Monday, 7 January 2013

Poly Means Many - NRE or Bust

NRE, or New Relationship Energy, is a phenomenon experienced in all relationships, monogamous or poly, partner or fuck buddy, lover or even friend. It is the surge of wonderful new feelings we get when first seeing someone new. It could be that ‘can’t keep my hands off them’ lust and passion, or feeling like you want to spend all your free time with them. It is what gives you butterflies in your stomach, and makes you think about that person almost non-stop.

Eventually, NRE fades away, and gives rise to a more settled, consistent affection and stability. Things eventually level out and plateau. In popular culture, renewing this energy is what people are striving for when they ‘spice things up’, or ‘rekindle the romance’. It feels wonderful, and as such, it is easy to understand why those in monogamous or long-term relationships make effort to get a bit of that buzz back further down the line.

As polyamorous people, we have the opportunity to experience this feeling more than once, and sometimes simultaneously. When we bring a new partner into the fold, we get NRE with them, just like we did with the partner we already have. There are definite positives and negatives associated with this. It is important, when, for example, we have a stable primary relationship and we start seeing a new person, to not get too caught up in this NRE, and neglect our primary partner. It is also important not to seek this feeling out in order to smooth over or mask cracks in our existing relationships. On the flip side, this NRE can rejuvenate an existing relationship, and give it new life and new energy.

Some people thrive on NRE and lose interest in relationships when it is gone. I’m not one of those people. I find the experience of NRE nerve-wracking, and fraught with stress. The period in which we experience NRE is usually in tandem with the time when a relationship is least stable. We get caught up in the headiness of it, and it can create foster false expectations, false promises and blind us to potential problem areas. But it feels good, and sometimes we can just ‘go with’ things that we might not otherwise.

What I always long for is what comes *after* the NRE; the stability, which some think is mundane, fosters security, consistency, and familiarity. I know what to expect, and where the boundaries are.

It is important however when having NRE with someone new, to occasionally step back and analyse things. Ask yourself: Am I devoting more time/money/resources to this person than I really afford? Is this really love I am experiencing, or is it just lust? Am I devoting as much, or enough attention to my existing relationships, or getting caught up in the excitement of something new? If we are smart about it, and strive to ensure that NRE remains firmly grounded in reality, it can be an amazing and exciting time. Enjoy!

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month six bloggers - ALBJAn Open BookDelightfully QueerMore Than NuclearRarely Wears Lipstick, and The Boy With The Inked Skin - will write about their views on one of them.


Yewtree said...

I tend to think that (as well as hormones), NRE (or "being in love" as opposed to loving) is due to the projection of one's anima or animus onto the beloved. Then when you get to know them better, you stop projecting and start appreciating them for what they really are, instead of as your projection.

MoreThanNuclear said...

"renewing this energy is what people are striving for when they ‘spice things up’, or ‘rekindle the romance’."

Oh yes, you're right! I hadn't thought of that.