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New Relationship Energy: What is it and How to Manage

by | Jul 12, 2023 | ATTACHMENT, LGBTQ, RELATIONSHIPS, Uncategorized

a couple who is experiencing new relationship energy

Remember that ecstatic time in the beginning of a new relationship? Well, for those in monogamous relationships, one usually experiences this once with each consecutive partner. In this blog, let’s explore new relationship energy (NRE) in polyamorous relationships and how to manage these feelings that can come with NRE.


What is NRE in Polyamorous Relationships?


New relationship energy is not an experience solely for polyamorous individuals; universally it’s called the “honeymoon phase” and it’s a period early in a relationship where one experiences an intense emotional romantic connection. The honeymoon period usually can last about 6 months and then moves on to other stages of a relationship (uncertainty stage, adjustment stage, commitment stage, and acceptance stage). However, in polyamorous relationships, NRE is experienced many times throughout the course of a relationship.


When one is experiencing new relationship energy there are chemical mental processes at play. This includes but is not limited to a rush of dopamine (a chemical reaction that helps us feel pleasure) and norepinephrine (produces our fight or flight response and in early romantic love, it can make one experience intense physical feelings). When these hormones are flooding, the  brain lights up and our pleasure center is ignited. This chemical process makes one want the new person even more because of the addictive-like feelings.


This new relationship energy can make things feel brighter and spill into other areas of our life, this includes long term pre-existing relationships. This experience could also be an anxious time if not managed effectively.


How to Manage NRE


Though there are many joys that come with experiencing NRE, it’s important to know how to manage NRE feelings and move through these experiences in a way that is not destructive to oneself and existing relationships. It can help to think, “how do I want my relationships to be when I come down from this high?”


When one is in NRE they may not be aware of how these intense emotions impact those around them. Many can become blinded by the new romantic relationship. If practiced in a healthy way, it could bring a sense of newness to one’s life and deepen long time existing relationships.


The following are ways to manage new relationship energy.


Make sure to check in with your long term partners


When you are in the midst of NRE and you have long term existing relationships, it is important that you are checking in to see how your other connections are feeling about your new partner. It’s important that before you assume that your pre-existing partners will feel compersion, ask how much or little they want to know.


You may have set boundaries in the past but feelings can always change. One might ask, “I want to check in on how you are feeling and what you want to know? I’m having strong feelings for this person, and I just want to make sure I’m considering your feelings around that”. Jealousy is a part of any relationship orientation so it is important to create time and space for the expression of these feelings.


Have dedicated times with your other pre-existing partners


Bring that juicy feeling to your pre-existing relationships. Establishing a fixed time together will reinforce trust in your relationships; use this time to create romance and closeness to the relationship. Be aware of not using this time to air grievances or issues and dedicate intentional check in time on these issues.


Spend time with yourself and your supports


When in the midst of NRE it is easy to forget about your other connections. Having time to take a breath from NRE will allow you to remember the value of these other connections and can make pre-existing partners happy. Also this allows one to get a better perspective on the new connection and not miss red flags and incompatibilities for a long-term relationship.

For those who are new to polyamory, hopefully you will have a better understanding around new relationship energy and how to manage these feelings. If you are not sure if polyamory is for you or don’t feel equipped with the skills to manage NRE a polyamory friendly therapist can help you navigate these topics.

Modern Intimacy is a group therapy practice, founded by renowned Psychologist and Sex Therapist, Dr. Kate Balestrieri. This inclusive blog is designed to provide a wealth of information and resources for mental health, relationships, and sexuality. Subscribe today to get the latest information from our expert contributors from all around the world.


Author Bio

Emily Martinez, AMFT (she/they) is a clinical associate at Modern Intimacy who works with individuals, couples, and families around myriad mental health and sexuality issues/goals. Emily specializes in working with clients of all backgrounds, especially those who identify within diverse sexual orientation, relationship dynamic, and gender identity backgrounds.



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