What is Lovebombing?

The punishment of unwanted behaviors until these are omitted is not the only way a group can control its participants. A second, just as effective method is Lovebombing: The desired behavior is over-rewarded by using exaggerated affection and exaggerated positive attention towards the person over which the group wishes to obtain control.

These forms of affection are based on secondary motivations: The interest is not the sort of friendship that the affection suggests, but a control attempt. The targeted persons don’t usually notice this at first and feel waived and socially integrated by the group. However, this emotional strategy implements a kind of behavior which is of use to only certain members of the group and either not useful or even harmful to the targeted persons. If a targeted member of the group wants to act upon such of their impulses which contradict the group philosophy, the seemingly positive attention is used as a threat: “We really value each other in this group. You do value us, too, don’t you?!”

If contradictions to the demanded behavior are continued, all forms of attention by other group members are withdrawn at once. Most of the time, manipulation strategies such as Lovebombing develop and stick within a group unintentionally and subconsciously. Only persons who are very experienced in subconscious power dynamics can use this method on purpose to control a group.

The patriarchal construct of polyamory

The heteronormative mainstream generates and reinforces the patriarchal construct of monogamy. Its main idea is that sex and love are to take place only between two people in a monogamous romantic relationship. As a consequence, if a couple enters a romantic relationship together, it is automatically sexually and emotionally closed. This is a stop sign to other interessents in a person of this couple, sexually and romantically.

Being automatically “sexually closed” as a couple can be considered a general problem, since all patriarchal constructs and false ideas about human sexuality are generated and perpetuated by this automatic preference.

The automatic introduction of the preference “emotionally closed” does, however, make sense, since the new couple can thereby keep themselves to themselves at the romantic level. In doing so, they can build up mutual trust and bonding behaviour as a couple, which is the basis of a stable, committed romantic relationship.

The poly ideology, however, does not only reject the problematic principles, but rather ALL principles inherent to the heteronormative mainstream. As a consequence, a completely new patriarchal construct has been generated in poly communities – I call that the patriarchal construct of polyamory. It is a modification of the patriarchal construct of monogamy – which is interesting due to the observation that poly communities all over the world consider monogamy to be their nemesis.

The patriarchal construct of monogamy, for comparison:

  1. Desires and wishes at the sexual level and the romantic level are the same thing.
  2. If someone is sexually attracted to another person, a desire for intimacy at the romantic level will always be a part of this attraction.
  3. As long as the romantic relationship is healthy for both persons involved, it is not possible to fall in love with someone else.
  4. As long as the romantic relationship is healthy for both persons involved, it is not possible to desire another person sexually.

The patriarchal construct of polyamory and the one of monogamy have the first two falsehoods in common. Only the 3rd falsehood of patriarchal polyamory is a new invention:

  1. Desires and wishes at the sexual level and the romantic level are the same thing.
  2. If someone is sexually attracted to another person, a desire for intimacy at the romantic level will always be a part of this attraction.
  3. If someone falls in love with a new person, while in an existing romantic relationship, a new, additional romantic relationship must be pursued due to these feelings. The romantic partner in the pre-existing romantic relationship has to approve of and support this development under all circumstances.

If the patriarchal construct of polyamory is applied in real life, its consequences look like this:

  1. Desires and wishes at the sexual level and the romantic level are the same thing.

One person within a romantic relationship is sexually attracted to another person and would like to pursue sexual fantasies with him/her – the respective person is recognized as sexy, hot or very beautiful.

  1. If someone is sexually attracted to another person, a desire for intimacy at the romantic level will always be a part of this attraction.

This person confuses – mostly unconsciously (!) – his/her own wishes due to the above patriarchal construct:

“Just sex” cannot be the case, since a sexual attraction to another person will automatically be linked to a desire for romantic intimacy with this respective person. In addition, the constant necessity for secrecy gets more and more annoying. Is it impossible to just be open and honest about this?

After that, the person starts to develop a crush on the individual who he/she is sexually attracted to at the time. The justification of this falsehood is more creative than the one in the heteronormative mainstream:
Casual sex (= swinging) is supposed to be not just “eww”, but an emotional cold and mechanical experience. Only sex together with romantic activities like in a romantic relationship could be really fulfilling.

The third falsehood, however, is different from the patriarchal construct of monogamy:

  1. As long as the romantic relationship is healthy for both persons involved, it is not possible to fall in love with someone else.

This falsehood has been deconstructed: To fall in love with another person, while in an existing healthy romantic relationship, is entirely possible. Moreover, if it happens, it is primarily unrelated to the decision whether the existing romantic relationship is desired by both persons involved. However, instead of developing a working non-patriarchal construct, the deconstructed falsehood has been replaced by a new falsehood:

If someone falls in love with a new person, while in an existing romantic relationship, a new, additional romantic relationship must be pursued due to these feelings. The romantic partner in the pre-existing romantic relationship has to approve of and support this development under all circumstances.

The origin of this new falsehood is the following: The heteronormative mainstream allows only very narrow ways to pursue sex and love. The “solution” of the poly ideology is the polar opposite – an allergy to all limitations, whether these make sense or not. The basic tendency is thus – contrary to the heteronormative mainstream – “emotionally open”: Everything is possible; new people can be added to any romantic relationship or relationship network just because one person falls in love. Only the spare time of the person who is living according to the poly ideology is considered a limiting factor.

As a consequence, not only singles, but also people in existing couples or polycules (= multiple romantic relationships that are connected) are addressed as “emotionally open”. Nobody considers the possible fact that a couple or polycule might be emotionally closed and thus, interessents would have to get consent from all persons involved before they start to pursue or address a connected person as their future romantic interest.

At events within the poly community, this way of thinking is acted out as follows:
A couple or a polycule visits an event of the poly community. If other persons are interested sexually or romantically in a person of the newcomers, they start to flirt with the desired person. Meanwhile, the existing romantic relationship(s) of this person are ignored at best, pushed aside or – at worst – intercepted by micro aggressions and social manoeuvres.

This is the cause for the situation that there are no polycules and hardly any couples at poly events – although polycules and initiation of multiple romantic relationships at the same time is one of the most discussed topics within the poly community. Couples and polycules don’t want to expose themselves to this social situation (more than once) for obvious reasons.

A further expression of this “emotionally open” space of the poly community is the so-called cuddle group: Several individuals, who have just met, start to exchange romantic activities. They embrace, cuddle, caress and kiss each other – sometimes for hours. From time to time, the people in the cuddle group change position, so that everyone can cuddle with all persons involved. Pretty often, the whole cuddle group falls asleep on one another. These activities (including falling asleep together), suggest a largest intimacy between the persons present at a subconscious level – the intimacy of a committed romantic relationship. However, as already mentioned, most of these individuals have just met or they are only acquaintances. Sometimes they don’t even know each other’s first name. Thus, at a conscious level they are almost strangers, but at a subconscious level they communicate the deepest intimacy possible. That’s why it is not surprising that these people have a higher risk to develop mental issues due to this incompatibility.