New Relationship Energy v. Old Relationship Energy
How do you navigate new relationships while maintaining your current ones?
I went on this Tinder date the other night with this guy (who was super hot btw) and somehow we got into the discussion of polyamory v. monogamy. I’m going to save part of our conversation regarding the origin of marriage for another day and instead discuss the polyamorous concept of New Relationship Energy (NRE).
New Relationship Energy is pretty much exactly what it sounds like; it’s that overwhelming crushing feeling, that OMG this other person is so rad feeling, it’s like fucking rainbows and birds chirping happy songs and everything being amazing because you like someone and that someone likes you back! You’re basically on a drug called Love, which can be stronger than the strongest coke. It’s intoxicating. It’s ecstatic. It’s delicious.
I made a comment about how within open relationships New Relationship Energy can help spark the flame in the relationships people already have. My date didn’t really believe me. When I got home I opened up the Ethical Slut. I got on a few poly blogs. They didn’t believe me either.
Everyone seems to be screaming loud warnings about the dangers of New Relationship Energy.
They claim it can be distracting. It can cause you to do really stupid things. It can lead you to ignore other relationships (friends, lovers, family), it can cause you to fuck up a lot at work. Some people even get addicted to NRE and cannot seem to ever have a long-lasting committed relationship because once the energy calms down they want more of it. They want to do it again. It feels SO good. (Some may claim I’m an NRE-addict but really people just can’t handle being around me long-term).
Regardless of all of these warnings of which I agree can totally happen, I also still believe my own point of view that NRE can actually help make current relationships healthier too.
For an example in mainstream media, consider the show Easy (Netflix). Season 2, Episode 2, “Open Marriage.” In it, a couple who has been in a monogamous marriage for like 20ish years decides to open it up. The thought alone causes them both to get really excited and in turn, have better sex. The guy even said, “we should have opened our marriage up a long time ago!” Now, of course, they hadn’t even experience NRE at that point, they were experiencing the IDEA of experiencing NRE and that alone was enough to excite them.
But isn’t that just it. The idea that someone new finds you interesting and attractive reminds you of what you find interesting and attractive about yourself and all the relationships you currently have going on. Sure, the NRE can be distracting because you’re trying to learn all you can about this new person in your life. But, if you remember to take a breath, step by, give time to your other relationships, those relationships can see an added boost in connection as well.
So, yeah, people in the poly community say to approach the NRE with caution. And though I agree on some level, I also think people should fully embrace this energy and use it to propel their new relationships and their current relationships to the next level.
Poly people talk about compersion… which is the concept of feeling happiness for someone else’s happiness and though it might be difficult to see someone you love falling for someone else it can also be beautiful. (It also does not have to exist in just the poly community alone, monogamous people can feel this way too). Challenging, sure. Overcoming jealousy and the fear of abandonment is not easy, particularly in a society that promotes scarcity and owning other people. But, it can be done and the benefits of embracing compersion and new relationship energy (whether yours or someone you love) outweighs the drawbacks.
As for the date? It ended with us belting out 90s pop songs and making out, so I’d say it was a success all around, even if it probably won’t lead to a new relationship of any kind, but the energy of that night was fantastic (and did I mention he was really hot?)
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