How to Attract and Navigate New Relationship Energy (NRE) in Polyamory

 “Longing to be back in the honeymoon phase of a relationship is like wanting your teenager to be nursing in your arms again.”

Polyamory Potluck NRE w Kamala Devi fix

 In this quote, Kamala Devi reminds us that long term relationships evolve through various stages which may go deeper and be more intimate than when we first meet and are infatuated with the mere idea of who we think our lovers is.  

Attracting and Navigating New Relationship Energy (NRE) was the theme of  San Diego’s Monthly Polyamory Potluck held on the Spring Equinox and pictured above. Kamala Devi started the group discussion with a sweet opening circle and meditation. After a few deep breaths Kamala Devi guided everyone through the following visualization:  

Close your eyes and imagine a big beautiful water fountain with a deep wide basin where sunlight dances on the water’s surface. There is a powerful pump that draws the water upward (like air up your spine) all the way to a dazzling spout at the top where it flows down and hyptnotizes everyone who sees it. Perhaps there are birds that like to bathe in it, children that dance there toes in it, and lovers admiring it as they stroll by hand in hand.  This beautiful fountain is unconditional, it keeps flowing, all day and night, whether or not anyone is there to appreciate it.  

NRE stands for New Relationship Energy AKA  puppy love, falling in love, the honeymoon period, or a crush.  The term originated in the writings of Zhahai Stewart in the 1980s and was popularized with Dossie Easton and Janet Hardy in the Ethical Slut by Greenery Press 1997. The term NRE is commonly used in the polyamorous community because poly people don’t have to break up with one relationship in order to start another and often find themselves falling in love over and over again. In this phase it is important not to compare and contrast your intense romantic feelings to how you feel about your older more established relationships.  

After a brief mix and mingle, the discussion group began with an important distinction about the light and the shadow aspects of NRE. Falling in love is often accompanied by an intoxicating and obsessive high, which could severely impair ones judgement to make important life decisions.  The brain chemicals in this state are much like heroine or cocain and may be affected on the average between 3 months to 2 years. When the chemistry begins to stableize and people have enough time to get to actually see their lovers, they may realize that what they thought they loved was actually a projection of who they thought they were. Deeper love is a function of knowing  someone and relationships built on shared values stand a better chance of sustaining than a relationship built on chemistry.  

Also important to note, some people who are new to polyamory experience a side effect of love known as “kid in the candy store.” When someone first realizes that they don’t have to limit the experience of falling in love to one person, they may have the experience of falling in love with everyone at the same time. Unfortunately some become reckless about starting new relationships without having the band with to deeply communicate, process and sustain deep long term relationships.  The opposite is equally painful, when a partner falls so deeply into obsessive love with one person, they may forsakes all their previously existing relationships.  

Michael, Kamala Devi’s husband talks about how ideally new relationship energy enhances your previously existing (or older) relationships. When Kamala Devi takes on a new lover she is conscious to bring the juice, excitement, fantasy and romance back to the marriage. And she is conscious to spend extra time nurturing and reassuring the existing relationships so that they do not become insecure. 

Michael admits that though he fell in love at Kamala Devi at first sight, it was a deeper knowing that they shared the same values that made their 11 year marriage possible.  The biggest advice that Kamala Devi and Michael offer for new lovers is to be as inclusive and sensitive as possible to all your previously existing relationships and  take it slow– don’t rush into any major life decisions. 

The best advice Kamala Devi has for single poly or solo poly lovers who want to attract a new relationship is to practice radical self love. Since we are only able to love others to the degree that we love ourselves, we can cultivate passionate self love and attract people in the same frequency. Kamala Devi uses of the fountain metaphor and points out that everyone has a beautiful fountain of love within them, but many people remain unplugged, just sitting around dry, waiting for someone else to plug them in. We must learn to plug ourselves in to the source of love–self love. 

I savor the feeling of crushing on you…at times it feels I’m going insane, but sanity never suited me anyway. –Kamala Devi


If you’d like to join Kamala Devi and the San Diego polyamory family for a fun weekend retreat to explore firsthand how they do polyamory, check out Poly Palooza: Top 10 reasons to go to a 4-day festival for free lovers! or go to Poly Palooza: The Weekend Festival for Free Lovers

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3 thoughts on “How to Attract and Navigate New Relationship Energy (NRE) in Polyamory

  1. I’m monogamous, 21 year marriage, 2 kids, mortgage, business, all the troublesome boring “ho-hum” aspects of a long-term committed relationship. My husband is “newly poly”, says he’s always felt that way, but out of respect for me and our marriage, kept it stifled. We’ve been through the polybomb, a crush, months of therapy. The best I can manage is resigned acceptance. This is who he says he is and how he “needs” to be to be happy. I love him deeply, and I take my marriage vows seriously. I figure this is the “worse” part of “for better, for worse”. God knows we’ve stayed together through sickness, poverty, and multiple other challenges. Him breaking his vows is grounds in our religion for divorce, but I’m just not there yet. And yes, it IS breaking vows to date, fall in love and have sex outside of marriage regardless what poly people think. When you vow to forsake all others, and then just decide that’s not working for you, you break that vow.
    My problem is NRE and the whole “bring it home to the old spouse” thing. Basically, I don’t want the passionate leftovers from his new squeeze. I don’t want to be the old obligation that he has to pay attention to in order to be a “good poly person”. So far, he’s had 3 dates with his new girlfriend and is head-over-heels in love with her, and frankly, I can’t stand to be around him. I don’t want him touching me when she’s all over him and in his head and heart. I know this is my problem to work on, God knows I’ve heard “you’re responsible for your own feelings” enough from the poly world, but the deeper he falls for her, the lonelier and more isolated I feel. The more isolated I feel, the less inclined I am to reach out. I just sit around and remember when it used to be me he loved like that and I miss being the one who inspires such passion and desire. I’m the one who buys groceries, cooks, balances budgets and drives carpools. I feel more like his personal assistant than his beloved. I’ve been told to hold on and ride it out, that it doesn’t last forever. But the thought of getting through it only to have to go through it again when he falls in love with someone new hurts beyond belief.
    Right now, it’s just pasting a smile on my face and coping, hoping the pain dies with the love.

  2. Wow….I feel very much like that….I am here to do the washing, go shopping, support him with his career but the new toy is always going to seem more shiny. I hope you worked something out. NRE does calm down!

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