Spotting the Difference Between Love-Bombing and Healthy Displays of Affection

Lori Moulton
6 min readFeb 21, 2024

Is your partner manipulating you?

Man and woman embracing with foreheads touching, and large smiles.
Photo courtesy of Canva

Wouldn’t it be lovely to meet someone who totally gets you? They like all the same things you like, they have all the same values you have, they have all the same goals for the future, and on top of all that, they adore you! In fact, they are so smitten with you, that they know instantly, that they want to spend the rest of their life with you. That’s what love bombing feels like. It’s like you’ve met your soulmate. Everything happens quickly, and in a whirlwind. You get caught up in the fantasy of happily-ever-after.

Love bombing is not happily-ever-after, though. In fact, it is the exact opposite. It is a manipulation tactic, used by narcissists and other toxic personalities, to get you quickly infatuated with them, so that they can better control you. They’ve had years of practice with other people, honing their skills as they go. As soon as one relationship ends, they move on to the next. Sometimes, they don’t even wait until a relationship ends, having multiple partners waiting in the wings. Often, even when a relationship does end, the narcissistic person keeps coming back periodically to love bomb again, just to see if they can get back into your good graces.

In contrast, a healthy love relationship begins slowly. There are no grand professions of love. Usually the “L” word doesn’t come until several months have passed. The person in a healthy relationship will not have all the same likes and desires as you. You will have some things in common, but not everything. A confident person will happily admit that they disagree with you on certain things, like your taste in music, your love of travel, or your desire to have a horse someday, for example. The reason they will admit to things they don’t agree with is because they are not trying to manipulate you.

Of course, you will have some of the more important things in common, but a healthy person will have their own friends, and their own interests that they won’t just give up because they’ve found someone to date that they are interested in. They won’t pressure you to move in right away. They won’t push fantasies of a perfect future together, with a house, and a dog, and 2.5 kids, or traveling around the world as digital nomads.

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Lori Moulton

Certified Transformational Coach, Masters in School Counseling, Teacher, helping others heal from emotionally abusive relationships and build self-love..