New relationship energy (often abbreviated as NRE) is a state of mind experienced at the beginning of most significant sexual and romantic relationships, typically involving heightened emotional and sexual receptivity and excitement. It begins with the earliest attractions, grows into full force when mutuality is established, and slowly fades over months to years. It carries an implication of contrast with the feelings involved with "old" or an ongoing relationship.
While the dynamics described by NRE are common to almost all relationships, the term is particularly prevalent in the polyamorous community, in large part because polyamorous people often experience new relationship energy alongside ongoing but older relationships which they also wish to maintain. Adjusting to and compensating for the contrast in effect and excitement between the new and old relationships is considered an important factor in successfully balancing those relationships. The term originated in the writings of Zhahai Stewart in the 1980s.
NRE is also discussed by Easton and Liszt in The Ethical Slut.
New relationship energy is generally considered desirable, perhaps nearly indispensable in forming deep emotional bonds, but it can also temporarily distort perceptions and judgments and this must be taken into account. These distortions of perception do not imply that the attraction is unreal or will not last (indeed most lasting romantic bonds do begin with NRE), only that the magnitude of these positive feelings is greater than it is likely to be later, and some potential interpersonal problems may seem smaller than they will later become. Caution rather than avoidance or suppression is usually suggested in dealing with NRE.
- Puppy Love
- Honeymoon Period