There is a word that your hear regularly in the poly community – compersion – which describes the empathetic happiness experienced when another individual experiences happiness and joy. It’s often used in the context of being happy that your partner is happy in a sexual relationship with someone other than you. It is often described as the opposite of jealousy.
I have several problems with this (other than the fact that I do not self-describe as poly).
1) First, sexual jealousy is a deep feeling of insecurity over a person that you regarded as your own sexual property and something happened which made you feel un-certain and caused you to feel deeply insecure and / or angry. Therefore the opposite of jealousy would be a feeling of security, certainty and calmness over the nature of your sexual property.
2) If compersion is the happiness you feel about somebody else’s happiness then its opposite would be schadenfreude – a German loan word meaning the happiness experienced at the pain or misfortune of others.
3) Let’s look at the definition of the word love. Regular Sex 3.0 readers know that the pure form definition of love is insanely simple and can be stated in one sentence – love is the deep emotional need for the well-being of another. If love is the deep emotional need for the well-being of another then the word compersion is not at all necessary. Being happy that somebody you care about is happy is exactly what love is.
Feel sad or angry when you hear about other guys or girls that your fenced partner has been with in the past or your unfenced partner is with currently? Guess what that means? It means that you don’t love them. It means that you are using them for something. Using them for what? To feel certain? For security? To quell the scarcity mentality that you have towards love or sex? To provide you with kids? To avoid feeling lonely? To get laid? For calm your fear of being alone?
YOU DON’T LOVE THEM, YOU ARE USING THEM.
You cannot love them if you cannot be happy that they experience pleasure. You certainly cannot love them if the idea that they experienced pleasure (without you) makes you miserable or sad or angry.
Why would you experience pain when then are happy if you feel a deep emotional need for their well-being? That does not make sense.
Why would you experience pain when they are happy? Perhaps because now you are in a position whereby their dependency on you is lessened? Maybe this threatens your ego and the power structure that you wish to maintain? How can I have power if they are not dependent on me for feeling good? If that persists then I might be left alone!
Maybe you believe that you cannot possibly attain or keep security or love without control. If that is what you believe then that is perfectly understandable and I am not going to judge you for it.
After all, we are all born into a sex 2.0 world and that is exactly what we’re taught our entire lives. In fact that is the prevalent belief system that has been promoted globally for the last 10,000 years since the dawn of Sex 2.0. However there is hope.
It doesn’t matter if a cave has been in darkness for 10,000 years or half an hour, once you light a match it is illuminated – Yogananda
It is time to recognise it for what it is – it is just a belief – nothing more. Beliefs are just things that you get hold of (or they get hold of you) which means you can let go of them (or shrug them off).
How do you as an individual let it go? How do you let go of a hot plate which is burning your hand? You just let it go. As soon as you realise it’s hurting you, letting it go should be an automatic reaction.
Failure to do so can result in a suffocating kind of love. One in which control issues and neediness rise to the surface and stop the relationship from breathing and flourishing naturally. One in which a balance between togetherness and individuality is impossible because self interest and personal agenda always tips the scales.
One in which jealousy and possessiveness reign.
One in which fear becomes your god instead of love. One in which fighting your own personal demons becomes more far more important to you that a genuine desire for the well-being and happiness of your partner.
A toxic soup for relationships if ever there ever was one.
Further Reading : An invitation for 2013