Have you recently been bombed by compliments, gifts, and attention by your newfound interest? Your partner giving you expensive gifts or showing affection is not always a sign of love bombing and can be just infatuation. However, treating them as one can ruin your dating experience.
The difference between infatuation and love bombing is that the former is a natural feeling of attraction towards someone while the latter is a motive-driven manipulative practice. Infatuation may not always be bad, but love bombing is a toxic practice leading to lifelong self-esteem issues.
New love is intoxicating but can soon turn into a nightmare if not understood properly. This article will help you differentiate between love bombing and infatuation in a detailed manner to make an informed decision.
Critical Differences Between Love Bombing And Infatuation
From the outside, love bombing and infatuation might appear similar, but subtle differences are often overlooked when we are under the spell of new love.
Yet, these minute differences can make significant changes to your life.
So here are a few key differences to keep in mind whenever you get involved with someone new.
1. Time Taken To Commit To An Exclusive Relationship
The initial communication stage is crucial for building a healthy and long-lasting relationship.
Still, love bombing doesn’t give you much time and space to know your partner before getting exclusive with them.
You might have been dating for just a few weeks, and your date might be already making promises to stay forever.
Whereas infatuation might powerfully drive a person towards you, but they won’t straight away ask for a serious relationship.
They would want to spend more time with you and get to know you better before rushing into things, giving you the space to be sure about your feelings for them.
2. The Concept Of Privacy And Boundaries
During the initial phases of dating, you set some personal boundaries till you know the person well enough.
But in love bombing, there’s no concept of privacy. They will bombard you with mushy texts and constant calls throughout the day from the very beginning.
You may enjoy all the attention and feel more desirable, but soon it can become too much to handle.
When you start demanding your personal space, you might end up seeing their ugly side.
When it comes to infatuation, the person might be going crazy for you, but they also want you to like them back.
So they refrain from coming out as too needy or strong.
Instead, they would try to respect your boundaries because failing to do so can actually kill their chance with you.
3. Interdependence And Independence
Love bombing can create a strong sense of dependency on your partner, even if you have just started dating the person.
They shower you with a lot of attention and love to become indispensable in your life, and in no time, they become the only person you invest your time in.
In love bombing, the initial attention is just a way to control you.
While being infatuated, a person is undoubtedly attracted to you, but they have a life of their own too.
It gives you enough time to stay involved with other important parts of your life. You make them a part of your life instead of making them the center of life.
4. Conscious And Subconscious Motives
Love bombing is a choice with a goal in mind and comes from a place of selfishness.
The person might overwhelm you with romantic gestures, promises, compliments, etc., just to manipulate you into feeling a certain way to attain their desired motive.
Some people may do this to upgrade their sense of self-worth, while others might just be feeding their egos.
These reasons differ from person to person but are always selfish.
The results of an experiment conducted for the thesis Love-Bombing: A Narcissistic Approach to Relationship Formation showed that –
Love-Bombing was positively correlated with narcissistic tendencies, avoidant attachment, anxious attachment, and negatively correlated with self-esteem.Strutzenberg, C. (2016). Love-Bombing: A Narcissistic Approach to Relationship Formation. Human Development and Family Sciences Undergraduate Honors Theses
Infatuation can be rooted in passion, excitement, and lust, but it comes naturally.
Of course, it can be short-lived and can serve physical or emotional motives too.
But it is an internal feeling that comes organically when you are attracted to someone.
So you get the feeling first, and then you work towards the motive without even realizing it.
5. The Purpose Behind Gifts
Love bombing often involves grand romantic gestures like sending expensive gifts or going too far too soon to impress you.
These gestures may seem harmless, but soon you feel indebted to the person.
When someone gives you something so fancy or expensive, you think you owe them something equal or greater in return.
Of course, an infatuated person may also try to impress you with some sweet gestures and gifts, but they surely won’t make you feel uncomfortable or indebted.
They won’t make you feel like you owe them something just because they shower you with gifts.
These gifts are mostly genuine and tailored to your needs and want, thus making you feel special.
6. Outlook Towards Spending Time
Love bombing is characterized by excessive attention, admiration, and affection, making you feel obligated to the other person.
They make you feel indebted with their gestures so that they can rely on you at any time.
The attention you give them never seems enough, and you start feeling pressured and guilty for not replying fast enough or making plans without them.
Infatuation often excites you and can be simply fun without getting too much involved in each other’s life.
The person is attracted to you and wants to hang out as much as possible, but they are not all over the place.
They do not pressure you into being available for them every time.
7. The Empathy Factor
While love bombing, the person might empathize with you and may even show fake concern when you share something very personal.
But eventually, they’ll end up making the conversation about themselves.
You might fail to notice this initially as they’ll try to keep it subtle, but it can get harsh with time.
On the other hand, infatuation can be short-termed, but it is not self-centered.
The person will make a genuine effort to bring you to ease, or at least they’ll be polite at that moment and won’t make your pain about themselves.
8. Future Behavior
Love bombing is not just an initial phase of dating, and it grows stronger with your relationship.
It can last for your entire relationship and gets more toxic with time.
The initial attention, care, and grand gestures are often used as a weapon to gain control over the relationship.
They try to hold you back in the toxic relationship even in later stages by making you feel indebted.
Infatuation is a state of being thoroughly carried away by inexplicable attraction for someone, which eventually fades with time.
In most cases, it evolves into something even better, like love.
You may desperately want the feelings to be the same forever, but they do change, even if you end up with the person long-term.
9. Intensity Of Actions
Love bombing can be too much love way too soon.
It can feel like you have been in a relationship with the person forever which is quite an intense thought itself.
They create a sense of artificial intimacy by sharing a lot about their personal lives. You start feeling responsible about their happiness.
When compared to love bombing, infatuation is way milder.
The person may be curious to know more about you and want to share their stories, but they do not dump their emotions immediately.
Infatuation can also be purely physical, and the person might not try to reach the emotional aspects at all.
But they undoubtedly try to provide an unhurried experience where things unfold much more naturally.
10. Words To Action Ratio
Love bombing is a rush accompanied by sweet words without making much effort to match these words.
A love bomber will make you feel special and loved just through words and give excuses when it’s time to put in actual effort.
They may give you expensive gifts to cover up, but little do they care about your needs at any given time.
They are pretty self-centered, and if appropriately observed, it can be seen in their actions.
Infatuation is a beginning phase where a person still wonders how you feel about them.
They know that empty promises can be a dealbreaker for you if not handled correctly.
In such a situation, a person is very cautious of their actions and might not want to upset you by promising something they can’t really accomplish.
11. The Need For Attention
Increased communication is pretty normal in the early phases of a relationship, but constant demand for undivided attention signifies love bombing.
You might feel flattered the person wants to spend so much time with you, but it may be just a tactic to extract something out of you as quickly as possible.
It could be money, favors, getting physical too soon, or even making an ex jealous.
While infatuation also demands your attention and time, it gives you enough space to live your own life.
It does not require you to dump your life and your people to avoid missing anything in your relationship.
They understand that you have a separate identity and have responsibilities other than this budding relationship.
An infatuated person will also apply the same principle to their life and not allow you to love bomb them.
12. Consistency And Fluctuations
Love bombing can be quite a roller coaster ride, with higher highs and lower lows.
After piling on you many compliments and making you feel so connected to them instantly, a love bomber may suddenly act like a different person altogether, leaving you confused.
It can be mild initially but can get highly volatile with time making you believe you haven’t given enough to the relationship.
When it comes to infatuation, a person tries to be more consistent while dealing with someone they like.
There may be certain highs and lows that you may feel.
However, it’s mostly because you are still trying to know each other better and do not want to scare the other person away with sudden changes.
People play their cards much more naturally instead of going all in at once like a love bomber.
13. Making You Question Yourself
One of the most obvious signs of love bombing is gaslighting. The empty promises might not be direct but can hint towards something.
Later on, upon questioning the intent, they can dismiss your thoughts as “reading between the lines.”
Initially, they may subtly make you question your thoughts by dismissing your opinions in trivial discussions.
In the later stages, they can make you question your sanity altogether. They may use phrases like “you are an overthinker” and make you feel crazy.
Someone infatuated with you won’t drive you crazy by gaslighting you.
They may try harmless tactics here and there to make themselves more appealing to you, but they won’t make you deliberately question your own thoughts.
14. The Need For Drama
Love bombing often comes with plenty of unnecessary drama.
They may seek sympathy by talking about their past relationship, family, or other stories, and you may end up feeling bad for them.
Such a person can often shock you in the early phases of dating with little outbursts that may seem strange and justify it somehow.
To be precise, it’s never ‘their fault’ for whatever wrong is there in their life, and they’re the ones who’ve always been wronged.
A person infatuated with you may have a little drama moment once in a while but would not want you to see them as a victim to win your love.
Their brain is constantly working towards a singular objective, i.e., impressing you.
They really don’t want to disappoint you by putting too much out there, creating unnecessary drama, and killing all attraction.
15. Transition From Dating To Relationship
Initially, love bombing is all about tons of attention, compliments, and romantic gestures, but they do come with a price tag.
As soon as the person is sure about your investment in them, they might change drastically.
Even if you decide to move forward with the relationship, it will not be a good experience, and you end up feeling emotionally and mentally drained.
Infatuation might be short-lived and fall off the cliff gradually as you both get comfortable with each other.
If the person still finds you appealing enough, the aimless fascination makes way for a healthy and more profound relationship.
Here you still feel good being around the person even after the ‘butterflies in stomach’ phase is over.
16. The Focal Point
As discussed in the points above, love bombing is always self-serving. For love bombers, it’s ‘me’ more than ‘us’, which makes them crave more attention.
They are not actually concerned about you as you’re just a way to fulfill their needs.
The next time there is a so-called ‘sweet gesture’ on their part, figure out whether it was for you or was the person just pepping their ego?
When you are infatuated with someone, you want to impress the person so badly that you don’t act like your normal self.
You want to be loved and often seek validation. You may even end up doing whatever they tell you to.
They actually become the center of everything, and you take every step thinking about them.
This, too, can be a bit unhealthy at times since the focus is on ‘you’ and not ‘us’, which is the other end of the spectrum.
Strive to find a healthy balance at ‘us’, which is much easier to find with an infatuated person than with a love bomber.
17. Mental And Emotional Well Being
Love bombing can negatively affect your mental health and sometimes gives you lifelong scars.
In the long run, it can make you feel worthless and emotionally drained as the other person completely sucks your soul out of you.
They may use different manipulative tactics to gain control over the relationship for which they lay the foundation in the initial phase.
If not identified correctly, it may take you forever to escape the trap and heal.
Infatuation can be one-sided, and you might not always find the person appealing no matter how hard they try.
Such rejections can be heart-breaking and can affect someone’s emotional being, thus causing a lot of discomfort for a short while.
But soon, the person gets over it as infatuation is often short-lived.
However, since a love bomber is hardly invested in you emotionally, your rejection just makes them move to a new target.
Table Summary Of Love Bombing vs Infatuation
Here is a quick summary of all the differences mentioned above to help you remember the key concepts easily.
You can also download the same or pin its screenshot!
|Comparison Parameter||Love Bombing||Infatuation|
|Time to commit||Unnaturally quick||Normal timeframe|
|Your privacy||Non-existent||Well respected|
|Dependency||Strong interdependency||Wants you independent|
|Purpose of gifts||To win favors||Seeing you happy|
|Spending time||Made to feel like an obligation||You have your own life|
|Future||Toxicity increases||Natural fading and evolution|
|Intensity||Uncomfortably intense||Sweet and desirable|
|Attention needed||Undivided and compulsory||No desperate need|
|Consistency||Highly volatile||Stable and reliable|
|Gaslighting||To assert dominance||Not needed|
|Drama||To win your affection||A rare occurrence|
|Post objective behavior||Drastic change||Only gets better|
|Your Rejection||Only dents the ego||Genuinely affects the person|
Understanding the difference between love-bombing and infatuation is very important as it can save you from being with the wrong person.
While infatuation is a natural emotion with a certain passion, love bombing is totally motive-driven and feels like high-level obsession.
No matter how similar they both seem, love bombing is emotionally damaging, unlike infatuation.
Uncontrolled infatuation too spirals into obsession and may become love bombing but with genuine emotions.
Before going too far in a relationship, always look out for the signs mentioned above to save yourself from any unnecessary headache down the line.