Love bombing is manipulation. It occurs when a person overwhelms you with sweet words and actions to get something in return.
Usually, this technique involves over-the-top gestures, such as buying expensive plane tickets for a vacation, and not taking no for an answer.
All of this can seem harmless, but the point is to get you into thinking you owe them something.
To figure out how to spot it, Reddit user -ethereality- made a post on the platform's r/AskWomen page, saying: "How did you know you were being love bombed?" Luckily, the ladies responded.
As of this publication, the post has 600 comments, many of which contain honest experiences from toxic relationships that we all can use as valuable lessons.
#1When he began to project his insecurities and gaslight me. He'd say something like "I bought you all these nice things and you still want to go out with your 'friends'?"
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#2When he was courting me, he was like a romance novel. When we fought, he would turn into a complete monster and do anything to hurt me, mentally and emotionally. And then when he thought I was about to leave, he would be like a romance novel again. When I finally had enough and decided I was in fact leaving, he turned so mean I didn't even recognize him. He pulled the breakers from the breaker box and left for four days, leaving my daughter and I with no power or water. In July, in Alabama. He also bolted locks on the kitchen cabinets and refrigerator. The breakup was a year ago. I've maintained no contact. He messages me about once a month asking why I won't talk to him. He cannot believe that I don't want him in my life anymore
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#3My dad did this to me every time he did something horrible, like 'disciplining' me with the belt, or throwing me outside in the middle of the night when I 'misbehaved.' It was repulsive to be held tightly in his arms afterward, with him crying and whispering fervently for me to forgive him. F*ck that. Now, as an adult, I cannot stand to be around him
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#4I am in a situation right now where I think the love bomb has finally exploded. Everything I do and say is wrong. I literally can’t get through a sentence without being interrupted by him.. he called me a b*tch and wrestled with me and actually psychically hurt me.... he wouldn’t let me hug or kiss him..... then I brought up that I didn’t feel good and cried and he yelled at me for that saying I’m “manipulating him”
I left and am scared to go back and face him. The love bombing leads to nothing but misery and danger. I feel like a fool. What do I even say to him when I go to pack up my things and leave? Help someone
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#5First date and he kept talking about future plans with me and using “we”. I’ll take you to this place, we can do this thing etc. Dude, I don’t know if I even want to go on a second date yet!
If I disagreed with him on anything, he’d either act like I was so charming or change the subject. Usually when I disagree with others, they’d explain themselves, which is great cause I want to know more about them and how they think. This guy kept hiding himself.
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#6Any suggestion that we slow down or not make big future plans was met with sulking and the silent treatment.
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#7At the beginning of a tumultuous relationship I had with a toxic person, he was as kind and complimentary as he could be, and it felt off. He gave me butterflies, which I thought was love-related but it was fear-related. Two years later, every day when he came home from work I got those damned butterflies, followed by a sense of dread.
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#8Didn’t figure it out until I told him I was leaving for real after 13 years of marriage. I agreed to one counseling session to appease him and the treacle that flowed out of his mouth - how great I am, how much he loves me, blah blah - was so f*cking fake and inconsistent with his actions that I was physically repulsed. He was so kind when he was BEGGING me not to leave him and then SO cruel when he realized I wasn’t backing down. So cruel. Unreal.
The abuse cycle and trauma bonds are nooooo joke.
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#9I just got out of it. He love bombed and gaslighted. He told me he was going to marry me on our first date. I thought maybe he had a strong intuition. Then came the compliments. Honestly, it was hard for me to believe most of them but they were nice to receive anyway. Then I came to find out he uses IV drugs and was cheating.
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#10He pretty much immediately wanted us to spend all of our free time together. He introduced me to his kids immediately — I met his older son on our second date. When I told him I thought it was too soon for that, he just convinced me by talking about how compatible we were, how much fun we had together, and how great I am. I had been pretty lonely before then. I moved to a new city and didn't have many friends yet. I welcomed the attention and chose not to notice the stuff that bugged me. I remember a few weeks in, I was going to a friend's wedding and I ended up taking him with me. He kept telling me how he wanted to fast forward to the part where we have been together for a couple of years and he knew all of my friends and we were getting married. We weren't even together a month when he said that stuff. He was actually the one to end things initially, which led to a long push and pull of breaking up, trying to be friends, him wanting more, etc. Looking back, I think when he told me he needed to work on himself and that he shouldn't have a girlfriend, he was actually trying to get me to be like, 'Noooo, I'll do whatever it takes and be who you want.'
Instead, I told him I didn't want to be with someone who didn't want to be with me. During the friendship facade, he told me several times how much my saying that hurt him. He didn't understand why I wouldn't apologize for that and stood by it. It was all very dramatic and I'm glad it's done. I'd rather be single and have happily been so ever since
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#11Received an I Love you within two days of our conversation. I thought that maybe it's hard for me to accept that I'm being loved that I was just sabotaging myself,so I kept discarding my gut feeling. Ladies,our gut instinct is our gift,make sure to use it correctly!
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#12In a relationship; I didn't know until we broke up. He was very abusive and I looked back at how he was when we first dated. I realised that if someone can be so extreme one way (love bombing) that they are probably capable of the other extreme (abuse).
It also happens in the workplace. You can meet a colleague and they force some kind of connection too soon and talk to you like you're friends, not colleagues. Those ones are the ones to be the most cautious around. I learned this the hard way.
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#13At the beginning it was constant compliments, telling me everything I ever wanted to hear. I didn’t even realize what was happening, and then after a year it all stopped. Then came the control and manipulation. When I tried to end it after 5 years, and him telling me how much marriage and kids sounded horrible, suddenly he wanted me to be the mother of his children and saying we should go look at rings. I almost fell for it, but I’m glad I stayed strong.
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#14Dated an ex for 3 years starting when I was 20 and he was 24, he was incredibly abusive in every way except physically (though he threatened it a number of times). I can only remember this incident toward the end of the relationship, not sure what prompted it, but I came home to his house and there was a big bouquet of flowers and a cookie from my favorite place waiting for me. This, from a man who used to brag that a florist he used knew him by name because he went there so much for exes, but not once in 3 years did he ever buy me flowers or really ever went out of his way to do or buy anything nice for me. He came home and was suddenly being really sweet and asking if I liked the flowers, and "oh, did you see the cookie was from [place]?" At that point, I had already signed a lease to move the hell away from him and was just waiting for the keys, so I wasn't falling for it anymore, but he was very disappointed that I didn't immediately fawn all over him.
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#15My mom would act as if everything I did was spectacular, so long as it fell in line with what kind of person she wanted me to be. She never treated any of my siblings this way, so it caused a lot of jealousy towards me which I think was also part of it. If they wanted love then they needed to try harder, and if I wanted to maintain the love from the one person who could love me (because my siblings hated me) then I couldn't step out of line. At this point in my life I am preparing to move out, not tell them my new address, and never speak to any of them again. One huge blessing from all this is that I can spot these signs and recognize when someone is trying to manipulate or lie to me, and I can handle it pretty gracefully
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#16She was, at the time, my most intense relationship — friendship or romantic. We had a tumultuous years-long friendship, marked by lots of build-ups to what looked like long-term romance, only for her to get cold feet, walk away, then come back around a couple months later, and start the whole thing over again. Each time was cyclic, the same pattern of testing the waters for how I felt. I was always still head-over-heels and happy just to have her back, and we would slowly escalate. It would be this cascade of how amazing and wonderful and special I was. I just ate it up because I felt that way about her too. The difference was I didn't ebb and flow in how I felt about her, which is why I always welcomed her back with open arms. She was deeply insecure and wanted me to try and fight for her attention and love, which is why she would withdraw it. It wasn't until long after she was out of my life I even learned what the term love bombing meant and connected it to her behavior. But even then, I had too much pride to chase someone who didn't want me. I would put on the bravest face and play nice, like it wasn't hurting me and she would come back. Truth be told, it hurt a lot and I probably shouldn't have allowed it to go on as long as I did.
She ended up doing some incredibly terrible things that I couldn't see through, and ran away halfway across the country to be with her parents when I figured her out. I still miss her, and would forgive her in a heartbeat — it was years ago now and I hope we are both different people. But like most manipulative people, she has cast me as the villain in her story for catching her in her wickedness and trying to hold her accountable.
I don't mind though because for the most part, I've moved on with my life
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#17He stopped being loving when he got me. He quit giving me attention and barely spoke to me at all… …like a kid getting tired of a toy. I’m still angry about it.
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#18I was pretty starved emotionally as a child and when dating became a thing it was like I’d cracked the code to being loved. I was really cute and decent looking in my teens and early twenties so it made finding boys really easy. The problem was that I was so desperate for someone to show me they loved me that love bombing felt AMAZING. I was like WOW this is what it’s SUPPOSED to be like. When someone loves you, you’re SUPPOSED to be the center of their world. I was in awe of it and couldn’t get enough.
The first few times, the love bombing turned into future faking and eventually completely slowed to a grinding halt and then turned the other direction towards complete neglect/being cheated on. Those experiences completely destroyed my self worth for a while.
Then I had to put a guard up and really get to know someone before believing a thing they said. It took til I was about 25 to get there but I guess that’s a pretty normal age to feel like you’ve really matured.
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#19When his actions weren't matching his words. In the beginning he was really affectionate, kept making elaborate plans for the future, gave me a lot of attention and made me feel like he was falling in love with me in a short period of time.
Two weeks later, he was just not the same. Kept telling me he wanted to meet me and still made plans for the future but there was no follow through. Initially I chalked it up to being busy/ work stress but after a while I realised that this inconsistent behaviour is not okay with me and broke things off.
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#20Being overly "loved" and praised beyond what would be expected. Overly showered with praise to other people while you are present for things that are normal. If someone is over the top, it's a red flag.
Also, pay attention to how they speak of their exes and how long their friendships are.
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#21He mirrored everything. I realised later on that it was impossible for someone to be so similar to me. Not even my sibling shared my opinions / likes that much.
Also, that feeling of dread / nerves that I mistook for butterflies. I didn’t know then that it was my gut telling me to run, now. (I did run, but towards him. I was a fu—ing idiot, but I learned my lesson now )
#22I didnt fully understand until we were about to break up. When i met this man he would text me and call me constantly, if i didnt respond or answer he would just keep going. Hed compliment every inch of me even my butthole lol. He told me pretty much that he thought i was the one. Hed say he was going to take me and the kids to france one day, we also debated about circumcising our said kids. He told me he was going to provide for me that he wished i could move in with him. All within the first month or two of meeting. I actually thought hmmm idk what lovebombing is, is this that? And i ignored that thought because i enjoyed someone being so in love with me. There were glimpses of him behaving in ways that didnt align with his words, especially when he would have a bad day or id try to set a boundary. But the facade didnt fully slip until the last time i saw him. He was having a bad day and he was lashing out at me, ignoring me, and hurting me. He showed he didnt really care. He was too stressed to keep up the act or pretend to be kind and dumped me a week later.
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#23He would ‘sincerely’ apologize for things he’d done, and then the next time it was brought up, he would turn around and blame me or refuse to acknowledge the things he did. When I was breaking up with him, he offered to pay for a tattoo I wanted, only to turn around and ask me for money for the things I was taking that were mine
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#24It happened to my godmother. He wooed her for two weeks straight, proposed, and then married her within a month. Soon after he had her, he moved into her home. Then the violence began. Six months after she went radio silent on friends and family, she had to sell her home and flee the state where we live.
#25He spent over $100 on me on the first date. Then messaged me all day and kept FaceTiming me when I went on a trip begging me to turn around and just stay with him as a staycation. There was so much loving I really thought I was so super special that this man would do anything to have me be his gf. But once I started reciprocating he dropped the act and was his true self. That’s what I realized it was love bombing.
#26A day after meeting and texting he was telling me what a “good girl” I was and he wanted a future with me. He would insist I stay on the phone with him as he slept even though it made me super uncomfortable. And the last straw was him sending hundreds of messages in a row without response and parking outside my house hoping to catch me on my way to work.
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#27It generally sounds very fake. I was always put off by this one person who kept singing super high praises when we barely knew each other, and I didn't feel terribly flattered by it. It's not that I don't already know some of the things they praised me for about me, it's the way they tried to express it to me that turned me all the way off from them. Plus the way they would apologize sounds more like he was expecting sympathy than actual forgiveness.
My suspicions were confirmed when I learned they were trying to isolate me from a friend of mine, and when I cut them off as a friend, he attempted to publicize it and it was just really ??? Like I thought nothing of it, it was just pathetic behavior
Healthier contrast to this is when I met a newer friend (several newer friends actually) and I could tell their feelings were genuine, and I didn't feel any of those weird butterflies or sirens going off.
#28Because once I became dependent on it, the love went away.
#29Didn’t put 2 and 2 together until after a few months of dating. I had never heard of the term before, so I didn’t think there was anything wrong at the time. Literally 1 day after our first date, the guy asked me to be his girlfriend. I said yes because I was definitely in an emotionally vulnerable state back then. I was pretty desperate to be in a relationship and went with the first guy who treated me like a human being after running into a string of emotionally unavailable guys.
Anyway, me and the guy dated for a few months and most of the time, I was his main focus. He called out and skipped work often to hang out with me all day, always told me how perfect I am and how he can’t believe I’m with someone like him (tell-tell sign). He avoided arguments/disagreements like the plague, he spent money on buying me things instead of paying bills sometimes, told my mom that he was planning on getting me pregnant which was very strange to me, told me he loved me a few days after meeting.
Looking back now, all of this sounds insane to just overlook but I was a firm believer in when you meet someone and you just know ‘they’re the one,’ everything is going to be perfect. No. It takes time to REALLY get to know someone. No matter how bad you feel like you’re ready to be in a serious relationship, start a family and all of that, always take your time with dating and understand that things like that can’t be rushed.
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#30Too strong, too much, too fast. You cannot love me when you do not even know me. Getting to know someone requires TIME. Some might argue you can never truly know someone in toll, but you sure as hell cannot know someone well in a few months.
#31It happened after every screaming session. My mom would just go off on me for the most random of reasons, very “wire hangers mommy dearest” then afterwards it was a complete 180. With lots of hugs and kisses and affection.
As an adult I could recognize it in men and steered very very clear.
People who love bomb seem like they are trying very hard, because that’s what they are doing “trying”. Love and affection is a natural thing not something to be forced.
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#32When he invited me to come on his study abroad trip to Europe. I had only met him once in person
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#33Actions never matches their words
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#34Haven’t had this from a romantic partner, but from multiple “best friends.” In the beginning, they make a point to highlight how all our commonalities make us “the same person.” How I just naturally “get” them. This then evolves to shaming me when I express a different opinion, have a different preference, or express individuality. “Getting” them turns into expecting me to anticipate their needs without communication. Then I’m stuck, shamed and accused, blamed and discarded. My new rule is anyone who finds my individuality threatening (why would you like THAT thing? Why don’t you like MY favorite thing?) off the bat I know this is not a safe person. Take me as I am, or not at all.
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#35My now ex-boyfriend wanted to get me a promise ring after three months, later added me to his life insurance policy without asking me, and somehow made me out to be the bad guy. He said I was overreacting and that he was just 'giving me the serious relationship' I wanted
#36It started with 'I am so lucky to have you' three days after we met to 'I am always right, let me teach you.' He shut me down every time I tried to express an opinion. Our 'discussions' were a monologue. Everything I said was wrong. It was the first time I had a relationship that wasn't long distance or forced, so I fell face-first super fast. We got together less than a week after we started talking. Love bombing lasted for less than a month, then he ignored me and only wanted sex."
"I didn't realize it was bad until after I broke up with him because I was tired of fighting for the relationship alone
#37Honestly I didn't know until a very long time after we broke up, when I read a comment on reddit defining love bombing.
One of my friends had expressed that she thought I was being love bombed waaayy before I figured it out...I guess I wasn't ready to see it when she told me. Listen to your friends! Their perspective is invaluable.
Image credits: rad_interesting_name
#38I knew as soon as he wanted a relationship after about a month of dating me. I was fine with us just being friends and explained that to him. He was very adamant that he wanted a relationship with me. Before then, he was very attentive to every detail about me, from my hair to the color of my eye shadow to the design of my nails that week. He took me out every week. The first sign of his temper was one night I showed up 'late' to his place because I needed to re-do my makeup. He was very displeased over it, and I took note. It started to slowly go downhill from there and became a very abusive relationship for the next three and a half years
#39I know I need time to warm up to people gradually, so no one has gotten close to me. The one guy who got closest I met one time very casually, and fairly shortly, at the beach. A few days later, I told him I didn't want to meet again. He sent a picture of a gift bag. He was trying to guilt me into giving him another chance probably, by expressing his disappointment because he had a gift for me...as if it was terrible of me to end things because he had a gift for me
#40One guy ordered an expensive sweater for me after our first date. Then, he proceeded to talk about taking me on a trip to Hawaii. He kept wanting to take me out to incredibly expensive restaurants, the ones with four dollar signs on Yelp. But then he kept testing me and always wanted to know where I was and who I was with, one month into meeting — we were not together or exclusive
#41I'm not sure if it's lovebombing, exactly, but it's definitely in the same family: oversharing. Telling me things that a really close friend would know after only a little amount of time. When I realized that it made me uncomfortable to know those things about a person (guy or girl) it became an immediate red flag and I always backed away before too much entanglement. And I was usually right.
#42Every thing I did was amazing. He got excited that my favorite animated movie was a movie he had only seen on time as a child. He didn’t even remember it! Yet, he cited that as a reason I was a 'perfect' match for him. Anything I did, even if it directly conflicted with one of his opinions, would turn into yet another reason I was perfect
#43It felt sticky and saccharine, and I felt obliged to “accept” it which was exhausting and more about him than me. Also, he said he wanted to marry me after a few days because he “just knew and loved me so totally”. I didn’t know what to say to that but inside I knew… Sadly I didn’t see the glaringly obvious red flags and months later had two get two court orders and police to remove him. I still barely knew the guy.
#44It feels like it’s all just too much and there’s a lingering doubt of the authenticity. There’s just this “too good to be true” feeling that sits in the back of your mind.
That’s how I identify it: intuition. I like to be appreciated but damn I don’t want someone to be obsessed with me simply for breathing. No one can maintain that.
#45I had just met him and he was giving me TONS of compliments right away, like compliments someone would give you if they’ve known you for a long time.
#46It felt fake and as if he wanted something, like he had an agenda. It wasn't organic or appropriate. I'm not a romantic person so I find love bombing easy to spot. Even if it's not intentional and the person is just easily swept away I find it shows they lack a lot of forthought. It shows they either are playing me or overly emotional. Either way it's not good.
If their reaction isn't proportional be suspicious.
#47He was telling me how much he loved me after a week of dating. Also no matter what I did, he would say “this is why I love you.” It just felt bizarre
#48It was happening really early into the relationship. We hardly even knew each other yet he was expressing really big feelings. Too much too soon. Also, would pile it on when I wanted to do something he didn't want me to do (ie. spend time with friends instead of him)
#49Had someone I was talking to for a while.
When I felt high whenever we talked and low whenever he would ignore me as punishment. Usually, for being too honest or not saying what he was wanting to hear.
He would shower me in love, affection, compliments, and make me feel really good. It became addictive to talk to him.
#50There were a lot of smaller instances leading up to this but one time I changed every single radio preset he had in his car just to see if he would actually get upset with me and finally stand up for himself. He apologized TO ME for having radio stations that didn't like before that. Ooof.
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#51Lack of boundaries. I’m not going to use terms of comfort or discomfort here because I’ve been known to be a very happy recipient of love-bombing. But I recognise when it’s happening nonetheless. It’s when there’s no clear distinction of healthy boundaries either established or upheld on one side or both—think codependency.
#52It is so weird to be with someone who only shows or tells you what you want to hear. For most things, my ex was like that. He never drew any hard line with me ever, until I said no to anal sex. Then he got weird and argued with me for five hours, because I had the audacity to draw that boundary. I was on the phone with him since we were at different colleges, and I didn't hang up or break up with him then — it took me another eight months. The final straw was when he got pissed that I wanted to hang out with friends instead of chat with him all night on AOL Instant Messenger since I finally had friends at school after two years of spending time with only him every night online, and almost every weekend in person
#53It felt like when he was showering me with love that he was describing/experiencing a connection that I in no way was reciprocating. It felt “off” and rushed and although it felt like it was authentic to him, I know from previous relationship that emotions like he was describing can only develop so strongly with enough time. In the beginning I thought okay maybe he’s just clicking more than he usually does on dates, maybe the sex is better than he’s used to, maybe he just really loves the idea of me (guys in IT often glorify having a gf in IT, I’ve felt this from guys often).
A couple of weeks in I was really feeling it was too much, though I couldn’t tell if he was fooling me or himself. I end it, it was a little back and forth but it climaxed in an evening where he showed up at my apartment and refused to leave. I begged, pleaded, commanded, growled but nothing worked. He didn’t leave until I had a screaming crying fit locked in my bathroom, then came out like I was psychotic to push him out.
At this he turned nasty fast. It came totally out of left field for me as I have always managed to end my relationships amicably with mutual respect. He turned to messaging me that he hates me, that I’m deceiving, that I need psychological help, that he’s worried for my friends because I might hurt them (because of how I freaked out when he wouldn’t leave my house). A day or two later he’s sending me sweet messages again saying “he was just angry” and pretending like it’s nothing.
I have never been abused, I have never been in a toxic relationship, my exes are all wonderful people. This was a crazy experience for me. I realized what women are talking about when they are describing gaslighting and toxic communication with a partner and I was utterly shocked. I cut contact with the guy and when he messaged me 4 months later wanting to talk (after a 2 week fling…) I told him no.