You’ve just started dating someone, and things are going great!
Maybe a little too great?
They speak to you like you’re the most amazing, wonderful person in the world. They shower you with gifts and attention. It’s like they want to spend every moment with you.
But it’s only been a couple of weeks since you met.
This all seems fast. In fact, close friends and family have said as much.
Now you’re wondering if you’re being love bombed or if the other person might be infatuated with you.
What’s the difference?
Love Bombing vs. Infatuation: What is the difference?
At the most basic level, the difference between love bombing and infatuation is that love bombing is an active, external behavior. Infatuation, on the other hand, is a much more internal and passive process.
The motivation for each behavior also differs.
When somebody love bombs, they intentionally pour all of their time and energy into another person.
Because they like the high they get from making someone fall in love with them. They might also be trying to create an artificially inflated bond with that person to control them.
Infatuation, on the other hand, is a significantly more personal, internal process. When you’re infatuated with someone, you are hyperfocused on them, especially the idea of who they could be in your life.
This also produces a type of high.
Infatuation happens because you’re stuck on an idealized version of what your life could be with them. The more you think about it, the more you fuel those dopamine hits you get from this person, which makes you want them even more.
Because we experience these warm, fuzzy, feel-good chemicals, we become addicted to them.
Infatuation is unhealthy, but it’s something you experience within yourself. It’s not something you actively do to another person, like love bombing.
Although you might have both going on, which leads us to this next point.
Love Bombing And Infatuation Can Be Related
It’s possible for someone to love-bomb another person because they are infatuated with them.
This type of love bombing is born from a desire to get the other person to reciprocate feelings quickly so they can feel more secure in their own infatuation.
When infatuation and love bombing become intertwined, the objective is wholly on getting the person to fall for you rapidly.
This is still unhealthy.
Strong relationships are meant to mature and strengthen over time. Jumping headfirst into an emotionally intense relationship often ends disastrously for both parties.
How Can I Tell If Someone Is Love Bombing or Infatuated With Me?
First, let me preface this by saying neither situation is good for you.
Even if the thought of someone being infatuated with you is alluring, it’s important to remember that healthy relationships are built on mutual respect, shared values, and the type of love that develops over time.
Somebody obsessed or infatuated with you is unlikely to be stable or secure enough in their own skin to be an equitable partner.
The problem with distinguishing between infatuation and love bombing in another person is that the behavior often looks similar.
It’s not until your paramour love bombs then ghosts that you realize what happened.
That said, let’s explore some common signs of each.
5 Signs of Infatuation
First, let’s start with the caveat that it is easier to detect infatuation in yourself than in others. I’ll do my best to translate them into “things to look out for,” but your intuition will also do a lot of heavy lifting in these scenarios.
Let’s dive in!
1. Viewing someone as perfect.
If you’re unable to see the flaws in another person, this can be a sign of infatuation. In a partner, it might look like someone being overly complimentary or constantly praising you for being so wonderful.
They might even explicitly say, “You’re perfect.”
Of course, nobody is perfect. And if you or someone you’re dating can’t find a single flaw in the other, that’s a potential warning sign.
Don’t get me wrong. There are plenty of incredible people out there, and you may even be one of them! But everyone has flaws, and it’s not healthy to blind yourself to them.
2. Persistent or intrusive thoughts.
Another sign of infatuation is feeling incapable of thinking about anything but the object of your infatuation.
When we’re the ones who are infatuated, it’s easy to spot. However, it’s much harder to recognize this behavior in another person towards you.
There are subtle signs you can look for.
Do they text you often throughout the day? Do you feel like you’re in constant contact with each other? Maybe they make comments like, “I think about you a lot.”
Again, listen to your intuition. If it feels strange to you, don’t be quick to brush it off.
3. Jealousy or Possessiveness
Jealousy is a normal human feeling, but it’s taken to an extreme with infatuation. You feel obsessed and terrified by the idea they might be interested in someone else.
If you’re dating someone who seems uncomfortable watching you interact with others or handles it poorly if you don’t text back right away, they might be infatuated.
4. Dropping everything to spend time together.
If you (or they) are always down to drop prior plans to hang together, that’s a warning sign.
In the early stages of a relationship, it’s normal to want to spend a lot of time together. It feels good! A natural high comes with being around somebody you’re into.
But there is such a thing as being too available.
It may be a sign of infatuation if you’re dating someone who is always down to hang out without any advanced notice.
5. Exhaustion and Low Mood
Infatuation is mentally draining.
Our brains and bodies like balance. When you’re in a situation that causes huge swings between feeling high when you’re around someone and low when you’re not, that starts to take its toll.
When these huge emotional shifts are entirely predicated on another person, that’s a sign of infatuation.
If someone only seems happy when you’re together, but hints they’re feeling down or anxious when you’re apart, it could be a warning sign.
When it comes to love bombing vs. infatuation, there is an overlap in some of these signs. However, the intent behind them is usually much different.
Access should not be a barrier to help.
The Psychology of Love Bombing
Therapist, Kati Morton, discusses the psychology behind love bombing and common signs to look out for.
Love bombing usually has three stages:
- Intense Idealization: During this stage, the love-bomber showers the other person with compliments, affection, time, and even gifts. If infatuation is present, it happens here.
- Devalue: If we start to pull back or don’t do what the love-bomber wants, they might begin to devalue us by giving us the silent treatment, picking fights, or manipulating us to think that they are the true victim. Gaslighting is very common at this stage.
- Discard: In the final stage of love bombing, they leave to find their next target or victim.
Ideally, you’d want to spot signs of love bombing before the relationship progressed into the devaluation and discarding stages, which is what we’ll examine next.
5 Signs of Love Bombing
The following signs of love bombing are major red flags for any new relationship. Some of these are similar to the signs of infatuation.
Whether it’s love bombing or infatuation is almost irrelevant. The important thing to note is they’re all signs of an unhealthy attraction.
These are also taken from Kati Morton. I’ll drop her video below.
1. Excessive gift giving
If your paramour is showering you with expensive dinners, gifts, or fancy trips at the beginning of a relationship, it might be a sign of love bombing.
They do it, so you’ll feel indebted to them and less able to tell them no.
2. They want to be with you 24-7.
If they are constantly available and proactively trying to spend time with you beyond what is normal or healthy for a new relationship, that’s a red flag.
Watch for signs of pushiness or aggression, like making plans for you without asking if you are available or inviting themself over without asking.
They might try to romanticize the behavior by saying things like, “I just love to be around you” or “I need to see you.”
3. Pushing for a quick commitment
Love bombers will try to get you to commit way too early in a relationship. Signs they are pushing for a quick commitment include:
- Saying “I love you” too soon
- Introducing you to parents or other important people right away
- Suggesting you move in together
Everything will feel like they’re moving quickly, but you might not catch it because you’re being bombarded with so much love and affection.
Both of those things feel really good, which has the unfortunate effect of dulling our intuition that might otherwise flag this behavior.
That’s why it’s best to listen if friends or family members express concern that you’re moving too fast.
4. Isolating us from friends and family
Love bombers need to feel in control. One way they can achieve that is by isolating you from your family and friends.
If they can take up all of your time, they can center themself in your world. That’s harder to do if you have a social life outside of this relationship.
5. They become offended by healthy boundaries.
They’ll lay on the guilt trip if we aren’t available enough. If we don’t respond to a text, they might accuse us of not caring.
They will claim we don’t love them if we try to spend a night alone or with friends.
This is when devaluation might come into play. “You don’t love me. You’re not giving enough to this relationship, etc.”
In these later stages, love bombing can lead to abusive behavior.
Morton talks about how love bombing has been linked to trauma bonding, losing our sense of self, and enmeshed relationships.
With love bombers, we might think that a broken heart is the worst of it, but there are darker avenues this type of relationship can go.
That’s why it’s important to recognize the signs and act swiftly before the situation gets out of hand.
To hear more from Katie Morton, check out this video:
Final Thoughts on Love Bombings vs. Infatuation
Love bombing and infatuation do share some outward similarities.
In both scenarios, the person appears to be really into you. They shower you with high praise and want to spend every moment with you.
That’s because they’re both chasing the same effect: the giddy “high” that comes at the beginning of a new relationship.
Except, the love bomber does it because that high makes them feel good, and they know they can use it to make the other person feel attached.
With infatuation, the person is also motivated by the serotonin and dopamine boost that comes with the relationship, but they are not actively using it to achieve a particular end.
Instead, they are consumed by it, even tormented. It disrupts their ability to function properly, and they become love addicted.
Neither situation is healthy.
If you suspect a person you are dating is love bombing or infatuated with you, try to pull back and get some space in the relationship.
Chances are this is not a healthy, secure relationship, and it’s time to move on.