While some might engage in this behavior without malicious intent, there are those who use it as a manipulation tactic.
Ghosting, benching, zombieing and cushioning. These are some of the many dating trends that are out there, hiding behind cute and confusing names that rob them of how awful these behaviors are and the damage that they do to people.
The newest and cutest sounding behavior? Love bombing. This occurs when a person showers their new partner with affection, gifts, attention and promises of a future together, only to disappear after a few months have passed or after the “honeymoon phase” is over.
There are different degrees to love bombing. While some might engage in this behavior without malicious intent, there are those who use it as a manipulation tactic. The most common of these behaviors is the former, when people get swept up by their emotions only to realize that they were caught in the moment and that their feelings weren’t based in reality.
“These people are ‘in love’ with falling in love. Experienced daters learn to enjoy the ‘infatuation phase’ without becoming overly emotionally invested,” says author Kevin Darne on an interview with Men’s Health.
The latter, and much more dangerous one, is employed by narcissists, sociopaths and social predators. “Narcissists in particular are known for their skills at manipulation, as much as their penchant for self-love. They may use flattery and attention as tools to build themselves up as the perfect partner, the better to gain your trust, affection — and, ultimately, adoration,” Suzanne Degges-White, Ph.D. tells Psychology Today.
While there’s no way of protecting your feelings while you’re dating and putting yourself out there, the more experience you get, the more likely it is that you’ll get a grasp on people’s true intentions. Keep an eye out for people who seem too good to be true, who shower you with an unusual amount of attention. While these people might just be kind and generous, there’s a chance that this is all part of their plan.