Holding Hands

Congratulations!  You made it past the first few dates and have started to develop a relationship with a new partner!  I won’t assume my last piece had anything to do with it, but with the timing and all I will accept it as a coincidence and thank fate for proving my points.  In any case, now let’s examine your current state for a moment.

I’m going to bet you’re giddy and excited.  You’re smiling even through mundane every day tasks, you can’t stop thinking about this new step in your life or the person you’re taking it with, and when you’re together the rest of the world either vanishes or becomes paradise depending on the glasses you’re wearing that day.

This is what we call NRE, or New Relationship Energy, and it’s like sweet Ambrosia after an extended period of failed expectations and frustrating encounters.  Enjoy it.  This is where the foundation of your new relationship is built, where you begin to discover what it will look like, and when you really start to get to know your new lover.  This is a time of firsts.  I reiterate, enjoy it.  Don’t let the worries about where you’re going, what you’re doing, or what this new person in your life thinks of every little thing you do or say hold you back from being who you are and living in the process, not three steps ahead of it.

Be yourself.  If she can’t accept you now for who you are she won’t be able to accept you in the long run, so stop worrying about it and just let yourself be in the moments.  Take the opportunity to do something new.  Form your identity as a couple, and do not attempt to replicate your other relationships, and do not try to compare them,  because this is not any other relationship but this one.  Every couple is unique, as are the roadblocks and tender moments each one will have.  Embrace these differences.  If every partnership you have is identical what’s the point in being poly?

Finding balance. While NRE and building new bonds is important, so are other priorities in you life, like your job and existing partners.  It’s easy to lose track and let all your time and energy be absorbed by something new, but the rest of your life still needs attention as well.  Make sure to keep up communication with your established partners, as they may be feeling some growing pains.  Sharing your new experience while setting aside some quality time for them can strengthen that  bond and ease any inner struggles that may be forming, allowing them to feel compersion instead of insecurities about an unknown situation.  Use this as an opportunity to do something you haven’t done in a while or even try something new yourselves.  Take out that relationship bucket list and cross something off.  Reconnect with what brought you together, and even what made you poly.

On the flip side, remember that you are poly, especially if this is your first multiple relationship.  Don’t wrestle with questions about your established partner’s motives or feelings.  You both agreed to the terms of your poly relationship.  If you start to feel uneasy you should talk about it, but don’t let your second guessing pull you away from giving your time and energy to your new love.  Believe me, you’ll all miss out on a lot that way, and you will not be able to fully enjoy polyamory until you can master this hesitation.

The last hurdle with NRE is when it starts to end, or rather when it starts to transition to become an established bonded relationship.  This is where a lot of people feel a drop.  This is where you start to say things like “you never XYZ anymore!”.  This is where a lot of relationships end, because when the buzz wears off and a routine starts to form many people feel like they fall into a rut.  For some it’s true that the only thing they ever had in common was an addiction to NRE, but to me this is when the real relationship begins.  If you can enjoy the NRE for what it was and truly own and embrace the meat of the relationship that has developed you will find that it’s worth it.  You don’t have to stop having the adventures and experiences, but now you have them as a couple with an amazing bond and a solid foundation.  You have built something that will survive the setbacks and enrich all your lives.  Do not mourn the end of the NRE, welcome the beginning of a new journey.

Next Week: My final installment.  Family introductions.