Updated: Jul 11, 2022
New Relationship Energy is how you feel when you first meet someone and begin to get to know each other. Everything is new and exciting, you may feel a rush in your body, think about the person a lot and it seems as they are the perfect person for you. The scientists say that it’s based on a chemical reaction. The psychologists will want to look at what your childhood ‘looked like’ as a reaction to what you’re experiencing now.
Whatever the science or the psychology is behind it, I’d like to take a look at it from a lived and experienced perspective. After all, knowing what to do with it and what it means for a relationship is what we’re really concerned with.
The first thing to be aware of, is that it’s normal for it to last for a few months or years. It isn’t long-term. So what does New Relationship Energy (NRE) mean for you when 1) you are dating or 2) in a long-term relationship?
Let’s start with number 1 - dating! When in NRE I tend to really welcome the feelings and experience of it. It feels good, it creates a deeper connection with your new love interest and it’s the part that’s the most exciting. We all remember how we fell in love with someone in the past. How it went so well at the beginning and how they were ‘the one’ or ‘special;’ or ‘different than the rest’.
And as much as I say welcome these feelings as it’s a beautiful energy to be in, it lifts endorphins, brightens up your day and life just seems a little easier, it’s as this stage where we need to be mindful.
When experiencing NRE it’s important to check in constantly with it. It can cloud our judgements and it can make us blind to red flags. We tend to give a little more and our boundaries tend to get a little more porous as we want the connection to last longer and the feelings to continue. I write this from an experience I had a few months ago. First let’s take a look at the check-in list and then I can share my story.
My suggestion here is to enjoy the feelings of NRE, welcome them in, but be consciously aware and constantly check in with yourself: * Am I still placing boundaries? * Am I defaulting to people-pleasing to keep their interest? * Am I changing my thoughts, ideas or opinions and my authentic expression to meet their ideas of me? * Am I letting go of or ignoring other relationships (friends, family, colleagues, etc) and placing this one as the most important one in my life? * When I take a step back and look at my situation and imagine it is a friend’s situation, what would I say to that friend if they asked me my opinion?
When I became unconsciously stuck in NRE a few months ago I had allowed myself to self-abandon my needs and had temporarily returned to people-pleasing to hang on to a potential new partner. With the man in question we had been going round in circles on what to do and how to move forward. I had sent a message explaining everything I was looking for and asked if it was in alignment with what he wanted. At which point he replied with a message saying what he was looking for, which happened to be in line with what I was looking for. So when I wrote, ‘it seems we want the same things’, and he replied, ’It appears so, you’ve given me plenty to ponder’, suddenly, acutely aware of the situation and how I was being held to ‘ransom’ by his decisions I decided to make the decision for both of us and replied, ‘no need to ponder, I’ll make the decision for you. This isn’t going to work. Best of luck.’
It had been the NRE that had been blinding me to the situation that I had unconsciously found myself in. Returning to self-love and boundaries, as always, is the way to check in with a situation and if it is in alignment with my authentic self.
And number 2? So what to do if we are in a relationship? After a few months or years after the NRE dissipates we find ourselves in relationship with a person who can sometimes appear very different to the person we originally fell in love with. This isn’t necessarily a ‘bad’ thing. (**Side note: Unless the behaviour is particularly toxic and dangerous to your mental and physical health).
Most of our relationships tend to be the places where we learn most about ourselves and are our biggest ticket to personal growth. I’ve written before about attachment styles and the dance between those people who avoid intimacy and those are anxious and chase the relationship. Also known as avoidant attachment and anxious attachment.
We tend to be drawn to patterns and situations which are reflective of how we experienced love as a child. And what that means is, the wounds come to the surface to be addressed. What we perceive as the other person not meeting some need of ours, is actually a need which wasn’t met as a child and we have been unconsciously looking for someone to do that for us. It’s a reflection of where your growth is and how you can finally heal the wounds that you have been carrying with you since about the age of 7.
So what does overcoming wounding look like when you’re in a relationship and the NRE fades? * You partner ‘changing’ since you first met them - they have always been the same, the NRE meant you likely didn’t notice or pay attention. So ask yourself, what are you making their behaviour mean and how can you change your reaction to it? * Once the NRE passes, this is the opportunity for you as a couple to really work on how you as an individual can make changes to your own patterns and behaviour so that you aren’t relying on your partner to fulfil your needs - you are able to meet those needs yourself. * You learn to communicate more authentically and take responsibility to how you react/respond to authentic expression from your partner * You learn to set boundaries, maintain them and also respect the boundaries of your partner. * Return to self-love, how you value you yourself is how you will allow others to treat you.
So whether you are living right now in NRE or it’s something that’s long past, I invite you to take a step back and ask yourself;
‘What can I learn from this situation and relationship I currently find myself in?’
‘Where is my opportunity for growth?’
‘What is this relationship teaching me about my needs and how I can meet them?’
And if you aren’t sure if you can do this alone? Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a free discovery call. And if we decide to work together I will guide you through past conditioning to unblock the patterns that continue to repeat in dating, or are holding you back from living in a truly authentic relationship.
Carla Crivaro is a trauma-informed and certified Sex, Love & Relationship Coach, she works with men and women internationally to reach their goals in delicious sex, profound love and authentic relationships. Carla helps men and women understand themselves and each other, sexually and relationally, in and out of the bedroom. You can reach her at email@example.com.