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  • Writer's pictureMelisa De Seguirant

Managing New Relationship Energy in Queer Relationships

Updated: Jun 15

New relationship energy aka NRE describes the initial “honeymoon phase” of relationships. Often it’s characterized by intense joy, euphoria or excitement, and it can become all-consuming rather quickly! We may find ourselves growing more and more infatuated with the new person we are with, and less and less focused on meeting our basic needs. Sleep? Who needs it?!


NRE may take over in any new relationship, but in queer relationships it can hit especially hard.


Check out these slides for some contextual factors th

at make queer NRE so strong and to explore a few strategies to manage it more effectively


 

Sometimes when we are experiencing new relationship energy we don’t make the best of choices. It may be tempting to poke fun at NRE and deem it “the problem”, but from a therapeutic standpoint it is counterproductive to create judgment and shame around natural human experiences.


As explored yesterday, it is natural to feel some degree of excitement and even infatuation when we make a new romantic connection. It isn’t the sensation that needs altering, it’s how we respond to it



 

Mindfulness and impulse control are key!


A key part of learning to be more mindful about our strong emotions so that we can respond to them instead of reacting, is awareness. If you know you are the type to deep-dive into NRE whenever you make a new connection, use that past experience to strategize some ways to pace yourself and slow things down after the first date


 

Some ways you might consider pacing yourself in the beginning of new relationships include:

  • Refraining from constant texting

  • Practicing boundaries around the time of day you are available to chat

  • Spread your dates out in the beginning

  • Scheduling some activities with friends to keep you busy, and to make sure you aren’t leaving them in the dust!


If you find you are having strong emotional responses to the idea of pacing yourself, notice what emotions you are feeling. Fear? Anxiety about the potential of losing the connection? Excitement? 


Learn to sit with these emotions and find other outlets for them, besides your new crush. Consider the support of a therapist if challenging feelings are coming up that you are uncomfortable sitting with.


 


We can’t talk about queer NRE without highlighting sapphic relationships!


There is an all too real stereotype about the rapid progression sapphic relationships can take. These relationships frequently go from zero to one hundred within just a few dates, sometimes resulting in the couple deciding to move-in and begin a co-created life together extremely quickly, thus the term “U-Hauling”.




 

IMPORTANT:


Recently there’s been problematic backlash against the lesbian community referencing codependency & U-Hauling, using harsh criticism and hateful language.


Shame & judgment are NOT helpful, and are NOT the intention of this post.


 

Rather than continue a problematic narrative, let’s talk for a moment about the MAGIC of sapphic relationships that leads to the U-Hauling pattern! 


Sapphic partners are often more in-tune with their emotions and open to communicating them to new dating prospects more readily, organically moving the relationship to depths other kinds of relationships take months to develop. It’s an admirable thing to know what you want in a relationship, to recognize when you find a genuine connection and to be motivated to take action to make those dreams happen.


The issue with U-hauling most commonly lies not in the genuinity of the connection, but in the lack of opportunity to witness the relationship over time. SOME U-hauling situations work out splendidly, but others suffer as the seasons change, and new sides of each person involved are brought to light. 


The invitation here is not to stop dreaming and planning about the future together, but to allow some space and time for the NRE to wear off and the relationship to transform into a version more sustainable in the long-run. Allow those dreams to manifest themselves gradually over time. If you are committed to being “in it for the long-haul”, then why rush through the beginning stages?


Savor each moment that you can, and pace yourself with intentionality. 


 


With NRE comes the temptation to slam on the accelerator and move full-speed ahead, using the new feelings we feel as fuel for forwarding the connection. The encouragement this week has been to pace your relationships mindfully, resisting the temptation to go “all-in” immediately and instead allowing for growth over time. What we haven’t talked about, however, is how PLEASURABLE moving slowly and intentionally can be!


If you haven’t explored edging related to pleasure, you’ve got some homework to do! What if we take this concept and apply it not just to sex, but to the beginning stages of our relationships? 


During NRE the urge to continuously connect with the person we are newly in relationship with is strong! It’s understandable that many people give in to it, acting upon their feelings impulsively and energetically binging on the new connection. If we hold off, however, the pleasure we can experience can actually grow.


In relational work therapists sometimes talk about planning intentional time apart so there is room to miss one another. Rather than risk reaching the point of relational burnout early on, exert some effort in the very beginning to maintain some space and autonomy. NRE might pull you in, but maintaining a bit of space creates room to foster secure attachment, and a more sustainable foundation for long-term connection.



My take: NRE tastes best when savored not devoured.



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