A Story of Love Bombing – Signs to Watch For

Love bombing is one of the cruellest experiences in the world of dating. I recently had an interesting experience and wanted to share what happened. I want to share the red flags that happened and that I ‘should’ have seen, and that my wonderful friend Debs DID point out, that I ignored, to let others know what to watch out for.

Gas Lighting, Bread Crumbing, Love Bombing and other Narcissistic traits are all terms thrown around in the world of dating. But after spending a couple of years dating I can 100% assure you that they happen all the time. These men are out there, a lot of them, and it’s so hard to find a good one without these negative hurtful traits.

It was January 2024, and I was disillusioned by the world of dating, I had had a terrible year of dates in 2023, with many first date fails and a few two-months things (when reality kicks in and things start to fall apart). The dating apps do not work, I defy you to find me a couple who have met and lasted via a dating app.

After a month’s break from the apps and a general life detox including not only dating but booze, sugar, caffeine and meat I decided to give it another go. I don’t want to use dating apps, but how else do you delve through the haystack of damaged men to find ‘the one’?

I created a brand-new account on Hinge with recent pictures, a full-length picture as I was told to do so by Paul Carrick Brunson of Married at First Site Fame. No pictures with friends or kids, just smiley pictures of me, some with makeup, some without, filter-free. And I matched immediately to Patrick (not using his real name, but let’s assume American Psycho’s name).

He was initially quite distant with not many messages, then we worked out we had shared football interests and connections and the conversation started to flow naturally. Mobile numbers were exchanged, and we carried on chatting. That first week he wasn’t at work, I enquired why, he said he just needed some time off, wasn’t feeling great mentally. First flag.

On Wednesday, four days after matching he wasn’t at work again and suggested that we meet for a coffee at lunchtime. It was a bit soon, but why not, meet up for an innocent coffee and see if there was a connection? He drove to a pub near to me and had a cappuccino ready and waiting there for me as I walked in.

We sat in the comfy chairs at the back of the pub and had our first date. He began by saying he might have to up and leave at any point as his dad had cut his hand and he might need to return home (?) to help. So, I should be grateful that he had made an effort to drive over to see me. Anyhow, we had a nice date, he was funny, quite full on, and dominated the conversation, but we had bits in common, music, tattoos, and both had older kids, divorced at the same time. He bought me another coffee and we got on well. He kept showering me with compliments, I had amazing eyes, gorgeous hair, cute freckles and he said that he felt a spark, and that he just knew we would get on.

The date ended and we said goodbye, he went to peck/kiss me quickly on the lips (overly familiar for a daytime coffee date) and hug me and he smelt of cigarettes, I parked it thinking I needed to re-check his dating profile as I couldn’t bear the smell and cannot date smokers. He hugged me for a long time and said, ‘I hope you are tactile because I am.’

He had already messaged before I’d got home saying he really liked me, there was a definite spark, and we should go out for dinner. I didn’t get a chance to think about it, he liked me and told me there was a connection, so I guess I went with it.

And then the continuous messages began all the time, and I’m the kind of person who replies to messages quickly, so I almost encouraged it. Before you knew it there were hundreds of messages a day. We arranged a dinner date for the Friday night.

He was sharing poems with me, meaningful quotes, personal stories about life events, mental health stuff, things about exes, things about his kids. He was sharing everything about his life with me.

We met for dinner on Friday, six days after the first connection. A gin and tonic was waiting for me at the table and he was so happy to see me. He was making me feel so special like I was everything to him, I was impressed I can’t deny it. We went for dinner and had a lovely evening, more stories about his difficult past, he was a bit of a gangster in his younger days so loved sharing all his dramatic stories. He assured me he was a gentleman and would treat me like a princess. I know the red flags are pinging away here as I recall the story. The over-the-top compliments, the overly gentlemanly behaviour, the over-sharing. Of course, he paid for dinner and walked me to my car.

We kissed and it was a full moon, he was gushing about how much the moon cycles mean to him, I am also really into moon cycles and energy, and he was playing to my interests, our shared interests. He told me that ‘he had found what he had been looking for under the full moon.’ He got me, that night, I fell for him, his words. But I didn’t see it as love-bombing, it was just a man who REALLY liked me, after two dates and 6 days of conversations. COME ON LYNN.

During dinner that night he had told me about a day rave he was going to the following day and was super keen for me to come too. In fact, he had already bought me a ticket. I didn’t commit during the date, but when I woke up on Saturday morning, I messaged him and said **** it, I’ll come. So, ten hours after leaving him the night before I was back with him again, meeting him, his best mate, and his cousin on the train to London for a day rave.

It was such a great day, dancing to my favourite music, drinking, and kissing. It was a great date, but it was intense. He kept telling me how much he liked me, and I wanted to say it back, I was under the spell. We eventually got home at midnight, and he dropped me back to my house and stayed the night. That was it, love story cemented, he had well and truly love bombed me into thinking he was amazing. And I did think that for then.

The following week the love bombing intensified, there were flowers left on my doorstep on the Monday. On Tuesday we went out for dinner to one of my favourite restaurants. On Wednesday he just drove over to mine to spend an hour sat in the car talking and kissing, same again on Thursday. On Friday he brought over a takeaway. On Saturday we spent the day together, walking around Essex markets, had drinks in his mate’s seafood bar and I went to his new house for dinner. He had just moved into a spare room at his cousins. He cooked an amazing dinner, and I spent the night at his.

In the space of two weeks of first matching on Hinge we had seen each other ten days out of 14. RED RED BRIGHT RED FLAGS. Looking back, I can see he wasn’t emotionally or financially stable, these are the core basics I need. He had significant mental health issues, was on medication, he didn’t have his own flat or house. His car was a company car, he was addicted to spending lots on clothes and had a box of drugs in the glove box of his car.

This process continued for a few more weeks, although he was often distant at weekends. The regularity of seeing each other slowed down to every other day, but he would always phone every day for a chat, normally about everything going on in his life. I had some time away with my best friend in Scotland and wasn’t around for a few days, but we spoke on the phone, and he came to the train station to collect me when I got home.

Valentine’s Day was a strange one. He booked the day off, so I was expecting to spend it with him. He arrived at my house at 9 am, with loads of gifts, a dozen red roses and a card saying I love you. He stayed until 11 am and then said, ‘Sorry things to do today’ and left.

We planned future dates, and I booked tickets to Cabaret musical with my favourite singer Self Esteem, which I had wanted to see for months. We were due to go see it in late February; this was five weeks after we met. It was a strange night, we were getting the train into London together, but he called saying that his car had broken down and he couldn’t get to me. So, I just said okay well I’m still going. He kept sending updates, too many updates about this breakdown progress. He eventually appeared at the theatre 30 minutes after the show had started.

It didn’t fit, didn’t feel right, something had stopped him coming, and then he had an attack of guilt and jumped on a train and met me. A smoking thing though, he knew I hated it, and I asked him to just vape when I was there, after the show he chain-smoked several cigarettes, with no regard for me.

That week he arranged for my car to be serviced, super helpful, and we again saw each other every day until Friday. He came over for drinks and we just had a chilled night watching YouTube music and chatting. He stayed the night, but he with a highly ADHD busy brain was up and awake at 6 am the next morning. He left making excuses about going to the gym.

I never saw him again.

From that point forward, there was a huge change in communication, he started leaving big gaps in replying to messages and wasn’t engaging in conversation. After a couple of days, I asked what was going on and he said he had fallen into a bad mental health state and wasn’t coping with life very well. He needed time alone.

Occasionally he would leave little breadcrumbs of good morning messages, checking in, and I would ask are we going to see each other. He would reply no not yet. I consulted various girlfriends and manfriends and they all said the same thing, he was playing me, and it was over. It was classic narcissistic behaviour. They massively love bomb in the beginning then there will be an abrupt removal of all connections.

I was left in a state of confusion, how can you go from such intensity to nothing? I let the cold, lack of communication behaviour continue for two weeks (too long I know) and then it came to a head when I tried to call him, and he ignored my call again.

He sent a long message saying that he was in a state of confusion, his ex wanted to get back together with him, and he was confused about whether to stick with his new life with me or go back to her. I replied quickly, ‘**** off, I’m out.’ And then proceeded to tell him how weak and cowardly he was and that he was so far from good enough for me. That made me feel better. He replied, ‘No I’m not.’ Ha. I deleted the entire two-month WhatsApp conversation and blocked him. All of this took two months from meeting to blocking.

Signs to Watch out for where you should run a mile.

-Too much communication before you have met

-Too much communication full stop!

-Controlling behaviour, paying for everything, arranging tickets without permission

-Overly complimenting you

-Lots of gifts, cards, flowers

-Having too much in common with you, it’s probably made up

-Needing to see you every day

-Telling you all the deep dark secrets from their past in the first couple of dates

-Making you a part of their life quickly, meeting best friends, etc

-Lying about things like smoking, or having disrespect for things that you have said you don’t like

-Them slagging off their exes

I’m sure there are more, that maybe you can comment with if you are reading this and nodding. STEER CLEAR of people who do this to you. I know it isn’t just men, it’s women too. Love-bombing is just nasty. Still, lesson learned, and it meant I could write this VERY LONG article.

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Lynn Beattie

Aka Mrs MummyPenny

Personal Finance Expert

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4 Responses

  1. Really sorry you had this experience. I kissed a lot of toads before meeting my husband on Plenty of Fish 16 years ago. So I just wanted to say it can happen but it isn’t easy.

  2. Had a similar experience (weird how they follow such a set pattern) but ended up spending 8 years with him before finding out he’d been constantly dating and shagging all that time, and had lied about everything from money to property to work. Huge well done for getting out quickly x

  3. This happened to me – twice! I got engaged to the first guy – my now ex husband – after about 3 weeks of knowing him, and six months after that we married (his second time). We spent almost 30 years together, but looking back (isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing?!) there were so many red flags for a long time. He ended up leaving me on Christmas Day 8 years ago, just one year after he’d ‘persuaded’ me to up sticks and buy a new property together (with promises of a ‘fresh start’ after all his cheating and generally crap behaviour). He moved in with someone else he was now ‘so in love’ with and married her (wife no. 3) no sooner had I divorced him. They’re now divorced after about 5 years of marriage and he’s on dating websites looking for ‘a partner for the next chapter’). He’s basically all about money, powerful cars, and doing whatever he wants. Good riddance, I say!
    The second guy was last year and only lasted a couple of months. Classic lovebombing, then disregard once you say no to something they want, and slowly but surely discard after a bit of breadcrumbing just to keep you dangling. Again, good riddance! I’m far too good for such guys. All they do is repeat the same patterns of behaviour time and time again. Such losers!

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