How To Spot And Stop Love-Bombing In 10 Easy Steps

A partner who showers you with passionate love and affection may sound like your perfect match. But sometimes, that love can be toxic. Love-bombing is a form of manipulation using constant, overwhelming affection to overpower and win you over. Here’s how to spot and escape a love-bomber in 10 steps.

  1. You have a bad gut feeling. First, notice how you feel with them. Do you feel genuinely safe and cared for? Or do you feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable being with them? If it feels too good to be true, or if it feels like they’re moving too fast, it’s probably because they are. All relationships take time to develop and unfold naturally. When it comes to love-bombers, they will speed things up, trying to make you believe that they’re highly invested in you. In reality, their affection is inauthentic, and they’re actually only interested in making you want them.
  2. They’re extra clingy. A new relationship can be exciting for anyone. It can be easy to get swept up in the passion and infatuation. But when someone is extra clingy, they may be love-bombing you. Wanting to constantly message, spend all your time together, and not let the other out of sight isn’t romantic—it’s controlling.
  3. They’re too giving. Generosity is nice, but only when it’s sincere. One common tactic of love-bombers is to be overwhelmingly giving, where the other person can’t help but feel flattered and loved. But beware: their gifts aren’t as kind as they seem. Watch for incessant compliments, presents, and physical affection. Unlike real generosity, these gestures are given when you’ve hardly learned anything about each other at all. A love-bomber’s gifts are only given to reward you for being who they want you to be, not for who you actually are.
  4. You feel pressured. Love-bombing uses non-stop affection to try to keep you hooked. And part of this is hooking you into being completely committed and devoted to the relationship. But you might notice, deep down, that you feel pressured to move too fast. You may want to avoid moving too quickly in a relationship, or you may want a little space. With a love-bomber, though, you may feel like listening to your own needs isn’t an option.
  5. They punish you. When you don’t give into their pressuring, a love-bomber will likely turn cold. They may become angry with you, or they may pull away and start ghosting you. It can feel like you have to play by their rules, or else you’ll be punished.
  6. They talk about the future right away. A common sign of love-bombing is rushing into the future, without taking time to properly develop a healthy relationship in the present. You may barely even know their last name, yet they’re talking about traveling together, introducing you to their parents, having children one day… Finding someone who seems so ready to commit may seem like a dream-come-true, but it can actually be a major red flag.
  7. They call you their soulmate. Love-bombers love to project fantasies with their partners. They’ll probably call you their soulmate, and they’ll talk about how perfect you are. Here’s the truth: you are perfect for the right person. But the right person will take time to get to know you, listen to you, and respect your unique needs and boundaries. A love-bomber, however, will neglect to follow these steps. Instead, they’ll rush into happily-ever-after.
  8. Don’t feed into the love-bombing. If you’ve noticed these signs of love-bombing, it’s time to start shutting it down. While it’s not your fault if you’re being love-bombed, you can positively influence the situation. When someone’s affections seem inauthentic or you feel uncomfortable, don’t feed into them. Don’t act flattered or appreciative of their attention. It may feel strange, or even rude at first, to ignore their compliments or gifts. In actuality, you’re doing the right thing to protect yourself. This is an important first step to start blocking a love-bomber’s manipulative strategies.
  9. Speak up and set boundaries. If you aren’t ready to cut the love-bomber off yet, make sure you at least speak up and start setting boundaries. Let them clearly know you’re uncomfortable and you want to take things slow. Don’t be afraid to say, “That’s a little too much for me right now,” or, “I want to spend some time on my own.” In a healthy relationship, and especially in the early stages of dating, these boundaries should be honored and respected.
  10. Take your power back. In many cases, the best way to shut down love-bombing is to break it off with the other person. Love-bombers shower you with affection to try to manipulate and overpower you. When you start setting boundaries, they may give up, or they may try to continue pressuring and guilt-tripping you. But you deserve way better than being stuck in a toxic love-bombing cycle. Take your power back, and let them go.
Relationship educator, writer, host of the Relationship Reminders podcast, and mental health advocate hailing from the US and currently based in Tokyo