In a new relationship and getting lots of gifts? Is your partner already making big declarations of love when you have just started dating? It's been two dates and they are already talking how they see kids with you? We spoke to Pooja Khera, a certified Relationship & Dating coach to know if these are good signs or red flags in a relationship and here's what she had to say.
Before you get flattered by all this and think you have found your one, take a pause as this could be a relationship red flag called 'Love Bombing'.
Simply put, love bombing is a form of emotional manipulation used to gain power over a person by showering them with what appears to be a ton of affection. It almost feels like the real thing—apart from the slight nagging doubt that you keep having that things are "SO..." something or the other, that it feels creepy/unsettling or suffocating.
There are the off-notes that you have to overlook like, the odd thing that doesn't quite add up. Their past relationship history or the way they talk about it (Trust me, I've been here. All my ex's relationships failed and it was always the women at fault. He was always a victim.)
But how do you know if it's love bombing? While there are multiple signs of love bombing, here is my cheat sheet of eight signs that are sure shot red flags of it:
1. Compliments overdose
Your are being idealised. The compliments and affection you are showered with will make you feel like the best thing that happened to mankind. Compliments can be flattering, yes. But love bombers give compliments like give compliments like "I've never met someone more beautiful than you", "Finally my life feels complete because you are in it" and so on. When these compliments become too frequent or you are also getting baited into returning these compliments, it is a love bombing red flag.
2. It happens so fast, you hardly have time to think
The intention of the love bomber is to actually ensure you don't realise it is happening too fast. For example, asking you to move in or offering to move in with you. Statements like "I just want to take care of you" even after you have barely been on a few dates or it has just been a few months. Lok out for this as it is most likely to result in a crash eventually.
3. They have their whole plan for a future together
Imagine the entire future plan being laid out for you where all the details have been planned by them and you are just slotted in. Yup, while this may sound like the real love, it is not. When people are in real love, the future gets planned by both partners together. One person doesn’t take all the decisions expecting the other one to just 'fit in'.
4. There is a bombardment of gifts
Giving and receiving gifts as a gesture of love is common in relationships. But if you are continuously bombarded with extravagant gifts or too many gifts, then the love bomber is actually seeking acknowledgment for their generosity and attention. This is going to transition into control, criticism, withdrawal or changed behaviour eventually.
5. Usage of heavy duty words like 'soulmates' very often
Your love bomber wants you to constantly and heavily be living in an illusion that you are their soulmate. When it’s real love, partners find deep connections over a period of time, they have seen the highs and lows together, they have had their share of disagreements and healthy conflicts before they decide they are 'perfect' or 'soulmates'. You being showered with terms like 'soulmates', 'perfect couple' in the initial dating phase is a sign of love bombing.
6. Love bombers know what to say to you
If you have shared your insecurities and your vulnerabilities then they know your deepest, darkest secrets. A love bomber will use these to manipulate you or use them against you in a way that you will start to feel they are right. You will be unable to make decisions and hence your co dependency on them increases. If most of the times you find your partner happening to say the 'right things at the right time' miraculously, then this is a sign of love bombing. Beware!
7. Something about them doesn't seem right with others around you but you disregard it
Your love bomber partner’s personality appears to be so attractive to you, that you just can’t see beyond their charms. But people close to you might be very clearly seeing their true colours. So if others around you are dropping you hints or are trying to tell you, listen to them. Chances are they have witnessed the toxic cycle before and are trying to warn you because unlike you, they are not blinded. Pay attention!
8. A love bomber wants attention 24*7
Have you stopped meeting your friends, stopped going to the gym, not being able to take long showers, go to spas because your partner needs you every single moment. If you don't answer a text in 5 minutes, you get a call from them telling you are ignoring them. In short, there's a scream building inside you that says, "I need to be alone." This is a sign you are dating a love bomber and feeling throttled by love.
Real love doesn’t go from 0-100 in 4 seconds. It doesn’t aim to transform your life, it doesn’t rush you and it doesn’t have to idealise you. It can love you the way you are. In a relationship, partners take time to get comfortable in a changed environment, they discover what their boundaries are, what are the boundaries of a relationship and then take time to get perspective.
The bottom line is, if you notice your partner love bombing or trying to make the relationship move too quickly, it is a manipulative tactic which will soon turn unhealthy. Immediately, set absolutely clear boundaries and if there is no change, simply walk away—dating a love bomber a.k.a. a narcissist can be nothing but toxic.
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