New relationship energy

New Relationship Energy (often abbreviated as NRE) is a state of mind experienced at the beginning of most significant sexual and romantic relationships, typically involving heightened emotional and sexual receptivity and excitement. It begins with the earliest attractions, grows into full force when mutuality is established, and slowly fades over months to years. It carries an explicit implication of contrast with the feelings involved with "old" or ongoing relationships.New Relationship Energy

Scope of usage

While the dynamics described by NRE are common to almost all relationships, the term is particularly prevalent in the polyamorous community, in large part because polyamorous people often experience New Relationship Energy alongside ongoing but older relationships which they also wish to maintain. Adjusting to and compensating for the contrast in affect and excitement between the new and old relationships is considered an important factor in successfully balancing those relationships. The term originated in the writings of Zhahai Stewart in the 1980sNew Relationship Energy.

NRE is also discussed by Easton and Liszt in "The Ethical Slut" Greenery Press 1997.

Reactions to new relationship energy

New Relationship Energy is generally considered desirable, perhaps nearly indispensable in forming deep emotional bonds, but it can also temporarily distort perceptions and judgements and this must be taken into account. These distortions of perception do not imply that the attraction is unreal or will not last (indeed most lasting romantic bonds do begin with NRE), only that the magnitude of these positive feelings is greater than it is likely to be later, and some potential interpersonal problems may seem smaller than they will later become. Caution rather than avoidance or suppression is usually suggested in dealing with NRE.

Related terms

Puppy Love carries a connotation of immaturity, transience, and superficiality. Infatuation has negative or disparaging associations with a focus on unreality and obsession. The honeymoon phase has similar connotation to NRE but is perceived as occurring subsequent to marriage or similar full commitment, while many people experience New Relationship Energy well before marriage, or totally outside the context of marriage. There are no other common terms in English which carry the connotation of explicit contrast with the tone and feeling of older or established relationships.

Another related term is limerence, as described by Dorothy Tennov in her book Love and Limerence. While New Relationship Energy is described in published accounts as mostly positive and enjoyable feelings which people are reluctant to see fade, limerence is described by Tennov in her book as a generally unpleasant oscillation of misery and intoxication whose sufferers wish to be rid of. New Relationship Energy is often functional in establishing intimacy and emotional bonds, while limerence is seen as dysfunctional and without value. New Relationship Energy almost always occurs to significant degree in sexual or romantic relationships, while significant limerence is experienced in only a minority of relationships. Perhaps the most striking contrast is that Tennov describes limerence as an essentially unilateral feeling fueled by secrecy and uncertainty and which in all but a few pathological cases dissipates as soon as mutuality of feelings or lack thereof is established. By contrast, New Relationship Energy is usually mutual and thrives on reciprocation. Limerence also carries no implication of contrast to longer established relationships.

One way to integrate the concepts of limerence and NRE is to observe that in some cases the earliest stages of NRE, before mutuality of feelings are established, can exhibit a more transient and unstable limerence phase.

New Relationship Energy is translated as Ny Forholds Energi (NFE) in Norwegian, otherwise having the same connotations.

Magic Penny: Hva er denne NFE (ny-forholds-energi)-greia, forresten?.

External links

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