First there was ghosting, where one member of a romantic relationship abruptly stops all communication with their partner without any warning. Next, there was breadcrumbing, where a member of a romantic relationship doesn't necessarily stop all communication, but gives their partner just enough to keep them hanging on. And now, there's "love bombing."
What is love bombing, you ask? Allow me to break it down for you below.
WTF does love bombing mean?
Love bombing is a form of romantic manipulation in which your partner showers you with love from the get-go, only to have things go south fast, according to the New York Post.
Psychiatrist Dale Archer explained in a Psychology Today post that this happens when someone tries to win your affection by showering you with "love, attention, presents and promises about the future."
Why is it a bad thing?
Being showered with love and attention doesn't sound so bad, right?! Wrong.
The danger with love bombing is that things are moving at such a fast pace and your feelings for the person are so incredibly heightened, it becomes easy to overlook some red flags in the beginning. Communication with your new bae is so constant that you don't even have time to take a minute and assess whether or not this is a healthy relationship.
And that's just the thing. Love bombing isn't healthy at all. In fact, Archer argues that it's a form of psychological abuse.
What makes it abusive?
With love bombing, the "honeymoon" phase where you're being showered with love subsides just as quickly as it began, and as soon as your predator gets the sense that you might not care for them quite as much as you used to in the beginning, they show their true colors.
This is when the predator, who is more often than not a narcissist or sociopath, shifts from overly affectionate to controlling and angry. If that shift never happens, and your partner is continuously showing affection and their actions are matching their words, Archer explained that it's "probably not love bombing."
However, he warned that when the type of loving attention makes a shift for the worse, and your partner starts making "unreasonable demands," you should take that as a sign that something is wrong.
Still not clear on why this is considered abuse? Let Archer break it down for you here:
The important thing to remember about love bombing is that it is psychological partner abuse, period. When one person intentionally manipulates and exploits another's weakness or insecurity, there's no other word for it.
Why do people fall for love bombers?
If this phenomenon is sounding familiar to you and you're having a hard time figuring out how in the world you wound up falling for a sociopathic narcissist, don't worry. It turns out narcissists are pretty desirable mates.
Joe Pierre, a psychiatry and biobehavioral sciences professor at UCLA, explained in a Psychology Today article how people wind up falling in love with narcissists. While clearly mentally unstable, Pierre explains that narcissists can be desirable lovers as they are extremely ambitious, confident and self-sufficient.
How do you avoid being love bombed?
Take it slow, according to Archer. He explained that truly "healthy relationships build slowly." Beyond that, maintaining friendships with friends and family throughout your relationship is vital.
Even if your new bae isn't a love bomber, there's no harm in taking it slow.
Check out the “Best of Elite Daily” stream in the Bustle App for more stories just like this!