New Relationship Energy 101
New Relationship Energy (NRE) is a term used to describe the feelings and energy that accompanies a new relationship. Although this term is popular in the polyamorous community, people who aren’t into polyamory can also relate to NRE as an experience. After all, monogamous relationships go through NRE as well!
When NRE is happening, the relationship is still in the process of discovery. According to Wikipedia, “[NRE] is is a state of mind experienced at the beginning of most significant sexual and romantic relationships, typically involving heightened emotional and sexual receptivity and excitement.” Its effects can be intoxicating. When a relationship is new, one can feel heightened feelings of excitement, attraction, and possibly infatuation. However, NRE can occur in both romantic and aromantic relationships.
While NRE is an exciting experience, it can also be confusing. NRE can operate in a similar way to Infatuation Goggles and cloud your judgment in your relationship pursuits. While many people confuse NRE for true love, this is not always the case. NRE is typically a temporary experience aside from rare exceptions. Over time, NRE can evolve into ORE (old relationship energy), the feelings of stability, contentment, familiarity, and warmth that accompany an old relationship.
As a relationship anarchist, I acknowledge that every relationship is unique and distinct in nature. Although I tend to feel closer to people I’ve known for longer amounts of time, I do not prioritize new relationships over old ones and vice versa. However, I’ve had the pleasure of experiencing both kinds of relationship energy. Relationship energy can characterize a given relationship’s nature at any given moment.
Sometimes, relationship energy is transcendental. There are people I’ve felt like I’ve known my whole life despite the fact that I had known them for only a day or so. There are people I’ve known my whole life that remain virtual strangers to me. Relationship energy goes all ways and so long as a relationship is healthy, it shouldn’t have detrimental effects on your life. But the truth is NRE can impair your judgment if you’re not careful. Under the influence of NRE, many people have made life-changing decisions with lasting consequences such as moving across the country, changing schools (or dropping out altogether), only to find that the decision wasn’t actually in their best interest in the long run.
When one of my relationships is in the NRE phase, I feel intense longing to be with the person. For some reason, thinking about the person of interest only excites me further - it does nothing to quell my loneliness in their absence. My thoughts only fuel my passion. When I’m in their presence, I feel incredibly giddy and infatuated. NRE often feels very good and is a high alone in itself.
However, the newness of one relationship does not eclipse the value or sanctity of another relationship. This is where healthy polyamory comes in. As a polyamorous person, I can love and cherish separate people with each on individual terms. I’m grateful for NRE whenever I experience it.