Love bombing is often romanticized in TV and movies. The typical story involves an uninterested character who is being pursued by an eager suitor. The pursuer consistently violates the uninterested character’s boundaries until they fall in love and decide to be together. However, this unrealistic depiction of a relationship is actually a story of love bombing and how it can manifest in real life.

So what is love bombing? According to Psychology Today, “love bombing is an attempt to influence another person with over-the-top displays of attention and affection.” This kind of behavior is a form of emotional abuse, and although it can be experienced during any stage of a relationship, it is often seen in the early stages of getting to know one another. It may seem like your new partner really likes you, but love bombing can often serve as a warning sign of an unhealthy relationship.

Finding a partner that feels like a perfect fit is gratifying. But it can take time to really get to know your partner. When love bombing occurs, often labels such as “soulmate”, “their person,” or “their other half” are applied early in the relationship. While it may feel validating to be considered as an important figure in their lives, it could be a cause for concern if you have not known them very long, or if you feel uncomfortable. Even being told “I love you” within a couple of weeks of starting a relationship can be a red flag. If you feel unsettled about how fast you’re moving, it may be time to speak with your partner.