Jealousy vs. Compersion
Everyone already knows what jealousy is, some of us more intimately than others, but compersion is “a state of empathetic happiness and joy experienced when an individual’s current or former romantic partner experiences happiness and joy through an outside source, including, but not limited to, another romantic interest.” (taken from Wikipedia)
Other than the “that doesn’t work” knee-jerk reaction to polyamory or open relationships, the other excuse that gets automatically thrown out is “I could never do that. I’m far too jealous.”
Jealousy is most definitely a strong deterrent to even entertaining thoughts of an open relationship. Believe me, if you had told me 10 years ago that I would be in a polyamorous marriage with my husband, I would’ve told you that you were certifiably insane. After all, I’m a triple Scorpio: highly possessive and intensely jealous by nature. Throw in some serious self-esteem issues and an crippling fear of abandonment and I was the last person anyone (including me) thought would end up in an open relationship. But here I am! Happily polyamorous and talking about it publicly, no less.
Do I still get jealous? You better fucking believe it.
Is it as crippling as it used to be? Not usually.
The root of jealousy is fear. Fear of abandonment. Fear that your loved one will find someone better, smarter, sexier, more awesome, more whatever. The problem with those fears is that they are all inside the jealous person. No amount of reassurance from your beloved on its own will quell those fears. You must take responsibility for your own fears and express them to your SO without making them solely responsible for those fears. Your partner in life, spouse or otherwise significant other, does have a responsibility for your heart as you do theirs, but ultimately that responsibility lies within yourself. They can support and reassure and earn your trust, but they can’t quell those fears on their own. It’s a team effort.
The death of jealousy begins in honesty and trust. Remember the formula for building trust:
Words + Supporting Action + Reliability Over Time = TRUST
Once that trust is in place. Once you are able to say anything to your partner and they to you. Once you talk openly, honestly, and frequently, that jealousy begins to die. The love deepens past that you could’ve ever imagined, loving your partner so completely if for no other reason that they love you so completely for who you are.
It’s not an easy place to get to. It’s not luck. It’s not luxury. It’s months and years of work, sometimes tears, and intense vulnerability. It’s believing in yourself and in your partner. It’s believing in you as a couple. It’s knowing without a shadow of a doubt that the two of you will get through anything because you are a team. You’ve done the work. You’ve established a firm foundation of trust and honesty, and nothing will break that apart, certainly not sex with someone new. Sex is wonderful, but sex is sometimes just sex. Although sometimes it is sex and love, which can feel a bit more threatening, but it’s really not because once you get to that point with your primary partner, you also deeply realize that love is not finite.
Love breeds love.
Desire breeds desire.
And you will find yourself loving your partner even more, even when you thought that wouldn’t be possible, because they love you for who you really are, not who they think you are…not who they want you to be, but for YOU. And you love them the exact same way. From this place of deep love and trust, a sexual encounter or even a satellite relationship takes on a whole new meaning. It is more love for your beloved! It is allowing them to feel desired and be pleased by another person…because they deserve as much love and desire and fulfillment that they can handle.
Because you love them that deeply.
And that’s compersion.
You are happy that they are happy. You are thrilled that they had a new experience, felt the rush of desire in a first kiss all over again, enjoyed being touched only the way a new lover can touch…etc. Then they can come home and tell you about it, or not, and love you even more for allowing them both freedom and security. And you get the same from them. It’s really rather beautiful.
Compersion trumps jealousy every time because love always trumps fear, if you can find the courage to let it.
~ by omgrey on November 16, 2011.
Posted in Romance & Relationships
Tags: abandonment, author, compersion, fear, healing, honesty, jealousy, love, non-monogamy, o.m. grey, olivia grey, open, open marriage, passion, polyamory, postaweek2011, relationship advice, relationships, romance, sex