Love bombing: the first time I saw the term, I knew exactly what it meant because I am a veteran of multiple love-bombing campaigns—as the bomber.
I want to clarify, I never consciously manipulated anyone.
I sincerely meant every intensity-filled word and over-the-top, grandiose display of affection because my love-bombing was a result of the insane infatuation that consumes my being at the start of a new relationship.
I’m intentionally using the word “insane” here because I’m realizing how completely unbalanced my mind becomes in the rush of a new relationship. It consumes my life; the volume gets turned down on everything else in comparison to the sweet rapture of love.
When we’re cuddling together, my entire body is enveloped in tingling, elated euphoria, every cell reverberating in ecstasy as my heart swells with uncontainable, borderline-painful emotion.
Her every word captivates my attention. I’m consumed with the desire to know her, see her, and understand her.
I dote, showering her with affection, focusing all of my empathy on her so that I can read her emotions, sense tiny shifts in mood, and respond with just the right words to make her feel loved—make her feel like a princess.
I once threw down a 100-dollar tip at a piano bar to pull my love up on stage in front of the crowd and dance to “All We Need is Love” because I wanted her to feel special, to feel publicly adored.
In this rush, it seems impossible to spend enough time with her. I want every free second filled with basking in the bliss of our radiant love. The more I see her, the more I want to see her. When I’m not with her, my body aches with longing for her touch, to feel the warmth of her embrace.
One time after a four-day camping trip (where we spent every minute together), upon returning to our respective homes, I called and pleaded to come over and spend the night because after four nights together, I couldn’t bear the thought of sleeping alone.
I’m guessing some of you readers know exactly what I’m talking about it because you’ve experienced this madness—either as the bomber or the bomber.
When we lose ourselves in love, we become ungrounded, and we lose touch with ourselves. Caught in the euphoria of infatuation, our world becomes single-mindedly devoted to the object of our affection. But this level of intensity is always unsustainable—always.
For me, after about four and half months, the infatuation subsides. Almost overnight, I go from unable to get enough time with her to unable to get enough alone time. I try to fight it, often not admitting to myself for months or even years that my feelings have changed.
I don’t want the infatuation to fade, I don’t want to feel differently, but something in my brain just switches off. I continue to do and say similar things, but the sincerity dims. I start noticing all the ways we’re not a good fit, all the qualities she lacks that I think I want.
Often she senses the shift and tries to draw closer, which just pushes me farther away, sliding into the anxious-avoidant dynamic.
I know, it’s totally f*cked up.
I did this over and over for most of my adult life, causing horrific pain for everyone involved. Even after I became aware of the pattern, I didn’t know how to change it. I felt compelled to follow these mental compulsions that felt wonderful at the moment but led to heartbreak after heartbreak.
I stayed in one relationship for five years, trying to force myself out of the pattern, even talking with her about the pattern. And I think real love did develop, something deeper and subtler, based on caring and tenderness instead of fleeting sensations. But I threw it away because I thought infatuation was love and I couldn’t let go of that craving for another fix.
Every time, I was convinced it was different, even different from the previous times I was certain it was different. I didn’t fully see through the bullsh*t until I became infatuated with myself.
Yep, after learning about Maitri (accepting yourself with loving-kindness), my mind talked itself into infatuation with myself, feeling that same, heart-swelling, dopamine-spiking, headlong rushing sensation—for myself.
This time it really was different, and that faded to revealing infatuation for what it is, an emotional-physio-sensory experience that has nothing to do with being in love with another person.
It’s a rush of unbalanced emotion. Some kind of evolutionary remnant of a formerly successful mating strategy that excelled at passing on genes but failed in creating emotional happiness.
It’s not something to be desired, despite the dopamine rush, it is more like a powdered donut: pure sugar spike with no nourishing substance.
Sometimes, when we’ve repeated the same pattern enough, we can finally see through the bullsh*t. If we’re trying to see, and if we want to see. If we’re willing to accept the role, our out-of-control emotions play in creating our own misery.
It’s been a year and a half since my last real relationship, but there have been a few…interactions with women, and I’m catching the infatuation sooner. There was one infatuation that lasted three weeks, then three days, and most recently, a brief 36 hours of lunacy before I snapped out of it.
I don’t know when I’ll be ready for a healthy relationship, whatever the f*ck that means. I honestly don’t know what a healthy relationship feels like. It’s hard for me to imagine what a relationship means without infatuation.
Since I don’t know what I’m looking for, I need to stop trying to find it because the remaining shreds of my heart can’t act out that pattern again, can’t handle inflicting that torment again.
So yeah, those articles that warn us to watch for signs of love bombing, they’re spot-on.
Whether you’re on the giving or receiving end of those behaviors—that’s a red flag. That level of intensity is never sustainable—never, and it’s going to end badly for everyone involved.
And if you’re the one doing the bombing, please, get help—now, before you cause pain that will haunt you and others the rest of your life.