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Dating trend: what is love bombing and why is it on the rise in lockdown?

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Megan Murray
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What is love bombing and why is it happening so much more in self-isolation? We spoke to dating experts to find out.

Lockdown has sent the dating scene into a spin. Unable to go out on actual dates, singletons have been relying on dating apps and video chats to get to know potential love interests. And the outcome has been both good and bad.

On the plus side, dating apps have reported an increase in conversation length, claiming that users are making more meaningful connections. While video dating has well and truly taken off – with those who have tried it claiming it’s easier and less anxiety inducing than an in-person date.

But what goes up, must come down and with endless days of nothing to do, it seems some people are using dating apps more for entertainment than to find someone they like. 

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We get it – with this much spare time on our hands it’s easy to wish there was someone to text, even just for a bit of attention. It’s a thought process that has seen some of us feel tempted to get back in contact with an ex. But even worse than this (because it’s never a good idea to go backwards in love just because you have nothing better to do), the manipulative dating trend ‘love bombing’ is back.

A spike in Google searches about love bombing has shown that it’s definitely on the rise, so we’ve spoken to some dating app experts about how to spot it and what to do if it happens to you. 

Have you been love bombed?

What is love bombing?

Love bombing is when someone throws oodles of affection, compliments and time your way, indicating that they’re head over heels for you – but they’re not genuine. A love bomber will be doing this to try and win over your trust and to get you to commit, so that they can manipulate you. 

How to spot love bombing

If your gut is telling you it feels too good to be true, you could be dealing with a love bomber. Relationships might have an initial spark and flourish quickly because of it, but generally it takes time to get to know another person well enough to develop deep feelings for them. If someone is saying things that feel quite over the top very quickly, they may be being disingenuous with a sinister motive. 

Match’s dating expert, Hayley Quinn, explains further: “Love bombing will typically come to an abrupt end when the ‘wooing’ phase ends and the person knows that you really like them; because the chase is over they may suddenly lose all attraction to you, and drop you without explanation. 

“Be cautious of anyone who wants too much too soon. It can be very flattering to have someone who wants to speak to you every day, but remember the genuine people out there will be happy to take the relationship at a slow and steady pace.” 

What should you do if you think you’re being love bombed?

Natasha Briefel, UK brand marketing director at Badoo, says: “It’s important to make sure you talk to friends and family about what’s happening and how it makes you feel.

“We’re entering a new era of digital courtship, and we’re lucky that lockdown isn’t putting a stop to our love lives and that we’re able to still connect with others. Try to make the most of this, and focus on developing real, honest connections – the most fruitful relationships will always come from truthful conversations”.

While Marine Ravinet, head of trends at happn recommends communicating how you’re feeling to your match: “Love bombing can often be subconscious, so if you feel as though you are being inundated with messages, being upfront and honest about how this is making you feel as soon as possible is key. In many cases we welcome a show of truthful interest and affection, however if you’re feeling as though it’s getting too much and a little intense, this is a clear sign that a step back is needed.

“Similarly, if you feel as though you’ve made a genuine connection but find yourself messaging that person more than you usually would, just take a moment and ask them if you’re over-stepping in any way. Remember, romance goes a long way… even on dating apps!”

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Megan Murray

Megan Murray is a digital journalist for stylist.co.uk, who enjoys writing about London happenings, beautiful places, delicious morsels and generally spreading sparkle wherever she can.

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