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NRE Chasing

It's a polyamorous truth universally acknowledged that NRE is a hell of a drug - and much like other drugs, that means it can be delightful and enjoyable, or it can be problematic and painful, or anywhere between. One experience in the spectrum is those who enjoy the new relationship energy high irresponsibly, but love the sensation of it in themselves, and try to capture it by constantly seeking new partnerships and neglecting more established ones: the NRE Chasers.

The NRE Chaser is most easily recognized by the intensity of their early relationships and rapid churn of partners. The person at the meetup with a new partner they're declaring a soulmate every two months? Likely an NRE Chaser. The upside of this personality and dating type is that the intensity with which they approach relationships (often, with which they approach everything - this is often an approach taken by people with a great deal of gusto for life) leads to passionate connection and an immense amount of fun. Being the center of someone's attention and all of a sudden their deep love is a moving and sometimes transformative experience. However, if you're not clear with them on either a game plan for de-escalating to a regular pace of interaction as the initial flare of NRE wears off or that both of you are looking for something short term, it can cause real pain when the NRE fades and the NRE-chaser doesn't put in the work to maintain the relationship longer. The downside, of course, is exactly that - an NRE chaser typically doesn't have enough bandwidth to keep up multiple established relationships but keeps seeking new ones, and so older relationships fall off due to neglect as they become less fun and exciting.

The form of them "falling off" can vary, of course: is it a matter of time management? Of poorly set expectations? Of newly polyamorous people biting off more than they can chew? Of deciding they can't handle emotional discussions and boundary setting in multiple relationships simultaneously so they need fewer partners? A lot of the time, the NRE chaser is the person who sets up the relationship in a way where you're disappointed with what the relationship you're getting, 6 months on, is compared to what you expected from behavior at month 2.

Is there an ethical way to get your NRE fix and happy chemical rush from seeing new people, or does wanting to see fun, new people make you an NRE chaser right away? If you have enough bandwidth to have a new relationship at all, then date away, and enjoy your NRE - but if the rush of excitement, flirting, and "new person" is most of what you want, be clear with whoever you're seeing that you're looking for a fling or a short-term relationship. There's no shame in wanting something short-term, and keeping people informed lets them consent to the relationship you're actually wanting to have. If, as you're getting to know them, you want to see if you can negotiate the terms of your relationship out into something longer-term or shaped differently, you can figure it out as you go - and you've been up-front about your initial inclination for a fun, buzzy, flash-in-the-pan relationship so if you don't get interested in anything more, they've come in with eyes open.

As someone who has a love-hate relationship with NRE (it can be sublime... but it can also make my anxiety worse!) I try my hardest to see people who are okay with the limitations of my schedule, who don't want to push for tons of additional time, but are happy to send messages or indicate interest in small ways to make it clear that they're also feeling those buzzy, happy, can't-wait-to-see-you-again vibes early on in something new. This keeps both me and them from bogging down the opening of a relationship with tons of expectation-building, and keeps pacing at or close to where I'll be able to sustain it long term. I've been burned by "this is so exciting and I just love you so much, let's spend all our time together" before, and I don't want to get myself or others into trouble with it again. Your mileage may vary, just make sure to go in with your eyes open.


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