Cheers Sexy People!
I have a confession to make. Sometimes I suck at compersion… even though I write this polyamorous blog. Well, hey I partly write this blog to work out my angst or occasional problems with an audience for both feedback, but also in an effort to hopefully help others at the same time with their similar issues. So yes, I am human. I’m not perfect. And sometimes I just plain, old suck at compersion. (sometimes, I’m doing pretty well too. I’ve been doing this poly thing for almost four years now, and I’ve learned a thing or two).
Compersion, for those that may be late to the party is defined normally as the opposite of jealousy. It is the feeling of joy at your partner’s happiness with another person. Joy at their joy (with another). For me, on the intellectual side of things, I believe in the relationship style of polyamory, and loving more than one person at a time, openly and consensually (vs. cheating and lying). I’m on board. I’m down with the program. Bring it.
However, there are moments that are difficult. Challenging. Sometimes for me it has to do with affection. If I see one of my sweeties getting super cuddly, adorable and smoochy with another, sometimes it makes my skin crawl. There, I said it. I know I shouldn’t feel that, even in the moment. But sometimes it’s hard to control. Whether it’s from our conditioning from society that we’re immediately supposed to feel threatened or jealous, or whether it’s from a knee-jerk fear of loss of your beloved, or whether it’s my upbringing (non-affectionate parents, so affection felt “scarce” growing it up and I want it all for ME now), who knows.
Sometimes it feels like an inner turmoil, a tug of war. The intellectual side of me knows I am theoretically cool with it, and should be as a self-proclaimed, polyamorous woman. But emotions are tricky, reactions can be hard to unlearn. Old habits and beliefs can be deep down in our psyches. Actually, some for me I feel is related to light post traumatic stress (from my parents passing away, almost losing my beau to two previous monogamous girlfriends, “losing” some of my friends to mommy hood… I don’t want to lose anybody else). Again, the “intellectual me” knows that CHANGE (and death ironically in this conversation) and taxes are the only things we know of for sure in this life. Thus we need to learn to ADAPT, to roll with it, to LISTEN and to not make assumptions. But how many things in life are easier said than done, eh? Sure as shit, quite alot I find.
So how do I handle it in those moments? Well for one, I catalogued some of my methods here. But also, here are some more:
- Run away. I’m not kidding. I’m an adult – but I have bad days or bad moods or bad moments. If I truly think that I cannot handle (WELL, at least) seeing something or dealing with a particular event, I will simply leave the room, or the house, or wherever. I don’t care if that makes me sound immature. It’s a coping mechanism. And when I need it, I am going to use it, just like any other tool in the toolbox.
- I remind myself that by my beloved finding happiness and joy in another, they will then bring that happiness and joy back to me. Happy begets happy. Also, I obviously want my sweeties to be happy (not alone, sad or depressed). So, yay, they are getting some happy!
- I try to remember that we live in a world of abundance (not scarcity). Love is not like a bank account where when one person gets love and affection, it is therefore taken away from somewhere else. It can multiply instead. Time is limited, sure. So we need to make sure we are getting proper quality time with our sweeties. So, yes, make sure your needs are getting met. But that doesn’t mean other people can’t also get their needs met too, in a poly type of situation.
- Sometimes, I just take a deep breath, look down at the rings on my fingers, and smile to myself. Everything is OK. I read my first self-help book at the age of seven (I was a weird kid). It was “I’m OK. You’re OK.” Alot of the book was about “acting as if” everything is cool. Sometimes, I just pretend. And eventually, it starts to feel just fine, little by little.
- I go grab a smooch or a hug from my sweetie too! It’s extra, super awesome when they are with a date, but initiate coming over to me to offer reassurance also. But if they don’t and I need something, then I go grab a hug / smooch at an opportune moment. Take responsibility for yourself and your needs, as long as you’re not stepping on anyone’s toes.
- Sit quietly with yourself and really try to pinpoint what exactly is bothering you. Is it something that you can handle on your own, or do you need to talk something out or make a request of some kind to feel either reassured or connected again, etc.? Which brings me to…
- Know when to communicate. If there is something that needs to be talked about, such as if resentment is building, then talk it out before it festers. I realize this is happening a bit for me right now. My beau doesn’t want to try to explain polyamory to his old school family with traditional values, and thus doesn’t want to introduce me as his married girlfriend – I am just a friend and we can’t be affectionate in front of them. But if he’s got a single sweetie, he can introduce them as his girlfriend to his family if he wants to. There is a part of that that I understand as we have not “come out” to every single person in our lives. But there is a part of that that ticks me off. Maybe nothing has to change, but I may need to vent about it… like maybe tonite. 🙂
In my quest for answers, I found the following articles that I thought had good nuggets of information in them. This first one focuses on compersion:
This article touches on the seven deadly sins of a relationship, including resentment. Great stuff in here:
I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Any other suggestions, coping mechanisms, advice or anecdotes to share? Sharing is caring afterall!
Wishing you peace, love and happiness,
(and thrilling, fun sex too!)