New Relationship and Established Relationship Energy
New Relationship Energy and Established Relationship Energy help us describe feelings that normally occur as relationships begin and stick around. Though it sounds all crystals and yoga, it can be easily compared to “butterflies in the stomach” or getting used to partner after a while.
Recognizing these energies and learning to use them wisely can lead to fulfilling relationships and prevent a lot of heartbreak. Like all of the seemingly arbitrary vocabulary of Polyamory, communicating a period of New Relationship Energy (NRE) or Established Relationship Energy (ERE) helps all of the partners navigate the change in a healthy way.
If you haven’t heard of these energies, you’ve definitely experienced them and will surely recognize them. They occur in Polyamory more often due to the many relationship transitions, though they are not exempt from monogamy.
New Relationship Energy (NRE)
New Relationship Energy, or NRE, is a strong and sometimes overwhelming sense of excitement associated with the onset of a new romantic or sexual relationship. Depending on the individuals involved, NRE can last for the first few weeks, months or even years of a relationship, or however long it takes for the novelty of the connection to settle into more stable patterns based on familiarity and trust (aka Established Relationship Energy or ERE).
NRE is a volatile and complex force and involves a powerful release of pleasure-inducing chemicals in the brain. This can generate a state of euphoria which can influence better judgment in most aspects of a person’s life. It is not uncommon for NRE to cause members of a new relationship to overlook major personality flaws or incompatibilities in their new partners, which do not become apparent until the potency of the neurochemical reaction begins to wear off.
NRE is unique to Polyamory in that it can also cause individuals in multiple relationships to neglect their older or more established relationships, triggering feelings of jealousy and insecurity in these partners. Whenever you begin a new relationship, it is best to be aware of and mitigate the inevitable impact of NRE and to make sure you are aware of the needs of your existing partners.
Established Relationship Energy
Established Relationship Energy (ERE) is a deep sense of comfort, security, and stability often associated with a long-standing romantic relationship. It is seen as one of the greatest benefits of a long-term relationship and is commonly indicated by a higher degree of trust, disclosure, and a loosening of any restrictions or boundaries placed towards the onset of polyamorous living.
In contrast with New Relationship Energy (NRE), which is often volatile, erratic and based on intense hormone and neurochemical reactions, ERE is stable and comfortable and based on a far greater level of understanding of your partners, their preferences and limits. Think of NRE as a kindling fire, hot and fast burning and quick to extinguish without more substantial fuel added. ERE is a slow-burning, blue flamed hardwood fire that has stood the test of time.
Both of these energies are useful and, in their own way, exciting. Be safe and have fun, kids.