NRE: Sink or Swim

Photography by Mistress Laurent

NRE.

New Relationship Energy.

Chemically, it is the potent mix of adrenaline and endorphins and and all of the other happy juice that hits first when we first develop attraction to another person, then when that attraction begins to deepen into the first stages of a relationship.  When it hits in a particularly strong iteration, it has a way of sneaking in and pushing the pace of a relationship faster than the people in it may originally intend.

You see, what it is that we do already lends itself to deeper connections than some of us are used to on a vanilla scale.  By being so open about our desires, needs, and sexuality, kink relationships have a tendency to reach a level of intimacy that I would argue is unattainable in what is seen as a societally normative relationship.  Not that there really is any one right way, but if we do this with healthy communication and truly open ourselves to the people around us, when those partner relationships come, we can traverse them with gentle honesty and complete transparency.

The way I see it, a new relationship is a lot like going inner tubing down a river.  We have three choices.  We can push ourselves faster down the river using paddles, possibly courting disaster, we can paddle against the current and get nowhere fast, or we can lie back on our tubes and let the water take us where it will.  I have obviously slanted those statements and made my particular preference clear, but the choice will ultimately be up to each person involved.

Where NRE can be trouble is that it becomes a supercharged paddle in our hand.  We think we can use it to steer, but it tends to have the effect of pushing us further along the river.  Thinking we can still stay on board our tube safely, we race down the river at breakneck speed, stopping only when our tube overturns, is punctured by the sharp rocks which often abound, or we reach calmer waters.

Sometimes the very act of trying to slow that progress can tip our tubes and sweep our cushion of air downstream, leaving us struggling against the current in water where large stones and obstacles are everywhere we turn.  Our overthinking brains get scared by the intensity of the chemical rush and the strength of connections, and the river becomes a waterfall, tipping us over the edge and pummeling the relationship into an early death or simply pushing against the current until the relationship progrssion grinds to a halt.

The trouble can come when the struggle occurs in a one-sided fashion.  When two people are enjoying the flow of NRE, letting the river take them, as they travel hand in hand, and one pulls away to struggle against the current, that is a tough thing.  Often there is little the other person can do to assist with rescue.  If they maintain their connection, they can be strong enough to fight the rapids together.  Alone, each is likely to sink, their pairing yet another that cannot withstand the test of time.

Letting things flow at their own pace is challenging, particularly when that pace is one we haven’t experienced before.  By opening ourselves to let things progress naturally and staying in constant communication about our thoughts and feelings, plus having the starting bonus of strong compatibility in most life areas, my Daddy and I experienced a dramatically accelerated courtship.  We met, formed a D/s relationship and married within the span of six months.  Friends and family outside of the community hesitated to use words like fast and rush, because his prior relationship had been longer than ten years and had not resulted in a wedding.

Our story is not unique.  Often when I see partnerships within the community form, they tend to either deteriorate or solidify quickly.  We have the benefit of knowing first ourselves well enough to be aware of our needs within a partnership, but also the knowlege of the kind of communication it takes to achieve lasting relationships.

If we aren’t sure what that looks like, fortunately, the resources are available in local communities and online.  The people who practice long-term alternative lifestyle relationships are very often willing to share the wisdom they have learned through trial and error, so the rest of us may build upon those strong foundations.

Why We Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love By Helen Fisher, PhD; Henry Holt: February 2004; ISBN 0-8050-6913-5


About the Author
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Comments

  1. Glassmenagerie says:

    Great piece. It’s easy to get swept away in NRE. Such a rush. I like your analogy.

  2. whippedmistress says:

    I agree! Her work is always so warm-hearted and insightful

  3. NRE = “the honeymoon period”

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