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What love is not

When we love our partners, we accept them for their flaws. However there are some behaviours which are far more than flaws and should never be excused.

Abuse can be disguised in relationships as unhealthy love. This is when a person uses love to gain power and control over someone else. Love may be used to persuade, black mail and guilt trip people into doing things they don’t want to do.

You may hear things like:

“If you loved me, you wouldn’t be friends with those people.”

“If you loved me, you’d give me access to your socials.”

“If you loved me, you’d have sex with me.”

Love should never be used to gain power or control in relationships. These are not behaviours you should ever accept or brush off as ‘usual relationship drama’.

Love is not:

  • Giving up on yourself, your interests, your friends and whānau
  • Having to prove yourself
  • Being the boss
  • Controlling your partner/s
  • Being frightening
  • Making threats
  • Using words as weapons
  • Being violent
  • Being possessive
  • Obsessing over your partner/s
  • Manipulative
  • Intimidating
  • Being selfish
  • Extreme jealousy
  • Belittling, mocking and/or embarrassing a partner

Have you heard of love bombing?

Love bombing is when someone ‘bombs’ you with over-the-top displays of attention, admiration and affection that may you feel overwhelmed and uncomfortable.

Love bombing is a form of manipulation and a tactic to get a person to let their guard down and become totally dependent on their partner. Love bombing can be the start of a dangerous cycle of abuse.

To recognise if love bombing is happening in your relationship, it’s super important to keep checking in with yourself and how you’re feeling. If things are moving a lot faster than you anticipated, if you’re feeling overwhelmed or uncomfortable, or if the person you’re with is constantly overstepping your boundaries, then you could be experiencing love bombing.

Five common signs that a new partner could be love-bombing you:

  1. Over-the-top compliments
  2. They call you their ‘soulmate’
  3. Communication with them is intense
  4. They are always giving you expensive or over-the-top gifts
  5. They want you all the time

Check out more below:

Do you think you might be experiencing unhealthy love?

If you recognise any of these behaviours happening in your own relationship, it’s important to know that it’s not your fault, and that lots of support is out there to help you know what to do next. It can help to talk to an adult you trust, or get in touch with a support service such as the one below:

Related topics
Red flags and green flags
Have you been harmed?