For most Polys, the key to overcoming jealousy and insecurities around your loved ones dating others is to come to a point where you understand that feelings of romantic love are purely chemical. As it is essential to the survival of every poly relationship, understanding what these chemical reactions are and how they work helps with our coping.
- NRE (New Relationship Excitement or New Relationship Energy) The first stage is the “NRE” stage. The New Relationship Excitement or New Relationship Energy stage happens when you first enter into a new relationship with someone and everything is new. Your endorphins are peaked, you’re feeling high, everything is magical, and the feelings of love are as intoxicating as a drug. This in our human biology is designed to facilitate reproduction as soon as possible and that’s why we have such strong drive to “get it in and on”. Sexual energy in this phase is heightened, and your mind is not functioning rationally (otherwise you’d think your way out of making more humans). In essence mother nature whacks you on the head. NRE lasts for about 12 to 18 months.
- Nesting Phase: The second stage is called the “nesting phase”. we “nest” as humans by marrying, moving in with each other, building lives and/or homes together, and spending hours trying to find the exit door at Ikea. With our bodies and minds in a preparatory mode for a child to arrive (whether they’re on the way or not), we are scurrying around, cuddling, and fussing over life together. This phase typically lasts no more than five years for the survival of offspring, and was designed to keep us together for at very best the duration of that time.
- Friend/Life Companion Stage: The final stage in our mating is when we become more like lifelong friends or close family members if you’re one of the fortunate 40%.
Being aware that most of what we do is chemical, there are things that can be done to recycle these mating phases and work around nature. A great starting point would be by not blaming your significant other for a “loss of love” in the relationship and work together to on bringing more NRE to your relationship. When my loves go through the high of NRE when meeting someone new, I view this as a good thing (a temporary thing) and I am very excited for them. I try my best to feed this fire by supporting those feelings and doing the things that they may forget to do as a result of falling in love and feeling NRE like cleaning around the house a bit more, making sure that their personal bills are paid on time, spending extra time watching and caring for the kids, doing laundry, and whatever it takes to make the experience more magical for them as they do the same for me.
Within some poly circles some people are recognized as “NRE Junkies” and are avoided because the expectation is that relationships with these individuals will be short-lived. As NRE addiction can occur in all types of relationship orientations including monogamy, being wary of your tendencies can stave off this behavior, promote personal growth, and add value to your future relationships. In monogamy we have seen many (including ourselves at times) engage in “Serial Monogamist” behavior where they move from one partner to the other because they “thought” they had a love connection only to find out a year later that there was “nothing there”.
Being aware that love is not NRE, and NRE is NOT LOVE can save you from dumping your husband of 5 years for that tennis instructor that you can’t stop thinking about. It is purely chemical. As I share this article with many monogamous as well as polyamorous, It is not my mission to convert the monogamous to poly life, but it is the pages from our book of survival that I’d love for those that choose not to be poly to take to their relationships to make them work. I have a strong desire for Black Love to grow and move in a way that brings us back to where we used to be. I pray that we abandon those old narratives and constructs that control and divide us.
For us to survive as a people, every single thing that touches our lives be it socially, religiously or politically, MUST serve as an object or instrument for our liberation. If it does not, we must toss it into the trashcan of history where it belongs. LOVE….