April 18, 2009


Posted in Uncategorized tagged , , , , , , , , at 12:37 pm by Kathleen

I am not sure about the etymology of the word “compersion”, but I can tell you that it is a word that is meant to describe the feelings of joy that you feel at your patner’s happiness. For example, when Michael returned from dates with Becky and was smiling and happy, that often made me happy for him in turn. Compersion.

I’ve heard compersion described as meaning the opposite of jealousy, but I am not sure if it is true. Actually, I’m not sure that it CAN be true. Can you feel two opposite feelings at the same time? I have certainly felt feelings of jealousy and compersion at the same time. I have heard others claim that this is impossible. If you are really happy for a person, how can you also feel jealous of the cause of that happiness. Logically, this makes perfect sense, but emotions often run a different path than logic.

What I do know is that the longer I practice PUTTING the feelings of compersion into myself, imagining Michael with a partner and forcing myself to smile through the daydream, the more it really does make me smile when he talks about a pretty girl or a co-worker with a great laugh. In truth these little things never bothered me, but now I would be perfectly okay with encouraging him to take things to the next step.  Compersion has been a learned feeling for me as much as a natural one, and it is something that is really hard to feel without the open nature of poly. I guess it is one more thing to feel thankful for.





  1. Adam said,

    So, I’m very new to poly. Six months into my first poly relationship and I still have to fight through knee jerk jealous reactions more than I’d like.

    Something I’ve learned, though, is that it is entirely possible to feel two irreconcilable emotions about the same thing…in fact, this is called ambivalence; so it is entirely possible to feel jealousy and compersion at the same time. For me, this is because it does make me happy to see my partner happy, and as such this is an “outward” emotion, one that is not for myself, as much as for my partner. The jealousy on the other hand, is something that comes from me. It is my own insecurities and my own anger and whatever else contributes to it. Jealousy is rarely about another person as it is a manifestation of an inner turmoil. At least for me. Just my two cents I guess…..

  2. Kathleen said,

    Thank you for your comment, Adam, you’re quite right. And congratulations on the new relationship. Good luck!

  3. Hmmm…I like this word. Since I’m not a poly- I’ll simply think of it in terms of being happy for my loved ones whenever they’re happy. Gaining joy through their joy. 🙂

  4. Kathleen said,

    Isn’t it a pretty one?

  5. Luis Fernando Rodriguez Angel said,

    Hi Kathleen,

    Through a process that started back in August, my wife and I have finally arrived at compersion. I have always deemed myself as the monogamous type but when my wife came out as a lesbian most of my inner self was shattered. I say most because I also deem myself as quite open and liberal. Reading and researching polyamorism I have found reflief and inspiration. I have now agreed and furthermore supported my wife to retake her lesbian past and live a new relationship without obstacles. She has a girlfriend but we continue happily married. What I find difficult is the mood swings I experience from anxiety/ jealousy to joy/compersion. Could you please help me? Many thanks.


    • Kathleen said,

      Hi Luis,

      I’m a little confused as to how your marriage can continue happily if your wife is a lesbian and, by definition, uninterested in relations with you. Can you share a little more about your situation and your arrangement?

      • Luis said,

        Hi Kathleen,
        I am ever so thankful for your p[rompt reply. I am really anguished because things are moving quickly eventhough I have pushed them forward. When I say happily married it is because we still love each other profoundly, we have had sex ocassionally and she holds an bisexual side still hanging in her. She kept this secret for 15 years and since things unveiled she has been more affectionate, cuddly and happy. I told her that I will support her in her quest for her gay fulfilment, her lesbian joy. We are all afraid but it is only through embracing polyamorism that a relationship that so far we want to continue, can survive this change. Her sexualioty is inclined towards women but we have a very close and important bond, as well as a husband-wife relationship. Any tips?

      • Kathleen said,


        I would advise talking to her. Tell her how you feel, not in an accusing way, but to seek understanding. Most likely she will want to comfort you through the hard times. Think about your relationship with your wife – if it is not being affected in a negative way by her other relationships, then it might be easier to think positively about it. Tell her what you want and need, and enlist her help in achieving some emotional balance. Good luck.

      • Luis said,

        Kathleen you are an absolute star, an angel! I’ll follow your advice and hope for the best. Many thanks.


  6. teahead said,

    I’m currently in a triad with my wife and girlfriend. I get a great deal of compersion from seeing my wife with our GF and also hearing of flings with other men (ok, its kind of an open triad with my wife only) but I just wish she had the same thing for me. She gets a little jealous sometimes if I show a little too much affection to our GF. I wish she wouldnt bc our gf is more into my wife than me, which I’m fine with, but it can be a bit irritating.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: