New Relationship Energy

New Relationship Energy

Something I discovered with poly was the magical, wonderful, and painful feeling of what’s called New Relationship Energy. Basically a crush. It’s the fall of falling in love. It’s scary and exciting and you’re TOTALLY NOT OBSESSING OVER THIS NEW PERSON (BUT YOU ARE.) It’s pretty funny to experience a crush as an adult. I know I’m relatively young and all, but these are the feelings I associate with a much younger/less mature version of myself. As a poly adult, the term New Relationship Energy (NRE) is a better fit. I still have all the giddiness of a crush, but it does feel more like an energy that radiates and serves both my new relationship and my partners.

It’s fun to share that feeling with my partners. It’s a kind of bonding termed compersion in the poly world. It’s the feeling of joy one has experiencing another’s joy. The NRE coming from me and the compersion coming from my partner(s) is a positive force in our own relationship. It re-establishes our trust for one another and the security we feel in our relationship. The excitement and positivity helps us reconnect to the feelings we felt for each other when we were in our own NRE phase. And however you reaffirm your relationship (sex, a date, a big ol’ hug) it centers you and your partner(s).

It took me some time to achieve this kind of security. It’s nerve-wracking in the beginning when your partner(s) are seeing other people. All those primal fears of being left behind come to the surface. I remember when it hit me that those fears were unfounded. It was earlier in my poly life and I had a great date with someone outside of Matt and Victor. On my way back home I was so excited to talk to them, see them again, share with them. It brought all these feelings of appreciation and love to the forefront, and I thought about how they would feel the same way if they were in my position. How they would still love me and feel excited for this new person at the same time and want to share those feelings with me. I had nothing to be afraid of.

Where things can go wrong with NRE is when you allow the excitement to blind you to your other partners’ needs and feelings, especially if your partner has fears or insecurities of their own. I found that what I learned from practicing meditation helped me with this, and it goes for stress, anxiety, anything that takes you away from the present moment. It’s easier for me to observe the emotion and watch it pass or at least acknowledge it without allowing it to consume my attention. (There are great guided meditation exercises here and a short one here.) At the same time, meditation also helped me appreciate the feeling in a deeper way, recognizing that it is finite. You feel alive. And being present for that feeling, appreciating it in the moment, and sharing it with someone is a spiritual experience.

I’m thankful that we evolved to have these feelings. I think it’s something we need and (I’m no evolutionary scientist but) something we are naturally inclined to desire. I think if more people could experience NRE throughout their life, be reminded of what it feels like to be alive like that, it would be a healthy and positive force in the world. Or we’d just have a bunch of annoying people who want to gush about their crushes. 😉

There’s a good episode on NRE by Poly Weekly from a while back. Check it out!