I was listening to Polamory Weekly the other day, which I do about as often as Minx can put up new podcasts. She’s currently revisiting her favorite episodes from the past, with the most recent one, #277 featuring an interview with Franklin Veaux from July 2007. The whole podcast and interview are excellent, but the bit that resonated most with me was when Franklin said that he felt NRE (new relationship energy) was an obstacle to really getting to know a person and, as such, something to wait out before one could get to the good stuff. Minx disagreed to a degree, presenting what I think is the more usual view of NRE as a blissful stage to be enjoyed.
I don’t think she’s wrong, but what Franklin said echoes my own view better. Personally, I don’t trust NRE. I enjoy it, certainly – the giddiness, the butterflies in the stomach, the obsession, the very high highs and the crazy hot sex. But all the while it’s happening, I know that I’m not being rational and that I should avoid making any long-term decisions until it wears off. This isn’t a bad thing, really. I think, in a way, knowing that the rush will wear off makes me savor it all the more. But, like Franklin said, this isn’t the real ‘good stuff’.
For me, it’s what happens when the chemical rush wears off that really matters. Sometimes, the fog clears and you realize that the person causing it is someone you genuinely like, get along with, want to be with and can build a relationship with. Sometimes, not so much.
Neither result is fundamentally bad, really, but for me, the real relationship begins after the NRE ends. It’s when you’ve regained control of your faculties that you can make a real decision regarding how, or even whether, you want to proceed with a relationship.
Of course, if it turns out the person is every bit as awesome as I thought they were, I can’t help feeling a little smug in a I-knew-it-all-along sort of way. I’m only human.
And it doesn’t make it any less sad when a potential relationship doesn’t work out. Just because I have a macro lens in my head doesn’t mean I don’t actually feel all the emotions I’m going through at the time. I just also have a bird’s eye view of the process as it happens. FSM knows it doesn’t stop me being stupid about it all, hence the no-major-decisions rule.
The reason I’m thinking about all of this, aside from having listened to the podcast, is that I broke up with NP this week. Chalk that up to the NRE wearing off and us realizing we speak completely different languages, relationship-wise. I am not sure when exactly I’ll get the many many crossed wires straightened out enough to actually process it. At the moment, it feels more like it’s still spitting little sparks of “oh so that’s what they meant when they said x” and “so they thought y meant z – no wonder”. What a mess.