I’ve been in a relationship for some time now with a wonderful woman called Ginny. The circumstances of how our relationship started have to do with a heart-wrenching break up in January of this year and the right person at the right time and place. Due to the timing of this meeting, it took a while to allow myself to grow closer to her, although closer I grew and I would not want to imagine life without her now. She will never fully understand how her presence in my life was essential for me through an awful time that still occasionally causes sleepless nights.
Because of the slow emotional growth that occurred between us and my emotional fragility in which it grew, there was not that intense emotional high that often punctuates the beginnings of a relationship. I was emotionally cautious, having been hurt so badly so recently, and didn’t allow my emotions to flower in ways they had with previous lovers. I had missed the high of the New Relationship Energy (NRE).
This is not to say that I don’t have intense feelings for her, only that they developed slowly, and thus settled deeper. There is depth that may not have been created under more normal circumstances. Well, normal is relative, right?
What I mean is the situation I am in now is relatively normal within polyamorous circumstances, but not so normal outside of that worldview. You see, there is this girl (who I will leave nameless because I am not sure she would want to be identified) that I have liked for quite a while now. In fact, she was among the first people I met when I traveled to Atlanta last Summer to look for apartments for my ex and I to move into. It just happened to be the weekend of Dragon*Con, so of course there was that too.
When we met, I was instantly attracted to her (and her to me), but I was not in a place to pursue a relationship with anyone else because my ex and I had decided to be exclusive for a while before opening up our relationship. With us moving from Philadelphia to Atlanta and her constantly traveling for work, the amount of relationship tensions were going to be high so the arrangement seemed prudent. I respected that arrangement in act and intention (not like it mattered in the long run) and kept a respectful distance between us despite the mutual attraction.
But once the ex abandoned me (after inviting me to move down here 3 months previous) I re-connected with her and re-initiated a friendship. (You see, the ex didn’t approve of her at all, even as a friend, so…). We have been talking over the last few months, spent some time together, and then this past weekend we spent a lot of time together. She met my girlfriend, they liked each other, and I asked her is she wanted to be my girlfriend as well. The answer is forthcoming (and it looks like she may say yes, but we shall see) but in either case the last couple of days have been filled with that high, that NRE, that I had not felt since the ex who I will not name (not out of any hatred or resentment on my part, but out of reverence for her wishes) and I first started spending time together. Ah, for the blissful days of innocence before the fall….
In any case, I’m experiencing NRE big-time, and I look forward to seeing her again (I will tonight). I’m all giddy, tingly, and excited just thinking about it. I hope that she will say yes to my proposal, but even if she does not I will want to remain close with her because even if she does not want to be my lover, she’s gotta get with my friends…sorry.
So, what does this mean for Ginny? Well, she approves of my proposal and is happy for me being happy. There are concerns about how it will effect our relationship, but we have talked (and will continue to talk) about any concerns she has. Open and honest communication is paramount in relationships, especially in arrangements like this. If she accepts, it will change the dynamic of my relationship with Ginny to some degree. The ideal is to add to the dynamic in ways that benefit everyone. Whether that means a triad (three people in relationships with each-other), a “V” (me having separate relationships with both of them, ideally with them on friendly terms), or something in-between is yet to be seen. But for now I will ride the NRE wave as long as it will last and try to allow it to settle into a relationship of genuine love, affection, and mutual growth.
The key is to not allow the NRE to take away from my existing relationship. It is easy to get caught up in that NRE and to leave the other person feeling under-appreciated. This is a difficult avenue to navigate, one that I have made mistakes with in the past, but I hope that I have learned sufficiently to not make those mistakes again.
And certainly this phenomenon is not unique to Polyamory. How often have you noticed that early in an intense relationship you see your friends less, get less sleep, and otherwise get caught up with the intensity of it all? Now imagine having this while another lover of yours sits aside watching you ride this wave. While frubble or compersion might come into play (as it has for Ginny in the last couple of days), often some envy or jealousy might as well. It is really important to be aware of this (even if it is with friends rather than other lovers), because those close to you will miss you while you ride that wave.
So, be aware that your NRE will affect others around you. And if you can, try and spread some of those good feelings around; share some of that intensity with others so that they can get an idea of how good you feel.