Polishing away the NRE

Recently, several of my friends and metamours have been caught up in the New Relationship Energy high and confusion that comes with seeing someone new. One of my partners told me not long ago that she isn’t really interested in adding anyone new to her constellation because, “the newness has worn off of newness.” I see where she’s coming from. Beginning new relationships is a lot of work, a lot of balance, and a lot of powerful and potentially conflicting emotions. New people take up energy and time, our precious kreplets.

There is energy and fun and a great endorphin rush in the hunt, though. And being so picky about the kinds of partners I am interested in dating, I freely admit that I often enjoy the courting and seduction phases far more than the rest of the relationship. I enjoy the challenge, the reward, the rush, the NRE. And those partners that don’t continue to contribute love and positivity to my life don’t seem to stay around for long after this phase is complete. Not that I love ’em and leave ’em, but it’s far harder to make the casual relationship a priority when the deep and loving relationship wants that time, too. There are only so many times you can tell someone you love them and know you are not going to hear it back, that you may never hear it at all.

But that is not the end game for me. That rush, that NRE, that’s not really what I want. In the lifecycle of my relationships, I want nothing more than to get through that NRE phase. I don’t like the confusion and the highs and lows that go with the beginning of a relationship. I am a believer in keeping the Relationship Energy alive, but continuing the RE is far more fulfilling to me than simply steeping in the buzz of New Relationship Energy.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy the NRE or even that I think it’s bad. What I really don’t like is the beginning of a relationship. I hate going through the phases of wondering whether she likes me, wondering whether we’ll be a good fit, wondering where this is going, wondering whether she’ll love me back. Even the first-time things I am usually really good at are still a lot of work: is it time to lean in for that first kiss, can I take her hand for the first time right now, can I put my hand on her back… Sheesh! Sometimes that can be exhilarating. Other times, it’s really just stressful.

When a New Relationship loses the “New” and becomes simply a Relationship, some things definitely click into place for me. I stop being afraid of losing her at every turn. I can finally accept that she chose to be with me, too, and that she wants to be with me. I say I love her, and she says she loves me, too. We trust each other with our hearts. Radio silence ceases to bother me, since I have confidence that through the silence, she still loves me. When I leave for work in the morning, I stop thinking of it as ending a date or pulling out or having to offer up reassurances and making everything feel okay because I am leaving – it just becomes my leaving for work. I know I will see her again. I know she wants me to see her again.

When NRE gives way to RE, I don’t have to worry about boring my friends or my other partners with countless hours of dribble over the new partner. I realize that I begin talking about her in a more normal, more in a “she’s a part of my life” way rather than the “look at my shiny new toy” way.

For me in particular, RE doesn’t mean there is less PDA or less compliments or less sex or less lovin’. In fact, all of those things mean so much more once a relationship stops being a New Relationship. To keep a current, healthy, solid relationship going strong, there’s a lot of source material out there. As for me? I just try to love as well as I can, and accept love in return as gracefully as I can. I don’t always hit the bullseye, but I think most of us are still working on that.

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