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Were You Love Bombed?

cyclops lonelyDear Chump Lady,

A good friend shared with me the moment that catapulted her into chumpdom. I thought our shared experience, and my subsequent email to her, could possibly make a good Friday Challenge topic — chumps sharing the love-bombing technique used on them.

Here are our sagas…..

Hers began by her sharing how a dashing foreigner presented her with a bouquet of 2 dozen red long stemmed roses on their second date.

That was all it took….

She was in her late 60s at the time, as was he.

During their relatively brief marriage and subsequent divorce, she lost almost everything — roof over her head and her life savings. She got out with her life and sanity, but has been practically penniless ever since.

She is now 85 years old, happily single and much wiser.

The following is what I wrote to her after we hung up our phones:

I was just as much of a push-over as you were….

I can’t remember how soon in our ‘dating’ days this happened, but it was within the first 3 months.

We were meeting in a mall for some reason. It was evening. I recall feeling apprehensive…new relationship jitters??? Who knows.

I clearly remember that when I found him at the place we had planned to meet, he was standing there with a bouquet of a dozen long stemmed red roses in his hands with what I now know as ‘narcissistic charm’ oozing out of every pore of his body directed right at me — hook, line and sinker…. Like you, I was caught.

A dozen roses and he got 30 years of my life.

But I do believe I got the better end of that deal. I may not have the family I once had, but I do have my dignity — something he lost a long time ago and can never regain in this life time.

Moral of the story……Beware of charming men bearing long stem red roses…..A blatant RED FLAG.

Elderly Chump

Dear Elderly Chump,

Well, I don’t want to cast aspersions on long-stem roses. Flowers are not fuckwits. But yes, any over-the-top gesture early in the game could be suspect.

I define love bombing as any persistent disproportionate affection/attention that feels off, especially at the beginning of the relationship. (Although you can also be love-bombed by a freak when you’re trying to leave them — the mindfuck channel set at “charm.”)

Examples include:

“I love you” within days of meeting.

A pressure to move the relationship very quickly — Let’s move in together! Introduce me to your children!

Showy gestures with audiences. Those roses were presented in public. So to the chumpy receiver, you cannot appear uncomfortable, or anything less than gracious. The expected audience response is “Awww!”

Over-the-top flattery. You’re the most handsome/intelligent/sexy/winsome/clear-skinned person they have ever met! And you could be those things, but they just met you Thursday.

A disconnect between the ardency and other behaviors. They run very hot, then cold. You get a dozen roses, and then he doesn’t return your messages for days. (Double lives are hard to juggle. Remember, mixed messages are just one message — NEXT. You are not a human decoder ring.)

So, CN, your Friday Challenge — did you experience love bombing?


I felt a bit bad going with Mr. Cyclops as today’s cartoon. He looks so hopeful. I think he’s the chumpy target, not the love bomber. I hope he finds his special cyclops.

Ask Chump Lady

Got a question for the Chump Lady? Or a submission for the Universal Bullshit Translator? Write to me at [email protected]. Read more about submission guidelines.
  • My ex made sweet and understated gestures. A braided bracelet made from the hair of his horse’s tail and a button from his military uniform, a little pouch that he made with a deer hide he tanned and then sewed together with a red heart shaped felt insert, a flint and steel set where the rod was inserted into the button of an antler he found…. all of those things appealed to my country girl roots and made him “unique”

    He played me like a goddamned fiddle.

    • I gave all that crap back to him on the morning of our divorce. I’m sure theirs it’s all been regifted.

      • Ah, us country girls are such suckers! I had to buy my own wedding ring (he was short of cash) but got a piglet as a wedding present. I was so foolishly delighted!

    • XAss made me a beautiful hand made knife with an antler handle, the butt carved and painted with a heart motif. He engraved my name into the knife blade. Made a sheath for it with deer hide…..And a few years later that knife “disappeared” when he borrowed my hunting gear “for a small man friend” to use and the knife was in the jacket pocket. Never saw it again.

      Oh, the little mysteries left unsolved from those days……

      • My ex did the same for me! Almost identical even the sheath! He made the knife with carbon steel and it was a really nice blade with a great edge.

        It was also tossed in the box. I hated letting that go. I’m sure the AP is using it now, which is fine. It wasn’t worth keeping and thinking of him every time I used it. I can get a better knife anywhere else.

        • So get this stuff! Country girls, we must be extra chumpy, Kintsugi! Mine donated deer antler and hand split totara battens to my stepdad to make a gorgeous walking stick that he gifted me as a home decor piece.

          He also sat on my door stoop every night after work, waiting for me, hand picked flowers, bottle of wine and/or groceries to cook me dinner. I was 20. And he was my first. I moved in with him 5 weeks after meeting him, and 2 weeks after he banged his ex. Chumpy damn chump

  • KK love-bombed me more behind my back that to my face.

    Overtly, at month 5 in our courtship, she moved out of her roommate-less apartment 22 miles away to share an apartment with a stranger in the same town as me.

    Covertly, I found out that she told others “I love him deeply” within months of meeting me. Then at a Halloween party 9 months in, I got congratulated by a total stranger on my engagement and was asked when the wedding was going to be.

    It’s somewhat satisfying to know she still does it — 6 weeks after her first fuckfest with the Chlorine Special, she messaged a friend with the news that “I’ve met someone, he told me he loves me, and I love him — DEEPLY.” Clearly they’re made for each other.

  • He moved into my home on the second date !!!

    I thought it was romantic but really fast . He said he couldn’t bare another second away from me and he never wanted to be without me . He couldn’t imagine waking up without me and he was never going home . I had never heard of love bombing before and to be honest I thought I’d found my one

    He was in thousands of £ of debt , he had no gas , electric or phone line all had been cut off and he hadn’t paid rent for almost 2 years .

    I owned my home had for about 5 years before I met him and I clear as day remember in one of our first disagreements he stood in the living room and said “ yeah but half of this is mine” ( my house )
    I said no it’s not it’s my house and he said I pay half the bills ( he didn’t ) I’ve paid down some of the mortgage it’s half mine , taped the side of his head and laughed .

    I should have ran then as all he wanted was money

    • Oh god, K; tell me he didn’t get half the value of your house when you divorced. Or was this the ex?

    • Mine asked what I would change about him.. i jokingly said his address.. (he lived 40 mins away through crap traffic..) i meant closer to my side of the river.. he took it as an invite to move in and turned up with his stuff the next day…. ummmm

  • Nope. Spent decades begging for crumbs. I look back and wonder why. And wonder how common that is among chumps.

    • My X never love bombed me ???? I was so happy with crumbs, because my parents ignored me, and acted like I should jump for their attention. I thought he was so awesome, because he could charm his friends, but I figured out later- it was all so he could use people. He had fun using me for over 30 years! Now the jokes on him, because I’m fine without him. Living alone is pretty much bliss! It’s all relative. I’m by myself at night, but no one is demanding, and criticizing, and acting like I’m damaged (especially someone who is clearly crazy). Just me and my two cats, and I can see my sons, and family when I want, but the fuckwit has no access!

      • Free woman…your story is mine too. I expected so very little…anything he did for me felt like Christmas

        • This is very useful for me this week.

          I’m dating and am working hard on fixing my picker. I couldn’t find a specific link to it here, but this helps.

          Looking back, the DOCTOR was much more confident than I was about our suitability early on.

          And I think he may have felt that way but there’s a very good chance it just helped him convince me – even if he wasn’t as sure as he acted.

          Getting married was HIS goal. Getting me off the market.

          Never mind the rest, like keeping vows or puting the family first, etc.

          So I need to remind myself of all this as I re-enter the dating scene.

    • Same hear. Begging for crumbs.

      This last Mother’s Day he got me a grocery store bouquet of flowers and actually held them while I trimmed the ends to put in a vase … and then he actually helped me put 3 bags of mulch (the rest of my Mother’s Day gift) around my little potato and tomato plants. His gifts to me were usually left on the counter; so this seemed extra special. I was sooo happy … thought he was glad to be back home and see me from an 8-day fishing trip with his best friend. I found out by accident the next evening his fishing trip also included a girlfriend … whom he’s been with “for a little while,” “a couple of months,” “maybe a year,” “OK, well, two years,” “I don’t remember, maybe 3 years.”


  • “You are everything I ever wanted.”

    “I’ve been looking for you for SO long.”

    “I knew the moment that I met you that you were THE ONE.”

    Then he would tell everyone that he introduced me to, the same stuff.???? Even at our wedding, he would say this stuff to people that he hadn’t met before. All that, and it appears he’s been cheating on me AT LEAST 13 of our 15 year relationship. 12 years married with two kids. Hoping we can get this divorce wrapped up before the fall. NEXT!

  • Not in the over the top sense.

    We were only 18 and he was in the military for the six months we dated. Sure he was pursuing me, but I don’t remember him going over the top.

    I do remember our last year (the years of the devaluation) he would cause a huge fight leave etc. Then be kind for a few days, then over and over again, with the last couple months pretty much being all abuse.

  • My ex did not love bomb me at the beginning. At the beginning, it was future faking and mirroring back to me my values and plans/hopes for the future. But he did turn up the charm offensive when it was damage control time, with wine, flowers, chocolates, which I saw right through, because he hadn’t given me any of these the entire 35 years of our marriage.

    • Future faking, yup. We would have these (what I thought were) very deep and meaningful conversations about our values, plans, hopes, dreams, etc. Meanwhile he was clandestinely fucking prostitutes. Funny thing is, some of these values conversations involved a friend of his always wanting to go to strip clubs, thinking a stripper was his friend, etc. Wonder if that was merely projection. Even a narcissist like him was unable to reconcile these compartmentalized aspects of his life and confessed when I finally had enough of the ambiguous angst that was creating distance between us and a lack of presence on his part. He pretended to be a decent human being, and it fooled all of us for 8 years.

        • To me it means those empty promises. My ex didn’t really future fake in the beginning, it was all we could do to pay the bills, but when things got a little easier and I wanted for example a new couch and chair, he would say as soon as JR. graduates from HS, we will get some new furniture etc.

          Another thing I wanted which at the time was not that expensive is a cruise for our 20th anniversary. He told me that last year we would do that the following year as things were hectic since he had recently gotten promoted. Which was true, things were hectic, I just didn’t know the half of it.

          Of course I had no way of knowing I was in the final discard year. I am not sure he thought I was at that time either, I think he still had use of me for another year or so, but someone outed him at work.

          Either way, I never got new furniture or the cruise.

          Well I did go on a cruise but it was several years later with my now husband.

    • Not a cheater but a very flaky character … I spent the whole evening listening to his plans about going to Rome and what we’re going to see, visit and experience there.

      I didn’t even get to Blackpool to pat a donkey (nearby town, visited by working class people, the town with cheap amusements, one of them patting donkey for a small fee).

      • Persephone, Brit chump here. Your post made me laugh. Patting a donkey for a small fee! So true.

  • You touch my soul, nothing is real until I tell you, just being near you makes me happy. He was only sixteen! Then he would relate how horrible his FOO was. Two weeks after meeting, he was talking of marriage, as soon as we were old enough.
    These behaviors are in the very souls of narcissist. When ever I started getting tired of his crap, love bombing started. Funny, how he purposely ignored my birthday, Mother’s Day treated me like the hired help, until I pulled away.

  • Although CL laid out some pretty good examples, I still struggle with what’s considered love bombing and what’s considered just wildly romantic; perhaps they are one in the same.

    I’m trying to think of ways my X love bombed me when we were young, stupid, and in the early stages of dating. His language was gushy, sappy, and romantic but so was mine, I suppose. “You are the best thing that ever happened to me,” “How did I ever get so lucky?,” “You are my soulmate,” and the like. I cringe when I remember those words or see them written down in my old journals.

    We otherwise took things slowly and privately. He was always, though, very charming and very extroverted.

    Alternatively, with his third affair partner, the one he married after he was able to successfully dump me, he was very publicly showy, grand, and love-bomby. His first two affair girlfriends he tried to keep on the down-low because, well, mistresses while one is married is a bad look, as the kids say, and he loves to be a hero. With 3rd girlfriend, he threw caution to the wind, moved in with her very shortly after meeting her, proposed to her publicly in a crowd of people at a convention (lots of applause), and married her at another convention (lots of applause and television cameras). I never got any of those grand, public gestures and I think he knew that that sort of nonsense would have chased me off from the get-go; I’m notoriously shy while he’s the life of the party.

    When he was trying to keep me around for cake eating purposes he wanted us to organize a big event so we could renew our vows. I was aghast and said no. We were still trying to work things out after the (very public) reveal of his first two girlfriends and I was still reeling and humiliated. I didn’t want “all eyes on me” for a renewal of vows until we were in a really good place. He said he understood but was disappointed. I guess I was just too boring for him; I guess that was some Hail Mary love bombing pointed in my direction. It didn’t work and he met her and moved out not much long after. Thank God I didn’t give him a public vow renewal party.

    I struggle with the idea of any kind of romantic gesture now. A friend, years ago, sent me a very romantic letter in the mail after wildly misinterpreting some time we spent together (as friends!) as romantic interest on my part. I felt like throwing up and running away while reading it. I don’t think I’m built for love bombing or romance anymore.

    • Your last comment hit me. After the intense relationship with FW, DD, and the subsequent love-bombing, I realize that I don’t want all the stereotypical romantic gestures. I want a companion, a friend, a lover, that I can trust. Without all the intensity.

    • I was always kind of smirking at these gestures that to me seemed like something stolen out of the movies and much less than genuine. I even said so much to ex, which of course made him mopey. Guess I called it without realizing the grander implications of what was to come. That being said, I never liked this stuff (when it seems fake) and it likewise makes me uncomfortable/nauseous. OK, so there may be times where this kind of thing comes from the heart, but it depends on the timing, the person, etc. I can tell the difference.

  • To this day I’m not sure if I was love-bombed or if my ex just knew how to treat me REALLY well…at least on the surface. He was on me like whiskers on a cat from day one. On our first date he gave me a candle with a hand-written letter that he had waited “12,843 days to meet someone as amazing as me and that he’d been waiting all his life”…granted, we had never met in person before. From that point forward, he was extremely complementary at all times – like over the top looking back – would always write me little love notes, take me on fancy trips, have expensive gifts delivered to my house. He talked about buying me a car (I don’t know why I make really good money and can take care of myself), marriage and giving me a baby…THIS WAS AFTER ONLY A FEW MONTHS…and then around month 5 I noticed he became distant…and that’s when I found out he was having “online” sexual relationships with multiple people. They weren’t in person, but I still consider that cheating or at least a huge red flag I knew I wanted to no longer be with. What do you guys think? Is that love-bombing?

    • That is love-bombing. Being treated really well shouldn’t be about the gifts and complements.

      Treated well is about how well they listen and engage in mature “give and take” conversation. How well they consider your opinions and thoughts, even if they disagree with something, they can manage to do so respectfully. How much they share of themselves so that you see who they really are with the different people in their lives and in different settings. How they manage conflict resolution. How they manage themselves in their lives and bring that to the table with you (work ethic, principles, responsibility, values). How well they communicate their needs with you and how they react to your needs.

      If they agree with everything you say, never express a different opinion from you, want to do everything for you and promise to give you everything. Red flag.

      • Yes, yes, yes, and yes! And especially how they manage conflict resolution and react to your needs!

      • It can be hard to know I guess. I think that is why really taking some time is essential.

        My ex never did anything for me on valentines day, and he usually forgot my birthday. So while being treated well is not dependent on gifts and compliments they are certainly a part of it. He did buy flowers and dinners and gifts for his whore. Of course we had no money for most of our years, but it doesn’t take money. Once he had money, with my help; he then had money to romance a woman, and he chose another one.

        My now husband was very kind to me, I took long enough to get to know him and his family before we married. Neither of us was in any hurry, but you can be darn sure if he had not shown me some attention and a few gifts, I would have drop kicked him right off the bat.

        I really enjoyed my five years of dating him. He is still kind and gentle, and though we don’t do big gestures he always remembers special days in some way, as do I.

      • Yes! Mirroring ie we are so in synch I want everything you want is classic Narc bombing. I always think of that song in Frozen with Anna and Hans where he likes everything that she likes. If you’re thinking ‘it’s like they’re made for me’, that’s truer thank you know and classic luring behaviour.

    • Yes, that is classic love-bombing. They’re stuck on fantasy and limerance. They seek out the beginnings of relationships with big gestures because the beginning is the most gratifying. No problems, no conflicts, no compromises, all fun and cuddles and sex.

      Once reality creeps in, it’s too bothersome and boring to actually maintain a relationship.

      It’s like premature ejaculation without the sex.

      • >>It’s like premature ejaculation without the sex.

        Lol! Yep, that describes their showy, fake then boring relationships.

    • I also had all this – the romantic words, huge flower arrangements, expensive outings and gifts in addition to chores around my house and creating a scenario where he met my kids 4 months earlier than my decree allowed. Post DDay during my electronic sleuthing, I found an exchange with a jeweler. He had ordered my engagement ring less than 3 months after our first date.

      • Ugh creepy that they ate so sure of their game that we’re a sure thing. My ex used to buy me bunches of flowers out of the blue but he has a weird obsession with sex workers, which, while I have no proof, makes me wonder if they were beamcause he had stepped out on me and they were some creepy form of duper’s delight, getting kibbles from me when he’d actually been a deceptive bastard. I was totally charmed and thought he was thoughtful and romantic. That’s the trouble with their behaviour, once the trust is broken you can’t help doubting every past gesture.

        • I know that feeling! I got guilt jewelry. A lovely pearl ring, a tiny diamond heart necklace. I’m sure they were to lock me in when he was cheating at work, because giving me such a gift was way out of his normal behavior. I was very young, and never suspected until decades later, when it all came clear.

          • One of my friends received a lot of expensive watches

    • I think a few difference between the two are consistency, dependability, reciprocity , and respect both publicly and privately.

  • A few weeks in (and 5 days after proclaiming his love for me):

    He paid for an airline ticket for me to join him in San Antonio for the weekend after his work conference. When I walked through the door of the jet bridge, I was immediately surrounded by a loud and festive 5-piece mariachi band. ???? Confused, I looked around for him.

    Just then, the pre-instructed airport “audience” parted and there he stood… with a huge bouquet of flowers. In addition to the mariachi band, he had even hired someone to video the entire “performance.”

    Never saw it coming. He had me. Hook, line, and sinker.

      • LOVE your reply.

        Her version makes the roses in my experience look like a bunch of weeds. 🙂

    • OMG Was he a TV producer or something?
      I think that would have scared me.

    • Oh wow, how embarrassing. I would not have wanted to be put on display, particularly by someone I didn’t know very well.
      I got love-bombed during a very brief dating relationship after divorce. When he ghosted me, I sent a harsh email asking why. He did respond, with stupid reasons like how I was enticing him sexually and even blaming my religious denomination. Also claimed he was depressed.
      We had a couple of phone conversations after; that’s when his anger appeared. Numerous red flags with that guy!!
      That experience sealed my picker-fixing process. About a year later, he texted me, then called, acting like nothing had ever happened. Started with the compliments again, being all soft-spoken and sweet. I sent a text saying I had no interest in being his girlfriend and never heard another word from him.
      I agree with other chumps that the solo life suits me fine. I have peace, freedom, autonomy and no one to dictate shit to me.

    • How mortifying! The grand public gesture. Classic love-bombing. Run!

  • I met a very charming, divorced father of a young son, and thought I was in love. He said he was too, and within weeks of our meeting, he told his family and mine that we were going to get married. Infatuated though I was…this felt like a red flag. He didn’t ASK me; we had not discussed marriage — and here he is TELLING everyone that we’re getting married? I told him that, and he just said, “You know we’re meant to be together.” I wish I had listened to my gut feeling of “Something’s off here.” But I was young, thought I was in love, and I have to admit, I wanted to be loved and desired. I wanted marriage and kids….and him. It ended badly, of course. It’s a red flag if they want to fast-forward the relationship, double red flag if they tell other people that you’re getting married and they haven’t even asked you!

    • Similarly, mine told me that he was going to marry me; he technically never asked me.

  • Oh and “I will never hurt you” “I want to give you the Disney Fairytale” and “Here I was thinking you’re going to fall in love with me, yet I fell in love with you the moment I saw you” and “You will fall in love with me” “I will love you better than anyone ever could”

    • ????

      I’m pretty sure most of those were compliments for himself. E.g. Disney fairytale means he’s Prince Charming. Yuck.

    • Anyone who tells me that they would never hurt me is an automatic no-go. If we’re in a real relationship, there will be a time when you hurt me. I don’t want you to “never hurt me.” I want you to recognize when you do, take responsibility for it, and apologize to me like a grown up.

  • I didn’t realise I’d been love-bombed until 10 years later when I came across a letter he’d written to the OW. In the space of a few moments, not only did I discover he was cheating on me, but he was love-bombing her! It was only then that I recognised the same expressions he’d used in letters to me early in our relationship. Biggest penny-drop moment of my life.

  • Common sense is not so common but unfortunately you can’t fix stupid.

  • I was love-bombed in the beginning with poetry, mixed CDs (early 2000s), and flowers – lots of flowers. We were in high school, and I thought it was just what people did when dating. This all stopped just before we married.

    I was love-bombed again just after DDay, which occurred after 19 years together and 11 years of marriage. Poetry again sent via texts, as I was staying with a friend in the aftermath of it all. Interesting thing is that the eye color mentioned in the poetry was not my eye color….???? I served him divorce papers 3 weeks later.

    • Jeeeez! After 20 years, he doesn’t know what color your eyes are?!

      I guess he was just looking at himself the whole time.

    • Funny story: Our first dance as a married couple was to “Your Song” by Elton John (I let him pick), who didn’t know what color eyes his love had either! What a sign of things to come. I was just an interchangeable component to him, never a human being.

    • Probably cut and pasted from the love bombing poetry texts he was sending OW when she dumped him after DD.

  • Mr. Sparkles is a gold-medal level olympic love-bomber… even now.

    For me, in the early weeks, it included:

    – Making me a mix CD of love songs

    – Offering to meet at my house (he got done work before me) and he’d have a load of laundry going and dinner started (we were NOT living together)

    – Took me dancing at a nightclub and bought me a single rose with one of those clip on koala bears attached to it (I was 36 at the time)

    – We met for lunch EVERY DAMN DAY… and then he’d stop by my work on his way home with a diet snapple for me

    – He couldn’t wait to meet my friends and family – and then he would proceed to be overt with PDA to the degree that it was embarassing for me but he exclaimed “why should I hide how sexy I think you are and how attracted to you I am”… Um… ‘cuz we’re with my 70yo Mom having dinner?

    – About a month in to dating, I went on a week long vacation with girlfriends to Belize… he called me there EVERY DAMN DAY… and then there were a dozen roses waiting on my doorstep when I returned with a note to call him and he’d come over.

    If any of that were to happen now, I’d be changing the locks and going no contact. My picker is fixed.

    Rock on Chump Nation – you’ve got this!

    • ICanSeeTheMehComing, now all that shit is just creepy, isn’t it? I’m so glad you see that clearly. Chump vision gets cleared right up once you take off those rose colored glasses.

    • A tip in the Healthy Relationship Training Manual. No key or access to your home if their name is not on the lease or mortgage !

  • Beware the Broken Agreement. That is a sure sign of lovebombing.

    I was blind to broken agreements because I met him in recovery (we were both in AA) and he agreed to attend counseling with me. I had asked when after three months of dating we agreed to date exclusively. I did not want to bother with a relationship unless I was with someone committed to getting outside help to learn healthy relationship skills and deal with issues beyond our ability to resolve. He agreed to go and I thought I had won the lottery. This was my ACA dream come true….a partner in recovery willing to go to therapy with me! So we would certainly not be repeating the insanity of the families we grew up in! Yay! So any adverse experiences were just problems to resolve in therapy, not Red Flags I Should Run From.

    The playing field of our mirage (marriage) is littered with his broken agreements. He is almost constitutionally incapable keep an agreement. From small to large (like wedding vows). To this very day. As of yesterday. The agreement about attending our daughter’s 8th grade promotion event? You’d think we had not exchanged a single word beforehand about it.

    He is great at making offers and promises. Keeping them? Don’t count on it.

    Look for the broken agreements.

    Cheating is the Lord God King of broken agreements.

    • “Where am I going to find another girl like you?”

      Evidently there are hordes of them on Craigslist and in illicit massage parlors….

      • Hahaha!

        I had a similar experience. We were both ACA, and he was working on his Ph.D in psychology. So, yeah, I thought I hit the jackpot as well. He talked about the importance of communication in relationships and was adamant that we practice good communication. We were both very concerned about not making the same mistakes as our parents.

        We never became alcoholics, so I suppose that’s something. But everything else was crap. Mr. Communication liked communicating when there were no issues, but the minute something bothered him, he shut down like a steel door on a bank vault. His specialty is the silent treatment.

        And then he did exactly what he resented his own father for – abandoning the family and prioritizing his new wife and kids.

        Too bad he didn’t use that high-level education on himself.

        • Queen,

          In line here with you. Both of us in recovery and he was working on his MA in Psychology…..

          Communication – same situation but he didn’t do the silent treatment…First rage and then TFC. His rage always triggered runaway fix-it mode in me and the TFC always got me crawling back and brushing the rage ashes under the rug…

      • Oh Velvet. He is a zip goddamned fool. There is the only one, dear Velvet Hammer. You are irreplaceable. Those Craigslist whores are not even substitutes. They cannot begin to imitate you.

    • Therapy….We went for awhile but, looking back on it, I was the one who did all the work. We were given weekly written assignments to do and he never did his. Always an excuse and I spackled – did it from the get-go. Expected less from him than from myself. Now that is a red flag for me too.

      When he went on his own due to cheating, he quit after a few months. I let it go thinking he knew better – after all, he was a therapist himself.

      He was soooo good at covering up and I was soooooo good at sparkling.

      These days I am suspect of just about everything. Anything that looks questionable to me gets put under a magnifying glass. I am learning not to jump to quickly thought….Over compensation. Figure I have to practice new skills gently 🙂

      So much I didn’t know about his behavior – just blew so much off as early recovery stuff that would work itself out in time.

      My sponsor in Al-Anon back then would have won medals for keeping her husband above water and looking good; that is what I thought I was supposed to do. Didn’t recognize dysfunctional anywhere back then. Her ballooning weight should have been a give-away but I turned a blind eye on that too because they had such a ‘good relationship’ and that is what I wanted.

      I am indeed older now and, I hope, a bit wiser. Daily reading here keeps my eyes wide open and I keep learning more and more and more…So little did I know!

      • I didn’t realize how BIG a red flag “in recovery” is………I DO NOW!!

        My STBX had subtle love bombing initially. But that all stopped very quickly- as the devalue and discard came as the cheating continued. I just couldn’t figure out what I did, why did he treat me like I was evil, why did I feel so unloved?

        Then the last 3-4 years, as I thought things were better……..he was banging his stepsister, so he had started by me and the kids lots of things. I should of known. I have been debating trading in the car her bought me. Today reading this— yep it’s going down the road. No more reminders.

      • Being in recovery is not, in itself, a red flag. That’s quite a slam against millions of people.

        • I agree. They have to actively work their program (referring to substance abusers). One friend’s father-in-law attends AA meetings regularly, and has for years, yet has never made amends to his son. ???? Being a ACoA affects my friend’s marriage and their daughter.

  • He did classic mirroring when we first met. I told him one of my favorite things was reading. He immediately replied “me too!”
    I asked him what he was reading. Oh he’s between books – what do I recommend? So I recommended a book. He spent the night a lot and he would open the book and then fall asleep. Over months he probably read 4 chapters of that book. I recommended a new book for him because I could see he wasn’t into the first one. But same thing. Chumpy me NEVER considered that he just didn’t like to read. I decided the bedside lamp was not conducive to reading and so went out and bought a new lamp for him.

  • Thank you CL for catching my unqualified generalization in regards to roses….. I should have stated my intro a bit differently so as not to confuse roses with love bombing.

    There were many more moves before and after that one that I now see as a pattern. The things that happened prior to the roses were actions that puzzled and scared me because things were ‘moving’ so fast.

    The roses were the gesture that broke down any remaining resistance that I had and it marked the beginnings of my self-doubt and self-blame – precursors to full on pick-me dancing.

    Naturally I figured I was a fault and that I should be flattered that he was so ‘smitten’ by me so I dropped my boundaries and let him take the lead. The roses were the gesture that marked that shift in me……
    ……that blazed the trail to Chumpdom

    Other red flags included:

    Daily contact or daily calls. (This was well before texting days.)

    Dropping in frequently un-announced and then leaving after a very short time.

    The quick, let’s move in together.

    The shut down of sex without a word of explanation.

    and then ultimately, the end of meaningful conversation.

    The intermittent warm and fuzzy behaviors that fueled more of my ‘trying harder because I know that guy I fell in love with is still in there somewhere….he is just stressed out and I just have to be patient because, in the end, I will win the prize’. (I know now he used the TFC methodology as a way to get what he wanted….He knew it was the KEY move to keeping me hooked, off balance and dancing….)

    I have to admit that pattern lasted well after dday thanks to my RIC days that had me pick-me- dancing for a couple of years. My years of waiting for him to wake up….Well, I did finally realize that I was the one who had to wake up and those days began after I found LACGAL.

    When combined I now know that all of the above were markings of a one sided relationship that was doomed at the very beginning and that the flattering gestures I thought were so endearing were actually well orchestrated moves with one intention in mind….I chose to ignore the less flattering red flags that were there all along too that were pointing to who he really was/is.

    • TFC? Total Flavonoid Contents? Excuse my ignorance, please. 🙂

    • What is TFC?

      Mine called daily and dropped in unannounced as well.

      When we were married, he would call me at home every day at around 5:00. This was the busiest time of my day, cooking dinner and helping kids with homework or supervising play dates. So I asked him to please stop calling at that time because it was too overwhelming for me (I’m also ADD) and all he ever wanted was “to say hi.”

      He NEVER stopped. Just barreled right through that request until I got rude. Then I was labeled a bitch. No wonder he needed to cheat!

      • TFC = Tender Forest Creature

        A term I learned here and I would pull up the blog that introduced me to the concept but I can’t find it….

        My definition will be incomplete but its all I have in my memory – what it means now to me is more a set of behaviors that revolve around self-pity….the ‘poor me’s’ that look like one is sorry for ones behavior but they aren’t. No real remorse just a manipulation to re-gain control.

        I think of it as part of the covert passive aggressive narcissist dance.

        Hopefully someone else will chime in with a more succinct definition or the original blog piece that introduced me to the term.

        • “part of the covert passive aggressive narcissist dance” – got it! That creature came out full force just a few months after he left. Consequences are no fun, apparently.

        • 3X’sC

          Thanks for finding and connecting the link!

          I have it saved now in my CL folder.

          I have also made correction in my memory banks…..TIMID not TENDER….

      • Hey ChumpQueen, me too. Husband worked away and would call at his convenience, like when he was driving to a restaurant or actually in the restaurant waiting for food. Then he’d try his hardest to garner sympathy for his latest minor sports injury while I was trying to feed the kids or bathe them or whatever. Then he would pout, it always feels like you don’t want to talk to me (boo hoo, my wife’s a bitch). Correct, asshole, I don’t want update #47 on your sore shoulder while you do whatever the fuck you want the minute 5pm hits, and I take care of the kids by myself after work.

        Where I went wrong was just asking him to understand that I’m pretty much always busy while the kids are awake, rather than setting a hard boundary on times to call (since really, what the fuck was he doing the whole rest of the evening). Not that it would work (((ChumpQueen))) but then I’d at least know I handled my part properly.

  • My ex love bombs because he’s surface and phony and tries to cover it up.

    He’ll tell you how beautiful you are and how much he loves you and would send me emails on our month anniversaries.

    This just distracted from the fact that he was a conflict avoidant passive aggressive scumbag who was uncomfortable with anything beyond sports and the weather. Anything even remotely uncomfortable had to be done through email….baby couldn’t handle an adult conversation.

    Even after counseling when I’d filed he’d send emails that said nothing beyond “I love you, don’t throw away our life, I love you, you’rebeautiful”. No attempt to address any actual issues ….just phony love bombing.

  • He sent flowers to my office, did half of the cleaning, took me out for brunch and antiquing on Sundays, gave me long massages, watched documentaries and foreign films with me, played scrabble with me, and took me to musicals.

    He told me I was the smartest person he’d ever known. I was smart, sexy, and sweet.

    Within 2 weeks he professed his love, within 2 months we were living together, and within 2 years we were “married.”

    Right after we got “married,” everything changed. I guess he thought there was a great distinction between being a boyfriend and a husband. He “won” me, so the game was over, I guess.

    By the 15th year, I don’t think he even saw me as human. Just an old, run-down appliance.
    My neighbor actually asked me one day, “does he see you, I mean really see you?” (I was quite attractive, despite what he saw or didn’t see.)

    Turns out, he was much more attracted to the OW’s trust fund at that point. I may have been smart, sexy, and sweet, but I didn’t come with money.

    I’ll never marry again. And if I date, I will understand that the courting bullshit isn’t real, but just a means to end.

    • Did he at any point take the very things that he complimented you about and turn them into criticisms/complaints against you?

      You’re so smart – becomes – you have to be right about everything. I never get to have a say.
      You’re so strong – becomes – you are controlling.
      We have so much in common – becomes – we never had anything in common, we always do what you want to do.

      I think that it realistic to see in marriage that a couple settles in. Responsibility and adulting doesn’t leave as much time and energy to keep up looking into each other’s eyes longingly while having deep conversations about the meaning of life. But when it’s a complete shut down and there is no semblance of the thoughtfulness and caring that existed before, that is the de-valuation stage at hand. They got you, now life is serious and mundane, and it’s just not fun and validating anymore. Why? Because they are emotional immature people.

      • Yes. It went from “you’re the smartest person I’ve ever known” to “you think you’re so smart.” From “you’re so beautiful/sexy” to “you take too much time to get ready.” From “you’re so sweet” to “you’re always angry.”

        I’ll give him the last one. After all, anger is a sign that your boundaries aren’t being respected. So, yeah, I was a bit pissed. Although a couple months before he left, he told me that I was very empathetic and that was one of the reasons he had fallen for me. I think he was setting me up to be easy on him. Everything is a manipulation.

        If he had spent a fraction of the time on our marriage that he wasted on manipulation and deception, we would have actually had a marriage. But, then again, why have a marriage when you can have cake?

        • I’m sure my ex is also out there telling everyone who will listen that I was angry. I don’t think they fully grasp the chicken and egg situation of being in a one-sided relationship for too long. Because of course they’re never really in it.

          • I agree, but also they know they are screwing around and they have to know they are intentionally causing fights.

            So I don’t know. Anyway, I was definitely getting withdrawn and edgy the last year, and of course I didn’t find out until too late that I had good reason to be edgy and withdrawn.

            My body was going into self protection, and I just thought maybe it was early menopause (age 40)

            Amazing how much better I got after it was over. I looked thirty again and was full of energy.

    • “I don’t think he even saw me as human. Just an old, run-down appliance.”


      “I’ll never marry again.”


    • I can relate to being seen as an appliance. In the last year of marriage I said, “Because I’m a human being! Do you understand I’m a person too?!” way too many times. The first time I heard the term “wife appliance” was when I had already started the divorce paperwork and it made so much sense.

      I felt old, over the hill, ugly, fat, all kinds of lousy things. He had me so beat down. Smirking at me and apologizing for “wasting my youth.” Telling me I couldn’t expect him to be attracted to me because of my age.

      They don’t see us accurately, and they influence how we see ourselves with their mistreatment. I was going through photos from right before our marriage imploded and I was blown away. I’m attractive. I’ve been feeling better and thinking I’ve been looking better lately and it must be because he’s gone. Well, no. I looked good then too! I just didn’t see it.

  • I’d been previously love bombed by a true expert (the relationship that brought me here years ago) so my radar was primed.

    On our second date–lunch at a very nice restaurant–roses on the table when I arrived. Later he leaves table ‘to go to restroom’ and comes back with huge smile carrying a gift bag. By that time, all eyes were on US. I was hideously uncomfortable. The bag contained TWO gift wrapped–adding more time for gawkers and my discomfort–FRAMED pictures of us from our first date 3 days before. CRINGE. Additionally, there was a dumb sentimental fridge magnet type thing. It was all so needless, off putting and presumptive I was aghast and annoyed.

    When we left, he insisted on carrying the bags with my to go box and gift. Hinted a bit about coming back to my house so we could spend more time together–nope, that wasn’t in MY plan. He made a huge deal out of putting food bag on the floorboard in the back seat “so it wouldn’t spill”–I actually wanted it in the front with me, but….

    As it wrapped up, he kissed me. The WORST KISS I have ever experienced. He somehow sucked my lower lip into his mouth and gnashed on it with his front teeth. After 4 years, I can still recall how repulsed I was and literally screaming in the car as I drove away ‘What in the holy f was that? That HURT! Who kisses like that and WHO enjoys it?!?!?’

    Got home and as I took the bags from the back, I noticed something on the carpet. A familiar blue pill–he somehow had dropped a VIAGRA during his last act of faux chivalry. Putting it all together, it appears he thought his love bombing would result in him coming back to my house with me and I’d drop my panties.

    I did see him a few more times. Admittedly, I did enjoy the meals, lively conversation and he was a good dancer. People literally came up to us and told us what a ‘great couple’ we were. I wasn’t feeling anything, particularly romantically and had avoided his kisses. Kissing is normally very important to me. He was quickly pressuring me to see only him. Planning trips that I had no interest in. Wanting me to meet family. He had a future in mind that I did not. Oh, and I knew for a fact, he’d been a cheater–he’d told me the sordid tale.

    Being one who will NOT settle nor be love bombed, I got out of it as soon as I saw a reasonable off ramp.

    • Oh Lord! I am so with you on the kissing. My FW was the absolute worst – to the point where I loathed it. He would stick his tongue in and out of my mouth like a lizard.

      He was also mediocre in bed. It bothered me quite a bit, and I seriously considered not marrying him because of it. But I told myself he was such a wonderful man that it didn’t matter. I convinced myself that I could teach him, and even bought him books on the subject. I was wrong. You can’t teach a narcissist anything.

      Anyhow, my first sexual encounter after we divorced was like heaven. I’d forgotten that sex wasn’t just another chore!

      Best of all was when my daughter told me that she had been snooping around in his nightstand on one of her visits and found the book, “She Comes First: The Thinking Man’s Guide to Pleasuring a Woman.” I chuckle every time I think about how unsatisfied the OW is.

  • Today’s exercise reminded me of a quote I saved from a long ago celebrity interview.

    “Like most words in the English language, the word ‘charm’ has two faces. On one side you have those really delightful people, the ones we all love to be around. But on the flip side there is a kind of charm that is less sincere, that’s used to manipulate others. Anyone who uses charm for personal gain is not particularly nice, and in the end that’s really what it’s about — treating people the way you want to be treated.”- Sam Elliott

    It’s all the better if you read it in Sam Elliot’s voice.

    • Sam Elliot’s voice has always sounded good to me. He is a fantasy character to me. I know he is a real man, and not the characters he plays, and I know I will never meet him. So I can just enjoy him from afar, especially that voice!

  • I was 30 when I met my ex and had just gotten out of a three year relationship with a man who just wasn’t ready to talk future. He was still busy hanging on to remnants of fratboy lifestyle.

    My ex appeared to be all the things that was lacking in that ex-boyfriend. Thoughtful, quiet strength, responsible, easy-going, agreeable. A few weeks after our first date, he was away for a guys weekend and called me in the evenings to tell me that he couldn’t stop thinking about me. Awwwww.

    Within a few months, he told me that he absolutely sees me in his future and considers what we have to be going in that direction. My thought was that finally I had a man who wasn’t afraid to be a grown up and think about the future.

    Within a year, we had already discussed our hopes for a family together and come up with some timelines of when to marry and how many children we would like to have. I felt so secure with this man that I had finally found a good one. We never argued. In fact, we were married a year before we had our first real argument (four years together at that point). We seemed to be in sync about everything. He was so accommodating and easy-going. Sometimes I wondered how he could be so even-keeled about everything and admired his patience and understanding. I felt like the passionate and overly-emotional one in the relationship.

    Until he didn’t actually move forward on anything. He just said things, but did little. But, I didn’t see that as a warning. I didn’t understand “conflict avoidant” behaviour, symptoms of covert narcissism. And, I didn’t know that I was signing up for a marriage with a man who would not take initiative on much of anything. Who rarely said what he meant or meant what he said. Who wouldn’t address issues in meaningful ways and would typically take the path of least resistance.

    Lovebombing is not always about grand gestures. It’s also about the guy who is a chameleon and becomes what you want him to be. Takes on all your likes, follows your faith, rarely disagrees (mirroring you) and quickly builds a fantasy of the life you are going to have together (future faking).

    And so it was fascinating to observe how obsessively in love he became with the OW, taking on her characteristics and interests (as I started to learn more about her). Reading the secret emails that he didn’t know I discovered, he expressed his fantasy of the house they would buy together, the dinner parties they would host with the people that mattered to them. He criticized her ex-husband for the very things that he was doing so much worse to me. He extended every sympathy to her, told her he wanted to be her hero. Spoke of the cosmos and their psychic destiny (Huh? This became the language of my mid-40s accountant husband.).

    I don’t know yet what the strategy is to pick this out at the start of a dating relationship and avoid the same trap. As I start to venture into the world of dating, I feel that I understand so much more about the red flags, my own worth and my boundaries, but I don’t know how to temper the hyper-vigilism. The next stage is learning how to be open to new people and experiences without being suspicious of everything.

    • I think we were married to the same person. His personality changed so much while he was cheating that I thought aliens had abducted my husband and left me with a look-alike. (I wasn’t yet aware of the OW.) Everything he believed changed overnight, and he adopted her personality. I understand that people change as they grow older, but his change was not organic. I’ve learned that these people mirror their targets to better manipulate them.

      I think it’s natural to be hypervigilant after this kind of experience. We got duped by the “nice” guys. I was 32 and highly educated, with several years of therapy under my belt. He was getting his Ph.D in psychology, for God’s sake!! He checked every box, and I thought I was being smart and cautious. Who knew there was such a thing as a covert narcissist? Who knew a psychologist could be so disordered?? Where the hell do you turn after that?

      I think being open is a nice idea in an ideal world. After all, you don’t want a FW to keep you from living your best life. But an open door is an open invitation. I just finished reading “Predators” by Anna Salter, and I’m convinced that suspicion is a gift. Trust is the opposite of suspicion, and trusting too easily or quickly is dangerous. Be suspicious: watch what they do, don’t believe what they say. Save your trust and openness for those who’ve earned it. If a person is trustworthy, he shouldn’t have a problem with that. In fact, I think he would find it respectable.

      • Option No More,

        YES to what Chump Queen has written above especially about ‘suspicion being a gift.’

        I have come to realize that these fw’s, and other dangerous people, are the ones who try to berate people for being suspicious. A tactic to get us to trust those we shouldn’t trust….The Big Bad Wolf in Little Red Riding Hood comes to my mind, does he not?

        I have read here long enough to know that I am not the only one who married an educated man – a clinician himself, whose reputation, and thus his career depended on the Hero Image. Lots of wives and husbands of doctors, lawyers, police officers, people with medals on their chests from the armed forces…the list is endless, all comment here on a regular basis.

        So, yes, suspicion is our friend because, IMO, these ‘nice’ ones are much, much harder to un-mask than blatant malignant narcissists.

        Being hit with a fist is obvious.

        On the other hand,

        being hit with a charming smile simply is not.

    • “Lovebombing is not always about grand gestures. It’s also about the guy who is a chameleon and becomes what you want him to be. Takes on all your likes, follows your faith, rarely disagrees (mirroring you) and quickly builds a fantasy of the life you are going to have together (future faking).”

      This to a T. I think the roses and big gestures are the tip of the iceberg, and in some cases not pursued at all by some love bombers. The pros reel you in with the mirroring and the future faking. Because roses die. Who doesn’t want a future with someone who (supposedly) loves them? This is where I too got lost. Not going to lie, in my relationship now, despite everything feeling right and even-keeled, it’s the future stuff that scares me — not because it’s not what I want, but because I think someone else is going to play this trick on me to get what they want, regardless of me and my life and dignity.

      • “…because I think someone else is going to play this trick on me to get what they want, regardless of me and my life and dignity.”

        This is exactly how I feel about approaching dating. I was cheated on by my exhushand of over 24 years & just last fall by my boyfriend of 7 years. I feel especially tricked by the boyfriend as he is an “upstanding” attorney whose other girlfriend didn’t know she was being cheated on as well.

        My trust has been shot to hell.

        • Ugh. I’m sorry Hurt1. That sucks.

          I’m with you on the trust issues. Of all the shitty stuff our cheaters did, the fucking with our ability to trust is the worst.

      • ChumpOnIt,


        One of the many benefits of being single is that my future is my own and that is one of the surprises that has happened to me since dday. Not one that I expected but I wouldn’t give it up for anyone right now.

        I remember someone telling me years ago that people who tend to get married after their spouse dies seem to have had a good relationship with their spouse; whereas those who didn’t have good relationships tend to remain single. Not sure if there is any truth to that but I know for me ‘once burned….’

  • Oh jeez, I was an unaware 17 yo HS kid when we met. I didn’t have the vocabulary or experience to know my traits as a high empath with other high traits that make me vulnerable to disordered people or traits and vocabulary for the disorders. I got the public roses, THE ring ( cubic zirconia) with a statement that we are getting married and all the prancing me around people like a show pony meant as flattery, trips, him pretending to like my hobbies which all disappeared within a year of marriage. He cheated before within my group and let it go because he stated that he wanted me. Of course he did. When he stated he was never going to leave me after I had proof, I know that of course he wasn’t going to. He had it made. He pretended he was such a prize with honorable life goals and a sad family history that I bought into and tried for 33 ys to make/show/pretend things were normal that never were.

    He was a bottom feeder from the beginning who got the prize with me. We were his front of normalcy the entire time. My best friends are all divorced and discuss how at that time it was the socially norm next step in our life in this area. I am so happy the narrative does does not exist today. My kids know they do not have to marry, partner to become a parent, to become financially independent, comfortable with who they are individually etc.

    It is a huge painful life lesson that I’m happy I learned. Otherwise, I’d still be in an abusive marriage. When I saw him in court a couple months back, I was shocked. I know I got squishy this year but even with a mask he was hard to look at and he hadn’t gained a lot of weight, it was just different. I know he was pretending sadness and as soon as he left court his normal smirk/anger/crazy laugh would return but his appearance threw me. There was nothing attractive. I hope he felt the same about me. I haven’t seen him in 4 ys and he looked like his dumpy older brother. Physically changed but character the same and it’s the same with me.

    The sad part is that we didn’t marry until I finished college, got a job, and then he moved in with me. At that point he was still living at home. Never in that time did he ever change his address from his parents. All his mail went to their home. I could have said no way but you can’t see what you don’t know. I had gut feelings but they became numb with his lies. Then the threats and loss of worth. It’s painful but the lessons learned applies to every facet of my life. Knowledge can lead to freedom and normal happiness.

  • Oh Elderly Chump, I am so sorry you were so abused. I remember your post of having a funeral for your cheater. Just you and the photo you shredded during your lonely cemetery walk.

    That post helped me so much. I was able to create my own funeral service involving me, and the fourteen cards he sent me in thirty five years together. I burned the hand embroidered Irish linen handkerchief I carried the day we eloped. The funeral pyre and the subsequent grief helped purge him from my broken heart. He is truly dead to me now.

    I am so grateful to you for sharing your story and for your ability to lay him to rest in a funeral of your own device. I have buried LTC Moron and am free of the daily burden of his presence. Thank you!!!

    LTC Moron lovebombed me each time I caught him cheating. Complete with gifts, flowers, trips, cheap costume jewelry. Right up until I figured it out with the help of Chump Lady’s 2×4 of truth. I didn’t give him a chance the last time I caught him. I left him. He is truly dead to me and I will never speak to him again.

    PS- I buy my own jewelry now. None of it is fake.

    • Thirtythreeyearsachump,

      Thank you for this. I am impressed with your memory.! I get confused with names here a lot. Think I have got one down and then, it gets lost unless people add reminders like you have.

      Thank you for sharing your story.

      Yeah for you. Isn’t it amazing to be done. The truth does set us free despite the fact that it hurts like a son-of-a-gun in the beginning but the freedom once that is over is something to behold. I couldn’t have imagined it but now I know.

      Each little, or big, thing that we do does heal. I am convinced of that now because I have lived it one day at a time for about 4 years now – about a little over 2+ years of which have been no contact.

      4 years ago I didn’t think it was possible that I could ever be happy again….my-oh-my how that has changed!

  • Lovebombing has a spectrum. It ranges from pillow talk whispers on the quiet end to jumbotron proposals with five dozen roses on the other. The size/visibility varies with the manipulator.

    The common threads that flag it as lovebombing are that it is (a) out of proportion in a way that ⭐feels⭐ huge, and (b) not reasonably functionally aligned with every day life.

    The “I’ve never met anyone like you before, I didn’t know anyone could be so [thing you want to hear most]!” exclamation can be a lovebomb.

    The “Everyone else I’ve ever been with hurt me and you’re the only one I’ve ever been able to really trust.” can be.

    The “Let’s put all this mundane stuff that is important to a functional life behind us and run off to do something wild and reckless together YOLO!” can be.

    The “I don’t want to wait, life is short, and you never know what might happen, let’s elope!” can be.

    And yes, grand gestures like elaborate gifts and big public pronouncements, and dime store romance novel behaviors like being an amazing dancer and opening every door like a servant and being intensely protective in scenarios where you don’t need any advocacy, can absolutely be manipulative lovebombing.

    People do sometimes say/do things like this and mean them — or at least believe they mean them — but even then, anything that pulls you away from critical thinking (a.k.a. sweeps you off your feet) should be eyed carefully to see how it connects with other more concrete behaviors over time. Same goes for any out of balance behavior.

    If I’m truly “the most beautiful woman in the world” and you “only have eyes for me”, why do you like porn so much, or why do you stare at women all the time in an overt way, or why do you have certain actresses or lady rock stars you perseverate about, or persistently flirt with waitstaffers?

    If you truly “always have my back” and “would never let anyone hurt” me, why can’t you find time to take me to a doctor visit or show up to that presentation I’m giving or remember the thing I asked you to pick up from the store?

    If you really “have to have” me and “can’t wait”, why is that? Why is getting married next year really so far away? What would it truly change, and why? And why would you risk losing what you “have to have” for any reason, including waiting?

    Love that is solid and enduring fits into your real life without having to change it much. It respects your needs and boundaries and feels right even when it isn’t any fun. It discusses and works through conflict without trying to avoid it or replace it with grand gestures or sex.

    A person’s behaviors in a relationship should be critically observed over time for consistency, duration, and function. If it doesn’t stand up to at least those three factors, it isn’t likely to last our whole lives. I would expect a reliable partner to look for these things in me and to expect me to do the same. Romance is sweet, but it works best in balance with all of life.

      • Welcome! I pay forward what many people have helped me see wherever I can. I am glad for any help any of it can offer. ????

    • Amiisfree: This post is exceptional. I wish I had had such wisdom available to me decades ago. But I have it now, and I’m clipping your words for myself and passing them on to my children. Thank you!

        • Same as ChumpQueen. I copied and pasted your last two paragraphs to myself, to share with my children as they are entering young adult relationships. Thanks for sharing that hard earned wisdom!

    • Amiisfree,

      Love your clarity and appreciate that you took the time to write it all out here for us.

  • I too was love bombed at first (he practically moved in on our first date — we were 22 and in grad school), he mirrored me and future faked…. my father died when I was a teen and I lost my housing and my family afterwards and ended up pregnant and homeless…so despite clawing my way through undergrad and into law school I was desperate for a home and stable family life. He promised me his parents would help us get a home and they seemed like my new family…. None of it was real. Mirage, indeed, VH!

    Over the 25 years together he would occasionally love bomb again, to reel me in? It worked.

    I found out after Dday that he had said and done some of the exact same things to his APs. Disgusting pig.

  • No, I was not love bombed by FW. He has never been an over the top person and I cringe at overly romantic gestures. It all seemed fine. I suspect FW and OW love bombed each other. Gotta be real fucking special to blow up your family obviously.

    • I just remembered some of the stupid pics I found. One was some super sappy “love is doing the mundane together” shit that he had sent her. It was sooooooo stupid. They didn’t do mundane stuff together. They had free babysitters at home while they met up for drinks and sex.

  • Nothing was within days, but it was within weeks and months. 6 weeks in, a long love letter stating all the reasons he was madly in love with me. I actually called him on it – because some of the things he wrote he had no evidence for ????. But I never thought it would amount to this!

    Very expensive present a month or two in. Tons of big and small trips he insisted on paying for. Tons of fine dining he wanted to pay for. He wanted to make me breakfast, dinner etc. Tons of cards with ‘ you are the woman of my dreams, you popped out of nowhere, I have fallen madly in love with you, you are my soulmate, I’ve never felt so complete, I feel so tethered, every moment I spend with you is incredible, thank you for sharing your hopes and dreams, I look forward to our future together, thank you for loving me, I will never betray your trust etc.’ The cards started to get repetitive.
    Constant compliments about how I look.
    I’m attractive enough in an average kind of way, but get ready to gag……I would get compliments like this
    ‘ I should thank your mother for making you’ ‘you had nothing to do with your beauty, I need to thank your mom.’
    He would refer to my kids as his kids before we were married. He’d even say ‘my daughter’ when talking to one of my friends – so they never knew if he was referring to his biological daughter or my daughter. He told everyone he had 5 kids (before we were married), rather than saying he had step-kids, or bonus kids, or his kids and my kids – they were all his kids pretty early on.
    He took us all on a very expensive vacation and didn’t want me to contribute.

    He left everything in his will to me ( I did not, I told him I had to provide for my children if anything happened to me). I told him not to leave me everything because his adult children would want something right away if he died – he said that was too complicated. So I figured if anything happened to him I would just have to give them the money myself.
    Roses to my work on Valentine’s Day if he was out of town.
    Apart from telling me I was the woman of his dreams a few weeks in, all this over the top treatment was constant throughout our relationship. Things started to feel different around the time we got married (he was ‘friends’ with OW by then), but he was still getting up to make my coffee make my breakfast, giving me the cards ….treating me like a princess. It just felt different.
    Anyhow he completely swapped us out for 1 day to the next for younger office whore and her younger kids.

  • Yes, but I didn’t realize it until after we divorced. That concept wasn’t around back then.

    We met on a blind date in college. He was highly recommended by our mutual friend so I took a chance.
    The first double date was bad, as he hardly said a word. But then he called me up shortly after and asked me to three different events, one of them a Moody Blues concert (sigh). I thought it was cute; he seemed nervous and eager to see me.

    We shared a lot about our similar backgrounds and by the third date he told me he loved me. It felt amazing, as I had never been in love before. He kept telling me how alike we were, “like twins,” which was somewhat ironic as I have an identical twin. We only saw each other a few times a week and only had sex once a week. That should have been a clue but I was very naive and inexperienced about boys. I actually thought he was a gentleman and just had a low sex drive.

    Anyway, we were engaged the following semester and got married a year later. Then the differences started appearing. The gaslighting (which were called head games then) started slowly. But when we had children he seemed a wonderful father and life went on. Sex was very infrequent.

    Decades later, after increasing verbal and emotional abuse, I filed for divorce. It wasn’t until months later that I found proof that he was gay and had known it, and acted on it, all along. So many red flags, so many pairs of rose-colored glasses. I had always been desperately afraid of having my heart broken so I guess I just kept hoping it would get better.

    • Please don’t feel like that, you were deceived. Mine didn’t even want to sit on the couch next to me and sex was almost non-existent because he had been getting it elsewhere, for at least 22 years. As dumb as I feel I know I didn’t make those choices for him and will expect better if I ever date again. This particular letter and all the comments are really making me remember things and I’m grateful people are open about their experiences.

  • Although I enjoy books, movies, theater, and TV, I clearly understand the difference between the fantasy world that is created and the real world I live in. I believe many people do not clearly understand the difference.

    For instance, love bombing and extravagant gifts and actions are a staple in romantic comedies. Women, in particular, seem to lap this high fructose corn syrup up. If we don’t get something splashy and public to proclaim love for us, we feel cheated. I cannot count the number of women I know who send flowers to themselves, at work, on Valentine’s Day. With cards “signed” by their husband/boyfriend. It is clearly more important to show the world how you are loved than to really be loved that way. If a man is not “romantic”, you cannot teach him to be. I have always wondered how many of those flower arrangements turn over in the car on the way home, and how the husband/boyfriend feels when he sees them? Does a fight ensue? Is the woman mad because he didn’t “remember” her on this day? Why should he spend 5 to 10 times the normal cost of the flowers, and why should they go to work? Why do we put importance on these things? I think this goes to the heart of why we are chumps.

    When I was fixing my picker, I realized that I really did not know what “normal” was. My FOO was so dysfunctional I never saw normal. I only knew I didn’t have it, because of my contact with other people outside my FOO. I have to say that I met many others who were equally dysfunctional, and did not know, too.

    So my reaction was to start running from the things I disliked the most. I ran from my father’s heavy handed control, and his cheapness. I found a man who had a different world view, and although he tried to manipulate me, he did not try to control me. (To me, there is a difference. If you realize the manipulation you have a choice to comply or not. With control, you are never given a choice.) I thought that being different from my father was enough. I was not sophisticated enough to see all the other problems (red flags) this man had. I spent 20 years with him, and had 2 children.

    When I finally divorced this man, I met a great love bomber. He did not have the economic accomplishment of my ex, or me without my ex, but I thought his exciting romance and attention made up for these deficiencies. I didn’t need his money, I needed to feel loved. BUT, I didn’t realize he needed my economic stability, and was only acting like he was in love. He told me “You are everything I always wanted in a woman, and more than I ever thought I would have.” That is so embarrassing now. But I was running from not being loved and valued, and I ran right into the arms of a con man.

    Fortunately for me, I was not blinded for long. This four year interlude did cost me, but it didn’t destroy me. It was a very expensive lesson from life, I continued working on my picker, and learned not to run from one burning house into another. I became more experienced at spotting red flags. I learned to stop running. I am not seeking love and companionship now, but I am not closed to it happening, slowly. I don’t need to be married. I may never experience it, at my age, but I have found some wonderful friends for companionship, an no one is bleeding me economically. I don’t need a partner for his money, and I don’t want one who needs my money. If a partner is not self sufficient, then he is not the partner for me.
    It is not gold digging to even the playing field. I seek peace, and sanity, and common goals and interests. Anything extra is the cherry on top of a sundae for me.

    I believe we should not look to media stars to set our life goals. I am not part of the rich and famous people, and frankly I don’t want to be. I don’t believe they are any happier than others. Rich may be a lot easier than poor, but it does not mean happy. I believe we should not be swayed by grand gestures. We need to look for true common beliefs and goals. We need to take the time to build a sustainable relationship. We are not stars in a romantic comedy or romance novel. That stuff is fantasy. Finding normal is accepting who you are and what you need to be happy. It involves respecting the needs of others as you want to be respected yourself.

    • How do you know multiple women who send themselves flowers?? I don’t know a single woman who does that. Most I know are embarrassed by and hate public displays like that.

      • It sounds like a competition amongst women at work. If your husband/partner doesn’t send flowers for Valentine’s Day, the catty comments begin.

      • I have worked in both the public and private sector, and I am very observant. I have even socialized with some of the women I worked with, and their significant others. You learn a personality type, and you see patterns. Can I swear that specific women did this, or produce receipts from the florist? No, it is an educated guess. Sometimes they even later admit it, perhaps over too many drinks at ladies night out. If you want flowers, order flowers, that is your right. But don’t pretend they are from someone else. If a woman constantly goes on about how cheap and inconsiderate her SO is all the time, what do you think the chances are he will overpay for expensive flower deliveries at her work? Personally I have been on the receiving end of some grand gestures, and unfortunately none of them proved sincere. Perhaps I am jaded and cynical? I also worked over 40 years, and probably come from a different generation of women than you do. I live in the South, and it may be a cultural thing here. I don’t know how to prove it to you, either believe me or not. Why would I lie about that? What would be the benefit to me? What difference is that to you in relation to my other observations? If you don’t believe women spackle and lie to themselves and others about their relationships with men then you have a different life experience than I do.

      • I’ve seen it at many different workplaces. Like someone else said it does seem to be a competition for some of them, which women got flowers, who got the biggest flowers, etc.

        And I’m a woman who is embarrassed by big public displays and I’ve honestly been treated like a weirdo for it by other women my entire life. Maybe it’s a cultural or regional difference.

        I worked with one woman who would post on HER OWN Facebook page things like “ Yo baby, dis here her husband, just wanna say I love my wife so much!” And that’s how he’d wish her happy birthday and happy anniversary and stuff like that too. By posting as her on her Facebook wall but saying it was him.

        Cringiest thing I ever saw. I don’t think anyone believed it was him. I remember exchanging looks with other women at work a few times when it would come up. It was weird and sad.

    • Portia

      ‘I believe many people do not cleary understand the difference.’

      Couldn’t agree with you more on this one; the implications of which are un-nerving to say the least…..

      Dday un-did my world, both past, present and future, in many ways that were/are totally unexpected.

      • The con man can take a different form too.

        My ex in my view pretended to be in a solid marriage to me for the specific reason of helping him attain his promotion status, (for at least the last six or so years of our marriage, maybe longer) and he conned me into signing for properties he wanted, all the while he was involved with another woman and they were planning my exit.

        Honestly, how I didn’t end up in prison is a tribute to my parents raising me to have control of myself and my faith, I guess.

        Also, in my case, though there was not a lot of money to obtain in the divorce, my lawyer extracted me from the situation with some funds paid back via temp maintenance ans some time to save some money. And my ex had to take over all the debt, since he is the one who ran it up based on a lie to me. He clearly defrauded me, and the state of Indiana had laws at the time to make me somewhat whole again, even though it was a no fault 50/50 state.

        I have learned since then that though a state is 50/50 that does not mean that each will get 50 at the time of D. 50/50 can be obtained with one getting more or taking on debt to balance the fraud that took place.

        Unfortunately lawyers are so expensive now, it can be hard for many to access a good lawyer.

    • Portia,

      While I was showering my mind kept returning to your statement about reality vs a fantasy world.

      I remembered when I first realized that while, we have an explosion of porn and all the trimmings it brings with it, due to the internet, (In my youth it was Playboy magazine and ‘dirty’ movies where only ‘dirty old men with a bottle of wine in a paper bag’ were the only ones seen entering the theater.) what most people are totally ignorant to are the romance movies that are pouring out of Hollywood and flooding the airways, theaters and internet completely unobstructed.

      Oh for the seeds of discontent and entitlement being sewn in so many homes to unsuspecting minds. People thinking that they are being entertained while a much more sinister seed is being planted in their minds. Like the young boy in Hans Christian Anderson’s story, ‘The Snow Queen’.

      Mr. X would come home every night and settle in to watching some new movie all about true love winning out in some fashion or another. The moving scenes along with the musical score; sweet endings creating sweet dreams. He spent more time with a screen in front of his face that he did with any of our faces which he dismissed after a perfunctory ‘I’m home.’

      So ever since that realization I have a very hard time watching anything.

      Life is hard.

      It ain’t pretty.

      It is a struggle.

      That is not what people want to watch so it doesn’t sell. Hollywood continues to roll out its fantasies and the web continues to catch it’s victims.

      Give me a good old Greek myth any day or a good Grimm’s Fairytale….now there are story lines I can relate to and put into practice in my own life that reflect back the reality I see.

      • This is why I believe we have to work hard to shift the belief systems that hold us back in our culture. We cannot all believe that “someday my prince will come,” or the reverse belief for men that they have to slay a dragon to win the princess. We are human, and we have different talents and abilities, and we come from different economic places. We need to align our dreams and beliefs with reality, not fantasy. It doesn’t mean we have to accept a dull life, and we can still strive for a better life, but I didn’t come from royalty, and won’t expect to marry a prince. A good fantasy story is fine, but recognize it for what it is.

        I believe you are correct in comparing the fantasy storyline to porn. If you constantly go to a fantasy place. or partner that only exists in your mind, you will never be satisfied with a real breathing human partner. You cannot interchange the parts on your spouse, or suddenly have a long lost uncle leave you a million bucks. I know for sure that all of my uncles are not rich, and wouldn’t feel obliged to leave me anything, anyway! LOL!

        It is not that I don’t believe in having ideals to believe in, it is that I seriously doubt that we will ever live in an ideal world. There are too many problems, and too many con artists, and sociopaths who refuse to work to achieve their dreams. They would rather steal other people’s dreams.

  • Yes, he brought me roses when I stayed home from work with a bad cold for a day. I was older and had dated other people, and that seemed a little over-the-top for early in the relationship. Red flag.

    The whole courtship and engagement was like that, and then after we were married, I realized that he had gone into debt to woo me and to furnish his house with expensive furniture. I was somehow under the impression that he was making enough to do all that. Now we had to pay down those bills and the bills for the two-week honeymoon as a couple. I had not thought to ask about his finances. We did get that paid off, but it was an oversight on my part and a red flag unto itself.

    Frankly expensive gifts, expensive furniture, and fancy restaurants have never been something that impressed me, but he was into that. Spend time with me, and I’m over-the-moon. Simple take-out or homecooked meal is good too. Ironically a male friend of mine with a similar story (truly just a friend), said that his ex did the same thing. He just wanted time with her, and she spent like crazy to show her love. Then they had to figure out how to pay it off.

    My ex was retired when we separated. There were hints during the separation and divorce that he was spending like crazy again which I wondered about given our assets. Thankfully we never had joint credit cards and divided the joint bank accounts early on. My ex considered his retirement accounts to be 100% his to do with as he pleased during separation, and which of court made my attorney snort with laughter when I told him that. Of course the law says differently.

    I was also very careful to separate out the tax liability as soon as I could so that he could pay his own taxes on distributions from his retirement accounts. My income was so low that I actually didn’t pay any taxes during those first few single years. The college kids and I lived very simply, needless to say. I took one trip to a graduation that a friend paid for and bought almost nothing other than food and essentials.

    Thankfully I have since recovered financially, but my frugality rubbed off on my kids. Even though they have their own money now, they are very careful shoppers and love simple things. They are also big givers because they learned what it was like to be in need.

    If I ever date again, I will tell them upfront that it will be slow and low-key. Several friends my age who were divorced or widowed remarried pretty quickly, and none of them are happy. Honestly I’m fine as-is, but we’ll see.

    • Elsie,

      I have never been impressed by expensive things either. The roses were a surprise but by no means did I expect to be ‘gifted’ on a regular basis. Less is better as far as I am concerned.

      I thought he had the same values as I did. Thrift, make do with what you already have. Live within your limits etc…

      I was fooled for over 30 years on this one too.

      There was an explosion of spending following dday that had me terrified. When CL recommends protecting one’s self financially I couldn’t agree more. The final divorce decree brought relief on more levels than one and the financial security I feel now is something I never want to give over to another human being again.

  • Cheater was abusive damned near the entire time so I have no idea why I went with any of it. But shortly after I finally ended it and went no contact, I met someone new who very much love bombed me. I couldn’t see through the lies. This person eventually got me to sleep with them, which is something that will take a lot of time and commitment before I will do. Immediately afterwards, they ghosted me. Forever.

    It destroyed me, but mostly because I let myself be pulled in, tricked, and used again like that. Beware the love bombing.

  • Oh God, yes. I was a dumb 19 year old when I met him and I had no idea over the top niceness was a red flag. Even at times when he wasn’t being very nice to me he would be gushing about me to friends so that if I did go to them with an issue I’d hear, “Oh no, he loves you so much!” When I told people I was divorced because he dumped me some of them actually told me “no, that’s not possible. I was just talking to him a few months ago and he is so in love with you!” Right…

    The mirroring is the creepiest to me though. I thought we had so much in common, such an insane amount in common. I noticed when he started mirroring my replacement. I didn’t know that’s what was happening but he changed so much. His laugh changed, his mannerisms changed, he started walking different, his vocabulary changed. It was bizarre. I thought he was having a midlife crisis. No, he’s just a psychopath.

    • Ha! I thought it might be a mid-life crisis too. Or aliens. The worst part is the disconnect between what you think your real life is and what it actually is. It felt like the world had literally flipped over on me. I was so stunned and disoriented that I literally couldn’t speak for days.

      • I so wanted it to be a MLC thing. Then as time went on, I knew it had been going on for years. She wasn’t the first and she wouldn’t be the last.

      • ChumpQueen,

        Aliens. I like that one.

        Anything is possible for a chump 🙂

    • The mirroring in my ex is strong too. I actually compared notes with an ex gf (not the AP, but a chump he ended up duping as well). He literally takes notes about what to do, who to be. It’s fucking creepy. Not only does he have no soul, he must have no genuine personality — seemingly very little of his own self exists.

      • There was man in CoDA who never shared anything except empty platitudes about the 12 steps “It’s great to be here. This program has saved my life” Blah, blah.
        I saw him on local tv a couple of times, he’s a small time politician and he behaved completely differently than he did in meetings. Fucking scary. I guess he was just studying us to see how humans are supposed to act. Like that character Nicole Kidman played, the small town newscaster.

        • Watching my local news and who pops up on the screen ? The Pod Person Politico????

        • SP by a Saffa,

          Thats how Mr. X acted at home. Humble and down-trodden. Now that I think about it he played the perfect martyr.

          In public he had a completely different persona depending on the crowd he was working.

          I didn’t put 2 and 2 together until well after dday. Thought the guy I had at home, humble etc, was the true one and that the others were just his way of coping with his inferiority complexes – low self-esteem etc…

      • Something that bothers me a lot now. We watched that Richard Dreyfus movie where there’s an autistic boy who doesn’t speak. But then his sister takes him to a restaurant and he gets on the intercom and uses other people’s voices to cause chaos in the restaurant. My now ex said he was like that. He only spoke in other people’s voices until he was like ten and then he had to figure out what his own voice was. We had an autistic son and I remember thinking well that’s where it came from then. There’s definitely a genetic component there.

        Now I wonder if he ever found his real voice or if he even has one. Everything he is seems to be a façade and there’s different facades for different people. Some of the things he lied to me about… what kind of coffee he likes, what kind of cookies he liked, he passed off another persons artwork as his own for 20 years. I watched that Netflix movie I think it’s called things seen and heard and almost cried because the husband’s character was so like him. It scares them hell out of me now.

    • KatiePig,

      Bizarre is the perfect word for the behavior change I experience too and it was indeed overnight. The man, whom I thought of as a devoted husband and father to our children and that I had been married to for almost 30 years suddenly disappeared and in his place – someone who looked just like him but who was a complete stranger appeared. Even his wardrobe changed – that is how drastic it all was.

      He moved out almost immediately and every time I saw him I never knew ‘who’ would appear at m y door. (He hoovered a lot but, at that time, I didn’t know what that was so I was hopeful that he would snap out of it – that it was only a temporary ‘thing’.)

      I was in shock like I have never been in shock before and that, in itself, was profound too. All the stuff I found to try to figure it out was RIC literature so naturally I assumed it was a mid-life crisis. I was determined to be the loyal wife so I spackled and pick-me danced throughout our separation and right up to and through the divorce.

      Somewhere within that time frame I discovered LACGAL and I was gobsmacked into reality. I would like to say the shock lifted but it didn’t. That dazed state of mine lingered but it did slowly ebb away until I was finally able to go no contact.

      After no contact happened the blinders my psyche had constructed began to fall away at an alarming speed thanks to CL and CN. I now know ‘old dogs can learn new tricks’ despite their age!!!

  • He wanted to spend every single night together after we started dating. Fast-forward 12 years, post affair discovery, the story he tells MC and me is “I spent years longing for ChumpFox to be close to me, but she never would be, so I slowly fell out of love with her”. ????

  • I recently tried and gave up on internet dating. One of the ladies, without ever having met me , told me she had fallen in love with my photos. Also prior to even meeting me , she suggested that I move in with her. I gave her the benefit of the doubt and continued to communicate with her. One morning my son was sick and I had to stay at home with him. I mentioned that to her, who then insisted that she would look after him. That was too much of a red flag and I told her that I thought this was weird ( we had been talking to each other for 3 weeks ) and ended the discussion.
    A few weeks later, a friend of mine meets a new couple at an art exhibition. The lady told everyone : “this is my new partner, he will move in with me . I met him on a dating site. Prior to him I was talking to a guy called AFS (she mentioned my real name). AFS told me I wasnt ready for dating. Luckily I found the love of my life”

    No idea if she is just utterly desperate or sad or lovebombing.
    But I felt this was a good story .

    As for the internet dating – doesn’t work for me.

    • Too much, too soon ! Somebody needs to slow their roll. Live your own life and maybe you’ll meet somebody in person.
      The paper from a town ten miles away ran a story about an elderly widow who was love bombed and scammed via a dating site. She lost hundreds of thousands of dollars. Tragic. It happens so often the FBI has a task force to address it. Be wary of people that target your loneliness, need to be loved and recover from being chumped.

      • I’m referring to the woman who needs to slow her roll. But it sounds like she found her next victim, thankfully not you. ????

        • Oh absolutely. I waited nearly 3 years before I even considered online dating .

    • Yes, the mere thought of combing through all the cr*p to find a gem makes me uneasy. A friend of mine who is a therapist suggests it as a way of learning to say no and honing your ability to detect red flags.

      I think I’m already pretty good at that almost four years since my ex chose to live in another state when we were supposedly trying to patch things up. That of course didn’t go well, and we are divorced.

      I’ve had local asks and have no problem at all with saying no. One is a catch on the surface and is very gentlemanly, but I immediately felt that something was amiss there and politely kept turning him down until he left me alone.

      A mutual friend actually took me aside and warned me off. Apparently he has three ex wives and a long string of DUI’s. He’s had a whole string of lovelies he met online including one that he was engaged to that blew up big time. Now he has one that he’s been hotly pursuing for a year. He’s buying a house close to her soon. Mmmm….

  • My STBX and I were married for 23 years and he had flowers delivered to me all the time in the past 3 years. I remember thinking about it a lot–wow, he was never like this before…he became a romantic in his 50s. There was definitely a public show involved as time passed–having flowers delivered to the hotel in DC when I brought my daughter for a college tour or to the restaurant when my girlfriend and I attended a wedding in Paris. Realized later that he was sending the OW flowers at the exact same time, every single time, for three years. My flowers were designed to make me look the other way. Now I buy flowers for myself.

    We were classmates in college. Before we started dating, there was this other girl he liked. We were only 18 at that time but he ordered a roasted pig for her for her birthday! No joke, a whole pig was delivered to our classroom!!! I remember the horrified look on the girl’s face. Everyone was laughing at the stupidity of it all but just ate the whole thing. I should have learned about love-bombing then. Would have saved me from a lifetime of manipulation and lies.

    • We all to need to pass on our experience and wisdom to the next generations.

    • Yep, any acting out of character.

      My ex definately was not a flower giver, at least not to me. Hell he rarely ever even remembered my birthday. But, in 1988 (6 September) I was sitting at work and I got a beautiful vase of yellow flowers (can’t believe he remembered my favorite color) Maybe they were just the cheapest.

      I called to thank him and he said: ” I always forget your birthday so this year I am sending them exactly one month early.” I was so happy. We had spent the last couple years working side by side in local politics to get our guys elected. Had so much fun those years. I though wow now we can enjoy some time for ourselves. I just didn’t see that locomotive headed through the tunnel about to run me over.

      He forgot my birthday the next year (6 October 1989) and Dday was Christmas 1989. He left me for whore 2 Jan 1990.

      • ????????????????from a fellow chump. It’s Fuckwit Free Friday !

    • The first inclination I had that my ex-boyfriend was cheating on me came when he sent me roses at work during our third year of dating. I figured he’d done something wrong, or he was seeing/courting someone else and was trying to keep his shit straight by sending both of us flowers on Valentine’s Day. I didn’t care about being part of the workplace ‘rose parade’ and he knew it.

      Early on in our relationship, he saw me peer through the window of a shop and admire a newspaper print dress (I’m a former journalist). He actually MADE me a beautiful dress from newspaper print fabric that Christmas. I don’t know if that qualifies as love bombing – as he was trying to move quickly to get me to commit to him – but it was a cool dress.

  • Two weeks or so after we’d started dating he met me at the airport, when I returned from a trip, with a bouquet of flowers. When I got in the car he gave me a necklace he’d bought from a local jewelry maker at the farmer’s market.

    After Dday, I saw via his facebook messenger account that he told the jewelry maker the necklace was for his daughter. He was trying to get something going with her, but she didn’t bite. He told her his “daughter” loved the necklace, etc.

  • The love bombing started at our 1 year anniversary. I was 25 and very naïve. I remember how uncomfortable I was, celebrating this anniversary gift: a way over the top surprise dinner at a too expensive restaurant, with beef Wellington and a chocolate soufflé ordered days before, and flowers given to me at the dinner table. It was so out of proportion to how he treated me on a daily basis, and out of proportion to how we related to each other. Our sex life was lackluster (porn ED?), he didn’t keep promises to help out, he was late for everything, and yet we never argued. I remember feeling humiliated that this gesture demonstrated his “great love” and I could not reciprocate that feeling. I felt guilty and confused. He was able to tell everyone what he had done for our anniversary & get great kibbles! I was left suffering my guilty feelings & I tried to hide them. Because if we talked feelings, I ended up apologizing.
    And yes, he perfected this impression over the years. I perfected my guilty feelings and thus the pick me dance began before I even knew I had competition.

    • Up and Out

      ‘Guilty and confused’

      The words NEVER matching the actions EVER yet I hung onto his every word thinking ‘someday’…

      I do not miss the confusion and didn’t even realize how totally confused I was until well after dday. The confusion began to clear once I went no contact and things have become more and more clear ever since.

  • One guy I dated in college wanted to get engaged the same summer I met him. This was at a summer camp where we were all working 24/7. I was smarter then, before marrying FW. This guy assumed I said yes. I had one year left at college, I didn’t know him well at all, and yet I wasn’t used to speaking up. I gave what I thought was an non-committal answer “if we are still as happy as we are now when I graduate, then yes.” He then said “Wow, this is the happiest I ever felt when I’ve been engaged!”
    Jaw drop. I dropped him a few weeks later.
    Why did I recognize the love bombing then, but not with the guy I eventually married? I don’t think STBX ever love bombed me before marriage. And I think he was very practiced at lying, smoothing things over, and making promises to placate. He definitely mirrored me so I thought his values were the same as mine. We got along fantastically & had a lot of fun together. Most of all I wish that I had had a longer engagement – to be able to have seen that his actions didn’t match his words and to understand that he actively avoided conflict.

  • Oh my. I could write the book on love bombing – it was my husband’s weapon of choice. He love bombed, future faked and mirrored me and we married 1 year after meeting. Our whole marriage he would gaze into my eyes, tell me I was wonderful, he adored me, I was stunning, intelligent, authentic, and he loved me more than anyone could love another, etc. etc. He did this in front of our friends, who he made uncomfortable, which embarrassed me too.

    The thing is, the love bombing was mostly words – the actions weren’t usually there. So he had this over the top love for me, but wouldn’t do much with me. He wouldn’t cook, or even hang out with me while I cooked dinner. I was lonely for most of our marriage. But when he did show up, it was wild words of his love for me, how much he appreciated me, how sexy I was, blah blah blah.

    The sad thing is – it worked on me. The intermittent reinforcement kept me on the hook and as a result, I ignored so much bad behaviour. I would feel sad that he went out on a Friday night, yet again, without me. He’d come home very late, sleep in the other room, and then hide away for most of the Saturday. He’d be grumpy and rude and wouldn’t help out around the house or do anything with the family. Then by the evening he’d snap out of it and say loving things to me, apologise for being grumpy, and he’d watch a movie with us or something (but be on his iPad). I was like an addict always looking for confirmation that he really did love me and it didn’t take much – a few compliments and then I felt okay again, that he really did love me, that he was still attracted to me, etc.

    I was overseas when I discovered his cheating. I found out via the excessive credit card charges. He didn’t seem to care anymore if he got caught. I arrived home, and the house was covered in flowers and all my favourite foods. I was disgusted. The ensuing week was rolling confessions of the hideous cheating that had been going on for over a decade. He would tell me some of it, I would fall apart, and then I would look around the house, find something else, and he would tell me more. A memory of something weird would pop into my head and I would ask him about it, and he would confess that yep, he was cheating on me on that family holiday and that’s why he disappeared. At some point I asked him to stop confessing. I knew enough. He was still being kind and complimentary to me (totally confusing), and once he even came to comfort me while I was sobbing in bed and he tried to have sex with me. I rejected him and he got really “hurt” that I wouldn’t have sex with him. After all, he said, he stilled loved me and wanted me. I kicked him out a few days later and from that moment on I went from the person he love bombed to the person he treats like shit and is totally cruel to. He hasn’t showed me one ounce of kindness since he left. It’s been almost two years and we’re still not settled because of his games. He’s really, really mean to me now.

    I’ve been on only one date. The guy started in on compliments to me right off the bat at dinner. “You’re smart and beautiful. I’m so lucky to have met you. I can’t take my eyes off you”, blah blah blah. I ended the night early and blocked him.

    Love bombing is a major red flag and it can be a dangerous weapon, especially if used intermittently. I got bombed the entire 25-year marriage and it’s amazing to me how clearly I can see it now, but I couldn’t when I was married. Even our friends were shocked because, as they said, “he was so in love with you.” Oddly, my husband also used love bombing on everyone, including the clients in our business. He’d sit down to a business meeting and whip round the room giving compliments to everyone. I tried pointing out to him how uncomfortable it made people (he didn’t notice), and he got mad at me because he said he was just simply a “nice guy” who likes to make people feel good. I also said I didn’t like him complimenting other women in front of me. Yep, it was his weapon of choice.

    • “He did this in front of our friends, who he made uncomfortable, which embarrassed me too… The thing is, the love bombing was mostly words – the actions weren’t usually there.”

      Same. It made me uncomfortable, too.

      I got rid of most of it and try to block out memories, but he told everyone I knew. And they knew and cared about me, too, so they bought it. It was a mindfuck. I kept a few emails (out of hundreds), and it’s really just insane, the games. I’ve deleted most and threw away every letter, gift, photo, memento. It’s part for why I didn’t claim what I deserved at first. I was so proud and disgusted and hurt. I was shocked, and so was everyone who knew us (except the creepy flying monkeys). It still makes me feel crazy some days. How does someone pull that kind of deceit off for years, lovembombing all along? There is no question. It is sick and disordered.

    • FormelyKnownAs,

      ‘Intermittent reinforcement’

      Kept me in the same dance for well over 30 years….

      Oh, the things I wish I had know back then…but, back then, I knew everything and was sure I could fix anything.

      Grateful for my children and for all I have learned and that my future is free of him.

  • Words of wisdom that I wish I learned sooner from a career counselor. “When you’re being asked for something, if you LIKE the asker, beware. “ He broke it down into the sexuality ploy, mirroring ploy, feigned friendship,etc.
    Nice, fun, charming, ⚡️ is not the same as decent and kind.

  • My relationship with FW began when I was 25 and he was 24. We were earnest and things unfolded slowly but sweetly. It was reciprocal – in only some ways, in retrospect. We left kind love notes and went out of our way for each other for many years. It felt genuine, not like lovebombing.

    I don’t know when the egregious BS started. I will never know, but there are two times I can pinpoint discard. One is when I know for certain one affair started. The other is before any cheating I ever learned about, but now I wonder. He was an alcoholic and things got harder and harder. He started cheating a year or two before he got “sober” (not straightforward) – maybe it started sooner? – and things got really bad but I was totally concerned with his health and happiness and safety and I was lost and confused. I learned about the cheating with multiple partners five years later. All of this to say, this lovebombing question is not an easy one to answer.

    While the early days might have been true love )?), lovebombing DEFINITELY surfaced 13 years into our relationship, after DDay 1, during Hoovering. Actually, even before I knew about the cheating but was done with the lopsided relationship and trying to move forward with my life. It was absurd. I’d have to write pages to tell the tale. He also lovebombed his lame OWs. And they him. I’m glad I saw the shallow smut, because it enlightened me. It was a toxic pattern, and all his. He treated me the same, if not worse, than these phony, adoring young women he’d known only months. Weeks. “I love you, am I not the luckiest man in the world?, I’ve thought every day about how I should just find you and hug you and be happy, you’re one hell of a woman, I can just be myself around you, I wonder what it would be like if we could just go to bed together every night, I love your normal blue car (no joke)…” It gets worse. How was I with such a loser?

    • B&R,

      I often wonder the same thing. But, I truly, deeply loved my husband and thought he was the one for me – and he told me so too! So, I ignored all of his weird things, his pathetic side, his cruelty, his absence. He was love bombing his OW too and to my horror, he used the SAME things. For example, when we met he read me this particular French philosopher. We would lie in bed and read it at night. Fast forward to 26 years and I discovered he took that book and was using it with his new thing. We also use to write little notes to each other and stick them all over the house – my daughter says they do that now and the way she described it was exactly the same, even down to the language and pet names. At first that discovery devastated me, but now I think I was just a number in the line up. It hurts, big time, but it also just shows how shitty he is. I often ponder how special the OW thinks she is, that he imploded his whole life to be with her. She’s getting the full love bombing treatment in the exact same way I did. It’s hideous, but sometimes I’m jealous of it, even though I know it isn’t real. I wanted it to be real, but it wasn’t. That’s the thing I’m healing from…the fantasy and the fact that I believed the fantasy is a lonely and frightening place to be.

      • The pet names!!! It’s nauseating, isn’t it? My ex kept those up the whole time. Definitely part of the scam and control. So special, right? He had pet names for the intern he knew for a week. And that’s how long it took to fall in love with her. (He was out of love, just as fast. And “with” me the entire time.)

        Oh, don’t be jealous! He is no judge of character or worth. You know this. Even I do. What do YOU care about, FKA? What do you find admirable, attractive, meaningful, safe, true? Sexy, for that matter? This man is so far beneath you. He is so broken, and not in an endearing, pitiable way. He is pathetic. Watch that silly polyamorous video from Chris Fleming that someone posted recently. All cheaters are “polyamorous.” Think about how a person managed to lead a double life for years – and live with themselves, and lovebomb and neglect and abuse you the whole time! Cheaters are not cool or powerful or eccentric or lovable or authentic. They are so fucking lame.

        • So true. I’m afraid to watch that video but I do think it’s all a big joke. Cheaters are really lame. My husband tried very hard to make me feel old and uncool or prudish. Funny story, when the others at work heard we were splitting up (the real story wasn’t out yet), they all assumed I dumped him because they thought he was a weird, dorky asshole and that I was too good for him! Ha! Others saw it when I didn’t. I hate to say it but that makes me feel good

  • I was lovebombed – we met online. He was away for awhile, but was coming back to where we both lived. So we got to know each other online. We also had phone conversations. He said he thought he was falling in love with me before he met me. I thought it a red flag. He sent me roses (red with long stems!) before he came back. He came back and I had the time of my life. It was wonderful. Engaged with a diamond ring in 3 weeks. I was the one. I nearly back out the night before we got married. Oh well. I don’t know how aware he was of what he was doing. Hindsight – I found the email to my hope for replacement – the only woman I have ever loved, red roses, same favorite book. She got away. Lasted 17 years. I never had a clue about his secret life. I was happy for the most part too. So, lots of love bombing. One thing he said early on – “we might never have an argument.” I thought that was odd as I knew it impossible. Every dinner I cooked (even if the same thing) was the best I had cooked yet. Strange optimism of some sort. I just didn’t know that every woman he met would be the best one yet too! Beware the love bombs. I will!

  • Oh yeah, SOOOO much love bombing! Three weeks into dating, he’s all annoyed because I’m ‘not taking the relationship seriously’. Well doh! He was 9 years younger than me, and only in the country for a year, as a post-doc. I thought it was just a fling! But he had been looking for someone like me, to settle down with, someone he could value and love, he wanted his ‘real life’ (marriage, kids, a real job …) to begin…

  • Totally lovebombed. Helped me through a rough emotional patch with family, solicitous of my feelings, judged others harshly for moral failings especialy cheating, very supportive of me, kind, wrote me little loving notes, thought he was the most honorable man I ever met. Showered with attention and affection, beautiful gifts. Told me I was the ONE. Forgot to mention I was not the only one.

    After Dday and the mask fell, he walked past me like a robot, oblivious to my pain. Ignored me even when I broke a bone. No emotions, nothing. Spoke in a monotone, only cared about himself. He didn’t even look like the same person, especially the eyes. Small, greedy pig eyes when he looked at other women, flat dead shark eyes when looking at me, sometimes from a face contorted in rage.

    • I saw those eyes too. During the discard process and the mask was slipping, he would do this horrible thing. At work we have these fish bowl type rooms that are glass and you can see people from 3 sides. He would be hunched over typing and look like the most haggard, ugly, miserable person. Then, someone might walk by and he would pop up and smile a cheesy, fake grin and wave. Then right back to grumpy and hunched. I was very, very concerned with that and I asked him about it. Stress, he said. Well, when I walked by that glass room, he would pop up, smile like he did for the others, but then do a sighing type move with his hands clutched to his chest like he was melting at the sight of me. I was so concerned about what I was seeing I went to the counselors that we had for the employees. Stress is what they said. But, I argued, if you’re stressed wouldn’t you look up and wave with a stressed look on your face? Why does he pop into that fake persona? I was really worried. And then it headed more downhill from there of course…but that two-faced expression still haunts me. I didn’t know that person. After DDay, he doesn’t look or act the same as he did when he was with me.

      • I was so surprised at how my ex’s looks changed during the last few months of the discard year and even more after he left. I never saw his beautiful big blue eyes again.

        Even in a couple family pics my son took and showed me, weird.

        I am sure part of it was my eyes had been opened, but yes there was a physical difference. Not only did he start to look like a big rat to me, and I mean physical rat. But, the way he stood and walked changed, he seemed more hump shouldered and he no longer had a bounce in his step that was very common for him during all the years we were together, save the last year.

        I can only guess he was having a blast leading his double life, then disclosure…

    • I was love bombed too at the beginning, and then, like you, saw those dead shark eyes when he came home to tell me he’d met someone else and was leaving me. It was so unnerving to see the complete change and all the love or even affection of any kind completely gone from his eyes. His love was just like a light switch he’d turned off.

      Of course, I came to realize that how he sees “love” is nothing like how I think of it. I even sent him a long email in the weeks after dday trying to warn him that infatuation wasn’t the same as lasting love. I just didn’t get that he really, truly was only after the sparkles and infatuation and “in love” feeling.

      He has been through numerous relationships after the OW and has been a part of the end off multiple relationships (his girlfriends are often in relationships themselves when they start dating). And each time, I suspect he shifts his style and interests to align with the new interest, like he did with the OW (and probably how he did to me). He’s a puddle reflecting back what he sees in his love interest, and none of it is very deep.

  • My ex was never romantic, but for decades I thought he was committed to me and our marriage. When I began to see through the trickle truth and blame shifting, I moved out.

    He invited me back to “our” home to talk and I thought he was going to finally come clean. Instead, he went on about how many of his closest friends had died in recent years and how he still felt a strong connection to them. I thought he was suffering from “complicated grief” (made more complicated by the fact he was fucking his best friend’s widow).

    Now I think he was expresssing how absent he was about to make himself from everything that had been our life together. The discomfort he felt as he betrayed his vows was excused as another unexpected death. There were no flowers.

  • After we first met, I think about 1-2 weeks later, Fuckwit said “I love you.”

    I absolutely melted. Now I understand I was desperate for affirmation I was worthy of love, and desperate for love. *Fuck* that. The fool that I was.

  • Two weeks after we started dating, he gave me a Valentine’s Day gift (necklace) and penned a poem just for me. I didn’t get him anything (too soon!), and he sulked. I felt bad and, in so doing, set the groundwork for a pattern that would persist throughout my marriage.

    We/he moved fast. Engaged 9 months after meeting. Married 6 months after that. I was only 23.

    What I would do to reach back in time and warn my former self.

    My parents died years ago, so I can’t ask them. But I do wonder why they didn’t question my decision to marry after so few months. *sigh* I probably wouldn’t have listened to them.

    • The marriage wasn’t all bad. I got three great kids out of it. For that, I’m grateful.

      I think that a mix of occasional love bombing (at first), breadcrumbing, good sex (which I mistakenly mistook for love), living far from family, and having three babies in relatively quick succession made me tolerant of shittier and shittier treatment.

      A bag of fresh spinach shrinks to almost nothing when cooked. That’s what happened to me.

      But I’m regaining my strength now that I’m free of that disordered FW. I look back at my 35-year marriage and think, “What the hell was that?’

      • Wilted spinach, the origin of your handle on this blog ? Just as brilliant as your shares of experience, strength and hope.

      • [email protected]

        Your story reads like mine in many ways although I was over 10years older than you were when I met Mr. X.

        I thought we had a good marriage. I loved him and I made the sacrifices I did, giving up my job and my income and savings, for ‘our’ family without complaint.

        We went through so much together and I never imagined it would end as it did. I felt certain we would be married for life; our story was so compelling how could it not.

        Looking back now, I realize that it is what I thought our story was that is so difficult to adjust to. I thought that everything that happened in the beginning was a sure sign that ‘he was the one’ and that we persevered through it all as a ‘team’.

        Little did I know there were ‘side dishes’ throughout our entire marriage. What I thought of as ‘our’ story was, in fact, just a story after all. Reading here has brought me to the understanding that nothing had any reality to it at all. The little tidbits tossed my way were enough for me to weave a perfect love story that had no reality what-so-ever outside of my own imagination.

        Indeed, “What the hell WAS that?!?”

        • Yeah, as CL says, cheating is the theft of our reality, which hurts like hell.

          But she also points out that we were real. I try to reframe some things in order to reclaim memories. Of course, this isn’t easy.

          My ex was a huge presence in my life; we all walked around eggshells for him; he was the loudest introverted man I’ve ever met (punishing through silence was his MO), and he really did a number on me. My reframing has the effect of “photoshopping” him out of some (not all) memories.

          He’s the one who is now becoming really, really small. A gnat.

          • “My reframing has the effect of “photoshopping” him out of some (not all) memories.”

            This is what I did, though when I was doing it; I didn’t know the term photoshopping.

            When I want to remember my young innocent romantic years, he is not a part of it, I remember a sweet old boyfriend.

            When I want to remember the hot passion of a new relationship, I remember the early days of my now husband and I dating and then eventually marrying.

            When I remember things about my son growing up, the ex is rarely a part of it. Things like that. And if he is, it is only a flash; not the focus.

            I still do it, because I am a romantic; and I like nice memories, so I edit.

      • [email protected]
        Oh, the meaning of your name, or the reasoning. I see.
        When I first read your name on this site I thought perhaps spinach signified strength as in Popeye’s “Spinach” it gave him strength.
        Perhaps now, you could take on this new meaning for your title.
        You have earned it! You deserve it!
        YOU are MIGHTY!

    • I wouldn’t have listenend to my parents. In fact I didn’t. They tried their best to gently convince me to wait a year, but they knew there was no point.

      Young marriages were the norm when I was that age though, so it might have been harder to fight. It was also a time when for many (me) sex was delayed for marriage. When you delay sex, you get earlier marriages.

      I remember I think it was dear Abbey in a column that she got a kick out of how some younger folks didn’t understand why folks in earlier weddings were so eager to leave the party, and get to the Honeymoon.

      But like you said there were good things. If there wasn’t I wouldn’t have wanted it back in the beginning. I was in confusion and thought he would suddenly wake up and we would go back to our solid marriage. Took a couple months for me to get to reality.

  • The extent of lies…
    He would take the bus to my host family: 1,5hr to there. Then we would usually hang at my bus stop (I was 18) for like an hour, then he would ride home for another 2-3hrs, on the other side of campus…
    Then I was back in Europe and we would call every single day, and visit twice a year.
    He turned into a total jerk as soon as we got married.
    I thought he was sweet and kindhearted. But he trapped me.
    He waited until his grandmother, who raised him, and loved me really fondly (and I did too!!! Adopted!!!) passed at 91.
    Years of cheating. And from the start. And lies everyday. And STDs with lies.

  • On our first weekend away as a couple, he planned (one of two dates he planned in 15 years) a trip to a spa. He booked me for the most exquisite treatment package, then a fancy dinner, then luxury accommodations for the next week in the mountains, sparing no expense. I didn’t ask for any of this, and offered to pay my own way several times because it was so early in the relationship. I was being love bombed and had no idea that was even a thing!

    I married him a year and a half later, and after seven months, I almost died giving birth to our twins prematurely. I had to remain laying down for 48 hours due to stroke risk, not even able to see our babies who were in the NICU. He left the babies and I to go shopping with his dad (which I thought meant to get me a “push present”, because why else would you leave NICU babies and a wife who could seize out and die if she so much as sat up?). He came back with some fishing supplies for himself. Nothing for me or the babies. Not even a pack of gum. While he was away, the hospital maintenance had to come into my room to fix something with the electricity, and they left a $25 gift card for the gift shop downstairs due to the inconvenience. He knew we had it, and there was no excuse for him not to have taken it and gotten me a flower or something. It would have cost him nothing but time, but I was already caught in his web. Why bother? It was then that I knew I was in for trouble. And I also
    need to mention that he took a nap in my room, and didn’t even bother to wake up and talk to the neonatologist when she came into the room. She was a very loud talker, so I knew he heard her, and we were told earlier that she would only have a moment to speak with us. He couldn’t be bothered to roll over and open his eyes to hear whether his babies would survive or not. Such a POS.

  • I think that most guys love-bomb these days – in the dating world – because of the crazy thing that dating has become. It’s three dates and then it’s time to make love. Guys are wanting to secure that outcome, so they move fast. They take you off the market and declare you as theirs, as soon as possible, because they don’t want you to have three dates with anyone else. They don’t want a commitment; it’s out of the question to even think about that, but they’ll talk about it in order to get across the threshold of the bedroom, where they know they’ll have you. When women have sex, they bond, they fall in love, they stay, they forgive, they tolerate, and they become a longterm solution for the man who is not promising them any kind of future. And so many stay in this waiting room for years.

  • Mine began with the “I have prayed since I was a little girl for you…..blah blah blah”

    In the end, I was trying to get new haircuts, wear different cologne, anything I could to get just a little bit of positive feedback. Our last Christmas, I got nothing and got yelled at for making her feel bad about not getting me anything. Anniversary around the same time, I got what I thought was something really nice for her, she said I got ripped off and shouldn’t have wasted my money.

    I was so stupid I just felt like a loser who couldn’t do anything right. I didn’t realize I was competing against two other people for her attention.

  • I didn’t know about lovebombing in my early 20’s, back in 1988. When the new guy I met would open the car door for me, and then sit on the floorboard and tell me how beautiful I was, I was flattered. When he showed up at my apartment and cooked dinner for my roommates and me (law students at the time) I felt lucky. He called me his soulmate, wrote poems to me, and seemed to be a genuinely good guy. Some months into the relationship he stammered out a “I think I’m falling in love with you.” I remember replying that he didn’t need to say that, and I’d prefer he wait until a future time when he knew his emotions, to say that word. Maybe that should have been my red flag.

    Fast forward about 5 years. We are married and are new parents. We are leaving the house for a day trip with the newborn for the first time. He went out front, I assumed to open up the car and come right back in. I am standing in the entryway. I have my baby girl in my arms. The carseat is on the floor. There is a diaper bag and stroller that needs to be transferred to the vehicle. As I stand there, suddenly the car horn is being honked. That definitely was a red flag. I just didn’t know it at the time. I extended far too much goodwill and credit toward him based on his early treatment of me.

    Over time, I became the frog in the pot of water, while he turned up the heat.

    • Oh goodness, what happened next?

      Not good, I think. And are you still 5 years into it, or was this a long time ago?

      • Light Heart, we married in 1990. Twenty five years and three daughters later I got the “I love you but I’m not in love with you” speech. Every cliche you read here, the lies, the shark eyes, the high conflict divorce (on his part). His young female employee had become his affair partner. She had young young kids at the time, and cheated on her husband with my husband. I had no clue, would have sworn he’d never cheat… Divorce finalized at the 27.5 year mark.

        I had really believed I was a valued and equal partner in the relationship. It is only with time away, and some reflection, that I realize I had made my own needs smaller and smaller over time. I also made the mistake of projecting my values onto him. He wanted sparks. I thought what we had was far more valuable. He is still with her. They bought a home together and live the financially privileged life that I supported him achieving.

        • Calgal,

          I am still amazed when someone writes ‘my’ story…. I thought what Mr. X and I had was unique and untouchable by anyone. Now I know – we were not unique at all.

          In fact, what we had and where it was headed was totally predictable to anyone on the outside who was savvy enough to know the patterns of these cluster B personality types….

          Thanks for commenting because your ‘voice’ is one more that I can use when my head starts to question and threatens to slip back into the RIC mentality.

          I would like to say that I am at meh but I am not yet. For the most part I am absolutely grateful I am divorced but occasionally – only every once in awhile anymore….those ‘if only’ thoughts do find a crack in the wall of my resistance. Comments like what you have written allow me to dismiss the thoughts as soon as I realize they have surfaced again and get on with repairing and restoring MY life.

          Thank you.

          • I’ve never questioned my decision to file. I needed to be an example to my three daughters of what is and isn’t acceptable in a relationship. Two of the three discovered the affair before I did. I knew from the minute the affair was confirmed, I was never going to audition for a role I’d already held for decades, nor was I going to be Plan B.

            With that said, I don’t know if I’m fully at Meh yet. I’ve never wanted him back. I’ve come to terms with the fact that he isn’t who I thought he was. Yet some part of me is still broken. I guess I’m expecting Meh to mean I’m living my best life, and I don’t feel that I’m there yet.

            There is a freedom in knowing I alone write the remaining chapters of my life. Unfortunately I have a severe case of writer’s block.

        • Then walking away with what you and he worked to achieve stings. I know that.

          I had worked along side my ex for years in volunteer work and in politics which in large part got him to the rank of Captain, then he handed it all over to her.

          I was fortunate in that I knew how it turned out for him. He was busted before our divorce was even final, so she didn’t get to stay married to the rank. After he retired early, He and his wife got into big time gambling and gambled it all away, they lived out the most part of the rest of his life in a small three room apartment. A couple years before he died they moved out of the small apartment, because their horrible behavior was more than my son could take, and they moved into a run down trailer in Florida.

          I won’t lie, knowing they didn’t get to keep the big bucks didn’t upset me at all.

          I do hate the hell they both put my son through, but that had nothing to do with anything but their own selfish nasty behavior.

          I always knew my fw had a selfish streat, but I did think that he valued me and loved me as much as he could. He didn’t love me, though he did value me for what I could do for him; until he was ready to monkey branch.

          I have no doubt they both thought he would just put her in my place and they would continue to bask in his success together; and I would just fade away.

          Oh well the best laid plans…

          I did quickly fade away, at least out of their lives; so they didn’t even have me to lay it on.

        • Oh, that’s all so sad!

          I think that we have Hollywood to thank for taking the spotlight away from proposals and weddings and building families, and putting it onto Sparkle, as if that is the end-all, be-all, and the height of everything we’re about. Almost every love story in the movies is about the sizzle, the first kiss and the romance.

          We have very few role models in our society that teach us to delay gratification, be happy where we are, be true and have integrity in our relationships. Integrity during war? Yes. Integrity in business? Yes. But integrity in our personal relationships and our families? No.

          It seems that families are of lesser and lesser importance as time goes on… the very fabric of our society, a dying thing…

          What will be next?

  • After so many comments not too convinced about what mine will add, but yes I have been lovebombed!

    I never had met a guy that said I was so beautiful so so many times. He was in love with my body. He fantasized about having a baby with me just a few months in the relationship (a Super Baby, coming from Genious Him + Beautiful Me!). This all while he wasn’t even trying to get to know me.

    Then, of course, the discard came, leaving me completely confused. Heck I should have known about narcissism by then, because the whole “relationship” would have been predictable from the start!

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