Love bombing is becoming more commonplace in today’s dating world. One thing we don’t talk about nearly as much is what happens when you get love bombed then ghosted?
It is an incredibly disorienting experience, often leaving victims unable to trust themselves or others. So let’s talk about why it happens.
- What is Love Bombing?
- What is Ghosting?
- When A Love Bomber Ghosts You: A.K.A. Ghost Bombing
- There is No Logic to Love Bombing then Ghosting.
- Reasons People Love Bomb Then Ghost:
- The Worst Love Bombing I Ever Experienced
- The Impact of Love Bombing on Victims
- What To Do If You Get Love Bombed Then Ghosted.
What is Love Bombing?
Love bombing is when someone showers you with attention and affection at the beginning of a relationship to create an intense bond. It’s usually done by people trying to control or manipulate their partner. The goal is to produce intimacy faster than normal.
It’s common in romantic relationships but can occur in non-romantic relationships like friendships and professional relationships, too.
We often associate love bombing with narcissistic manipulation tactics, but it can also happen in relationships with people who suffer from Borderline Personality Disorder.
Common Signs of Love Bombing
There are a few signs of love bombing to look out for when dealing with new people. Here are a few:
- They put you on a pedestal: They idealize you and ignore any flaws or shortcomings, appearing to find you perfect.
- They move too fast: They’ll push for a commitment too soon and use words like “I love you” early in the relationship.
- They want to spend all their time with you: There’s little separation between your lives. They shower you with constant attention and even get upset if you try to socialize without them.
- Grand romantic gestures: They shower you with expensive gifts or take you on elaborate dates early in the relationship.
Love bombers do all these things because they want you to be attached to them quickly. For some people, it’s an adrenaline rush and an ego boost to get people to fall in love with them – like a game.
For others, it’s about their insecurity. They need to know you won’t leave them or become disinterested.
That latter point makes love bombing then ghosting even more confusing.
How Long Does the Love Bombing Stage Last?
The love bombing stage can last anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It all depends on how long the person doing the love bombing takes to achieve their goal.
Usually, that goal is to manipulate someone into a serious relationship too quickly.
But sometimes, love bombing ends abruptly. So abruptly, in fact, that the person doing it just disappears.
What is Ghosting?
That abrupt disappearing act? That’s ghosting. Ghosting is a pattern of behavior where someone cuts all communication with another, seemingly without warning. They just disappear.
That’s hurtful on its own, but there’s an extra sting to it when the person just spent a number of weeks showering you with excessive attention and praise.
When A Love Bomber Ghosts You: A.K.A. Ghost Bombing
When you’re love bombed then ghosted, it can feel like you’ve been hit by a truck. One minute you’re on cloud nine, and the next, you’re left feeling confused, hurt, and rejected. It’s a harsh reality, but it happens more often than you think.
In fact, it’s become so much more common that we now have a term for it: ghost bombing.
What is Ghost Bombing?
Ghost bombing is exactly what it sounds like – a period of intense love bombing then ghosting. They hit you with grand displays of affection and make you feel like you’ve found an incredible potential partner, only to drop off the face of the Earth like you never existed.
For more insights and a glimpse into ways you can maybe this coming, check out this video:
Why Do People Love Bomb and Then Leave?
That is the million-dollar question. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been much research on ghosting in general (though that is changing), and certainly not among serial love bombers.
But there are some theories.
For one, the modern dating scene lends itself more to ghosting than pre-dating app eras.
Through the miracle of online dating, people who would have never otherwise met can connect, take an interest, and date one another without any social networks in common.
It’s easier to ditch someone out of the blue when there are no mutual people in common to hold you accountable.
Ghosting hurts in any circumstance, but it is especially confusing when the person who does it just got done love bombing you.
Related Post: What Ghosting Says About You (And Why You Should Care)
The Role of Social Media in Love Bombing and Ghosting:
Because we don’t have a lot of research on love bombing then ghosting, we have to explore what we know about love bombing and ghosting more broadly. A recurring theme in contemporary research is the way social media has changed the way we relate to each other.
When our in-person lives and online lives start to crisscross, many lines blur. This is especially true when so many of our romantic pursuits are initiated by swiping left or right.
Social media can be a tool for developing a false sense of intimacy with others. We can like and share each other’s posts and speak in DMs, where people are more likely to reveal deeply personal things about themselves versus in face-to-face interactions.
On the flip side, social media makes ghosting much easier. All we have to do is hit the block button, and it’s done.
It happens to so many people.
You meet someone, maybe online, and form a deep, meaningful connection. You meet in person, and there’s a spark. So you take that momentum offline for a period, and it feels like you’ve met your soulmate.
But then everything changes. One person disappears, and the other is left wondering why. It seems like a horrible way to treat someone, yet it’s becoming increasingly common. Why?
There is No Logic to Love Bombing then Ghosting.
Remember that love bombing is a form of emotional manipulation.
Usually, the person doing it feigns the intensity of their connection with you to achieve a goal. Sometimes that goal is to control; other times, it is to take advantage of the other person’s vulnerability.
Other times, you’re an unexpected victim in someone’s emotional high, and when they swing in the other direction, you get left behind, too.
But why go through the effort of love bombing someone just to disappear?
Reasons People Love Bomb Then Ghost:
The following reasons explain why someone might love bomb then ghost. None of them are satisfying, but it’s our best guess based on what we know about the psychology of this behavior.
1. They have multiple victims.
Sometimes people love bomb then ghost because they are love bombing multiple people and have moved on to a new victim. It’s also possible they are monkey-branching and moving on to their backup relationship.
Ultimately, this is good for you because it means you’ve dodged a bullet.
It’s possible they sensed you were not going to be an easy target, or they are someone who likes to chase the high of new relationships, and the initial buzz of your romance was starting to wane.
This type of thrill-seeking behavior is really common among people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). They have an inflated sense of self-importance and seek out relationships that reinforce that feeling.
Anyone who has been in a long-term relationship knows that the initial chemistry high always fades and settles into a more stable rhythm. Love bombers are allergic to stability, so off they go.
2. They got what they wanted from you.
If a person love bombs you to get something, they’ll disappear once that need has been met. It could be they wanted sex, attention, or money, as soon as they can tick that box, they may ghost and move on to the next victim.
3. They get satisfaction from playing psychological games with people.
There are people in this world who get a sense of fulfillment and affirmation by making people get attached or playing head games.
These types get bored or uncomfortable easily and disappear.
They’re emotionally immature and can’t handle confrontation. They also have no sense of responsibility for their actions.
Better to rip the bandaid off and act like it never happened.
For more on why these types ghost, check out this video:
4. They like power.
This is closely related to #3, but some people love bomb and ghost because they like it when people fall in love with them quickly. Again, it’s very affirming.
They get to say, “Look at this person who is already in love with me! I’m so great!”
It’s less about wanting the person to actually love them than it is about claiming the prize. They get to feel like an attractive, desirable human being and that feels good to them.
But it’s very much like the dog who catches the car.
Once they’ve won the other person’s affection, the high of the chase wears off, reality sets in, and they get spooked and run away.
This is another common relationship behavior among narcissists.
5. They have an avoidant attachment style.
People with avoidant attachment styles are afraid of close connections and will often withdraw intimacy and ghost to protect themselves from emotional harm. This is a trauma response, often rooted in childhood trauma, abuse, or abandonment.
So why do they bother to love bomb at all?
Well, because they are equally terrified of being alone and rejected. So they use love bombing to create intimacy and trust. This is very common in BPD relationships and happens during the ideation phase of the relationship.
Once the BPD partner senses something is no longer perfect, they fall back on black-and-white thinking patterns. If this person isn’t perfect, they are bad, so I must leave them before they leave me.
6. There is no reason.
This last one is probably the most unsatisfying of them all, but the truth is, sometimes love bombers and ghosts don’t know why they behave the way they do, which is even more reason to stay far away from them.
Related Post: Why Ghosters Come Back, But You Shouldn’t Let Them
The Worst Love Bombing I Ever Experienced
To paint a picture of how this happens, I’ll tell you a brief story of a guy we will call K. This is purely for illustrative purposes, and you are welcome to skip ahead.
I met K on a dating app and million years ago, and we seemed to hit it off right away, so we decided to meet in person.
K and I met up for coffee in Union Square and stayed for two hours before deciding to grab dinner, which lasted another couple of hours.
Because we were having such a great time, we embarked on a rom-com-style adventure at the nearby Barnes and Noble and then chatted on a bench until it was time to go home. In total, I think this date lasted 8 hours. We agreed to meet up the next day.
I would have sworn I’d just met my soul mate (red flag #1).
The next date was just as long.
We spent the following day hanging out a the park, holding hands around Brooklyn, carrying on like we’d known each other for years. He made comments to that effect – little suggestions that I was special, this was special.
The next week he texted or called me daily (red flag #2).
In my mind, this was kismet.
We carried on like this for maybe two weeks. The last time I saw him (spoiler alert), I remember going to his place in Harlem and having intense conversations about his life – his alcohol addiction as a teen, being adopted, and losing his adoptive mother.
I absorbed all of it.
His dog took an instant liking to me, something I will always remember him noting as “a sign” (red flag #3).
After spending the entire day together, we walked over to Central Park. We had a long conversation about how he felt ready for a serious relationship – a topic he brought up unprovoked (red flag #4).
After “the talk,” we returned to his apartment, a million ideas whirling around my head. Was this my person? Was he about to ask me for a commitment? This was too fast, right?
No, no, and yes.
I never heard from him again.
We got back to his place, and his entire demeanor shifted.
In an impressive show of “what is happening right now?” K decided he had changed his mind during the five-minute walk from the park to his apartment.
He didn’t want a relationship. He did, however, want me to leave.
Just like that.
While I sat on his couch, stunned into silence, he opened his front door. I was to leave immediately. He didn’t want to hear from me again and never did.
If you’re reading this thinking that nothing about this makes sense, you would be correct.
I was devastated. Blindsided.
But even worse, I felt like I had imagined everything. What did I miss? How was I so wrong?
In retrospect, there was clearly something broken about K that drove him to be someone who did what he did.
Was/Is he a narcissist? A sociopath? Damaged goods? All of the above?
What I do know is that he did this to me at a vulnerable point in my life, and I immediately internalized his behavior, believing I had caused it. Although it happened so fast, the damage was real. I felt like I could not trust myself or my instincts for a long time afterward.
The Impact of Love Bombing on Victims
The truth is love bombing can be incredibly harmful and even traumatizing for victims.
People who love bomb are often great at reading people. This is a classic master manipulator skillset.
They know how to hook us in by instantly recognizing the attributes and traits we want to be recognized for and then digging deeper to get us to open up and drop our guard.
My first date with K lasted nearly 8 hours, an experience I thought was akin to twin flames meeting when in actuality, this was probably something he routinely did to women he met.
K is probably someone who can talk to anyone and knows how to find the right threads to pull to manufacture a connection.
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Why Love Bombing Works
Love bombing is effective because it plays on our innate desire to be understood and loved.
When there is instant chemistry with someone, it is harder to see the situation objectively. We crave that intense “love at first sight” connection, so it’s natural to want to go along with it when someone offers something resembling that.
When the love bombing ends, and that connection, attention, and admiration are yanked away, the victim feels like they are at fault.
The intensity of love bombing is by design.
It is meant to throw you off your game and leave you emotionally vulnerable. Whether they are doing it for control, money, sex, or to experience the adrenaline high of new connections – the result is the same.
The victim is left to wrestle with feelings of shame, regret, and worthlessness.
What To Do If You Get Love Bombed Then Ghosted.
The first thing you should do if you get love bombed then ghosted is to tell yourself that it isn’t your fault because it isn’t!
Remember that love bombing is a form of emotional manipulation, and anyone can fall victim to it.
I know that saying so doesn’t alleviate the hurt or confusion, but maybe it gives you the space to start the healing process without finding ways to blame yourself for the other person’s behavior.
Second, as much as getting love bombed then ghosted hurts, I promise it is a blessing in disguise. This is not someone you want in your life.
Love bombers do not ghost you because there is something wrong with you. They ghost you because they are bad people who hurt others.
If you feel like you’re struggling to move on after getting love bombed then ghosted and it is impacting your ability to form healthy connections with other people, it’s worth talking to a counselor.
They can help you process what happened and provide strategies to rebuild trust in yourself and others.