“I got love-bombed and then I found out he had a girlfriend”

Written by Alice Porter

Love-bombing is something more and more people are reportedly dealing with. We spoke to two people who have experienced it first hand.

There could be an entire dictionary dedicated to the terminology around modern-day dating: ghosting, gaslighting and breadcrumbing are all words that are now part of many single people’s daily vocabulary. One idea that people are talking about more and more in recent years is love-bombing, which is when someone is very attentive and affectionate in the early stages of dating, often moving things along in a very serious and very quick manner, and then suddenly ends the relationship.

According to new research from LoveHoney, 43% of people have previously experienced being love-bombed in a romantic relationship. They also found that the most commonly experienced toxic trait for men is love-bombing.

For people on the receiving end of love-bombing, it can be a very confusing and upsetting experience. Not only might you already have started to imagine a future with this person, but it probably means that this person has already become a part of your life – maybe they’ve met your friends and family or become a part of your routine – only for them to suddenly disappear.

Here, two women share their stories of being love-bombed:

Jamie*, 25

“I was introduced to a guy through a mutual friend and we ended up going on five dates in one week. At the end of the week, he asked if I wanted to go to Seville on holiday.

A month later he asked if we could be official and if I would move to Barcelona with him that summer. He was really keen to meet my family and, eventually, I gave in and let him, inviting him to my sister’s birthday party. However, after he left my house the next morning – which was also the day of the party – he went off-grid and completely ghosted me. I got a text a week later saying that things were moving too quickly and dating me made him realise that he wasn’t over his ex.

All the classic love-bombing signs were there. He bought me flowers, made extravagant gestures, gave me over-the-top compliments,suggested that I meet his parents after a few weeks and spoke about the future a lot. Usually, I’m quite receptive to these situations, but god it’s easy to get swept up when someone’s amped up the flattery dial.

I think that his behaviour mostly came down to narcissism. After things ended, he told our mutual friend that he just wanted to see if he could make someone fall for him again after breaking up with his ex.”

Sarah*, 28

“When the pandemic broke out, a man I didn’t know started following me on Instagram and messaged me to say that he was looking to meet new friends in London. He asked me to go for a coffee.

It felt like a date – he paid for my drinks and he seemed very interested in me and asked me personal questions. We started going for walks in the park and out to restaurants multiple times a week. He’d tell me about his family and make a lot of plans for the future. For example, he was moving to a new place and he mentioned a number of times that we could work from home together. When we weren’t together, he’d constantly text me to tell me what he was doing and he even spoke to me about children, asking me about my preferences and how I’d like to raise my kids.

At the time, I didn’t know about the concept of love-bombing. I just thought that he just really knew what he wanted and wasn’t like other guys who play games. I’ve dated a lot and realised I have an anxious attachment style, and with this man, I thought I’d found someone who was really into me. I even thought to myself that this was what true romance is – it was refreshing and it seemed too good to be true

However, after around a month he posted a photo with a girl on Instagram, and then, shortly after that, he casually mentioned to me that he was at his girlfriend’s house when I asked if I could come round to his house to drop something off. I couldn’t believe it. I messaged his girlfriend to tell her, but she blocked me and I never spoke to him again.”

Why do people love-bomb? 

For both Jamie and Sarah, the men they were love-bombed by changed their behaviour very suddenly, which is something relationship expert and boundary management coach Marie Fraser says is common with love-bombing.

Love-bombing can be an early sign of manipulative, controlling and abusive behaviour, she warns. “Love-bombing is intrinsic with narcissistic, sociopathic relationships,” she says, explaining that love-bombers often experience a hit of dopamine when they start dating someone new, which is why their behaviour is so obsessive at the beginning and eventually stops.

It’s very hard to spot a love-bomber, as often their behaviour at the beginning of the relationship could be put down to romance or strong feelings. But Marie warns: “If it doesn’t feel right then it probably isn’t, and if it feels too good to be true then it probably is.”

If you feel stuck in an unhealthy relationship, you can seek help via the charity Refuge by calling their free 24-hour helpline 0808 2000247. 

Images: Getty

*Names have been changed. 

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