As much as the feeling of loving my husband for the last ten years is the greatest joy I’ve ever known, there is one feeling that could trump it.
I say this with hesitation, by the way. This love I experience now is pretty damn good. And I don’t want to offend my husband. If you’re reading this, Andy, you know I love you.
But that one feeling that could trump this current love happened to be when our lips locked for the first time. And it lasted for months until the honeymoon period was over and we realised this was normal, everyday life now.
It’s that new relationship energy. Like a new car smell, you know nothing else can match this feeling in your life, right then.
You feel like nothing can stop you in life. You feel like the people on the pavement part when you approach. The happiness, excitement, and joyful energy you exude are something everyone wants to be around. You’re infectious in the best possible way.
I hate being the party pooper in the room, but take off the rose-coloured glasses and smell the dead flowers.
Because your new relationship ego isn’t all sunshine and blissful happiness for you, or the people around you.
What’s this about a ‘new relationship ego’?
Most people know the euphoria I’m talking about in a new relationship.
It’s this hysteria that comes with meeting and spending time with someone you really like. It’s also the feeling that you don’t know what is going to happen, what’s possible, what might come from this union.
The honeymoon period.
But with the euphoria comes this armour you metaphorically put around you. Most people don’t even know they’re doing it, which I will address later in the piece.
It’s this halo that surrounds your life now your hormones and relationship dopamine are at an all-time high. You believe, from your own sense of happiness, you’re untouchable.
You’re at maximum confidence. And you’re an impenetrable force.
Yet, this doesn’t come with issues.
Problem #1: Friendship fatality
Hands up, who has had a friend ditch them for a new partner? I’m sure almost everyone has answered yes. And if you haven’t, you’re one of the lucky ones. You have some good friends around you.
I’m not shocked this happens. When you start dating someone, your life becomes consumed by this new relationship. Of course, there is the logic why. It’s because:
- You may be in the midst of supreme partner hunting and you’re trying to make it work for the sake of your goal
- You really like this person and want to invest time in getting to know them
- You feel interested in this person and know the fastest way to decide if you like them is to invest time into getting to know them
- You want to show them how invested you are in the new relationship, and that you’re approaching it seriously
But despite all the logical reasons for feeling consumed by the new relationship, this often results in:
- Your friends feel neglected, even if they aren’t being
- You actually neglecting your friends
- Friends giving up on your friendship because you’ve “changed”
- Friend disagreeing with your choice of a new relationship and walking away
- Friends becoming fed up that they aren’t first in your life anymore
This is an issue facing most new relationships, despite the ego, by the way.
Despite that, you may have everything under control and prioritise both sides of your life fairly and friends still walk away. And claim you have an ego.
You can’t please everybody.
Problem #2: Inability to see red flags
The new relationship ego is a possessive state of mind. It often consumes your ability to make rational, logical choices about the world.
More to the point, it can blind you to the obvious concerns of your new partner, rendering you unable to identify your new mate’s red flags. And all the reasons you should run from this relationship before it’s too late.
This ego renders us stupid, compared to our single selves.
As the red flags stack up, we ignore all warning signs because the euphoric state is too all too consuming.
What we have to be careful about is becoming trapped. The red flags stick around, but the new relationship ego doesn’t. We could find ourselves:
- In a relationship with someone who is completely wrong for us
- In a relationship that people have warned us against, effectively alienating people who were trying to help
- In a situation that you can’t get out of as easily as you would hope
- Experiencing a crash of emotions from the eventual letdown of the ego
- Jaded by love and the dating experience
Problem #3: You can achieve anything (but you can’t)
When your endorphins are surging through your body, you feel you can do anything. You’re like The Incredible Hulk, and the world needs to stand aside as you conquer it.
The new relationship ego thrives on endorphins. And just like the feeling after smashing your personal best in the gym, you feel like you can do anything. You think:
- You can start a new business
- You can change careers
- You can push your body and mind further than what’s possible
- Take on more responsibilities
- Take on more emotional hardship
Be careful of the new relationship ego’s grip on your reality. Whilst you can set out to achieve great things whilst your endorphins are at an all-time high, remember that:
- Your time hasn’t actually changed — There are only 24 hours in a day, not any extra, and you only have so much time to give.
- Your energy doesn’t change — You live so much off the adrenaline of the unknown with your new partner, you can easily crash when the excitement wears off.
- You only have so much money — Now is not the time to make major financial investments with money you don’t have. Don’t let the temporary emotion fuel a permanent and unchangeable decision.
Problem #4: You think you’re better than others
This is a contentious and not always hard and fast rule of the relationship ego. But some people wear their newfound relationship like a badge of honour. They suddenly believe they are:
- Better than other people around them
- Have the best relationship ever — If you were ranking all relationships, theirs would win gold.
- Have a better life compared to single people looking for love
- Have a better life than people in “stale marriages”
- The person everyone wants to be — Everyone is envious of your honeymoon romance.
This is the ultimate dilemma with egos. You can see how this list could frustrate and upset people in your life. Even people you don’t know, too.
It’s wonderful to feel like you’re on top. But you can’t think your new relationship is special. It’s time like this you need to remember:
- You’re not the only one in the new relationship phase
- You’re not the only one feeling some sort of euphoria (not necessarily about relationships)
- This isn’t a competition — Life isn’t about beating other people
- You’re only setting yourself up for failure — If the relationship doesn’t work out, you feel excessively deflated because you no longer feel like you’re “winning”
Problem #5: The dilemma of going the other way
Let’s be real here. Losing friends and failing to see the red flags of a new lover isn’t exactly rocket science information about love.
We’ve either been there or seen it happen to someone we know. We’re fools for love like that.
This is where most people trip and the new relationship ego takes hold more than we give it credit for. Because we’re wary of our friends disappearing or ignoring red flags, we go hard the other way.
- Make our friends too big of a priority during the initial dating phase, effectively ignoring our new lover and making them guess how into them we are
- Only finding red flags and not being able to see what’s good about the person we’re dating
This will be the only time I say this during this piece. Sometimes your relationship ego is a good thing, and worth embracing.
I say this because if you resist this wonderful and emotionally engaging time in your dating life, you might miss out on a special person. You’re doing this all for the sake of avoiding getting hurt. You’re trying to:
- Avoid getting yourself hurt
- Hurting your friends and family in the process
- Avoid a situation you think you might one day not want to be any more
- Live by assumptions about a relationship you’re not even invested in
It’s this idea of living by the new relationship in extremes. You lean too hard one way or the other.
In the end, the only person you’re making miserable is yourself.
Life is about balance, after all.
Don’t let the new relationship ego unsettle your stability.
This post was previously published on medium.com.
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