I got comfortable on the sofa, switched on Netflix, and there it was The Tinder Swindler. No search was necessary, the show was trending and it was a must that I watch it - mainly because I had been swindled in love myself.
I walked into the bar - which was chosen by him for our first date - spotted him across the room, drinking something dark brown - whisky, I had imagined. I walked up, said hello, he glanced me up and down (probably eyeing up my physique) but I let that slide, maintained eye contact - and then he leant in for a hug. That was the beginning of an absolute rollercoaster of high-highs and low- lows.
Over the next two months he began to court me beautifully. Taking me to fancy restaurants. Calling consistently, over complimenting me, and even introducing me to his family. He spoke of marriage, having children together, moving into his home together, going on holidays and him spoiling me. But little did I know it was a fortitude of lies to keep me invested and excited.
After four months of this - the fairy tale, as I knew it was starting to become a horror show. The phone calls slowed down, the talks of marriage and children we're now unheard of. The exquisite dates, non existent. It all stopped just as fast as it had started.
I was blind sided. All of a sudden he was busy with work, and I was brushed to the side - like a rag doll that a child had grown tired of playing with. Confusion set in, but I knew I had not imagined this whirlwind romance. I began digging and came across the term 'love bombing' there it was - my explanation, I was not at fault. It was all game. A sense of conquering and achievement and that was it.
Many women have experienced 'Love Bombing' but have been unaware. Being dumped and left confused thinking they were the problem - not pretty enough, not smart enough, not funny enough.
What is Love Bombing?
It is a term used to describe a manipulative tactic that typically narcissists, sociopaths and individuals with borderline personality disorder use at the beginning of a personal relationship. Love bombing gives a false sense of security, and fabricated charm that - allowing the target to fall into a sense of ease and trust, only to have the rug pulled from under their feet some time late.
It is the start of the first stage of a common “idealise-devalue-discard” pattern that these performers follow in serially forming multiple, and usually short-lived, relationships.
The performers overflow their potential partner with exaggerated positive comments about the prospects of a relationship with them, superficially enthusiastic reasons why they are a perfect match, and other extreme forms of flattery, in order to make them fall for them. The target, after being smothered with compliments and promises usually then acts based on this act being performed to them by the 'love bomber'.
The victims later realise that it was just a game to take advantage of them due to their gullibility and/or inability to find out the true character and intentions of the other person.
What I know now is that it's highly important to trust your gut. As humans we have instincts for a reason, they keep us readily alert and away from anything that might harm us. There are many red flags that arose in the early days and looking back my gut kicked in, showed me something was not right, but I chose not to trust and listen.
Please look out for signs in the early stages of dating. If it feels too good to be true, you're probably experiencing 'love-bombing'. Step back, observe what's happening and act accordingly.