Before Lightroom existed, I used Photoshop and Bridge.
As Lightroom came to market, I used it in Public Beta form along with Photoshop.
As Lightroom's capabilities expanded, I used it more and Photoshop less
Now, I use Lightroom and haven't opened Photoshop in a couple of years.
Bridge vs Lightroom:
Bridge is a workflow tool that spans ALL Adobe CC products. You need it if your photography and image processing needs include using the entire Creative Suite in a coordinated way. Bridge generally speaking is best used with live data, all storage spaces on-line. It is specifically tuned to be able to manage work that flows in to and out from Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Dreamweaver, Premiere Pro, etc. It allows you to build complex workflows that permit operations on originals through successive iterations of different applications from beginning to end. It's emphasis is NOT image management but coordinated workflow management.
Lightroom is a photographic management and image processing tool. It works equally well with on-line and off-line image storage repositories, provides a group of tools for basic image rendering and finishing, and integrates with Photoshop and other image processing apps for second order image processing needs. It has built-in tools designed to enable completion of a limited range of photographic outputs (slide shows, prints, books, simple websites) with presets to facilitate consistent and reproducible output.
To summarize, choose LR for your work if your work is primarily centered around photographs and relatively simple outputting of photographic products. Use Bridge when your work includes the larger scope of more complex products and multiple applications in the Adobe Creative Suite scope.
I found, after some years of using Photoshop and Bridge, that the way I used them was very nicely modeled by Lightroom's operations and fit my needs better than just Bridge and PS. Integrated use of LR and PS worked very well. Then, as Lightroom's image processing capabilities and product capabilities expanded, I found I needed less use of PS ultimately reaching the point where I am today which is that I will likely remove PS and save the disk space since I haven't used it in so long.
I've never found the LR database or its operations cumbersome or difficult to understand. They have, for me, always been a convenience that expanded the way I used the file system and Photoshop in the first place.