Compersion over Jealousy in Polyamory

Crushed Under the Fifth Wheel

Letter from a reader! Oooh, this is exciting, we’re getting intimate and interactive! Here it goes:

“I’m perplexed when an acquired third partner begins expressing possessive or jealous feelings after a few months into sexual relations. I am interested in hearing from others and if they find this a common problem and how they deal with it.”

I have something to say!

There is no real norm in my polyamorous relationship life. It’s a word that is nearly as infinite as “Love” itself. (Well, it approaches the territory with grand aspirations and great open space, even if it never makes it to that highest precipice.)

I was part of a trifecta of angels, all three of which had different approaches to sharing me as a lover, yet were all wonderfully compatible together, in every aspect: emotionally, intellectually, sexually, socially, and spiritually. There was NOT ONE argument, NOT ONE expression of jealousy, and NOT ONE instance of insecurity and fear from one of them being more possessive than the other two. There was a guy who ended up coming into the situation, and he didn’t even disrupt anything we all had established. Eventually, one of my lovers decided she wanted to have a child with that lover of hers, and she maturely, respectfully and clearly communicated this desire with me, to which I fully supported, admired, and understood. So when three lovers became two lovers and a friendly couple with a newborn that eventually became no lovers (due to one of them living far away, and the other deciding to concentrate harder on a post-secondary career), I did not cry, and I was not jealous or sad of any of the changes or evolutions we had.

I truly believe that jealousy is a disease that is taught to us by unhealthy minds in a possessive, capitalist, marketing and promotions-heavy culture that sees everything as a commodity to be hoarded, controlled and manipulated, if not outright exploited and extorted for all it is worth… whether it’s a relationship with a woman/man, a bargain on a new car or flat screen TV, or any other desired adult toy. I don’t subscribe to any theory that supports the notion that “humans are jealous by nature”, because it’s not something I feel in my emotional experience. I NEVER ask people to reduce their connections or relations, no matter how close I am to the people involved. I NEVER desire the lovers I am sharing myself with polyamorously to choose to not be with other people, whether I like the other person or not. I NEVER wake up six months into a polyamorous relationship and suddenly start feeling like “Oh, this has to change. I’ve been letting her be too free, and now she has to only have sex with me…” I NEVER feel like the guy who doesn’t want other guys looking at “my girl”, ultimately.

I ALWAYS feel like “how can I spread Love amongst people?” I ALWAYS feel the desire to know the lovers in my life are having LOTS of (SAFE) and satisfying and fulfilling sex when they are not with me and when they are with me!

It’s not essential to feel jealousy. It’s not a must to be envious of others. It’s NOT a sign of a healthy relationship if you feel like “you have to make sure someone else doesn’t stray from your awareness, mentally, emotionally or especially physically/sexually.” These notions are cancerous concepts that may have been more widespread in our parents and grandparents VERY MONOGAMOUS, very traditional, very conservative, very structured and nuclear family-inspired intimacy/emotional/sexual framework, and may have served some vaguely positive or semi-functional purpose in the early 80s. These days, we are far too enlightened to continue pretending something as selfish as jealousy could be good for your polyamorous dreams, fantasies, and goals.

And yes, there WILL be changes of emotion over time. You will probably feel stronger for your partner and partners as you share and balance each other’s time and energy, and continue sharing bodies and souls. You WILL get deeper feelings of connection… that hopefully don’t crustify into attachment. Allow freedom, allow truth, allow fearlessness inside, always. And yes, you will have to re-negotiate some things sometimes, whether sexually, socially, or internally emotionally. But this is all part of the fun of Big Love!

In a world where many of us polyamorists are former monogamists/failed marriage escapees/serial dating ex-convicts/traditional relationship avoiders, it’s to be expected that some lingering traces of the monogamous world might sometimes sprinkle itself into the new path you are trying to walk and infect your aspirations to be jealousy-free and compersion-friendly.

I don’t want to give you the impression that polyamory is entirely different than monogamy, or that it’s this brand new perfect world that isn’t stuck in the monogamous dark ages of witch-burning and chattel slavery, heavens no! Ha ha. I’m just saying that polyamory has THE INFINITE POTENTIAL to solve ALL your, and all your lovers, jealousy problems, self-worth issues, egotistical and controlling power trips, unhealthy and unhappy emotional trappings, testing and mind game playing, and just generally show you a totally new way to make connections to people in our crazy lives within this crazy world.

Another word for compersion (the ANTI-JEALOUSY, aka “being happy for someone else’s happiness) is the word: “frubble”. It doesn’t have the same sweet ring to the ear to me.

And to answer your question directly: it’s been YEARS since my heart has experienced any form of fearful, insecure, freedom-limiting jealousy or envy the way the regular monogamous man (or woman) probably feels some jealous every time he (or she) walks down the street with his girlfriend (or boyfriend) that may be gazed upon admiringly by other men/women. The freedom this gives my mind and heart can not EVER be over-emphasized.

My name is Adhimu Stewart. I am a hardcore polyamorist, and I don’t practice patterns of possession, demands, inflexibility, aggressive insistence, brutal boundaries, or jealousy on any of the lovers, friends or family members in my life. People sometimes ask me “do you feel jealousy loving the way you do, Addi?” and I first have to laugh and remind myself what jealousy feels like, to remember that, NO, I don’t feel lover-controlling jealousy, and I haven’t felt it in probably fifteen years! I don’t own any woman or man, and I actually don’t even own myself! I am just renting/leasing this body until my spirit decides to fly elsewhere… so that’s why I don’t feel compelled to believe that any woman can be “MY girlfriend” like I own her and nobody else can touch her, upon penalty of something in the vicinity of death, or a similar fate, ha ha.

All that we can ever own from each other, are the memories we create together.

And being jealous over someone’s memories is a silly idea.

Just make some more beautiful ones together!

Always in love,
Addi Stewart

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