“I want to love you wildly. I don’t want words, but inarticulate cries, meaningless, from the bottom of my most primitive being, that flow from my belly like honey. A piercing joy, that leaves me empty, conquered, silenced.” ~ Anais Nin
The Urban Dictionary defines “compersion” as a feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship.
Compersion can be thought of as the opposite of jealousy, a positive emotional reaction to a loved one’s other relationship.
In a non-sexual situation, it would be the type of joy that one would feel for a sibling or child or friend who embarked on a satisfying relationship with a new partner.
I’ve read that compersion is a new concept, although I cannot agree: the word itself might be new to our modern lexicon, but the concept and execution of it is hardly a discovery.
For most, compersion is a wacky concept—“I couldn’t do it…why would you do it anyway?” is a normal emotional reaction.
Normally, if one’s partner were to find another, we would feel jealousy. It’s natural—or should I say, we are conditioned—to feel set aside, hurt, cheated on or not enough. Therefore, most of the time a secondary relationship to our main one is normally conducted in secret.
But I’d like to explore the concept of compersion as it applies to couples who knowingly and joyfully engage in secondary relationships. Although it probably seems far fetched, I encourage you to think about what it would be like to feel joy for your partner were they to engage in an authentic relationship with another person?
Are we as a society that is ready to embrace non-traditional relationships? Can we set aside our egos and insecurities to fully find joy in our lover’s emotional and sexual journeys?
From the very beginning of our lives, we are conditioned towards ownership and attachment. It’s almost subconscious. We push stuffed toys and blankets on our little ones and even take pride in the way they become attached to them.
Although we are taught to share our earthly possessions, the thought of sharing our relationships are is mostly out of the normal realm of thought.
In the past, a marriage contract included some essence of ownership. There was security in knowing whom one belonged to.
Of course, it was the women who were property and whose fidelity was valued.
Most relationships still function on the expectation that we could not allow room for exploration beyond the confines of the twosome.
I am fascinated by this idea of compersion—so much so that I have written an entire novel based on polyamory.
I am speaking to you about it from a position of having practiced compersion myself.
My partner and I have long found the idea of experiencing love on an expanded level soul-fulfilling. Our relationship is based on great emotional, spiritual and physical intimacies.
When we look at each other, we see a human being who is infinitely capable of love.
We strive not to own each other but to experience an unconditional awe of the others existence.
Any one of our close friends could attest to the fact that if we seek to experience someone outside of our relationship it’s because of a desire to first, fulfill my need of a female lover and secondly, to understand each other on a level that would not be possible within the confines of a traditional marriage.
We’re seeking a spiritual intimacy through an unconventional pathway.
Let’s be clear, nothing is missing, there is no shortage of spice, we simply love each other without borders. There is such freedom in this that, often, we are accused of hermiting together, choosing to stay in for long stretches in only each others company.
In true freedom, there is incredible stability.
There’s no ownership in our relationship unless it’s a game we play. Honesty? Yes. Loyalty in other forms? Of course.
We are enough.
Compersion is like a feast for the spirit.
Every now and again, we long for that joy that comes when we see the other person loving someone else.
Compersion—there is nothing like it.
I am best at illustrating what I mean in story form. And so I share with you an example of compersion as written below.
In an expanded emotional state, we can be free to share our love with joy.
You watched her with eyebrow raised. Coffee cup in your sun kissed hands, your face a study in rugged beauty. I know that she was arrested by your sinful lips. I am arrested by your sinful lips.
You’ve always had a look that spoke of elegance and utter control. The wicked wind blew her scent to our table and you passed a hand through your hair as she approached; pushing its length away from your face, your tongue slipped out and you wet your lips.
Hungry. That was your signal. You were hungry.
She approached, staring into your eyes. a dare of a smile playing at her lips.
“Hello.” She said, as if she knew you, as if we had planned this and she was to have breakfast with us.
You stood and took her hand, then turning, you introduced me to her. I blushed, tingling all over.
“This is my Celeste.”
You knew each other—well. It was unspoken, but unmistakable. You wanted her for me. My wild and ancient self, awoke. My instincts on fire.
“What is your name?” I whispered as she bent down to kiss my cheek.
But I knew her name of course; it was Temptress. She smelled of hyacinths and lilacs, a scent so feminine, so pure, it belied the dark of her solicitous soul.
“Would you like to sit?” I asked and motioned to the chair, breathless, aware of your keen eyes upon me.
I loved you fiercely in that instant. Thanked you silently for this gift of woman. The thing I cannot live without; the surrender of a stunning female at my feet. And you knew me so well.
Your joy hinged on mine, and your handsome face spoke it in volumes. Our trust in each other was the base of our adventure.
I longed to fall into the echo of her lust. To see your mouth take hers.
A day can stretch into eternity when one is thirsty for the normally forbidden.
You left me alone as I made preparations; to our bed, to my heart, to the space we needed to carve open so that she might fit into our love.
I knew that you were anticipating falling deep into the emotions you experienced when witnessing my happiness. And I yours. This was your spiritual gift to me, the meeting of three souls with only love and joy present in every moment. If there was jealousy, I trusted you to share that cup of honesty with me.
The witch that I am wanted to hand her a brew of persimmon tea; to lay her naked on my bed and massage her intimately with oils of my choosing.
A bowl of blackberries from the hedgerow sat on the table. I thought of feeding them to her and lashing my tongue against hers so I could taste Nature through her. But you handed her a joint rolled tight and a glass of wine when she arrived that night, her black dress a simple backdrop to her luminescence.
She sat at the edge of the chair; head flung back, mouth looking for kisses, her hair knotted in your hand.
You watched me, so confident, as my mouth made its way to hers. You watched me drown. Drift away from you on a current of bliss.
Your eyes lit up with pleasure, my happiness yours, my experience your reward.
But I knew that where the river spilled into the ocean, you would be waiting for me, and tomorrow or one day, I would be only yours once more.
I believe that with compersion as the intention, such love can be a mindful experience for all involved.
“Letting go gives us freedom, and freedom is the only condition for happiness. If, in our heart, we still cling to anything – anger, anxiety, or possessions—we cannot be free.”
Thích Nhất Hạnh.
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Author: Monika Carless
Editor: Renée Picard