Have you ever felt guilty for not having that ideal relationship? Maybe your partner doesn’t fulfill every single need you have. Maybe you find yourself talking to your friends about issues at times. Or perhaps you feel that you aren’t the perfectly suited soulmates you once were.
In almost all relationships you’ll find something called “New Relationship Energy” (NRE). It really depends on the people how long this lasts, but it’s basically that flutter you get in your stomach about this new person. It’s the worst time to make permanent decisions (like marriage, kids, moving in together, sharing finances) when you’re still in NRE because often you are blind to your partner’s faults at this stage.
I got married to the father of my child while we were still in NRE. Added to that the fact that his father was dying and had asked us to settle down and be a family for my husband’s three boys, and you have a recipe for disaster. My father-in-law believed that my stepsons’ mother was incapable of raising them and he wanted to make sure they would have two parents, my husband and I, looking out for them and raising them right. We got married about six months into dating.
In a previous article, I spoke about my husband and I starting our journey into polyamory. That was long after NRE had worn off and so I still feel it was the right decision for us. Now we are both still involved in polyamorous families, but we are no longer married to each other. It was one of the hardest decisions of my life to leave that marriage. My son was raised in a blended family for four years. I saw through my stepsons’ eyes how hard divorce was and how difficult it was to be in a step family. As those of us who have gone through divorce know, it’s not ever something you enter into lightly and it’s not something you start off thinking will happen in *your* marriage.
These days, I’m much more self-aware. My anchor and I moved in together five months in, when it was the right time for us. We’ve yet to get engaged and we might never get married. I’d say we’re still happily in NRE but that’s by choice. We’ve gotten to the point where we can make rational decisions about our future and be settled, knowing that they are because they’re the right decisions and not because we are caught up in each other and can’t see reason.
A lot of pain came with my previous marriage and step family journey, but when I look at what came out of it – my amazing five year old son, and my new-found self-confidence – I can’t help but feel thankful for NRE and what it led me to in the past, and what it will lead me to in the future.