoughts

A guy who’s just trying to woo without dangerous underlying motives isn’t interested in controlling what we do, wear, say, or think about him. Whether or not a guy is love bombing us will be made clear by how his actions make us feel (controlled or not, overwhelmed or not, confused or not) and what his intentions seem to be.

Readers make our world go round. Make your voice heard in the official Evie reader survey.