How to spot the difference between love bombing and genuine feelings

illustration of man and woman with love hearts and flowers

It’s no secret that the dating world is a scary place, so when you finally find someone you click with it’s easy to miss those red flags – especially if they’re disguised in ‘good morning beautiful’ texts and bunches of roses.

You’ve probably heard of love bombing – when someone is overly affectionate at the beginning of a relationship, making over-the-top gestures as a way to manipulate their partner.

But we can’t deny that whirlwind romances exist. George Clooney proposed to Amal after just six months of dating – two children and eight years later, and the pair are still happily married.

And Cameron Diaz and Benji Madden were even speedier – tying the knot just seven months after they were first seen together. 

So how can you tell if it’s love bombing or just… love? 

Kate Mansfield is a dating and relationship coach. She says a specific type of person is likely to love bomb.

Kate says: ‘Narcissists are well known love bombers. They do this to consciously try to manipulate you, and they’ll display behaviours such as being overly familiar and romantic.

‘But people who are deeply insecure or scared of rejection will also love bomb. In this case, it looks like obsessing, texting too much or people-pleasing.

‘Taking the time to find out about the kind of person you’re dating will help you spot if you’re being love bombed.’

And while the romance is always turned up during the honeymoon period, it’s important to notice how your partner is showing their emotions.

Kate says: ‘Classic love bomb moves include buying big gifts, introducing you to friends and family immediately, wanting to rush into commitment and telling you they love you.

‘These gestures might seem romantic, but listen to your gut. How does it really make you feel? Small gestures and compliments are much healthier, and they won’t trigger you into feeling icky.’

Kate explains that consistency is key.

She says: ‘Rather than rushing into things, you want to be dating at a steady pace, consistently. You’ll usually instinctively feel when a love bomber pushes the boundary and over steps what is appropriate.’

And a sure-fire way to work out if you’re being love bombed? Ask them.

Kate says: ‘Speak up and say that you want to slow down and you’re feeling uncomfortable – how the person responds to your boundary will tell you everything you need to know about whether or not it is genuine.

‘Boundaries usually get a strong and angry reaction from a love bomber, or they might even ghost you – don’t feel sad if this happens, you’ve been given a lucky escape.’

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