This post will be short and sweet. I’d like to write my thoughts on compersion. This is an emotion popularly lauded in polyamory circles. It is described almost like ice cream rewarded for a hard day’s drudgery. And in my experience, it honestly seems like people attempt to force it or fake it, insisting that it’s what they are feeling.
Perhaps this is because it is one of the few tangible benchmarks of an emotionally healthy open relationship. So being honest with yourself and where you (and your partners) are at is the only way to assess what work you need to do to actually make your relationship successful.
Most understand that compersion means something along the lines of “a new relationship is making your partner happy, which makes you happy,” but it is much more than that, much deeper. If, in your mind, your greatest love having a new partner will ultimately be to your detriment, that is called altruism; you’re not a martyr.
I challenge instead that compersion is intricately linked with selfishness. I don’t support the notion of the myth of altruism, there IS such thing as a selfless good deed. Instead I’m talking about a more positive connotation of selfishness, often described as self-love.
Compersion further means:
-You feel safe in the love you feel from both of them
-Your relationship is stronger because new love has been added. You’ve lost nothing.
While giving compersion can create inner peace, receiving it can be overwhelming.
Many see compersion as an uphill battle to conquer with a dragon to slay at the top. Your partner IS a part of this process. This is no situation where they do what they want and it’s up to you to be happy about it.
What are the hindrances to compersion? I’m actually going to propose a silver bullet solution: trust. If you trust that the person your partner is with has your best interest in mind, and honestly, has compersion for you, then it is so much easier to reciprocate. If you trust your partner to maintain boundaries and dynamics if someone is being competitive with you…If you trust yourself to have the confidence to hold your OWN boundaries
Common advice to developing compersion is to meet the other person, and I couldn’t agree more. But the value of that is more than humanizing, it’s establishing a personal rapport with the person who shares your love. Empathy is critical to understanding that we all want and need love. You’ve embraced this lifestyle for a reason.
Is compersion necessary? For a healthy relationship: yes. There are many proponents of monogamish relationships, or polyamory light, or whatever. “My poly is okay, your poly is okay.” These ideas seek to validate the notion that you really don’t have to do self work if you aren’t happy. I disagree. If you are struggling, it’s time to look inward. Perhaps the dynamics of the relationship aren’t healthy. Maybe you don’t have good boundaries. Or maybe you are just jealous, and that needs to be worked through. This blog is designed not to placate negative emotions, but to push the highest ideals of what we can achieve through love. And compersion is an important part of that.
Enjoy! And love each other!