Poly Is Not Compersion (Poly Is Not, Part XVIII)

Poly Is Not Compersion (Poly Is Not, Part XVIII)

“Compersion is such a warm, beautiful sensation. It really is a shame that non-polyamorous people don’t get to experience it, at least not the way we do.”

Wait, whut?

Oh, FFS. this is bullshit. I mean, c’mon! You think that poly people or the ethically non-monogamous are the ONLY people who get to feel this?

Are you THAT desperate to feel superior to others through your lifestyle choices?

Gosh, I hope not.

I hope you just don’t understand what compersion is, how it works, and it’s limitations, and we can clear this all up with a quick explanation.

Yes, I do love to see my partner getting sexually happified.

I REALLY like it! I fucking love it, in fact. I whore Pet out for exactly that reason to my friends, because I get DOUBLE compersion: His happiness at pleasing, their happiness at being pleased.

AND, I get to lay back and be lazy, read a book, watch, play with someone else, or (YASSSSS!): Nap.


That is sexual compersion.

You’re right. Most monogamous people will not experience that.

But that’s not the totality of compersion.

For his 50th birthday year, my Pet got to travel overseas and push himself athletically in ways he’s always dreamed of in terrain seemingly taken out of paradise.

I didn’t go.

But I was ecstatic for him. Thrilled. His pleasure and enthusiasm was a joy to me.

That is adventure compersion.

I know two people in love.

I saw them last night. People I’ve not seen in MONTHS. They had good news, they were glowingly happy together, and it made me “SQUEE!” inside.

They had so much good news, it lifted me up.

I was joyous for them, and I told them I was so happy to see them so much in love.

That is emotional compersion.

Every single one of these things is compersion. It’s essentially empathy (or compassion) + joy, and every human CAN experience it.

Even the monogamous sorts.

Oh, and while we’re discussing compersion…

Compersion is not an antidote for jealousy.

Don’t let people tell you it is, or try to tell you if you just “compersion” hard enough, you’ll never be jealous again.

Shit don’t work that way.

At least not for most.

Because let me tell you, every human I know is perfectly capable of being both happy for someone AND jealous or envious.

It’s human nature.

We are dichotomies, struggling within ourselves.

So, you might feel compersion.

And you might feel jealousy. Or envy.

(What’s the difference? Here’s a writing about all that.)

And feeling both is OK. Feeling crappy feelings is OK. Feeling jealousy or envy or sadness EVEN while you feel compersion is OK.

And if you are the sort for whom compersion TOTALLY negates jealousy, then AWESOME! Just be aware that’s not how it works for everyone.

And, there are poly people who don’t feel much, if any compersion. They are not wired that way.


Successful poly does not rely on compersion.

Ethical non-monogamy is not compersion. Compersion is not ethical non-monogamy.

That’s why they are different words.

And they are not even synonyms.

And yet, someone the other day, said:

“Poly is feeling happy for your partners’ happiness.”

And a while back:

“Poly is compresion [sic]. Period.”

No. No, it’s not.

And if you’re new to poly, well, then you may want to practice your compersion, because it may make life more fun for you. It may help you find more joy for yourself in your partners and friends.

And if you’re totally monogamous, you may want to practice your compersion, because it may make life more fun for you. It may help you find more joy for yourself in your partners and friends.


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