Love Bombing: Is it a Dangerous Way to show Affection?

‘Loving someone’ and ‘bombing him/her’ sound impossible and seem like a group of meaningless, poetic words coined by someone who has suffered stab wounds from the cruel hands of love, but nay, that’s an age-long trendy way of showing strong, expressive and deeply emotional affection.

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Some people describe love-bombing as a sneaky form of emotional abuse, or simply put, a situation where one’s potential or actual partner crosses the red line with torturous display of fondness, benevolence or thoughtfulness, which usually starts with making efforts to create a good impression in the form of compliments, gifts, romantic gestures and any act associated with “true love.”

Relationship experts say such display of affection can be sweet when it is mutual, with no hidden motives. Love bombing, in this context, highlights a possibility that the shared love will eventually metamorphose into an unbreakable, blossoming relationship.

However, when the affection from one partner tends to be stronger than what seems normal, or is left unappreciated, especially if the partners just met each other, the act of “bombing in love” takes its natural meaning: a tit-for-tat destruction of any cause of pain, anger, emotional suffering.

It’s not uncommon to see a lover who suddenly showers the other partner with expensive gifts, lavish money and time on him or her, and never hesitates to use the “I * U” word at every slight chance, sometimes, even making plans on what names the kids would bear – when a proposal hasn’t been made or accepted. Strange, isn’t it? These are common signs of uncontrollable emotions in people; a behavior which shows that such partners are either truly “into you” or are the type that crash-lands dangerously with extreme passion and emotional manipulation, which in turn, becomes abusive when rejected or unappreciated.

There are circumstances, however, where love bombing can be misjudged, especially if it is smartly employed by experienced heartbreakers or chronic flirts, who are well-versed in the art of faking love for sexual gains. These group of people often present themselves as the best in their planet, without blots in their character, intentions, or sexual past; and, where they subsequently find “peace” with the victims, they learn to stay in “love” but often turn to be landmines when their positions are threatened.

The word “love-bombing” was coined by Sun Myung Moon (a renowned leader of the cult-like Unification Church of the United States), who in the 70s applied it while describing his church members’ excessive show of affection to one another.

Psychology Today confirmed the action is a fad among pimps and cult leaders, who often use it to ensnare their subjects and encourage unwavering obedience and loyalty.

Recent researches from psychologists show the act of love-bombing has been linked to challenging behaviors sometimes noticed between lovers. A deep and clear meaning of the word has been ascertained thanks to the 21st century’s increasing rate of promiscuity in people and the global relationship platform presented by online dating websites and apps. The constant connectedness on social media makes it easy for predators to love-bomb and, in worst scenarios, kill their chosen preys.

Speaking on the act of love bombing, Geraldine Piorkowski, a PhD holder and the author of Too Close for Comfort: Exploring the Risks of Intimacy, says it is “a seductive tactic which consists of excessive affection, attention, flattery, gifts, and praise—often designed to ingratiate oneself and create positive feelings in the other person.”

The keyword here is “excessive” because love bombing can be positive or negative, and most times depends on the motives or if the receiving partner understands it as “too good to be true.”

Piorkowski continued, “As in wars, love bombing is a bombardment or storming of the gates, designed to break down resistance—that is, the protective walls we all erect to shield ourselves from harm…The victim in love bombing is usually vulnerable at the time, and readily influenced by the inordinate attention.”

The relationship expert went further in explaining the reasons why people use or fall for love bombing.

“First, there’s the kind of person who’s really very desperate for a relationship,” she added. “They’re needy, depressed, and they’re looking for someone to fill up their emptiness.”

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Piorkowski explained that love bombers are not always harmful. They could form an emotionally unhealthy attachment to their romantic dreams and, in some cases, resort to stalking, but the previously genuine feeling often takes a dangerous turn if they are misinformed.

The other type of love bombers is described as menacing. Piorkowski said they are the narcissist sociopath types, who deliberately engage in a strategy to control someone.

“It’s almost a conscious ploy to gain favor and power with a partner,” she said “regardless of how they truly feel about them.”

From Piorkowski’s experience, dating this kind of people is an unending journey because they are prone to feeling very bitter or acting hurt when their partner doesn’t fully return their affection and attention—or questions or contradicts them in any way. These partners eventually lose interest in their loved one or victim as quickly as they first fell in “love.” Worse still, there’s a great chance they could become verbally abusive, controlling, or even violent.

*Feel free to share your ‘love bombing’ experience with us if you enjoyed reading this article.