What does it mean to be love-scammed?
Being love-scammed can mean anything from being catfished, to dating a narcissist, a serial cheater, a bigamist, or someone who's just out to get money from vulnerable (usually older) men and women. Their intention is not all about you or the relationship, it's all about them!
In this age of online dating, dating apps and a desire for instant gratification we have all become more and more susceptible to being love-scammed. We swipe right in the hopes of finding true love based on little more than an appealing picture or a two-paragraph profile.
The best love-scammers know this. Either they use a photo that they've swiped from the internet, or they post a picture designed to elicit some kind of emotional response from you. They do it, because it works.
Whatever type of love-scammer we end up choosing, it's helpful to know that they all tend to use the similar methods and techniques to hook us in. Below I share the three main techniques that love-scammers tend to use to first hook us in and then keep us hooked in.
Love-Scammed Technique No.1 Love Bombing
Wow! This technique is intense and paradoxical. It is paradoxical because it is both highly effective and sets off all your inner warning bells at the same time!
I mean, really. If you've felt starved for affection, are craving attention and feeling lonely because you're single and horny, then when the love bombing starts you can feel overwhelmed and overjoyed at the same time. When you're in that state of confusion you become even more vulnerable to the impact of love bombing. Imagine having:
Ø Multiple daily text messages
Ø An abundance of phone calls
Ø Numerous voice messages
Ø Love notes, flowers and cards
Ø Someone who seems to love everything you love
Ø Someone whose interests match yours perfectly
Ø Someone who initially showers you with compliments
Ø Someone who wants the relationship to move super-fast
Like I said, love bombing is both overwhelming and effective. When your senses are bombarded in this way, you become vulnerable, confused and excited all at the same time. When you're feeling this off-kilter, you're much easier to manipulate.
Love-Scammed Technique No. 2 Gaslighting
Gaslighting can be best described as: "Am I going crazy?" This is because gaslighting is all about deliberately causing you to doubt yourself, your feelings and your perceptions.
Gaslighting is the perfect complement to love bombing. Not least of all, because when you raise concerns - for example, about how fast the relationship appears to be moving, you're criticised. You're often made to feel your concerns aren't valid, which ensures that the love-scammer remains in charge of the situation.
Gaslighting can include:
Ø Being given the cold-shoulder after being love bombed
Ø Telling you to deny the evidence of your eyes and ears
Ø Deliberately being made to feel stupid
Ø Being made to feel unattractive with little quips and jabs
Ø Being blamed for anything that goes wrong in the relationship
Ø Making you feel like you're never quite good enough
Ø Making it your responsibility to boost this person's ego
Ø Feeling like you're walking around on eggshells just to stay in the relationship
Ø Telling you they need money urgently for some spurious reason
The above techniques are really effective when you're being love-scammed.
After all the affection and attention of being love bombed, to then have that affection withheld can feel devastating. It's akin to the feeling children have when their parents criticise them or give them the cold shoulder. And we all know what that feels like. So being love-scammed is akin to reliving unresolved childhood traumas. Yes, it's that deep.
Love-Scammed Technique No. 3 Personal Information Gathering
This technique is essential used by money-scammers. Money-scammers are those who engage in love-scamming just to line their pockets.
It is also effective for love-bombers and gaslighters in general. As I say, these techniques all meld and merge and come under the banner of emotional manipulation to get a desired outcome.
Gathering your personal information can include:
Ø Checking your online profile to get clues about your interests
Ø Asking for your home or work address
Ø Asking you to send sexy pictures
Ø Wanting to contact you directly by phone rather than online
Ø Finding out what turns you on and creating fantasies around that
Ø Testing your gullibility levels by blatantly lying to you
Ø Finding out about your past relationships
Ø Wanting to know how much you earn
Ø Subtly bullying you to see how you respond
Ø Telling you they need money urgently for some spurious reason
The "telling you they need money urgently for some spurious reason" is both a technique and an information gathering activity, because even if you deny the request initially, it still tells them how you'll respond to that type of request.
For example, if you sound like you'd genuinely want to help but can't, or if it's a "are you crazy?" for asking me for this, response. Then the love-scammer knows whether it's just a matter of time before you say yes, or if they're barking up the wrong tree completely.
A side note: Expect to be ghosted if you're not easily manipulated, or their techniques aren't working effectively.
The Difference between Being Love-Scammed and Finding The One
Of course, at the root of being vulnerable to being love-scammed, is the desire to find 'The One,' that fairy-tale relationship, that feels right from the beginning or love at first swipe.
We all desire to find that person who is loving, adoring, even. We crave someone who gets us and shares the same interests. We're looking for someone who's ready for commitment, who from the moment we meet, we just know, this is 'the one.'
We've been primed by endless rom-coms and romantic literature, to believe. Even action movies have the tough ass-kicking lead that fights for the one they love, or falls for the person they're trying to save.
We see the couples in real life who achieve this seemingly rare feat (even if some of them end up in a messy divorce a few years or a decade, later.) We know it's possible. It's this possibility that keeps us searching, hoping and open to love. There’s nothing wrong with that.
However, a healthy and even intense, love-connection tends to have these traits:
Ø Each person's feelings are taken into account
Ø Both parties are open to talking about their feelings
Ø Conversations feel relaxed and honest
Ø There's no sense of feeling rushed into anything
Ø There's consistency in behaviour and emotions
Ø Difficult topics aren't avoided
Ø There's personal accountability when talking about past relationships
Ø Each person can own and admit their faults
Ø There's no requirement for either party to look perfect all the time
Ø There's no requirement for either party to be perfect all the time
Ø You don't feel manipulated into giving the person money
Ø You don't feel manipulated into giving out personal information
Ø You don't feel bombarded or overwhelmed all the time
Ø Actions and words match over time
There's never going to be an exhaustive list and there will always be exceptions to the rules, but generally speaking, we can choose to become aware of the red flags.
The key to dealing with being love-scammed or avoiding being love-scammed is to have clear boundaries. It requires that you trust yourself, know yourself and forgive yourself. It requires that you know your innate value and trust your gut instincts or your intuitive hits.
If you've experienced being taken in by a love scammer, why not book a Discovery Session with me to help you begin to heal or move through the healing process with greater ease?