Few things feel or look as good as when they’re shiny and new, and that includes relationships. When we enter into what could be a new relationship, feelings of joy and excitement overcome us. We feel joy about the new beginning and excitement for what it could bring. We look forward to spending time with them and fantasize about the next time we’ll see them when we’re apart. For monogamous relationships, this period of the relationship is often called the honeymoon period, the start of puppy love and sometimes what it actually is, infatuation. The polyamorous community refers to the feelings associated with this period as “new relationship energy.” An accurate description that encompasses a range of emotions and expectations, here’s our take on what it means to experience new relationship energy (NRE). 

Where Did “New Relationship Energy” (NRE) Come From?

While NRE is not exclusive to any particular community, as it is a shared human experience, the polyamorous community first  formulated the concept to describe the early stages of dating. The polyamorous community consists of folks who consensually enter into relationships with several partners versus the more widely accepted monogamous way of dating navigated solely by two people.

It’s understood amongst members of the polyamorous community that individuals are capable of sharing their love with more than one person and that there’s no need to limit this capacity. The first relationship becomes the foundation for partners as they pursue other connections. These other connections, though new, do not replace the initial ones or outrank them in any way. And, at the same time, the feelings experienced at the start of that new connection is the NRE that many of us aim to experience.

What Is New Relationship Energy (NRE)?

NRE is the energy that comes with entering into a new relationship. Whether the relationship is open or exclusive, those bounds have not yet been set when NRE is at play. NRE leads those entering into a new connection down a road of joy and excitement for a few months. It’s a bliss that focuses on newness and possibilities without considering what’s approaching from down the road. It doesn’t pay attention to any white, beige or red flags. NRE is simply the sparks flying from meeting and learning enough about each other to fantasize about a possible future. This energy is fueled by intense sexual chemistry and spending a lot of time with this new partner sometimes to the point of missing commitments or inconveniencing others.

And, while it can come with a set of anxieties about certain characteristics or relationship outcomes, those are often pushed to the side by the joy and excitement we’re experiencing during that initial period of NRE. 

Concerns Around New Relationship Energy (NRE)

Those feelings pushed to the side by polyamorists may include concern for their established or long-term relationships. Psychologists say that experienced polyamorists can see the NRE coming and prepare for it. They may schedule date nights and/or buy small gifts with their partner in addition to offering compliments and spicing up their sex life. And, while these concerns are not shared by monogamists in the same way, there is much to be learned here. For monogamists, before they enter into relationships, dating warrants the same NRE and associated behaviors. Folks who are interested in one another still often juggle partners before making the decision to settle down with one. During this time, scheduled time, gifts, compliments and excess affection go a long way towards strengthening the bond. While some may view NRE as a threat, others see it as an opportunity. 

Competing for attention may be out of your bounds or a normal part of your dating/relationship customs. In either case, putting your needs and wants first and taking care of yourself is what would make you the best partner in any situation. We wish our polyamory and monogamy lovers the best in their connections as they navigate established relationships and/or NRE.