Last night my partner had a friend, a possible lover, over to stay the night. At the moment I am languishing in northern Ontario as we await bureaucratic benediction for me to emigrate to the States. As such I had an opportunity to examine my feelings and think about compersion.
For those who don’t know compersion is a term coined to express the feeling one has for their romantic partner’s other intimate relationships. It has been called the opposite of jealousy. A feeling of warmth and joy that seems almost impossible to comprehend by mainstream society. I have felt it in the past and it is a wonderful feeling. What did I feel last night though? To the thought that someone I love absolutely would be having sex with someone else. What was I feeling?
That sounds harsh and cold, it’s not. Let me explain. If your partner told you she was going out with her friends for a stitch and bitch (which mine has) would you be ecstatic and filled with joy? No, you would say “have a good time” and watch Netflix while she was away. That’s what I felt (and spent the night watching Deep Space 9). All I was curious about was whether she had a good time.
Does this mean I never feel compersion anymore. No. If she contacted me to tell me how great she felt, how deeply in love she felt, if she was gushing with giddy affection then I would share in it. That is compersion and I would feel it.
I also felt some jealousy, or more accurately envy. I haven’t seen my love in person since April and it’s likely I won’t be with her for several more months. I wanted to be the one with her last night. I miss her.
Polyamory is so weird for most people. The idea of feeling happy for their partner’s other intimate relationships or indifference to their sexual adventures is so completely foreign to the general population. It’s just a matter of perspective and shaking off societal conditioning. Not an easy thing to do.
Relationships are playgrounds for exploring emotions. I look forward to more opportunities to explore.