Can There Be Too Much Love? Learn Why Love Bombing Is Abusive


    6 Min Read


    Being showered with affection sounds fantastic, right? Proclamations of undying love, gifts, and declarations that your partner couldn't exist without you – why wouldn't someone want that? Because when it becomes love bombing it's not healthy.

    It's easy to romanticize the idea of extreme affection, but anything out of balance can become a problem. What's particularly insidious about love bombing is that it's less about love and more about manipulation and control.


    What Is Love Bombing?

    It's hard to imagine being bombarded with love as a bad thing. Most think of expressions of affection as a positive thing.

    But love bombing not only takes these expressions to the extreme, but is also fueled by unhealthy motivations like creating dependence and imbalance within the relationship.

    So just, what is love bombing?


    Love bombing is when one partner overwhelms the other with excessive,

    • Attention

    • Affection

    • Gifts

    • Over-the-top gestures

    • Complete disrespect for boundaries

    The person on the receiving end may feel flattered by the whirlwind of romance. It may even feel like genuine validation and as though this person really "sees" you.

    That kind of starry-eyed, drawn-in response is what a love bomber counts on, and to a certain degree, it's a natural response.

    Everyone wants to be loved, right?

    And if you're in an emotionally vulnerable state because you're,


    you may have been living without feeling loved for a long time. This can make love bombing seem like a rainstorm in the desert. Sadly, love bombing is more of a mirage than a sustainable quenching.

    Why Does Love Bombing Happen?

    Love bombing is a tactic often used by,

    The goal is to create dependency and a feeling of indebtedness that they can then leverage to get what they want (or for control) within the relationship.

    In other words, it's a form of manipulation.

    Unfortunately, the level of attention and "love" shown by a love bomber is often both temporary and cyclical.

    Once the relationship is established, the behavior that seemed so loving can change and become controlling and abusive until the need for love bombing becomes necessary again.

    A love bomber will often resort to over-the-top behavior with elaborate apologies or grand gestures when the relationship goes south.


    The intention is to make it hard for their partners to leave the relationship by creating,

    • Guilt

    • Codependency

    • An imbalanced feeling of responsibility

    While love bombing is manipulative, it's not always intentionally malicious.

    Some love bombers are unaware of their behavior's unhealthy and inappropriate nature. Their neediness and desperate actions are a product of,

    • Emotional immaturity

    • Personal insecurities

    • Fear of being alone

    Their actions still attempt to control their partner, making it difficult for the partner to operate independently or leave the relationship. Still, it's not as calculated as the narcissist who's deliberately manipulating their partner in an emotionally abusive way.

    Dr. Kurt has worked with individuals and couples who’ve dealt with love bombing and he’s seen first hand how it can affect a relationship. According to him,

    Love bombing is one of those things that looks and feels good, so it's hard to imagine how it can actually be bad. But sometimes good things become bad because of the motivations behind them. Unfortunately, when you fall in love someone it can be hard to see a negative side to them. Keep in mind that bad motivations often mean unhealthy motivations. Not everyone who love bombs is a self-absorbed, out for themselves narcissist. Well intended, yet psychologically unhealthy, people do it too."

    The Difference Between Love and Being Love-Bombed

    It can be hard to tell the difference between love and love bombing, especially at the onset of the behavior.

    Grand gestures and dizzying emotions are part of the fun of falling in love. Unfortunately, they can also be part of love bombing.

    The most significant difference between love and the extreme affection characterized by love bombing is the respect inherent to healthy love. A person who loves you will be,

    • Genuine in their behaviors

    • Respectful of your boundaries

    • Considerate of your feelings

    • Happy to move at a reasonable, even cautious pace within the relationship.

    This isn't to say that all grand, romantic gestures are attempts at manipulation and the work of a love bomber. Certainly, efforts at demonstrating feelings and making a partner feel special can be honest efforts at creating romance.

    It's when those affectionate efforts are extreme and continual that you need to be concerned.

    How To Recognize When You're Being Bombed (With Love)

    The biggest obstacle in recognizing love bombing isn't seeing the signs as much as admitting what those signs really mean. The tactics a love bomber uses can initially be welcomed and feel flattering.


    This is why understanding the red flags regarding love bombing behavior is so important.

    Below are examples of some of the most common love bombing behaviors:

    • Adoring and overly complimentary behavior. Are you a pretty awesome person? Probably. But are you the most unique, perfect, beautiful, genius-level human ever to walk the planet? Chances are you – like the rest of us – are just a tick shy of perfect.

    A love bomber, however, will often idolize you and be excessively adoring and complimentary.

    • Making you a cornerstone person in their lives too quickly. Ready to meet the parents, kids from a previous relationship, look at homes together, and evaluate school districts – after 3 dates?

    A love bomber will often say your very new relationship is fate, and you're the soulmate they've been waiting for as they place you in a too important position within their lives way too soon.

    • Over-gifting. Expensive jewelry or tickets on the 50-yard line may be things you covet, but expensive gifts can be an attempt to buy your affection.

    • Becoming too attached. Sentiments like, "My life wouldn't be worth living without you," "You're my everything," and "I'm nothing without you" have a romantic ring to them, but they're actually warning signs of an unhealthy attachment.

    This kind of desperate attachment is often a sign of love bombing.

    • Angry responses and guilt trips at any perceived rejection. Responses like, "You don't love me," "You think I'm worthless, don't you?" "You're a liar! You've been lying to me this whole time, haven't you?" when you have to work late or just need a night to yourself should be considered a red flag.

    • Saying "I love you" way too soon. Love is a profound and intense emotion and should be expressed only when those feelings are strong and clear – something that takes longer than 3 or 4 dates to determine.

    • Wanting to be with you All. The. Time. Everyone needs time to themselves and some autonomy. You don't need to be accompanied to the dentist or an audience while you do your hair.

      A lack of boundaries and inability to give space is a characteristic of love bombing.

    • Jealousy and ownership behavior. It sounds sweet when someone wants you "all to themselves" or "doesn't want to share you," but possessive, ownership behavior isn't good for either of you. It's also the first step in trying to isolate you from others you care about.

    These aren't all the possible signs of love bombing, but they are the most common. Individual actions can vary from person to person, but the general theme across all behaviors is,

    • Excessive

    • Overwhelming

    • Desperate

    None of which are adjectives that are used when talking about a healthy, balanced relationship.

    Is Love Bombing Ever Okay?

    Love bombing is a form of emotional abuse. If you're being love bombed, it isn't okay, even if it feels romantic and flattering.


    The cycle that begins with love bombing typically leads to,

    If you suspect you're being love-bombed, moving on from the relationship should be a serious consideration. However, there are some things you can try first.

    What You Can Do If You're Being Love-Bombed

    Feeling overwhelmed or manipulated by your partner means you need to take steps to put things on a better path.

    This should include:

    • Communicating your discomfort

    • Setting clear boundaries

    • Insisting on respect for your wishes

    • Reframing your relationship and its pace.

    If your partner can't (or won't) understand and respect what you need, there needs to be a planned next step you're willing to adhere to. In many cases, this will be taking a break from the relationship or ending it altogether.

    If it's a relationship you'd like to pursue, couples counseling may help you and your partner find a healthy balance.

    What To Take Away

    Knowing whether you're being love-bombed can be tricky, mainly because the initial experience can feel fun and flattering. But love bombing shouldn't be indulged or encouraged.

    As intriguing as it may seem in the beginning, love bombing is a manipulative form of emotional abuse and won't lead to a sustainable, happy relationship.


    When it comes to love bombing, keep the following in mind:

    • A love bomber's ultimate goal is to control.

    • Love bombers take advantage of those who are willing to allow it.

    • Too much of anything isn't healthy – this includes gifts and expressions of love.

    • Trust your instincts. If it feels off or like too much, it probably is.

    • Set and maintain your boundaries with everyone. If it's really love, your partner will respect that. If they can't, it's probably best to move on.

    Love bombing isn't a reflection of actual, real love. With that being the case, losing the affection of a love bomber isn't a loss to mourn.


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