New Relationship Energy (NRE) is hard to deal with on all sides of the equation. In my case, it seems really obvious to me that I’ve clearly got the worst end of the deal. I have to watch my primary partner and her lover go through the glowy stages, the excellent chemisty and the fantastic sex. What do I get out of this?
But it’s not just hard for me, it’s hard for him and her too. NRE is an admission of vulnerability. Neither of them can read the future. And it makes both of them willing to do things they would otherwise never do, and no one likes being irrational, especially in polyamorous relationships where love comes at the price of being a social outsider. Let me clarify that last point. Since you have to choose between being something of an outcast, in a real tangible way, or being essentially monogamous, poly folks tend to put a lot of emphasis on their analytical reasoning skills. A lot of poly folks cleave to the idea that they are poly not just because of what’s throbbing in their pants, but because of what’s throbbing in their skulls. Therefore, the irrationality that can come with intense NRE can be irritating.
For him, in this situation, it’s hard to deal with the NRE because he’s not in the best place in his life right now, emotionally and in other ways too. It’s hard for him to want to commit to anything, but the NRE seems to be over-riding what he might otherwise consider good sense. He finds himself feeling things that are complicated, and wanting things that don’t fit into his game plan for his life. He doesn’t want to make any decisions based off biochemical reactions that could affect his long term goals adversely, and it’s a hell of a lot more nuanced than that. The NRE could cause serious pain, and he can’t really handle that.
For her, it’s the first time for her to experience intense NRE outside her primary relationship, and it’s scary for a lot of reasons, including the concept that she doesn’t really view herself as a particularly emotionally available person. Not only that, but there’s a lot of obvious things coming up for her in the near future, and she’s not really ready to commit to a serious relationship that the NRE seems to be indicating. It’s all very confusing, and the two folks are very vulnerable. All armor down. It’s scary as hell.
From the outside it just looks like exhilaration and crazy awesome sex. You know, the kind that leaves you breathless at work, just thinking about it. The kind of sex that changes your perspective. Really robust, healthy sex.
I don’t really have anything great to say about it, I just wanted to note to myself that it’s not just hard for me.