With modern communication and the plethora of dating apps available these days, words like “I’ll love you until the end of time,” “Let’s travel to the ends of the earth,” and “Marry me in Las Vegas” are a lot easier to say right from the beginning of a relationship.
You know, because sending a text on a screen just doesn’t feel quite so serious. And besides, heart emojis and passionate gifs are a lot more accessible than buying a diamond ring or tickets to the Bahamas. But sending over-the-top declarations of love (especially when you don’t mean it) isn’t without its risks.
This trending manipulation tactic is called “love bombing.” According to the New York Post and Business Insider, love bombing consists of making a conscious effort to show lots of affection right at the beginning of a relationship or flirtatious interaction, with the sole aim of getting attention and making the other person dependent on you.
The New York Post cites an article by psychiatrist Dale Archer in Psychology Today, who explains:
“If extravagant displays of affection continue indefinitely, if actions match words, and there is no devaluation phase, then it’s probably not love bombing.
On the other hand, if there’s an abrupt shift in the type of attention, from affectionate and loving to controlling and angry, with the pursuing partner making unreasonable demands, that’s a red flag.
The important thing to remember about love bombing is that it is psychological partner abuse, period. When one person intentionally manipulates and exploits another’s weakness or insecurity, there’s no other word for it.”
Love bombing adds another layer to ghosting in that the person really lays it on thick prior to disappearing, leaving you pining for more, at which point the person has already found a new victim on Tinder.
Archer recommends taking things slow at the beginning of any relationship so that you are more prepared in the event that it does turn out to be emotional manipulation. Otherwise, you’ll be left with only the crying/laughing emoji to console you.