Dating a narcissist is like a beautiful dream that suddenly morphs into a nightmare. One moment, everything is picture-perfect and he’s all over you like butter on toast. The next, he’s chipping away at your self-esteem like it’s a block of ice that needs to be turned into snow cones.
Most of the time, it never happens instantly — it’s a process that often starts off as a whirlwind romance that slowly morphs into an abusive, gaslit nightmare. The romantic part is what hooks you in, and it’s actually a process called love bombing.
What is love bombing? Love bombing means the person of your affection is trying to influence you by “bombing” you with attention and love. And it’s used by narcissists to manipulate you.
7 subtle-but-deadly signs you’re being love-bombed:
1. Everything seems very quick
Love bombing feels like a zeitgeist. They’ll be ramping up affection fast, often to the point where the phrase “whirlwind romance” will come to mind when you think about them.
A good rule of thumb is to ask why someone wants to link up so quickly, and why someone is trying so hard to impress you so fast.
2. He acts like a hero to you when you’re in a bad position
Call me a pessimist, but I don’t believe that heroes are real anymore. Rather, it’s more likely that someone who is helping you is more likely to be doing it out of a selfish need.
Common fantasy narcissists have is to be the “hero” to people that are in a bad position, and to get praise and admiration heaped upon them for saving them from someone. If the person in question suddenly swoops in to save the day, it could be one of the signs of a love bombing rather than the miracle hero you want.
3. At times, it seems like he’s trying to get you to acknowledge that he is better than anyone else you’ve dated
Love bombing is, at least on a subconscious level, something that narcissists do on purpose. They’re doing it to get you hooked on you and to make you think that you can’t get better than them.
4. He asks a lot of probing questions about the uglier side of your life
This is a common way narcissists find material to bring up later on when they start abusing you. It’s also a way to make you feel more bonded to them in a faster amount of time.
After all, we tend to feel way closer to people we share secrets with, particularly if they’re dark secrets.
5. Others warn you about him, but what they’re saying really doesn’t match up
Though there are some very rare occasions where it’s actually a psycho ex or a very misunderstood individual, most of the time, this isn’t the case. More often than not, the reason things don’t match up is that the person you’re seeing is love-bombing you and their real face hasn’t shown yet.
If people are warning you about someone, it’s often a good idea to pay attention. Chances are that the person you’re talking to isn’t the exception to the rule.
6. He’s backpedaled after saying certain things that seemed questionable
Many people who love bombs also tend to have other red flags that crop up early on — the most common being backpedaling when you point out a red flag comment or behavior they made.
Keep an eye out for this behavior, as the original statement they made probably shows what they really are like.
7. He showers you with gifts
A good indicator of whether it’s love bombing or actual love is how heavily they shower you with presents. If you feel inundated with a bunch of gifts, often to the point that you almost feel like you “owe” them, then it’s probably love bombing.
Narcissists and other abusers will often do this as a way to make you feel indebted to them and therefore keep you around.
8. He keeps reminding you how good they are to you, or how good they were to others
This is a major sign of love bombing, primarily because it’s trying to drive home the fact that they “are so good to you.” This is a tactic people use to manipulate others into sticking around in bad relationships or to get you to do things that aren’t necessarily healthy for you.
9. The affection you’re getting from him seems superficial
Love bombing is superficial in nature. It’s not real love, it’s just a way to get you involved and invested in a person. So, as a result, the affection will seem superficial at times.
They may mention aspects of your personality that aren’t really there or may talk about how you’re “the hottest girl ever” right off the bat. Why? Because they don’t know the real you.
10. He treats everyone else horribly
A good indicator that he’s not legit can be seen in how he treats others.
If he treats everyone else terribly, don’t fool yourself. That’s a sign he’ll eventually be the same as you.
11. Something just doesn’t feel right
Maybe it’s the fact that he didn’t stop pursuing you when you didn’t show interest. Maybe it’s the way that he seems to be flooding you with compliments, or the way that he smiles.
More often than not, if something doesn’t seem right, that’s because it’s not. Trust your gut and you should be good to go.