One of my young male friends was very excited about a new love interest. She lived a few hours away and he didn’t have a car, so seeing each other was going to be kind of difficult. They had met at a conference he went to for work and he said it was love at first sight. They spent the entire conference canoodling and planning their future together. There was just one tiny detail she had to take care of before that could happen. She was married. I remember rolling my eyes at him, but he seemed to be quite smitten. I told him that being married was not a tiny detail and he should not get too involved. There was a better chance she would never leave her husband for him and he might get his heart broken. He was adamant and went on to describe to me how she was showing him how much she loved him too.
That’s when I started paying closer attention to his story.
She was sending him gifts. Lots and lots of gifts. Clothing, jewelry and even money. She called him all the time and complimented him more than he had ever been complimented in his entire life. To her, he was a demigod. And he loved it!
In my own head I was calculating the number of days, yes days, they had actually known each other.
This was not healthy behavior.
My young friend had no way of knowing this though. All he knew was a married woman was bonkers in love with him and spoiling him rotten. Never in his life had anyone showered him with this much attention and adoration. Usually he had to beg a girl just to answer his text messages and here was a woman, not a girl, just dying to be with him!!He was over the moon with glee!
And that is exactly what this woman was hoping for.
She was grooming him. And everything she was doing, all the gifts and the declarations of love and promises to leave her husband for him one day has a name.
It’s called Love Bombs.
What are Love Bombs?
Love Bombs are when someone showers victims with lavish demonstrations of attention, praise, gifts, and affection and in romantic situations they can even profess their undying devotion to them in the early stages of the relationship. There is absolutely no way this love is real. Love bombing is manipulative abuse and this behavior grooms the unsuspecting victim for what will eventually be a situation that leaves the victim feeling hurt, used and depressed.
Love bombs can also be used on “friends” that they want to manipulate in order to get their way about something, or to get them to do something for them that they can’t just ask for.
This could be someone you’ve known for a while and all of you might have the same mutual friends, but when the Love Bomber thinks you might be able to give them something they need, they will start to manipulate you in the same way. They will suddenly start paying more attention to you, complimenting you and asking for your advice or your company, when in the past they kept their distance and maybe even made you feel like they weren’t that interested in being close friends.
Suddenly you are the focus of their world!
And I have to confess that it does feel good.
Oh yeah! I’ve been Love Bombed! More times than I care to remember and I have to tell you that every single time it happens, I end up with mud on my face and that does not feel good at all.
There is one love bombing situation that was really confusing for me. Someone that I adored love bombed me, and I couldn’t have been more surprised, or hurt by it. I always knew we wouldn’t be close friends, but I was okay with that. I still liked them, and I knew they were younger and moving in a different direction from me. Still, they were a part of my daily life and lots of fun to be around.
Then one day I started getting a lot of attention from them. It was out of the blue too. Suddenly I’m getting calls and they’re interacting with me in ways they never had before and I had done nothing to prompt any of it. I was overjoyed! Wow! They really did like me! They really did want to hang out with me! I even bragged about this new phenomenon to my husband and just beamed.
This only lasted a week or two, before the other shoe dropped.
Evidently, they thought I had more power than I actually have. Their love bombing was an effort to win favor with me in hopes that I would influence a situation that would help them out. It wasn’t about me at all. It wasn’t about being friendly or even being better friends with me. It was all about them and what they needed.
I thought seriously about sticking it out, just to see what might happen.
The good social researcher in my head kept saying “Hang in there and prove your theory!”, but the human being in me said “Get out now! Before there’s any more collateral damages to your heart!” The human being won. I cut ties and bowed out quietly.
I can not express to you in words how much this cut me to the bone. I felt so stupid. I was hurt and grieved the loss of someone I had once admired. Why did they do it? And why did they do it to me? Here I am supposed to be the person that studies people and their habits and I fell for being love bombed! Again! I was being manipulated and groomed and I had no clue! Again!
But why would I ever suspect it?
People that are open to others, people that genuinely love other people and show it, are people that Love Bombers can easily target.
In the case of this person, I would like to think that they really had no idea that this was what they were doing. I would like to believe that they just thought this would be the best way to ensure that they got what they needed from the situation and that no harm would ever come to me. Once their needs were met, they could just go back to the way things were before their need arose and things would be fine.
But things wouldn’t have been fine for me.
You see, that’s what the Love Bomber seems to misunderstand.
To be showered with attention and adoration and suddenly the rug gets jerked from under you without any provocation, is quite devastating to a person’s heart and soul. You wonder what you did and you might even ask what you did. But the answer will always be the same. They won’t tell you the truth. They will never tell you that you were serving a purpose for them and when that was accomplished, and they no longer required your assistance, you became a liability and one they were not willing to give any more energy to. They had places to go now and things to do. Thanks for the memories.
In other words, “Be loyal to me! Be loyal to me! We’re buddies! Give me what I want and I will keep smiling at you! But guess what! As soon as I get what I need from you, don’t expect me to show you any loyalty at all. No sir! I’m just going to split and leave you high and dry as fast as I can! Later loser!!”
Now you’re sitting there wondering if you’re a bad friend. You’re wondering what you did to make them stop paying attention to you. Why don’t they call you anymore to go do things together?
Keep in mind here that I am not talking about sociopaths or narcissists. I am simply talking about people. Sure they do have some of the same traits and methods, but more often than not, they are simply exercising methodology they have seen work in the past. It’s a it’s business, not personal kind of behavior. If this were a sociopath or a narcissist, there’s no way they’d let you off the hook. Once they had you in their sites they’d use you until the cows came home and if you tried to escape they’d hunt you down. These folks won’t do that. They will just get what they were after and then move on.
That doesn’t make them any better or any more pleasant to deal with though.
In fact, when Love Bombers take their leave and people start finding out, people start talking. Oh yeah! That’s when you finally start hearing some truth via gossip. Try not to listen to much of it and definitely don’t allow anything to set up camp under your skin. What you are hearing really has nothing to do with you, but the folks telling you stuff have no idea about what a Love Bomber is either.
What you might want to pay attention to is the person that’s telling you what they heard from the Love Bomber though.
Ask yourself, and ask them too if you’re so inclined…
Why didn’t you tell me about this when it was happening?
Why did you want until now to tell me?
What did you say back to them?
And most important question of all…
Why did the Love Bomber feel so comfortable confiding this to you?
I can answer that last question for you. They felt comfortable confiding how they really felt because they have a kinship with the person they’re confiding in. You see, that person doesn’t like you either.
People that gossip after the fact are simply showing you who they really are.
Real friends will come to you right away and tell you what they know because they don’t want to see you get hurt. This is the difference between genuine concern and gossip.
So what have we learned here today?
Love Bombing is unhealthy behavior.
Anyone can be a Love Bomber.
If you are a Love Bomber seriously consider finding a different way to influence others in order to get what you need from them. Or perhaps try getting what you need based on your own merit instead of using people’s genuine affection for you as a tool.
When someone starts paying an inordinate amount of attention to you out of the blue, always keep your wits about you and don’t give in to the fluffy feelings. You might even think about asking the person to cool it because it makes you uncomfortable. That depends though and can become a sticky situation if you don’t say it just right. I would just keep my head and some distance and wait to see what happened, or bow out quietly.
If you have been Love Bombed please know that it was not about you at all. You hold absolutely no skin in that game, except the skin you lose when your heart gets broken. Keep your chin up and move on. The next time you will know what’s happening long before your feelings get hurt and each time after that will only get easier.
How about you? Do you have any good Love Bomber stories?