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07th Jun 2022

How to tell if you’re being love bombed

Katy Brennan

Falling in love and being subjected to love bombing could feel the same – here’s how to tell the difference.

The start of any romantic relationship can be an intense time.

You’re suddenly crazy about someone, you’re texting non-stop, maybe you’re devoting all of your time to each other. Through TV, movies, and fairy tales, we’ve come to believe that this all-consuming, whirlwind type of romance is how things should be – at least at first.

However, if you find yourself on the receiving end of someone who’s being a bit too much, you might just be getting love bombed.

Ryan Gosling as Noah in The Notebook is a classic example of a love bomber: he changes his whole personality to win Ally over, he won’t take no for an answer, he even builds her a home without consulting her. Then there’s the persistent letters, and all of the other stuff that seems totally romantic but would actually be pretty messed up in the real world.

And that’s just one of the endless examples of male protagonists who “fall in love” with the female character within 15 minutes and stop at nothing to win her over.

In reality, Noah and Ally’s relationship would probably have burned out just as fast as it lit up. Or he’d ghost her on the third date after professing his undying love and promising he’d never leave her.

Point is, because behaviour like this is romanticised in books and movies, it’s difficult to know when it can be a bad thing. These kind of love and attention tactics are of course not always bad, but they can sometimes be emotional abuse in disguise. Essentially, if someone’s interest in you is making you feel totally overwhelmed, it’s time to assess the situation.

Robert Davies, relationship expert at, tells Her: “Put simply, love bombing is over-the-top demonstrations of attention and affection. Love bombing makes the recipient feel good, boosting dopamine and endorphins, and this excessive positive reinforcement manufactures intense feelings of both unity and loyalty.

“A word of warning, though… Love bombing can be used for both positive and negative purposes.

“Signs can include compliments, flattering, praise, as well as generous gift-giving. However, it can also present through a neediness for excessive communication, as well as highly demanding expectations, and disrespectful or controlling behaviours.”

These negative aspects can be a precursor to “wider toxic behaviours of emotional manipulation or abuse”.

While it might sound kind of contradictory, narcissists or extremely self-involved people are the biggest culprits. Going out of their way to love bomb the one they’re pursuing gets them the attention, dependancy and control they crave – it boosts their ego.

“When it comes to being emotionally abusive, love bomb cycles are a classic narcissist pattern,” Davies explains. “They say and do all the right things, particularly in the beginning of a relationship, to make you think they are absolutely everything you ever dreamed of, but over time this toxic cyclic pattern starts to show up.

“They go from totally love bombing you, then something will set them off and they become extremely nasty, even abusive, saying things that really hurt and make you question how good a person you are (they always blame you), then soon after they switch back to love bombing you, so you forget how nasty and hurtful they were.”

So how do you stop a love bomber in their tracks?

Pay attention to excessive displays of affection. If certain behaviours are making you uncomfortable, shoot them down – refuse gifts or request less text messages, for example. If someone is engaging in these things because they are genuinely head over heels for you, they’ll understand and pull it back.

If they just don’t stop, odds are you’ve got a love bombing narcissist on your hands, who clearly isn’t respecting your space – and it’s time to say bye.