As dating has evolved to a much more digital landscape, a slew of new words and trends have emerged, requiring singles to brush up on their knowledge before diving in. To ensure you’re up to date and ready to tackle the ever-changing vocabulary, reference Datezie’s Dating Glossary. Our collection defines, explains—and offers humor and strategy—to the new ABC’s of falling in love.
TLDR: Lovebombing: the act of intentionally moving a relationship too fast to gain control over your partner.
What is love? Baby’s gonna leave you if drop a lovebomb too soon. Think back to that infamous episode of the cult-favorite How I Met Your Mother when Ted goes on a first date with Robin and ends up telling her he loves her. Though we all want head-over-heels, feel-it-in-your-bones feelings, true, everlasting, trustworthy love doesn’t happen in an instant. Though, sure, you can feel as if you could fall for someone from the get-go, you need time to really know if it is attraction, lust, infauction, or the crème de la crème of l-o-v-e. If you happen to be dating someone who has rushed the courting-and-dating process into a full-blown, serious, committed relationship — you may need to raise an eyebrow. As you might guess from the name, this modern dating terms refers to the practice — or is it a ploy? — of saying those precious three little words in an effort to get what you want. Or perhaps, out of desperation.
Here, we discuss lovebombing and how it impacts the dating scene these days:
What is Lovebombing?
After swiping for months (or er, years) — you’ve finally paired up with someone who brings the fireworks. You get along, your laugh together, you can talk about the hard stuff — and you happen to be over-the-moon attracted to each other. Though these are amazing signs of a promising relationship, you can ruin the getting-to-know-you process with a lovebomb. What’s that mean? Sexpert Coleen Singer explains lovebombing is the practice of overwhelming someone with signs of adoration and attraction such as flattering comments, tokens of affection, or love notes on the mirror, kitchen table, or windshield. Maybe even flowers delivered at work with hearts dotting the I’s in your name. It’s texts that increase in frequency as they increase in romantic fervor,” she explains. Though it could be innocent enough, sometimes it has darker purposes, she continues, explaining most of the time, the lovebomber’s goal is to manipulate you into spending more time with them — and, not coincidentally, less time with others, or on your own.
Where Did ‘Lovebombing’ Come From?
Though recently it became trendy, the term ‘lovebombing’ actually dates back to the 1970s. As Singer explains, it was coined by members of the Unification Church of the United States and was often used by members of the Family International. In a quote from Sun Myung Moon, the founder and leader of this cohort, he shared, “Unification Church members are smiling all of the time, even at four in the morning. The man who is full of love must live that way. When you go out witnessing you can caress the wall and say that it can expect you to witness well and be smiling when you return. What face could better represent love than a smiling face? This is why we talk about love bomb; Moonies have that kind of happy problem.”
Though now it’s much more tied to unhealthy partnerships — the term still exists for some practitioners.
Why Lovebombing Matters
After a string of dates so laughable you’ve blocked them out of your memory, having someone who seems crazy about you is refreshing. They call you. They return your text messages. They make you feel adored, appreciated and special. But if your gut feels like a ticking clock rather than at peace, your lovebomber may not be who you think he or she is. As psychologist Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. explains, lovebombing is frequently not a genuine, honest way to interact with someone you are dating or in a relationship with, since it’s muddled in manipulation and deception. Because it’s a ploy to gain control or have the power over their partner, they basically say what they need to say to get there. “Unfortunately, the person receiving all this flattery and interest often has no idea that these gestures are being done for any other reason than that the other person really likes or loves him or her,” she continues. “ Love bombing can also impact dating/love by not allowing for an equal type of relationship in which the feelings, thoughts, and/or needs of both parties are being acknowledged or respected.”
In extreme cases, a lovebombing relationship may lead to domestic abuse or even a stalker situation. As the lovebomber becomes the director of their love interest’s life, they will grow jealous, thrown tantrums and alienate their partner from his or her community, according to Thomas. With the cycle of abuse, this will continue — a lot of affection, a lot of fighting, then a lot of affection again. It’s confusing — and unhealthy — to say the least.
On the other side of the token, you may be a borderline lovebomber because you’re insecure in yourself or your partnership. In a way to keep your partner ever-connected so you don’t have to worry about them losing interest or straying, you come up with reasons to see them. Or you do something so kind, it guilts them into feeling attached to you, right away. This is dangerous territory — and perhaps, if you feel this way, a reason to seek a psychologist instead of a romantic affair.
Where You Might Hear Lovebombing
More often than not, your friends could be the first to alert you to a potential lovebomber in your path. Or, once you understand the term, you’re more likely to use it within conversations. The tricky part of this dating term is how good it feels to be on the receiving end of the grenade at the start of a relationship. Everyone wants to fall in love — no matter how cynical you are — and meeting someone who seemingly wants the same things is intoxicating. But if your pals push you to really think carefully and deeply about your partner’s character — it’s worth thinking if you’ve been lovebombed. Make sure to ask them questions — and take their advice — since they can be your voice of reason in the mess.
How to Use Lovebombing In a Conversation
If you’re the one rushing along the process — and not in a sincere way — you’re a lovebomber. The act of manipulating someone into feeling as if you love them is lovebombing. If someone is doing this to you and you consider yourself a victim, you’ve just been lovebombed.
Singer provides this example: “This new guy that I met on a dating app is now texting me many times a day with compliments, and even sent flowers to my office. I think he is lovebombing me and it’s creeping me out.”
Notable Lovebombing Quotes
“At first glance, love bombing might seem like the exact opposite of breadcrumbing or ghosting, and the truth is, it’s actually way worse than being breadcrumbed or ghosted. Love bombing might sound like a luxurious bath bomb you’d buy, exploding with bubbly goodness in your tub before fizzling out — and that’s pretty much exactly what it is, unfortunately.” —Arielle Tschinkel
“As soon as you show a hint of caring about anything other than your new partner, they get furious with you and label you as selfish. Their mask slips, and you see someone mean, belittling, and unreasonable underneath. They can’t comprehend that you have anything else going on in your life, and they completely turn on you.” — Lindsay Dodgson
“Nonstop attention and daily roses can sound appealing, but if you were the object of this type of affection — from someone you just met — you’d probably think it was more creepy than charming. Most of us prefer relationships that unfold in a relatively gradual way. It’s normal to feel a rush of excitement at every glance, touch, or meeting at the start of a new romantic relationship, but when someone’s trying to move it along too fast, it can be a more than a little disconcerting.” —Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D