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Ever been accused of love bombing someone who you really like? You’ve gone out of your way to show them just how much you care about them and want to make them feel good as you love them—but then you get told you are too much.
It’s normal to feel like you’ve been blindsided, but chances are you have actually been doing just that—blindsiding the other person.
So how do you stop love bombing someone in your life when you didn’t even realize you had gone too far in your affections and that your love language is over the top?
It starts with self-awareness and self-control if you want to learn how to stop love bombing. Here’s how.
What Is Love Bombing?
In relationships, love bombing often happens when you and the love bomber have just hooked up or started the dating journey. It’s seen in a profuse giving of elaborate gifts and over-the-top gestures from the love bomber.
Of course, we all have our own love language, and your partner may express their love with tokens and expressions of love, but love bombing is so much more. It’s specific acts that are aimed at converting the receiver to feel beholden to the love bomber. Ultimately, it’s about establishing power over the victim.
And make no mistake, a love bomber that intentionally targets someone with their smother tactics is out to establish control and power. You can expect them to intentionally overwhelm their victim with elaborate acts of kindness and giving.
They foster a massive amount of reciprocity currency with their victim, causing the person to give in when they really had wanted to get out (because they feel like they owe the love bomber).
Love bombing isn’t always intentional or malicious. It can be a result of naïveté, social awkwardness, or actual adoration.
When you have a genuine connection with someone, and it’s from both sides, you and your partner should want to do for each other, move mountains for each other, and express your love in various love languages.
To outsiders, that kind of affection may come across as love bombing, and if you’ve never been in such a committed, healthy, and real relationship as when you are with a true soulmate (or soul friend), then you may initially feel overwhelmed and even scared by it.
There are a few subtle differences between malicious or manipulative love bombing and authentic love-language affection. Unhealthy love bombing is usually characterized by damaging escalation of affection and manipulative behavior.
Your intentional love bomber may seek to woo you with acts that make you feel special and seen in ways that nobody else ever has, but when you really think about it, you realize these are designed to isolate you, win you over, and rip away your support system.
A manipulative love bomber may start by smothering you in honey, but they soon strip away that feeling of being special with negative and harmful behavior.
You end up feeling confused and craving the addictive and smothering treatment you had gotten used to. So you seek them out, making you feel like an accomplice in an unhealthy relationship.
Unlike a manipulator, an unintentional love bomber may not use their actions and displays of affection to form a harmful relationship. Their affection is real, sustained, and love-filled.
Signs of Love Bombing
There are many different signs that could warn you that you are being love bombed. And if you unintentionally love bomb people, these can warn you to self-reflect and think about your actions.
Here are the most common red flags or signs that you are love bombing or being love bombed:
1. A Fast-Paced Relationship
A normal relationship develops over time, but when you and your partner suddenly fall head-over-heels and things seem to speed forward without any brakes, it can indicate you or your partner is love bombing each other.
Tokens of affection become lavish from the first date, and you feel driven to constantly step up to the next level.
2. Refusing to Slow Down
When you ask for time out or want to take a breather with a weekend away, your love bombing partner will latch on tighter and refuse to give you space.
Asking to take things slower agitates the manipulator, leading to abusive behavior and recrimination. The love bomber will seek to go with you on work trips, family holidays, and social getaways. They make you feel like you owe them for being so nice to you.
If you feel overly clingy, you may have been love bombing your partner and now fear losing them.
3. Frequent Flattery and Excessive Compliments
It’s normal for you and your SO (significant other) to compliment each other. It’s natural to want to make your partner feel good, but when the flattery is excessive and constant, it can lead to a fake sense of magnificence.
An intentionally manipulative flatterer uses their compliments to glue their partner to them. It makes the person being flattered feel like they only get compliments from the love bomber, which causes false attachment.
4. “It’s Destiny”
When you are utterly swept off your feet, it can make you believe in “destiny,” even when you and the love bomber are not actually compatible. Love bombers often use talk of destiny to confuse their partner and make them feel as if they are “fated” to be together.
Because the relationship rushes forward, clichéd terms like “you complete me,” “we were made for each other,” or “we’re soulmates” appear in your conversations.
5. Constant Gift-Giving
It’s normal to enjoy being treated with a gift. However, a love bomber will use lavish gifts all the time to “buy” currency with their victim.
If you constantly shower your partner with gifts and elaborately “spoil” them with excessive tokens, you may be love bombing them. This is especially true if you give them gifts whenever you feel they are drifting a little further from you.
The excessive gift-giving is designed to trap your victim to secure their presence and commitment to your relationship. You are usually the one who gives them gifts, and they usually seem confused and overwhelmed.
6. Milking You for Information
Initially, you may feel the love bomber is really interested in you, and they seem to “really see you;” yet, they never share much about themselves.
If you feel like you are being constantly encouraged to “open up” and “share your load,” it could be a sign your partner is milking you for information about yourself.
This information allows them to manipulate you further.
Do you constantly want to know more about your partner while not sharing much about your own past? You may be fishing for information to love bomb your SO.
7. Breaking Boundaries
Having boundaries is normal. You are entitled to your own emotional, mental, spiritual, and physical space. Some things are just not okay with you, and these are where your boundaries lie.
A love bomber pushes against your boundaries, disregarding your efforts to maintain personal space and your bottom line.
When you don’t want to allow them access, they project their insecurities onto you, making you feel rude, mean, and as if you alienated them. This is all to get you to crawl back and let them trample your threshold.
If you push your partner past what they are comfortable with, you should ask yourself whether you are doing it because you love them or to get a hold of them, in which case, you are love bombing them.
5 Steps to Eliminate Love Bombing Behavior
Looking at the signs above, you may have discovered an ugly side to yourself that you were unaware of if you’ve been unintentionally love bombing your partner.
You may also face a grim reality that you’ve been personally insecure, and you’ve used love bombing to manipulate your partner into feeding your needs.
Follow these steps to stop love bombing behavior:
Step 1: Learn What Genuine Love Is
Knowledge is power, and your first step to stop love bombing someone you care about is to learn what genuine love is and how love bombing is not the same thing.
Knowing the difference between love bombing and genuine love is how you start working through your relationship issues and break the cycle of manipulation.
Love bombing is about backing your SO into a corner, so they feel alone, owe you for your love, and are only good enough because you say so. Can you see how this is not what love is about?
Genuine love is about sharing without any thought for future gain. You give gifts because you want your SO to feel as amazing as you see them as.
When you’ve given a gift or paid a compliment, you immediately put it from your mind, never using it as leverage over your partner.
Actions to Decide If You Are Love Bombing:
The first step is knowing whether you have a problem, so think about a recent gift or compliment you shared with your SO.
Did you do it with some sense of it “getting something” from your partner? Write down why you gave or praised or did favors. Now reflect on what you wrote. Did you give a gift from the heart, or did you have a plan when you gave it?
If you’ve shared and praised while intending for there to be some benefit to you, then you are a love bomber, and you need to take the following steps to stop love bombing and lead a genuine relationship with your SO.
Remember that a genuine and unintentional love bomb is often an expression of wanting to spend quality time together, affirm your partner, seeking physical closeness, and engaging in acts of service to help them.
Giving gifts that are given without a second thought indicates real love.
Step 2: Become Aware When You Love Bomb (Learn the Signs)
When you are self-aware, you can change your behavior. However, if you never realize you love bomb until it’s too late, you can’t change your behavior or habits. So develop awareness of your love bombing instincts.
These habits may crop up when you least expect them. And the only way you can change is to see yourself clearly. This means knowing what triggers you to love bomb people.
Actions to Seeing When You Love Bomb:
Like an alcoholic who drinks because he feels upset at work, you need to really create inner awareness and find what makes you love bomb.
Once you spot your triggers, you can make real progress to stop this harmful behavior. Start by keeping a journal of each day’s social interactions.
When you see signs that you’ve love bombed (or have been love bombed), you need to note these and check how often they happen. Start looking for patterns that lead to love bombing.
Step 3: Find What You’re Trying to Say by Love Bombing
Once you know you have been using love bombing instead of actually displaying real love, you can start to dive deeper. What do you want to achieve or say with these elaborate acts of love bombing?
Do you struggle with articulating your real feelings, or are you emotionally under-developed and not ready to commit to a relationship in an adult way?
Perhaps you never learned how to take appropriate action in romantic relationships, so you buy love with extremes instead of just enjoying the experience?
Actions to Discover the Why of Your Love Bombing:
When you feel that elaborate urge to splurge and love bomb, stop and think. Use a journal and consider working with a therapist to really excavate your true feelings.
Do you understand that it’s okay to say “yes” and also to say “no?” And the person you love bomb has these rights too, and it’s perfectly normal to feel hurt if they decline your offer.
Adding more honey won’t make them say yes when they want to say no, and if they do, they’ll end up resenting you.
Are you using love bombing to cover up your own sense of self, which you never really built or explored? Perhaps it’s now time to start love bombing yourself (in a healthy way).
Step 4: Become Self-Aware and Learn Why You Love Bomb
When someone points out that you have been love bombing people, it can trigger a defensive response. You may deny your actions being over the top, insisting that you merely like doing things for those you care about.
When people point out that you go too far, that your love language is in overdrive all the time, it can be a real shock to you.
Denial is a natural instinctive response, but try not to respond immediately. Instead, let their words sink in, and allow yourself to really see your actions from an outside point of view.
When you hear that little voice inside trying to scream that you are not love bombing, whisper “shhh” and just breathe.
This is the moment that you really meet yourself.
How to Become More Self-Aware and Avoid Love Bombing Behavior:
Love bombing stems from feelings of inadequacy, and when you feel like you have to “earn” love, you revert to buying affection with love bombing activities. So take steps now to start feeling better about you.
This is an ideal time to take a meditation retreat, go on a road trip, or even spend the weekend quietly at home with nobody around, so you can focus on your needs. Become more aware of your needs by reflecting, writing, and breathing.
A loving kindness meditation is a great place to start.
Other steps to develop greater self-love, so you won’t feel the need to love bomb include:
Step 5: Break the Love Bombing Habit
A final point to consider is that love bombing can be your go-to behavior. It can stem from people-pleasing tendencies, and it can also be how you protect yourself from rejection. When you continue using love bombing “successfully” you may learn to be a manipulator, and it can lead to a darker turn of character.
Stop Habitual Love Bombing:
Break the habit of love bombing others by recognizing you do this without thinking. Here’s how:
Final Thoughts on How to Stop Love Bombing Someone
In time, and with practice, you can learn to love yourself deeply for who you are, with no need to impress others by love bombing. You can learn how to stop love bombing someone you care about. You don’t have to become a manipulator who uses love as a weapon.
Instead, learn to break the habit and discover ways to express real love and compassion in meaningful ways.
If you’ve been love bombed, read our guide of 10 types of toxic people to avoid at all costs. And if you fear you love bomb people and can’t stop, learn about the 33 toxic personality traits you should watch out for.
And if you're looking for more articles on relationships, be sure to check out these blog posts:
- 7 Steps to Overcome Insecurities in a Relationship
- I Hate My Husband: 13 Reasons Why You Feel This Way
- 15 Warning Signs That Your Partner Has Commitment Issues