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Love Bombing vs. Infatuation: What’s the Difference?

Sophie Simons
December 18, 2023

Relationships are complicated, and as humans, we sometimes seek validation of our feelings and worth in the affection of others toward us. Love or affection comes in varying shapes and complexities that make it too difficult to know when we are experiencing healthy love, someone being infatuated with us, or someone love bombing us. 

Infatuation is a common word that most people are familiar with, either with us being the one infatuated with others or someone being infatuated with us. But love bombing is an unfamiliar term but a familiar reality that we sometimes experience without a full understanding of what it is or the underlying psychological impact of it.

Often, people mistake love bombing for infatuation and vice versa, but there has always been a clear difference between the two. In this post, you will know what love bombing is and the difference between the two. 

What is love bombing? 

Love bombing is an attempt to influence a person by demonstrations of attention and affection. Love bombing borders on excessive display of affection with ulterior motives. From over-the-top displays of romantic gestures to excessive compliments and attention, love bombers use any technique to control their partners while still maintaining an orchestrated facade of genuine love. It is a psychological tactic to manipulate a loved one to fulfill a desired goal. 

What is infatuation? 

Infatuation is the state of being carried away by an unreasonable passion, usually towards another person for whom one has developed strong romantic feelings. Infatuation hovers over the edges of positive and negative feelings that can either lead to genuine love and commitment or an unhealthy obsession, but infatuation, unlike love bombing, is not goal-driven. 

While infatuation can sometimes be an underlying driving force of love bombing, there are still major differences between the two. 

5 Key differences between infatuation and love bombing

1. Motives

As earlier stated, love bombing is goal-driven with clear motives of manipulating a person to feel a certain way. Studies have shown love bombing to be an act to passively obtain power and control over another's life. Love bombing is an externally conscious choice to manipulate a partner to be dependent on the love bomber. Infatuation, on the other hand, is an internal feeling devoid of goals or motives. 

2. Boundaries

Whether a relationship is in its early stage or not, there is often a clear line of boundary between partners, but in love bombing, there's no concept of boundary. There's a blatant disregard for the other's privacy in love bombing with no empathy for the other's comfort.

Infatuation, while in its healthy state, offers a clear line of respect to the other person's privacy, as a person who is infatuated with you would want you to like them back and not drive you away. 

3. Time pressure

Do you ever feel your new relationship is moving too fast? Love bombers are quick to pressure their partners into committing to the relationship too early. They say "I love you" too early and push for future talks too soon. It's like moving on a fast-lane track without brakes in between. But when a person is infatuated with you, they take the time to get to know you and move things at a much slower rate. 

4. Excessive gifts and over-the-top displays of affection

A common theme with love bombers is the absolute dedication to always use gifts to manipulate their partners. Love bombers use extravagant gifts to control you whether you want the gifts or not.

It's a manipulative tactic to make you feel pressured into accepting their affection and become indebted to them. A person who is infatuated with you may shower you with gifts, but it's not with the goal of manipulating you to return their affection. 

5. Self-esteem comes into question

When you are in a relationship with a love bomber, at the initial stage, they shower you with attention, gifts, and compliments that eventually feel overwhelming. And the moment you start to feel overwhelmed and question their intention, they begin to gaslight you and make you question your worth.

They make you feel guilty about anything and everything. An infatuated person, on the other hand, will never try to gaslight you in any form. 

Can someone love bomb while infatuated? 

Of course. It's entirely possible for someone who is infatuated with you to love-bomb you at the same time. The intensity behind uncontrolled infatuation can sometimes lead to an obsession that can transition to love bombing. An infatuated person might eventually be obsessed with getting you to return their feelings by doing everything to manipulate your feelings. And this is often why some people confuse infatuation with love bombing and vice versa.

Final Thoughts 

So which is better, someone who loves bombing you or someone who is infatuated with you? It is important to understand that there are key differences between the two.

Infatuation can transition into a healthy relationship and is often an internal feeling that most people go through at the initial stage of a relationship. According to licensed mental health counselor, Grace Suh, LMHC, LPC, "Infatuation may turn into love if you are able to accept the disappointment and willing to give rather than self-serve." 

Love bombing, on the other hand, is a perfect manipulative tactic that often ignores the emotions of others to satisfy the love bombers' needs and desires. According to clinical psychologist and Headspace App's mental health expert, Mary Spillane, "Love bombing is a manipulation of one's feelings, so it is not a healthy way of developing a bond with another person." It might feel a lot like love but ultimately it's about power and control. 

So, if you are hoping for a secure healthy relationship, it is important to always trust your instincts regarding a person's feelings for you, whether you feel they are love-bombing you or obsessively infatuated with you. Look for the above-mentioned signs, and once it checks out, find ways to set healthy boundaries and move on.

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Sophie Simons

Sophie Simons is a leading psychologist with a passion for enriching relationships. Through empathetic counseling and insightful guidance, she empowers couples and individuals to foster deeper connections, resolve conflicts, and create lasting harmony. Sophie's expertise in relationship advice has touched countless lives, making her a trusted source for building fulfilling partnerships.

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