Isn’t love a beautiful thing? Sure, but you have to be careful not to confuse Prince Charming with the Tinder Swindler!

When you first get into a new relationship it feels amazing! It almost feels like the sun shines brighter, the air is crispier and you feel invincible. This feeling is so prevalent, there’s even a term for it, it’s called New Relationship Energy (or NRE) which refers to a state of mind experienced at the beginning of sexual and romantic relationships, typically involving heightened emotional and sexual feelings and excitement.

Isn’t love a beautiful thing? Sure, but you have to be careful not to confuse Prince Charming with the Tinder Swindler!

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What is Love Bombing?

According to a study published in 2017, love bombing was identified as the presence of excessive communication at the beginning of a romantic relationship in order to obtain power and control over another’s life as a means of narcissistic self-enhancement. The study sought to establish empirical evidence for the presence of love-bombing behaviours amongst young adult relationships.

In addition to over-the-top compliments and statements such as “you’re the best thing that has ever happened to me” which are often used as blanket declarations in romance movies, they are also paired with extravagant demonstrations of affection.

4 signs of love bombing

Make over-the-top statements a few weeks sometimes months after meeting you using phrases like “I knew you were the one when I first laid my eyes on you.” Such statements are not realistic or true if the person has only just met you.

Not afraid to share how disadvantaged they are in order to gain your sympathy. People often keep their insecurities to themselves until the relationship is further along for fear of rejection. Love bombers do not share this fear.

They like everything you do in exactly the same way. The nature of human beings is that we are vastly different. While we may find common ground, we don’t like all the same things, in the same way, all the time.

They’re too good to be true. The thing to remember is that every Prince Charming has his flaws. People are not food items on a menu prepared just the way you like to your specifications. Ideal, normal partners will not tick off every box on your list. 

Not to be confused with romantic courtships

However, it is important to note that excessive attention and affection does not constitute love bombing. According to Psychiatrist Dale Archer the difference between a romantic courtship and love bombing is the devaluation phase. 

“The key to understanding how love bombing differs from romantic courtship is to look at what happens next after two people are officially a couple. If extravagant displays of affection continue indefinitely, if actions match words, and there is no devaluation phase, then it’s probably not love bombing. That much attention might get annoying after a while, but it’s not unhealthy in and of itself,” says Dr Archer.

Why is love bombing a red flag?

Love bombing in a relationship is often just a stepping stone to abuse, whether psychological or otherwise. If the goal is manipulation then the relationship is not meant to be loving or fulfilling for the object of their attention.

For example in the case of the “Tinder Swindler”, named after a Netflix documentary series that became vastly popular in Kenya and made it to Google’s top searches in the country, many of his victims were often quoted as saying, “he was so great in the beginning” before he stole millions from them.

The best way to avoid becoming a victim is to take your time with the relationship and listen to your instincts. If it feels too good to be true, then take your time to work through it. Give yourself the opportunity to see the cracks in the illusion.


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