Love bombing: The relationship red flag you should be watching out for

Are you a victim of love-bombing?
Are you a victim of love-bombing? Photo credit: Getty Images

The beginning stages of a new relationship can be fun and exciting, full of affection, admiration, and obsession for your new partner. 

But can these signs of lust and love actually be dangerous? 

Enter love-bombing. According to Healthline, love-bombing is when someone overwhelms you with loving words, actions, and behaviour in order to manipulate their love interest. Put simply, it is clingy behaviour taken to the next level. 

Therapist Shirin Peykar tells Healthline the technique is "often used to win over your trust and affection so that they can meet a goal of theirs".

Love-bombing is often linked to narcissism, which is a clinical disorder in which someone has an excessive and inflated interest in themselves, or in their appearance. 

Speaking to Women's Health, therapist Jessica January Behr of Behr Psychology says the two are linked due to the cycle of idealisation and devaluation being at the core of narcissistic behaviour. 

"This is a learned pattern of behaviour, where the narcissist's self-worth is so low that they overcompensate with love bombing so they can receive the reciprocated love and affection they need to maintain their self-worth," Behr says. 

But why is love-bombing a red flag? Psychologist Carla Marie Manly explains that although it's natural to show your partner extra attention in the first stages of a relationship, the attention of a love bomber is likely to be false and inflated on conscious and unconscious levels.

"This type of behaviour is a red flag because of the manipulative, self-absorbed nature of the underlying dynamics," she says. 

Here are some of the classic love-bombing signs to look out for. 

Non-stop gifts 

Love-bombing and over-the-top gifts go hand in hand, such as bouquets of flowers to your work, spontaneous trips and jewellery. And although all these things might sound fantastic, Manly says a love-bomber is likely to demand the gift back, to devalue you and punish you. 


Everyone loves the odd compliment, and they are a healthy part of any relationship. But a love-bomber will likely overwhelm you with compliments, with many of them seeming too good to be true. 

"Although it's normal to compliment a new partner as a relationship unfolds, the love bomber focuses on offering lavish compliments, often before they know enough about the person to warrant the complimentary statements," Manly explains.

Constant texts and phone calls 

Steady communication with your partner is natural, especially when you are first dating. However, communication becomes a red flag if it feels one-sided, and becomes increasingly overwhelming. 

According to Healthline, you should "take note" if your partner begins texting you early in the morning and every hour on the hour.

'We're soulmates'

Counsellor Tabitha Westbrook tells Healthline that if your partner starts spouting lines that sound like they're right out of movie, it's a red flag. 

"Hollywood is great for entertainment, but true love and relationships don't look like the movies," Westbrook says. 

Just like the lavish gifts, a lover-bomber may flood you with romantic mantras such as "we're soulmates" or "you're my twin flame", before taking the statement back in order to put you down. 

No boundaries 

Westbrook explains when you tell love-bombers to slow down with their affection, they'll continue to manipulate you until they get what they want. Whereas in a healthy relationship, your partner would respect the boundary you have created. 

"Love-bombers get upset about any boundaries with regard to access to you or you accepting their displays of 'love'", says Westbrook. 

"It's like a tsunami of affection and they expect you to accept it all." 

If you're worried your relationship may reflect some of the above traits - don't worry, it doesn't necessarily mean you or your significant other is a narcissist. 

"Love-bombing can occur outside of a narcissistic relationship, particularly if a person is needy, lonely or happens to be naturally generous and attentive," Manly says.