Hopping over here from your other thread
You know, I think that the most important thing is to start by talking to your partner and finding out what their triggers are, what they care about, what helps. But, here's what I've figured out about what I need when my partner is going through NRE. (I say 'primary' and 'secondary' here, but just use them as they fit to you).
- New not Perfect - NRE wears off, but makes the New Person glow like the sun. Time reveals quirks, flaws, annoyances. Nobody is perfect.
- make your relationship a priority - don't bad-mouth your partner to New Person and always project a solid front, regardless of what is going on at home. Never tell New Person that your partner is feeling insecure, unless your partner specifically requests that you reveal that. Avoid comparing New Person to your partner, even if you do it inside your head. (Telling them that they make you hotter than anyone ever has, or that they are the only person you can talk to, doesn't sound good for your primary relationship and really won't go down well if your partner ever finds out you've said it).
- decide on a level of honesty together - I want to be told about events immediately, not days later. I want to know if my girlfriend is staying up until 4am every morning chatting with someone. I never want to be lied to.
- decide how much to share - I don't need full disclosure, I don't need all the soppy or gory details. New Person is in NRE too... and hearing their tongue scrape on the floor over my girlfriend can create possessiveness that I don't need to feel.
- act as a partnership - my girlfriend used to do things, THEN inform me. She'd make dates and tell me she'd made a date. Give her number out to online guys, then tell me she'd done it. That made me feel unimportant. Nowadays, she tries to discuss it with me before she does it, which makes me feel like a consideration = less insecurity = less problems about NRE.
- time - how much is too much? It depends on your life, how busy you are, how much your husband thinks is too much. If my GF talks to someone for hours and hours daily, it bothers me (fear). If she's neglecting our relationship, or work, or daughter, etc, because of all these talks, that's when I speak up (reasonable). For me, more than 2-3 talks a week is a bit much, yet it's usually what I have to deal with, since my GF likes to talk a lot.
- timing - what's been going on lately? have I been dating many other people, on top of New Person and primary? Could my primary use a break? Am I putting too much stress on my relationship? Any life events in the family like losing a job, moving house, death, depression, money worries, sexual problems? Fawning all over New Person right now isn't a good idea.
- perception - do we really need to say "the chemistry is HOT... I just want to rip his clothes off and fuck the living shit out of him..." or "he's so intelligent... he's really quite amazing... he sent me this beautiful email..." ..... you know what? probably not. Is it better to say, "yeah, so far things look good, I'm hoping he'll be a good fit and time will tell."? If you blow things out of proportion, how do you expect your partner to stay rational?
- balance - one of the most important things of all, really. If you're in a healthy poly relationship and not just seeking others to escape a crappy marriage, you're hopefully feeling even more love for your husband, even in the middle of talking to New Person. That's how I feel every time I go on a date. I feel so thankful to have met someone who can let me enjoy these things, that I just swell with love for her. And that's how I want her to feel. So we have to make sure that we make time, not just for our partner, but for our RELATIONSHIP.. if we value it.
- agree to be told bluntly - I was shocked when my girlfriend once got upset with me, because apparently one week, she'd called me and I'd asked her to wait for half an hour because I was talking online to New Person. I was shocked, because I felt like I've always had to wait around for my GF while she talks to New People. In fact, I used to drop New Person as soon as girlfriend called.... but that week, I'd decided to stop doing that, because I figured that must be the right thing to do. Once we'd got it out in the open, we find it much easier to pay attention when the other person says that we are getting wrapped up with New Person. Agree to be told bluntly, discuss, put your opinion across and not become defensive.
- guidelines - make them now if you haven't already... and don't break them! One of our guidelines (we have nine and they are not hard rules) is to let each other know if our location is going to change or become private, during the first 3-5 dates. This is for safety, mostly. It also helps the person on the date to stop, think about the other partners, and decide whether or not they are moving too fast. This summer, my GF met a guy and on the second date, she met him at the a coffee shop, then went back to his and basically made out. She didn't text anyone to let them know. She basically forgot the guideline, in the heat of the moment and in her lust-haze. It's ok ... we are all human... it's not a huge deal... but it doesn't help your partners to chill out about New Person... and it doesn't exactly build the trust between you and your partner when they break a guideline.
- the little things - do you normally make your partner breakfast, always go to bed with him at night, always kiss in the morning, always text him at work, or some other little thing? whatever it might be... don't stop doing it.
- ask questions - don't wait for your partner to come to you with an issue about your NRE... check in with them. Even have a weekly/fortnightly one-hour chat over a meal out somewhere about poly. (My GF and her husband do this and it really helps). Ask how they're finding it and if they need anything.
- don't avoid the cracks - if the sex life between you and your partner slows down whilst you are talking to New Person, now isn't the time to start/continue being sexual with New Person. My GF and I recently went through a month-long sex drought, because we were too tired, overworked, etc. My GF decided, in all her wisdom, to heat things up with New Guy during this time. Sexting with him all day and regularly at night. She couldn't understand it when I questioned whether she was satisfied with our sex life. She was truly dumbfounded. So, from my experience, even if a dip in your sex life with your partner (or any other thing you usually do together) is unrelated to New Person Mania, you can bet that your partner will make a connection. Get your relationship sorted before you throw yourself into a New One.
The following article is something that's really helped me. It is about jealousy and insecurity, more than just NRE, but many of the things in there might be helpful to keep you and your partner grounded during these times:
me: female, 29
GF: my primary girlfriend, 39
3 year, open poly V, long distance
|new relationship energy, nre|