Managing New Relationship Energy in Polyamory

New Relationship Energy, commonly abbreviated as NRE, is that emotional rush that people get in the early stages of a relationship. It is completely normal for NRE to fade over time as the relationship matures, and for the monogamist (serial or otherwise), it’s a time full of excitement and promise, while for the polyamorous it can be a bit more challenging.

For those who even nominally practice monogamy, the NRE rush can be enjoyed without regard for other existing relationships, even work to reset one’s emotional clock that was still ticking for a previous relationship. For the polyamorous who often have existing relationships to nurture, it can be very challenging. You may have a happy and fulfilling relationship that is mature and long past the NRE phase, and experiencing those strong erotic and emotional waves towards your new partner can make the existing relationships pale in comparison. While you are within the NRE, it can be difficult to keep a clear head, and may cause problems for yhose existing stable, long-term relationships.

Looking at a basic poly triad of A, B and C, there are four relationships in play, A and B, A and C, B and C, and of course the overall triad of A, B, and C. For the purposes of this illustration we’ll assume that A and B are in a mature relationship, one that’s long past the NRE phase. If all involved fall under the spell of NRE together, that’s one thing, but what happens if only B and C do? A, watching the pair of B and C enjoying the rush of NRE is left wondering if their relationship with B is in trouble, or is less appealing than the B-C dyad, and given the whirlwind nature of NRE, B might very well be wondering the same thing. Even if A and B are in an emotionally committed relationship, it’s not unreasonable for A to wonder if they are losing their partner to this new person, wonder if they are still desirable to B, and if B isn’t paying enough attention, if B even loves A anymore. B and C, caught up in the excitement might not even notice the toll the the NRE is taking on the A and B’s relationship. In a V-shaped relationship configuration, the NRE can be more troublesome, particularly if there is not much  metamour interaction.

If you find yourself swept away by intense emotion, it’s imperative to give the existing relationship extra care, communication, and nourishment to offset any insecurity felt by those in your incumbent relationships. In our hypothetical situation, A has an obligation to speak up to B when the first feelings of jealousy start to creep in. Similarly, C needs to be told the same thing, though it should be made clear that blame is not  being assigned.

While we all enjoy that new relationship energy, with proper consideration of others and open and honest communication, tempered with the recognition of the effects NRE can have on those within its throes, the bumps in the relationships don’t have to be anything more than bumps.

What is your experience with NRE? Did it cause problems in your existing relationship?

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