Love bombing vs. infatuation: sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference. However, there are some quite significant differences, and once you read about them, you’ll see that these two terms should never be equated.
Now, let’s first clarify, what is love bombing? Love bombing represents over-the-top demonstrations of love and affection towards a person with a particular goal in mind: to manipulate and control that person.
On the other hand, infatuation is being extremely obsessed with someone. Or, in other words, being foolishly in love with a person. However, it doesn’t have any hidden goals and aims – it’s simply being infatuated with someone.
Love Bombing Vs. Infatuation: The Key Differences
When you finish reading these love bombing vs. infatuation differences, you’ll understand why you should never compare these two ever again.
1. Conscious vs. subconscious motives
A person who love bombs another person has a clear goal in mind: to make them think they’re head over heels in love with them so they can manipulate them into doing what they want. So, they consciously deceive the other person just to achieve their goals.
A person who is infatuated by someone, on the other hand, doesn’t have those motives. They simply like that person very much and subconsciously become obsessed with them.
Infatuation mostly happens at the beginning of a relationship when partners still don’t know each other well and can turn into a long-term relationship one day. Love bombing can also happen in the beginning, but it will never last too long because it stops the moment the love bomber gets what they want.
2. Manipulation tactic vs. a natural feeling of attraction
As I said, love bombing is just a manipulation tactic, playing with another person’s feelings to get what you want. It’s mostly used by narcissists who are great at manipulating their victims.
Infatuation comes naturally. It happens when you meet someone and basically fall in love with them at first sight.
The moment you first see that person, dopamine levels start going nuts in your head. They become everything you think about all the time, and they also take first place on your priority list.
3. Future faking vs. temporary illusion
Future faking is one of the biggest signs of love bombing. You can’t talk and make plans for the future with a new partner, with someone you’ve just started dating. It simply isn’t natural, nor will it end well.
When you engage in a new relationship, you can never be sure if it’s really going to last or how long it’ll actually last. You could part ways after a week, but you could also stay together forever. However, only time will tell.
That’s why, if your partner starts talking about your future together too soon into your relationship, it’s a huge sign you’re only being love bombed. They don’t see you in their future, but they desperately need you in their present to get what they want.
In the honeymoon phase, both partners can be infatuated with one another. However, with time, they’ll either break up or fall sincerely in love with each other, and only then will they engage in those talks about the future.
4. Fake love vs. platonic love
Love bombing actually has nothing to do with genuine love. You need to understand that it’s just a manipulation tactic. People use it to get what they want. They don’t use it to prove their feelings for someone.
When a person love bombs you, they will tell you those sweet words, ‘I love you,’ like a million times a day. And someone who is infatuated with you will be too afraid to talk about their emotions for you because they’ll be scared it might drive you away.
Infatuation is pure platonic love. A person is obsessed with another person, and they don’t expect anything in return, nor do they try to get them to fall in love with them by any means.
5. Violating boundaries vs. respecting boundaries
Someone who uses this manipulation tactic doesn’t care about the other person’s personal boundaries at all. They only care about their goal, and they’ll do anything to achieve it.
They’ll overstep boundaries in their attempt to get you to fall for them. A person who is infatuated with someone will never cross their boundaries because they respect them more than anything.
They’re afraid it might harm their relationship or drive that person away, and that’s why they’ll never mess with their personal space and boundaries.
6. Interdependence vs. independence
When a partner love bombs their significant other, they may encourage them to become codependent. This would actually suit them because it means they can manipulate them easier.
That is also one of the reasons this type of relationship is never healthy. Codependency is a sign of a toxic relationship, and if a couple doesn’t focus on fixing it, that relationship is doomed.
On the flip side, in a relationship where one partner is infatuated with another, they both keep their independence. They don’t create such unhealthy bonds, and it definitely gives their relationship the potential to succeed.
7. Showering with expensive gifts vs. fulfilling emotional needs
A love bomber will mostly show their alleged love through words and common actions, like buying expensive gifts, making dinner reservations at popular restaurants, posting photos with romantic quotes on social media, and stuff like that.
Their only aim is to seduce that person and make them fall for them as soon as possible. In doing so, they will use methods that attract most people but have a short-term effect.
A person who is infatuated with someone will focus on building an emotional connection with that person and fulfilling their emotional needs. After all, they want to build a healthy, long-term relationship with them.
That’s why infatuation is always considered a pure emotion, which can’t be said for love bombing because everything about it is fake.
8. Rushing into a new relationship vs. going slow
If a person love bombs you and really has bad intentions, they’ll try to rush you into a relationship. They’ll want to get what they want from you as soon as possible, and that’s why their goal will be to engage in a relationship ASAP.
Someone who is infatuated with another person will always decide to go slow. This is mostly because they’re afraid that they may make a wrong move or do something that could chase the person they’re obsessed with away from them.
They, too, want to be with that person and spend time with them, but they’ll still try to keep their cool because they’d never risk losing them.
9. Gaslighting vs. healthy communication
In the beginning, the love bomber will shower you with love and affection, but they won’t be able to put up with the ‘honeymoon phase’ for too long. They won’t be able to pretend forever. One day, they’ll snap, and their true face will be revealed.
However, you’ll come across different red flags and start doubting their true feelings and intentions. That’s when they’ll start gaslighting you, and you’ll start questioning your own sanity.
You won’t know whether you should believe those red flags and your gut feeling or the person you care deeply about. And, of course, they’ll try to make sure you don’t have any doubts so you don’t ruin their plan.
And if someone is infatuated with another person, they’ll never try to manipulate or gaslight them. They’ll work on establishing healthy communication with them because they’ll want to connect with them sincerely and form a strong bond.
10. Constant need for love confessions and expressions vs. fear of confessing emotions
A person who love bombs someone else will try very hard to make them believe they truly love them. They will leave confessions and (fake) proof of their love for them everywhere, even on social media.
That’s not the case with someone who is infatuated with another person. They’ll actually be afraid to admit their feelings to them, and they’ll even avoid them at the beginning.
They’ll love them from afar. They won’t approach them or confess their feelings immediately because they’ll be afraid of making a wrong move and chasing that person away.
11. Being selfish vs. making the other person a priority
When someone uses another person’s feelings to achieve their goals, it immediately makes them selfish. That’s exactly what a love bomber does, and they’re one of the most egoistic and selfish people because they don’t care at all that the other person’s feelings will get hurt.
On the other hand, if you’re infatuated with someone, they instantly become your priority. You genuinely care about them and could never use or hurt them on purpose.
12. Narcissism vs. genuine feelings
A person who love bombs their partner might have the traits of a narcissistic personality disorder. The fact is, it’s one of the favorite manipulation tactics narcissists use to control their victims.
Even if that person isn’t a narcissist, if they can love bomb their partner, then they definitely don’t have genuine feelings for them. They’re staying in that relationship for their own benefit, not because they care about the other person.
Someone who is infatuated with someone else has genuine feelings towards that person, even if those feelings are simply platonic. They don’t have a hidden agenda or intentions – they’re simply head over heels for that person.
13. Unreasonable demands vs. no demands at all
When someone love bombs you, there is always a reason behind it. In the beginning, they’ll be showering them with attention and affection, trying to make them believe they have strong and deep feelings for them.
However, with time, once they get positive feedback from the other person, they’ll start with their demands. Their partner will be easily manipulated by them because they’ve probably fallen hard for them until that moment.
A person who is infatuated by someone has no demands at all. They only have wishes and desires to be with that person, but they’ll never demand anything from them or force them to do anything to prove their feelings for them.
14. Imbalance and intensity vs. balance
Love bombing will never result in a healthy relationship. There is too much intensity. One side doesn’t have sincere feelings, and the other can easily become dependent on their partner.
These kinds of relationships are always imbalanced and toxic. Sooner or later, the partner who has been love bombed realizes this, and they decide to end the relationship and leave for good.
Infatuation doesn’t have that intense atmosphere. The partner who is infatuated with the other allows them to take the lead and doesn’t force anything. They just let things happen naturally.
Can Someone Love Bomb And Not Be A Narcissist?
When we speak about love bombing, we all immediately think about people with narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic love bombing. However, someone doesn’t need to be a narcissist to use this manipulation tactic.
So many others use it to gain control over their partners or loved ones. But yet, it’s one of the most common narcissistic abuse methods.
Is Love Bombing Ever Healthy?
Of course, it’s not. Love bombing is not and can never be healthy. Using another person’s feelings to manipulate or gain control over them is wrong, and it’s by far one of the worst types of abuse.
The other person doesn’t only get hurt – their mental health and self-esteem are completely crushed too. The partner who love bombs doesn’t get hurt, but still, they’re in a toxic relationship, and it definitely won’t do them any long-term good.
They’ll figure out it’s deeply unhealthy, and sooner or later, one or both of them will decide to end that relationship. Anything that hurts someone and creates a toxic atmosphere isn’t healthy and won’t end well.
How Long Does Love Bombing Usually Last?
Relationship experts say that the love bombing phase usually lasts about six to twelve weeks, but it can also last up to six months. People who use this manipulation tactic are great actors – some of them can even pretend they’re crazy in love with the other person for several months.
There’ll be excessive affection, and they’ll make grand gestures for their partner – all that to make them believe they’re genuinely in love with them.
The best and most accurate answer to your question is that the love bombing phase lasts until the person who love bombs gets what they wanted all along. Until they fulfill their goals, they’ll keep pretending and love bombing their SO.
How Do You Break Up With A Love Bomber?
If you notice the signs you’re being love bombed, you need to do something about it immediately. You need to disarm your love bomber and break up with them for good.
Now, it’s not an easy job, especially when you’ve already welcomed that person into your heart. However, you need to confront them and tell them you’ve finally figured out their true intentions.
I have some good news to comfort you. It hurts, and I know how painful it is to find out the person you’re in love with is only love bombing you. However, the comforting thing is that you can at least be sure that they aren’t your soulmate.
Your soulmate would never do something like that to you. They would never hurt you because your pain is their pain too. I hope this makes breaking up with them easier and will help you gather the strength to leave your love bomber in the past forever.
Last But Not Least
Now you know the differences between love bombing vs. infatuation. The first time you notice the red flags, you should run for your life.
On the flip side, infatuation isn’t ideal, and it’s definitely not true love, but it’s still better than being love bombed. Infatuation can turn into real love, but love bombing, on the other hand, will always lead to heartbreak because it can never turn into genuine love.
Don’t let narcissists and sociopaths manipulate you or use your feelings. In fact, don’t give your trust or love to anyone who doesn’t prove themselves to you. It’s the safest way to ensure your heart won’t be broken easily.