Malicious dating methods are not uncommon and it appears that 'love bombing' is the latest trend on the scene.
Previously we've had the likes of ghosting, benching and DTR where individuals manipulate anothers emotions for their own benefit.
Love bombing is a tactic that involves the immediate seduction of a new partner by showing them with affection.
According to the New York Post, this often occurs in whirlwind relationships, in which the overwhelming sensation of romance can push aside concerns and doubt.
This onslaught of periods of attention, known as 'bombs', leaves little room for the other person to question their partners intentions.
Some love bombers frequently declare their intentions to do things rather than ask questions. Whether they want to take you on holiday or outline how happy the next stage of the relationship will be, their target is to make you think they are indispensable and key to your future happiness.
They will constantly praise all the good aspects of your character and claim to be 'good listeners' but are prone to angry outbursts, which they use to help them gain more control.
The trait has been associated with people who have narcissistic or sociopathic tendances, people who soon dump their partner after a sudden loss of interest and change in personality.
Dale Archer, a psychiatrist has written in Psychology Today about the subject and says:
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.
This is classic psychological conditioning at play here.
Just as the love bombing is the positive reinforcement (you do what I want, and I’ll shower you with love), the devaluation is the negative consequence (you did something wrong, so I’m punishing you).
In addition he provides several examples to look out for if you suspect you are seeing a love bomber.
Firstly you should stop them and ask to slow things down. Being endlessly told that you are 'perfect' and that you are 'soul mates' can be nice but it is a distraction from an emerging and constructing dynamic.
Request that things cool down for a while as it is moving little too fast for your liking.
Archer offers a good test to the potential early signs of love bombing:
A good litmus test is to think of your best friend, how much you have in common, and how often the two of you agree (or disagree).
Now consider how long it took to build that bond.
Is it likely someone you’ve just met knows you as well as your best friend?
If you find yourself saying, 'Yes, they do!' warning bells should be ringing.
Try to asses whether their actions are in sync with their words and listen carefully to their assertions.
If they are making big promises try to offer a realistic response. They often hate to be questioned and can retaliate aggressively.
Should you believe that you have already been a victim of love bombing, Archer recommends that you shut the other person out of your life and try to reconnect with your friends and family.
Healthy relationships build slowly, and are based on a series of actions, not a flood of words.
Love bombers are experts at talking, but when held accountable for their words, they tend to lash out.
It’s normal to feel confused, or betrayed, and the urge to make excuses for the love bomber is strong, because they’ve worked hard to tie your self-esteem to their good opinion.
And that’s what makes this cycle of idealisation, devaluation, and discard so devastating.
Love bombers exploit the natural human need for self worth, and turn it into shame and self-loathing.