5 ways to leverage new relationship energy with existing partners
NRE — New Relationship Energy. Or maybe you prefer the term ‘limerence’. Or ‘the honeymoon period’. Whatever you call it you’ve likely experienced that unique blend of dopamine and norepinephrine, during the start of a new romantic connection. The attraction, obsessive thoughts, fantasies, seemingly unquenchable desire…
For the polyamorous — those that love more than one person at the same time — the term “New Relationship Energy” as been in usage since in the mid 1980’s, and is used to earmark an important dynamic within non-monogamous relationships. When someone has multiple intimate relationships concurrently, the experience of new relationship energy alongside more settled ongoing relationships can be hard to manage for all parties.
Instead of trying to tamp down or silo your NRE, here are five ways you can leverage the new while maintaining the old.
1. Commit to a date night with your existing partner(s).
Take your happy-fluffy feeling of romance and apply it in your existing relationships. Date nights can look like basically anything, and can be as regular as you and your partner need. Monthly dinner and show, a bi-weekly brunch, a weekly no-screens dinner? Whatever it is protect that time with your existing relationships and make it wonderful.
Keeping this time fixed is a good way to build trust with your existing partners. The quality time spent together will help you remember how great the relationships you are already in are. It is important that date nights are for romance and closeness — this is not a time to pick a fight, air a grievance, and raise an issue. If you are finding that your existing partners are using this time to do that, I suggest implementing a SCRUM /check in on a different dedicated time.
2. Have dedicated activities to do with your other partners
NRE gives you an insane rush of energy, and it’s a great time to set goals — but at the same time it’s not wise to make big decisions ‘under the influence’ of the temporary rush of limerence. (See Dedeker Winston’s article on NRE for more). So why not use that energy in your existing and well-known dynamics. Embark on a new project with a partner — redecorate their bedroom, take up gardening, learn to paint together, start watching a show. Just make sure whatever it is, it is dedicate to the time you spend with that partner.
Not only is this even more quality time with your partners, but your existing relationships will see first-hand how renewed and happy you are. And as a happy bonus you might even end up with a whole new side hustle.
3. Write micro-scripts to reassure and communicate
It is very common that your new found romance will unearth some insecurity, resentment or jealousy in your existing partners. Or they might simply be annoyed that you are constantly on your phone or giggling at that cute text you just got. NRE is not a good time to make big life decisions, and that includes ending or renegotiating your existing relationships. So use the opportunity to write some helpful “micro-scripts” to make your existing partners feel seen, validated and reassured (examples below).
Writing these out wont just give you a great tool to communicate reassurance, it will give you a great insight into your partner — the language that works best for them, the source of their insecurity — allowing you the great opportunity to get to know one another even more.
4. Engage your friends, supports and metamours
We do not exist in a vacuum and plenty of support is out there to help you navigate the NRE without spinning you or your loved ones into the abyss. Instead of ignoring your other obligations, leverage the new found energy to set up non-romantic time, for both you and your partner. Ask your metamour to coordinate a surprise date for your partner, ask your friends to host a boardgame night, have a polycule pot-luck. Whatever works for you in a safe and comfortable way.
Letting these people know where you are in your relationships will be especially useful if the NRE is masking something from you. In the honeymoon period it is easy to miss red flags or just signs of long term incompatibility.
5. Combat NRE with nostalgia
In many ways, nostalgia is the antidote of limerence. Your brain is already chemically primed for that hit— so you will find it is ready to be quenched with NRE memories when you and your existing partner(s) started dating. Spend time pouring over pictures and videos of you and your existing partner(s), swap stories about your first date, describe your first kiss to one another.
Indulging in your nostalgia is a chemical guarantee that it will have both of you feeling closer, loved, and cared for. But much more than that, it will help you realize that there is love to go around and plenty of places to get that sweet hit of romance.
6 micro-scripts that work for me:
Note: It is never ok for your partner(s) to ask you to end a relationship to ease the difficult feelings they are encountering. This would be a controlling and concerning request. Micro-scripts are a tool to help open a conversation in a place of love and respect. They are best made collaboratively with your partner(s) based on their specific needs/issues/feelings; so please use the below as a guide but make your own.
“I care/love/appreciate you and the amount of time/energy I am spending with someone else does not reflect how much I care/love/appreciate you”
“I am enjoying this new relationship very much, and it reminds me of the start of our relationship. Can we talk about our shared memories?”
“I am very thankful I met you and that you are in my life. My other relationships do not detract from that”
“I want to reassure you that I love/respect/care for you. Can we talk about how I can do that in a way that you will understand?”
“I feel very excited about this new relationship, and I am also excited about ours.”
“Right now I am indulging in the NRE/honeymoon period with a new person, and I am thankful that you are patient with me during this time.