24th September 2023

Love Bombing vs Genuine Love – 8 Clear Differences

Love Bombing vs Genuine Love – 8 Clear Differences


Distinguishing between love bombing and genuine affection is essential in navigating relationships, especially in establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship. 

Getting expensive gifts and romantic gestures is nice, but there is always such a thing as excessive attention, especially if it’s with the wrong intent.

Healthy relationships are built on trust, respect, and healthy boundaries.

Opposedly, abusive relationships thrive on manipulative tactics and control. Therefore, it’s crucial to differentiate between love bombing and healthy love, which includes genuine displays of affection.

This article will delve into the topic: love bombing vs genuine love,  from genuine affection to manipulative tactics, and whether you’re in a healthy, or unhealthy marriage or relationship.

Table of Contents

Understanding Love Bombing

Sure, at first you might think: ‘Love bombing is amazing.’ Luckily, by the time you read this article, you’ve figured out that excessive displays of affection don’t necessarily mean you’re in a healthy relationship. 

So, what is love bombing? Love bombing is commonly seen in abusive relationships and is characterized by overwhelming affection and attention from one person to another. The love bomber aims to create an intense emotional connection and build dependency quickly.

According to Beste Güneysu Şeker, a clinical psychologist, : “Every person sees such people and relationships around them, but it can be very difficult to notice when it occurs in your relationship. When exposed love bombing, people feel as if they are swept off their feet and think that they are experiencing love.

If you are observing the following situations, you may be exposed to love bombing;

  • If your partner suddenly lost interest.
  • If there are extreme ups and downs in attention and love in your relationship.
  • If you observe that the interest and love you see in society is reversed.
  • If you have difficulty in understanding the criticism and insults made to you, you may be subject to manipulation.

Beste also notes that “Love bombing is practiced by the manipulator early in the relationship, where the goal is to connect the partner and gain a sense of trust. In fact, they try to prove that they are reliable by showing their love in social circles.”

“When the relationship becomes serious, all this is suddenly cut off. Even though it is not your fault, you should consider the possibility of love bombing if you observe that the other party is constantly changing their attitude in the relationship.”

Drlorihusband.com explains really well how people with insecure relationship attachment styles may also resort to love bombing out of fear of being left by a partner.

Tactics Used by Love Bombers

Love Bombing vs Genuine Love

Especially when dating, it’s important to find red flags before you commit to a relationship and commit to your perfect match. Knowing which guys to avoid when dating will potentially save you from spending years with someone that isn’t really the right match for you.

Excessive compliments and flattery

Love bombers often use a barrage of compliments to make their target feel special and desired. For example, they may continuously praise their appearance, personality, or achievements, creating the illusion of an ideal partner.

Rapid and intense emotional connection

Love bombers quickly foster a deep emotional bond by sharing personal stories, dreams, and vulnerabilities. 

This intense connection can make the target feel head over heels in love, making it difficult to see the manipulation at play.

Overwhelming displays of affection

Love bombers go to great lengths to display their affection through extravagant gestures, expensive gifts, and lavish attention. But unfortunately, these grand gestures create a false sense of security and attachment.

Isolation from friends and family

Love bombers often try to isolate their target from their support system, making them more reliant on the bomber for emotional support and validation. 

This isolation further strengthens the control and dependency dynamics.

High-pressure commitment demands

Love bombers may push for commitment early on, insisting on moving in together, getting engaged, or making long-term plans.

This pressure creates a sense of urgency and can overwhelm the target.

A small consideration for the players..

If you’re thinking about casual dating, love bombing is still a manipulative tactic that shouldn’t be accepted. However, it can be nice to date casually while receiving nice gifts and romantic gestures occasionally. We get it, they’re just so seductive! Just make sure you don’t get caught up in the waves of their manipulation.

Related read: 10 Effective Ways: How to Say You Want a Casual Relationship

If you do get swallowed by these seductive waves, we suggest you read how to end a casual relationship.


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The Psychology Behind Love Bombing

Love bombers prey on vulnerable individuals seeking the perfect match or with insecure attachment styles and unhealthy attachment issues. 

Abusive people often use love bombing to gain control and manipulate their romantic partners. For example, they may shower their unsuspecting targets with overwhelming compliments, intense declarations of love, and constant displays of affection to create a sense of being head over heels for each other. 

The psychology behind love bombing stems from the abuser’s desire for power and control over their partner. Curious about more reasons why love-bombing is actually horrible? We’ve got you!

By bombarding them with attention and affection, the abuser seeks to create an emotional connection that can lead to dependency. This dependency makes it easier for the abuser to assert dominance and manipulate their partner’s emotions and actions.

Want to read more about a personal story about love-bombing? We found you a great article!

Genuine Love

Genuine love is the foundation of a healthy relationship, characterized by authenticity, mutual respect, and emotional connection. 

It goes beyond superficial displays of affection and expensive gifts, focusing on the deep bond and understanding between two individuals. 

Genuine love is built on trust, honesty, and a shared commitment to each other’s well-being and happiness.

Key Traits and Behaviours


In a healthy relationship, partners respect each other by acknowledging and valuing each other’s opinions, boundaries, and individuality. 

They treat each other with kindness, consideration, and courtesy, avoiding behaviors that belittle or undermine the other person. 

This includes refraining from emotional abuse or manipulation tactics and disregarding the partner’s feelings or autonomy.


Trust is a crucial element of genuine love. Partners in a healthy relationship have confidence in each other’s honesty, loyalty, and reliability. 

They believe in their partner’s words and actions, knowing they can depend on each other. Building trust involves being open, transparent, and consistent in communication and behaviour.


Genuine love thrives on open and honest communication. Therefore, partners actively listen to each other, seeking to understand their perspectives, feelings, and needs. 

They express their thoughts and emotions honestly and respectfully, fostering an environment of trust and vulnerability. 

Effective communication allows for the resolution of conflicts, the expression of love and affection, and the growth of the relationship.


photo of holding hands

Partners in genuine love relationships provide comprehensive support to each other. This includes emotional, physical, and mental aspects. 

They offer comfort, encouragement, and understanding during challenging times. They lend a helping hand, share responsibilities, and actively participate in personal and professional endeavors.

Genuine love partners are the biggest cheerleaders and sources of strength.


Empathy is an essential trait of genuine love. Partners empathize with and understand each other’s emotions, demonstrating care, compassion, and validation. 

They actively listen and try to put themselves in each other’s shoes, providing comfort and support when needed. 

This empathetic connection fosters emotional intimacy and strengthens the bond between partners.


silver coin selective focus photography

No matter how you flip the coin, genuine love involves a willingness to compromise and find mutually beneficial solutions when faced with disagreements or conflicting needs. 

Partners in a healthy relationship prioritize the well-being and happiness of both individuals. 

Therefore, they engage in open and constructive dialogue, seeking common ground and making concessions to ensure the relationship’s harmony and growth.


Genuine love is grounded in a strong foundation of friendship. Partners share romantic and intimate moments and enjoy spending time together as friends. 

Friendship brings joy, laughter, and companionship to the relationship, enhancing its longevity and strength.

Shared Values

Partners in genuine love relationships align with their core values, goals, and aspirations. They share a similar vision for the future and work together towards common objectives.

This shared value system creates a sense of unity, purpose, and understanding, strengthening the connection between partners.

Independence and Freedom

Genuine love allows partners to maintain their individuality, personal space, and freedom to pursue their interests and goals. 

Partners respect each other’s need for independence and support their personal growth and development. 

They encourage autonomy while fostering a sense of togetherness, ensuring a healthy balance between individuality and the relationship.


Genuine love embraces emotional intimacy. Partners share affection, closeness, and a deep emotional connection. 

Emotional intimacy involves vulnerability, trust, and the willingness to share thoughts and feelings.

Growth and Personal Development

Partners in genuine love relationships encourage and support each other’s growth. They inspire and motivate each other to pursue their passions, dreams, and goals. 

They provide a nurturing environment where partners can thrive. Genuine love involves a commitment to self-improvement and continuous development.

Mutual Respect for Boundaries

Genuine love recognizes and respects personal boundaries. Partners understand the importance of personal space, privacy, and autonomy. 

Respecting boundaries fosters safety, trust, and emotional well-being.


Genuine love involves a solid commitment to the relationship. Partners are dedicated to its long-term growth and success. They prioritize the relationship by investing their time, effort, and energy.


exited diverse couple relocating in new apartment

Partners in a relationship with genuine love enjoy working as a team. 

They collaborate and support each other in overcoming challenges and achieving shared goals. They complement each other’s weaknesses. 

Gratitude and Appreciation

Genuine love includes expressing gratitude and appreciation for each other. Partners acknowledge and value the other person’s efforts, qualities, and contributions. 

They regularly show appreciation through words, gestures, and acts of kindness, cultivating a positive and loving atmosphere.

Recognizing the Differences – Love Bombing vs Genuine Love

A healthy relationship expresses love through genuine affection, respect, and emotional connection. 

However, Mollie Clupper explains in her article on ‘Love Bombing Signs’ : “Just because the behavior is linked to narcissism, doesn’t mean that you are always dealing with a narcissist when love-bombing. It can also happen when the individual is lonely, needy or has a controlling personality.”

By understanding the common signs and behaviors associated with love bombing and genuine displays of affection, individuals stand a chance to protect themselves, and recognize the differences between true love and love bombing 

Pace of the Relationship:

close up of electric lamp against black background

Love Bombing

Love bombing involves a rapid and intense pace, with the love bomber quickly pushing for commitment and overwhelming displays of affection. 

Love bombers often want to establish a solid emotional connection as quickly as possible, creating a sense of urgency and making their target feel like they’ve found the perfect match. 

They may use intense declarations of love, grand romantic gestures, and lavish gifts to sweep their partner off their feet.

Genuine Affection

In contrast, genuine affection develops gradually over time. It allows the relationship to unfold naturally without feeling rushed or pressured. 

Genuine affection recognizes the importance of building a strong foundation of trust, emotional connection, and shared experiences. 

It involves getting to know each other, enjoying each other’s company, and allowing the relationship to grow comfortably.

Consistency of Behavior:

Love Bombing

Love bombers may exhibit inconsistent behavior, alternating between extreme affection and periods of withdrawal or manipulation. 

For example, they may shower their partner with attention and compliments one moment, only to become distant, cold, or emotionally abusive. 

This inconsistency creates confusion and keeps their partner on an emotional rollercoaster.

Genuine Affection

Genuine affection is characterized by consistent and reliable behavior. Partners consistently show care, support, and respect for each other. 

They exhibit a stable and predictable pattern of behavior, demonstrating their love through their daily actions. 

They strive to create a nurturing and supportive environment within the relationship.

Related: 5 steps to a happy marriage

Respect for Boundaries:

the boundary line of fresh and sea water

Love Bombing

Love bombers often disregard personal boundaries. They may invade their partner’s personal space, dictate their partner’s actions and decisions, and try to control every aspect of their life. 

In addition, they may use manipulation tactics to override their partner’s boundaries and coerce them into compliance.

Genuine Affection

Genuine affection respects and values personal boundaries. Partners recognize and honor each other’s autonomy and the need for personal space. 

They understand the importance of consent and seek to create a safe and respectful environment where both partners feel comfortable expressing their needs, desires, and limits.

Motivations and Intentions:

Love Bombing

Love bombers have self-serving motivations. They seek to fulfill their needs and desires without considering their partner’s well-being. 

A desire for control and validation drives their actions without considering their partner’s well-being. As a result, love bombers may be vulnerable to their manipulative tactics.


  1. Guilt Trip Examples: How to Recognize and Handle Them
  2. 45 Gaslighting Phrases | A Comprehensive Guide
  3. Understanding Unintentional Gaslighting – 4 Actionable Tips

Genuine Affection

Selfless motivations drive genuine affection. Partners genuinely care for each other’s happiness and well-being. 

Their actions are rooted in love, empathy, and a genuine desire to see their partner thrive. They prioritize the happiness and fulfillment of their partner, and their actions reflect a deep sense of mutual respect and support.

Related: How to be an adult in relationships

Emotional Connection:

Love Bombing

Love bombers create an intense emotional connection based on manipulation and control rather than genuine emotional intimacy. For example, they may use excessive compliments, intense declarations of love, and overwhelming displays of affection to create a false sense of closeness and attachment. 

However, this emotional connection is shallow and needs more depth and authenticity found in genuine love.

Genuine Affection 

Genuine affection fosters a deep emotional connection built on trust, mutual understanding, and genuine care for each other’s well-being. 

Partners in a relationship with genuine affection can truly understand and empathize with each other’s emotions. 

They provide comfort and support during difficult times, and their emotional connection is based on genuine love, shared experiences, and a strong bond.

Consistency of Affection:

Love Bombing

Love bombers may shower their partner with excessive attention and extravagant gifts to manipulate and control. 

They use these displays to create a dependency and gain power over their partner. 

However, this excessive affection is not sustainable in the long term and may be used as a tactic to mask their true intentions.

Genuine Affection

Genuine affection is expressed through consistent and meaningful gestures. Partners show care, affection, and support in a balanced and genuine manner. 

They understand the importance of quality time, emotional support, and small acts of kindness in nurturing the relationship. 

Their displays of affection are grounded in genuine love and are not used as manipulative tools.

Communication and Listening:

woman in black crew neck t shirt wearing white headphones

Beste Güneysu Şeker noticed that: “Communication is a process that depends on both good sending and receiving of messages. Keep in mind that believing they are is sending a clear message does not guarantee that the message was understood as you intended.”

“It is quite possible to misunderstand what someone means by making guesses about what they mean. The best way to see how your message is understood is to ask the other person what he or she understands.”

A Simple Exercise by Beste Güneysu Şeker

“You can do a little exercise with your partner: Sit with your partner and say a sentence that one of you believes to be true. Let the other partner answer and rephrase, “So you meant that…” and show the other if he/she understood correctly. The aim of the exercise is to get three “yes” answers from the opposite side. You can try this later with a question. Remember, the primary goal is to understand the meaning of the question, not answer to their feelings.”

Love Bombing

Love bombers may dominate conversations and dismiss their partner’s thoughts and feelings. 

They may focus on their agenda and manipulate conversations to serve their own interests. 

As a result, their communication style may be one-sided, lacking genuine curiosity, active listening, and empathy for their partner’s perspective.

Genuine Affection

Genuine affection involves open and respectful communication. Partners actively listen to each other, value each other’s opinions, and seek to understand and support each other. 

They engage in meaningful conversations, express their thoughts and feelings honestly, and work together to find mutually beneficial solutions to conflicts or challenges.

Longevity and Commitment:

Love Bombing

Love bombers may lose interest or withdraw once they have achieved their desired level of control or validation. 

They may move on to their next target, leaving their partner confused, hurt, and emotionally depleted.

Genuine Affection

Genuine affection is characterized by long-term commitment. Partners invest in the growth and well-being of the relationship. 

They work through challenges, stay dedicated to each other’s happiness, and have a shared vision for the future. 

Genuine affection is built on trust, mutual respect, and a desire to build a lasting partnership.

What Happens Later in The Relationship?

According to nominahealth.ca in their article: The Psychology Behind Love Bombing, it’s common for the relationship’s intensity to diminish, which can be relatable to many. The initial phase of love bombing is like being swept off your feet, with constant attention, affection, and grand gestures creating a whirlwind of emotions. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement and believe that it will last forever.

However, as time passes, the love bomber may struggle to keep up with the same level of intensity. The excessive displays of love and affection become less frequent, and the relationship settles into a more realistic rhythm. 

This shift can leave the person on the receiving end feeling confused and perhaps even disappointed.

It’s relatable because many of us have experienced the excitement of a new relationship, where everything seems perfect and our partner can do no wrong. 

But eventually, the initial infatuation wears off, and we start to see each other’s flaws and imperfections. The intense emotions of the love bombing stage may not be sustainable in the long run, and it’s important to adjust our expectations accordingly. 

Realising this can be a valuable lesson in navigating relationships with a more balanced perspective. 

From a dating perspective, they’ll shower you with their Prince Charming tactics, and then thow you out to the sharks. Read here how they’ll use you, and then ghost you!

Protecting Yourself from Love Bombing

Understanding the common signs and behaviours of love bombing is the first step in taking proactive steps to protect oneself. Here are several tips on protecting yourself from being love bombed:

1. Take Your Time

art city clock clock face

When starting a new relationship, resisting the urge to rush into commitments or make major life decisions too quickly is essential. 

Love bombers often push for immediate responsibility, seeking to create a sense of urgency and intensity. 

By taking your time, you allow yourself to get to know the person and evaluate their intentions and behavior over a more extended period.

2. Trust Your Instincts

Trusting your gut feelings and intuition is crucial when protecting yourself from love bombing. 

Listen to that inner voice if something feels off or too good to be true. Love bombers excel at creating an illusion of perfection and overwhelming attention, but you may sense something isn’t right. 

Trust yourself and be willing to question and evaluate the situation objectively.

3. Set Healthy Boundaries

Establishing and communicating your boundaries is essential in any relationship, especially when protecting yourself from love bombing. 

Beste Güneysu Şeker stated that: “Setting boundaries is an indicator of your personal needs and values. Your boundaries shape how you should behave according to the situation and the person. It guides you by reminding you of the points you need to stop in your relationships.”

“We can talk about a few important points in order to establish healthy boundaries in your relationships. Still, it should not be forgotten that every relationship has separate and different dynamics.”

  1. So, set your priorities in your relationships and decide who you should limit on what.
  2. Communicate your intention in your relationship clearly and clearly to the other party. Take care not to set your boundaries too rigid, unchanging and compelling.
  3. Healthy boundaries are defined, flexibility can be provided according to the situation and the person, and it is consistent.
  4. Style is very important in determining your boundaries in this process. How you convey your thoughts and wishes to the other party is important.
  5. You need to set your boundaries without hurting the other, according to the framework of mutual respect.

“Moreover, even though it is difficult for people to say no, it is necessary to explain what we cannot do and why, and to convey our feelings. In your relationship with your partner, create your limits when you feel uncomfortable. Sexual boundaries include consent, respect, and privacy. Express to your partner clearly, clearly and consistently what you want or why you don’t want, without feeling guilty. Learn to decline politely.”

Clearly define your needs, values, and limits, and assertively express them to your partner. A healthy relationship respects and honours these boundaries, while love bombers often disregard or push against them. Without communication, your likely going to suffer from a failing relationship!

“Therefore, be yourself, not someone else, at the center of your life. Do not forget that you are the person who will direct your life in the most correct way and change will come with you. Therefore, do not forget the importance of protecting your borders as much as creating them.”

Stand firm in upholding your boundaries and ensure your partner respects them.

3. Maintain Independence

Maintaining your individuality and personal interests outside of the relationship is important.

Love bombers often seek to control and dominate their partners, making them feel dependent on them for validation and happiness. 

By maintaining your independence and sense of self, you create a healthy balance in the relationship and avoid becoming overly reliant on your partner. 

Nurture your passions, friendships, and hobbies to foster a strong sense of self.

4. Observe Consistency

Pay attention to the consistency of your partner’s behavior. Love bombing is characterized by extreme highs and lows, with love bombers alternating between intense affection and periods of withdrawal or manipulation. 

Genuine affection, on the other hand, is consistent and reliable, with partners consistently showing care, support, and respect. 

Notice patterns in your partner’s behavior and evaluate whether their actions align with their words.

5. Pay Attention to Actions

a couple looking at each other

Actions speak louder than words, especially when differentiating between love bombing and genuine love. 

While love bombers may shower you with excessive attention, extravagant gifts, and overwhelming compliments, genuine affection is demonstrated through consistent actions that show care, respect, and support. 

So look beyond grand gestures and focus on how your partner treats you in day-to-day interactions.

6. Seek Objective Opinions

Share your experiences with trusted friends or family members who can provide an objective perspective. 

Love bombers are skilled at manipulating their partners and creating an illusion of a perfect relationship. 

Seeking outside opinions can help you gain a fresh viewpoint and identify any red flags or behaviors you may have overlooked. 

Listen to the insights and concerns of those who genuinely care about your well-being.

7. Slow Down Excessive Displays

Be cautious if you notice your partner showering you with excessive affection, attention, or lavish gifts early in the relationship. 

Love bombers use these tactics to create an overwhelming sense of connection and to manipulate their partners. 

Healthy relationships develop gradually over time, allowing for a natural progression of emotional intimacy. 

Take a step back, assess the situation, and ensure that the pace of the relationship aligns with a healthy and genuine connection.

8. Maintain a Support Network

Cultivate and nurture relationships and friendships outside of your romantic partnership. 

A strong support system provides emotional support, different perspectives, and guidance. It also helps to prevent isolation, which love bombers often encourage to maintain control over their partners.

Your support network can provide valuable insights and help you maintain a healthy perspective on the relationship.

9. Educate Yourself

research love bombing vs genuine affection

Take the time to educate yourself about healthy relationship dynamics, the signs of manipulation and abuse, and the tactics used in love bombing. Knowledge is a powerful tool for protecting yourself. 

Understand the common signs and patterns of love bombing and the impact of emotional abuse and unhealthy relationship dynamics. 

Equipping yourself with this knowledge empowers you to recognize warning signs and make informed decisions.

10. Prioritize Self-Care

Protecting your physical, emotional, and mental well-being is crucial in protecting yourself from love bombing. Engage in activities that bring joy, practice self-reflection, and prioritize self-care. 

Building strong self-esteem and self-worth helps you maintain boundaries, make healthier relationship choices, and detect and reject manipulative behavior.

11. Seek Professional Help

If you repeatedly fall into unhealthy relationship patterns or struggle to protect yourself from love bombing, it seems like you have some self-discovery to attend to. Additionally, consider seeking guidance from a relationship coach, therapist, or counselor.

They can provide support, advice, and tools to navigate challenging situations, heal from past experiences, and build healthier relationship patterns.


Being able to differentiate between love bombing and genuine affection is crucial for establishing and maintaining a healthy relationship. 

Love bombing, a manipulative tactic seen in abusive relationships, involves overwhelming displays of affection and attention to create a rapid emotional connection and dependency. 

Genuine love, on the other hand, is characterized by authenticity, mutual respect, and emotional connection. 

Beste Güneysu Şeker determined that: “We must not forget that the love bombing process is part of a toxic relationship. Ending a toxic relationship can take time and can be exhausting. You have to give yourself time to experience your emotions. No matter how intense the negative emotions you experience, they will definitely decrease over time.”

“Constantly remind yourself that you deserve a healthy relationship. And if you’re still trying to find the strength to take the first step, be sure to seek help from a mental health professional. Thus, you will have the opportunity to re-evaluate the emotions you are experiencing and the situation you are in, with a professional guide.”

By understanding the key differences, individuals can protect themselves from toxic relationships, establish healthy boundaries, and cultivate long-term relationships based on genuine love. 

About Author

Johan Froentjes

A veteran writer for relationship content who uses academic research to write articles and provide expert insights.

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