What Is Love Bombing?
Are you dating someone new who offers too many grand gestures too early in a relationship? Are you being showered with an excessive amount of flattery, gifts, or even proclamations of love one month into dating? Believe it or not, you may be being “love bombed.”
These overzealous displays of affection may seem endearing at first, but can quickly morph into a sinister attachment, where a new romantic partner may leverage these symbols of love in order to manipulate or isolate you further down the line. According to relationship therapists at Insider, love bombing occurs when a person you are dating “moves at lightning speed, taking things way too seriously way too early in the relationship.” Therapists say love bombers tend to be narcissistic, with a history of emotional abuse and “anxious attachment styles.”
Love bombing is a viral topic that’s flooding relationship news in 2022; therefore, we surveyed a diverse set of people across the U.S. to determine the percentage of the population that has experienced love bombing and gauge Americans’ thoughts on this dating phenomenon.
In March 2022, Shane Co. surveyed 1,014 people, ages 18-55, across the U.S. to uncover how many Americans have been love bombed and which habits of new romantic partners are the biggest red flags (or indicators of love bombing). The survey included a representative sample across gender, age groups, relationship status, and dating app usage in order to analyze insights by these different demographics in the study.
The Rise of Love Bombing in America
We provided all survey respondents with the love bombing definition above, and a whopping 70% of respondents say they have fallen victim to love bombing at least once in their lifetime. When we looked at responses from specific segments of people, we found that 78% of dating app users have been love bombed as well as 75% of millennials (higher than any other generation). There also appears to be a gender divide on the love bombing front — 76% of women say they have been love bombed, compared to only 63% of men who say the same.
Key Love Bombing Statistics
Love bombers notoriously pressure their partners into a commitment too early into a relationship. For example, they may say, “I love you” within the first few weeks of seeing someone and expect reciprocation. They may pressure people into sleeping together, being exclusive, or moving in together sooner than normal. We had survey respondents weigh in on these eager acts, among others.
70% of respondents have had a new romantic partner say, “I love you” within the first month of seeing each other; but, the majority of respondents (58%) think it’s appropriate to profess your love only after four to six months of seeing someone or longer. Many of our respondents agree that they need adequate time to get to know someone before saying those three sacred words.
When it comes to dating app users, 60% have felt pressured to say, “I love you” too early into a relationship, while 31% would break up with someone who said, “I love you” within the first month of seeing each other. The pressure to move quickly also applies to the bedroom. Over half of female respondents (52%) have felt pressured to have sex with a romantic partner who has love bombed them (compared to 30% of male respondents who have felt the same).
So what about DTR (defining the relationship)? A shocking 28% of respondents had a romantic partner ask to be exclusive after only one week of knowing each other! Our respondents agree that one week is jumping the gun. The majority of respondents (71%) think it’s appropriate to be exclusive after one month of dating each other or longer.
Now, what about moving in together? 40% of respondents have been asked to move in with someone after only a few months of seeing each other or earlier. Call us crazy, but this seems rather quick! With love bombers moving at lightning speed, it’s no wonder that 65% of dating app users have felt suffocated by someone who wanted to spend too much time together too early, and that a quarter of women that have been love bombed needed to seek therapy afterward.
What’s worse than a love bomber? Apparently, someone who is emotionally unavailable or non-committal. Even though 70% of respondents have been love bombed, the majority of respondents (66%) still say dating a love bomber is better than dating someone who is emotionally unavailable or won’t commit. Hey, we get it. Non-committal partners spin webs no spider ever would.
Common Habits of a Love Bomber
According to respondents, the biggest red flags of a new romantic partner are when they want to take things to the next level at warp speed (69%); when they ask you to choose them over friends or family (61%); and when they text or call you several times throughout the day (57%).
What are the biggest indicators of dating a love bomber? Respondents say when they encourage you to spend time away from your friends or family (68%); when they call your mom, “Mom” (weird) (62%); and when they constantly contact you throughout the day by texting, calling, or DMing you on social media (56%). No one wants to feel like they’re being overly checked up on!
Where Do Love Bombers Prey?
According to dating app users, you’ll find the majority of love bombers lurking on Tinder, Bumble, and Hinge. Many love bombers on these apps and others may try to manipulate you early on with statements like, “We are soulmates,” “I like to check on you because I get worried,” or, “I just want to be with you all the time.” If you hear any of the above and it doesn’t feel genuine in your gut … run.
Are American Daters Getting Swindled?
Con artists like Simon Leviev on Netflix’s “The Tinder Swindler” have us wondering: how often are love bombers swindling new romantic partners out of their money? When asking respondents, “Have you ever lent money to a new romantic partner?” (i.e. someone they have been dating for a few months or less), a shocking 28% of dating app users said yes! What’s more, a strong 37% of Gen Zers admit to lending money to a new romantic partner — the lengths we’ll go for love!
Where Are Americans Most Curious About Love Bombing?
To finalize our study, we dived into Google search volume of the term “love bombing” to see how far this dating phenomenon has spread over the past year. It turns out that U.S. search volume for the term “love bombing” grew by over 500% between January 2021 and January 2022, per Google Trends search data. Take a peek at the map below to see which U.S. regions are Googling love bombing the most!
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