Love bombing typically occurs in the early phase of a relationship in which one person pursues their romantic interest intensely. This may involve giving expensive presents, making constant calls, or showing up uninvited.

Romantic movies or television shows often portray love bombing in a positive light. Chasing after a crush may seem harmless or even romantic in these depictions. But in reality, love bombing is more often a warning sign of an abusive relationship.

A healthy relationship involves mutual respect for a partner’s boundaries. Love bombing typically involves crossing boundaries and may indicate unhealthy relationship patterns in the future.

This article discusses the signs of love bombing, why it is harmful, and what a person can do if they think they are being love bombed. The article also answers some common questions about love bombing.

Black and white image of a person's hands holding a heart-shaped balloon.Share on Pinterest
Design by Medical News Today; photography by Studio Firma/Stocksy

Although love bombing looks different for everyone, there are a few signs that may indicate love bombing in a new relationship. First, love bombing generally involves an overwhelming amount of communication.

This may include constant text messages, multiple phone calls per day, and excessive messages on social media platforms. It is common to communicate more frequently in a new relationship. But if the amount of communication interferes with daily activities, it could be a sign of love bombing.

Another sign of love bombing involves expensive gift giving. Some extravagant presents may include:

  • expensive jewelry or clothes
  • fancy dinners
  • plane tickets or hotel stays

A person who is love bombing may try to pay for living expenses, like rent or utilities. They may plan to use these gifts to manipulate their partner later in the relationship. For example, they may expect certain favors or actions in exchange for these gifts.

Finally, love bombing may include early declarations of love or commitment. Saying “I love you” after only a week or 2 may be a sign of love bombing. Similarly, calling someone a “soulmate,” or claiming they have been searching for this person for their entire life, may also be a warning sign.

What all of these signs have in common is that they function to speed up a relationship. Healthy romantic relationships take time to develop. If one person pushes the relationship at an uncomfortable pace, they may not be a healthy partner in the long run.

Love bombing can feel exciting in the moment. It may seem like a new partner is “perfect” or “too good to be true.” But over time, love bombing can cause serious harm.

When an individual engages in love bombing, they may try to take up as much of their partner’s time and attention as possible. If all of a partner’s focus is on the person who is love bombing them, they may be unable to sustain other relationships like those with friends and family.

Love bombing may affect someone’s ability to work or study. Having to be available at all hours for a potential call or text can limit the opportunity for anything else.

As time goes on, the partner may become increasingly dependent on the person love bombing them. At this point, it is much easier for the love bomber to engage in verbal or emotional abuse.

Physical abuse, like hitting or shoving a partner, can easily be recognized as abuse. But other forms of abuse may develop more slowly. This can make it hard to realize that abuse is even happening.

Some of the early warning signs of abuse may include:

  • controlling where a partner goes or who they spend time with
  • shaming or embarrassing a partner
  • keeping a partner from going to work
  • taking charge of finances or taking money from a partner
  • isolating a partner from friends and family

A partner may also become increasingly jealous and accuse their partner of cheating on them. Additionally, they may criticize or question a partner to the point where a partner doubts their own sense of reality.

During the love bombing phase, a partner may become infatuated with the love bomber and isolated from their support networks. Ultimately, an abuser uses love bombing to set the stage for further abuse in the future. When their partner becomes isolated and dependent on the relationship, they become easier to manipulate and control.

It is normal to be excited at the beginning of a new relationship. Calling a partner frequently or exchanging small gifts is not a cause for concern in itself.

However, when the attention from a new partner becomes overwhelming or interferes with other areas of life, it may be time to take a step back.

Individuals who think they may be the recipient of love bombing should educate themselves about the signs. If they notice these signs, they may choose to speak with their partner about establishing healthy boundaries. A couple’s counselor may be able to help with this process.

If the situation does not improve or worsens, it may be appropriate to end the relationship.

If a relationship becomes abusive, seeking professional help is crucial. Although many people think of domestic violence as a physical act, there are actually many different forms of domestic abuse. These may include:

  • coercing a partner to have sex or participate in sexual activities against their wishes
  • intimidating a partner or threatening to harm them or their loved ones
  • using technology to harass, stalk, or control a partner
  • not allowing a partner access to money
  • intentionally damaging a partner’s self-esteem

Domestic violence can happen to anyone. There is no shame in experiencing domestic abuse, and it is never a survivor’s fault. Individuals who are experiencing domestic violence can find support through government or local organizations.

Help is available

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of domestic violence, call 911 or otherwise seek emergency help. Anyone who needs advice or support can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline 24/7 via:

  • phone, at 800-799-7233
  • live chat, at
  • text, by texting LOVEIS to 22522

Many other resources are available, including helplines, in-person support, and temporary housing. People can find local resources and others classified by demographics, such as support specifically for People of Color, here:

Was this helpful?

Below are some of the most common questions and answers about love bombing.

Is love bombing a form of gaslighting?

Gaslighting is a type of emotional abuse in which an abuser makes a person doubt their experience of reality and even their sanity.

Love bombing is not the same thing as gaslighting. However, love bombing a partner can isolate them and make them more dependent on an abuser. This can set the stage for gaslighting later in the relationship.

Can someone unintentionally love bomb?

Whether someone is aware that they are love bombing depends on the individual. Some people may recognize that they are moving too fast after speaking with their partner and make adjustments.

Other people may not have any experience with a healthy relationship. In their eyes, love bombing may seem like a typical step in a new relationship.

How long does love bombing usually last?

Due to a lack of research, there is no specific timeline for love bombing and it depends on each relationship.

Love bombing involves excessive attention from a partner at the start of a new relationship. It may involve overwhelming phone calls, gifts, or professions of love.

In many cases, love bombing is an early warning sign of an abusive relationship. People who love bomb may be looking to establish control and ultimately begin abusing their partners.

Knowing the signs of love bombing and domestic abuse can help individuals make informed decisions early on in their relationships. People who think they may be noticing patterns of abuse within a relationship should reach out for support.