There can be many behaviors a batterer exhibits early on in a relationship–red flags–that may foreshadow their abusive and controlling patterns in the future.
Love bombing is a pattern of behavior wherein the batterer overwhelms their potential victim with grand, “romantic” gestures, proclamations, and promises. The most common of these is professing their love very early on in the relationship. It is one thing to express “I really like you”, or “I am really into you” starting out, but if your potential partner is telling you “I am completely in love with you” or “I think you are my soulmate” a few dates or a few weeks in, this can, at minimum, indicate poor boundaries. Other characteristics of love bombing include over the top gestures, such as expensive gifts and/or dates that you may not be comfortable with, public proclamations of their love for you and how “perfect” you are, including on your or their social media, and grandiose promises, such as “No one will ever love you more than I love you” or “I will never hurt you”.
The goal of love bombing is, as previously mentioned, to overwhelm a potential victim, moving so quickly in the relationship that the victim doesn’t have time to think about or process what is going on. The batterer will literally bombard the victim, or “sweep them off their feet”, with “romance”.
One of the best things a victim can do if they suspect their partner is exhibiting unhealthy or controlling behaviors is to try setting healthy boundaries. Letting the love bomber know that you are not comfortable with moving so quickly or receiving lavish gifts, and would like to slow things down is a good way to address this. In a healthy relationship, healthy boundaries are respected. With a batterer, they may outright contest or complain about these boundaries, or initially act like they are respecting the boundaries you set, but eventually ignore them; both of these reactions can be further red flags to be aware of!
If you or someone you know may have experienced love bombing, and want to know more about other potential early warning signs of domestic violence, Arkansas Valley Resource Center Staff are available 24/7!
415 Colorado Avenue, La Junta, CO 81050
TTY: (719) 384-1938
After Hours Colorado Relay dial 711 or 1-800-659-2656