I think compersion is overrated. There. I said it. There’s nothing in the poly world that has the potential to make me feel more inadequate than the concept of compersion.
Compersion as defined by Wikipedia (because, you know, it isn’t a word that has even made it into the dictionary, at least as far as I could find…):
Compersion is an empathetic state of happiness and joy experienced when another individual experiences happiness and joy…..It is commonly used to describe when a person experiences positive feelings when a lover is enjoying another relationship. It is an opposite of jealousy.
In the poly world, compersion is touted as the end all, be all. As if it is the ultimate enlightened goal for each of us. We all know, jealousy is BAD and compersion is GOOD.
It’s a personal success, when I can feel pleasantly neutral about my partner wanting to spend time with another woman.
Here’s what I really think:
How you feel is completely separate from how you act.
Let me say it again.
First, feel your feelings. Second, choose your actions wisely, and thoughtfully… Even if your feelings and your choices are at odds.
You still get the poly points, gentle reader.
I had a jealousy flare-up a while ago. I was so jealous it made my teeth hurt. When my guy offered to not see her, if I asked him not to, I was stunned. Of course I wasn’t going to do that. I was just feeling my feelings. I’m generally proud of myself and the choices I make in my poly relationship. Asking him to not talk to a woman he might enjoy was not something I had ever considered.
Moral of this story?
You can do good poly, and never attain that ultimate state of compersion. Moreover, you can even feel jealousy (~gasp~) and still be a successful practitioner of healthy poly. Love yourself, love your people, and do your best.
This is all I can do, and it has to be enough.