Thursday, February 7, 2013

Why NRE is Awesome!

Even if you've never heard of the term NRE (New Relationship Energy), you've probably experienced it. NRE is that stage that frequently occurs early in relationships in which you think this relationship is the best thing that's ever happened to you. You adore being around your lover. You get butterflies in your stomach when you think about them. You get short of breath when they kiss you. You want to spend all your time together.

NRE is what many people think of as "falling in love," and it rarely lasts more than eighteen months. While it lasts, you want to commit everything to your lover. You move in together. You relocate to be nearer each other. You quit your jobs and go into business together. You have children together. People often do all of these and more in the name of "being in love," only to find out a few years later that they weren't really that well matched and now they have a lot of work to do untangling their lives.

This gives NRE a bad name. It's heady, irrational, impulsive, and stubborn. It encourages risk-taking and emboldens its targets with floods of happy neurotransmitters.

And yet it's vital to building a strong, healthy relationship.

There is a purpose to this overwhelming stage of love, when everything seems possible and your partner seems perfect. This is the time to build the foundation of what can become a long-term, committed, satisfying relationship, which will last long after the domapine and oxytocin levels have returned to baseline.

In addition to making people commit lifetimes to each other, NRE makes people honest. It encourages you to confide in your lover, to share with them all you're afraid to let the world know. When you both do this, keeping back nothing, fearing no embarrassment or rejection, you pave the way for open and honest communication throughout your relationship. Knowing that they still loved you after you told them about that awful thing you did can remind you that they will still love you even if something new comes up for which you have to ask forgiveness.

It also creates a bubble of happy memories you can return to when things get rough. When you've had a big fight and can only think about how much they've hurt you, think back to your first kiss and how giddy it made you, or the first time you said, "I love you." Figure out what your best memory with your lover is and return to it in your head often, so that it buoys you up when you are having tension in your relationship.

Best of all, enjoy the feelings NRE gives you. The chemical release in your brain when you're with someone you love passionately is the same as the chemical release in the brains of drug addicts when they get high. Being with your lover means getting high, in the most literal sense. And that's simply wonderful. Ride that high as long as it lasts.

NRE can be a breathtaking experience, and you must be careful to make smart decisions when your brain is flooded with love drugs. But it's a wonderful experience as well, and enjoyment of it can set you and your lover up for a dedicated, solid future together.

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