Is Love Bombing the New Normal? Examining Society’s Changing Attitudes towards Intense Romance

Is Love Bombing the New Normal? Examining Societys Changing Attitudes towards Intense Romance

A picture-perfect person you just met gifts you a bouquet of your favorite flowers and a box of your favorite chocolates and claims you are their soulmate. Sounds romantic, right? This is actually a red flag. They might later love bomb you: the act of bombarding someone with grand gestures to establish dominance in a romantic relationship. Love bombing can be difficult to pinpoint because it is normalized in media to be sweet and thoughtful. In reality, it can be detrimental to one’s emotional well-being. 

Love bombing is a form of emotional abuse. The intent to manipulate a person is the most prevalent motive behind love bombing. This behavior typically stems from narcissism, in which the love bomber’s main objective is to gain authority over their partner to boost their ego. Narcissistic love bombers will constantly compliment you, offer you extravagant gifts, check up on you countless times throughout the day and want to move quickly in a relationship. Love bombers intentionally mislead their significant other by acting like the perfect partner. The love bomber’s partner experiences a rush of endorphins and dopamine when showered with attention and affection, clouding their judgment. Thismakes it challenging for individuals  to recognize the red flags in their relationships. 

Love bombers will eventually begin to demand more from their partner after their phase of acting sweet. They will leverage past grand gestures to pressure their partner into believing that they owe them something in return. They often pressure their partner into spending more time with them than with their family and friends or reveal sensitive personal information such as passwords. Love bombers may also persuade their partners into marrige to make  it easier to dominate them. 

A love bomber’s ego boosts once they gain their partner’s trust and love, empowered knowing that they have control over their victim’s heart and mind. At this point, the love bomber will no longer feel the need for a relationship so they will back out from it. They may emotionally, and sometimes even physically, abuse their partner while leaving the relationship. 

Media today represents love bombing as romantic rather than problematic. The concept of love at first sight is normalized, but it indicates narcissism that leads to love bombing. 

“Narcissists move quickly to avoid detection,” said Dr. Suzanne Degges-White, Chair and Professor of Counseling and Counselor Education at Northern Illinois University, in an interview with Cosmopolitan. “The more someone tries to flatter you into submission, the harder you need to look to explore his motives.” 

Characters from popular media like Aladdin from Disney’s Aladdin and Noah Calhoun from Nicholas Sparks’ The Notebook are examples of love at first sight. Aladdin, a street peasant, wished to become a prince, completely changing his identity to win over Princess Jasmine only after talking with her once. Noah Calhoun hung from the top of a Ferris wheel and refused to get down until the girl he met for the first time agreed to go out with him. These characters took extreme actions to be in a romantic relationship with the female protagonist – their relentlessness portrayed as endearing. However, these are signs of love bombing because both characters are quick to pursue a romantic relationship by showing excessive adoration towards their love interest with marriage in mind. 

Some may argue that popular media does not show love bombing but simply a fast paced passionate romance with no malicious intent. It is dangerous to compare fictional stories with reality because fictional timelines are compressed to maintain an interesting plot that does not drag out. The media portrays a false outlook on love. As a result, people are not properly educated on noticing signs of love bombing, making it  hard to avoid potential abusive relationships.