I’m out of order?! No, you’re out of order. Your cats are out of order. The whole world is out of order and I’m the only ordered one in this chaos.
19. What are your thoughts/feelings on jealousy? On compersion?
The definitions I am using:
Jealousy: Jealousy denotes a feeling of resentment that another has gained something that one more rightfully deserves. Generally wanting that the other should not have that something.
Envy: Envy denotes a longing to possess something awarded, achieved, or received by another.
Compersion: The feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; feeling joy that one’s partner is sharing closeness with another person.
I think that jealousy, envy, and compersion are all natural – they exist in people, no matter how they choose or are oriented to have relationships. Some people say that they do not experience jealousy, envy, and/or compersion. Which is a-okay, but I tend to think that a lot of those cases are a matter of have not experienced it, rather than will not ever experience it. But who am I to doubt their lived experiences?
Within my relationships, jealousy itself is generally not a thing for me. I generally want all the people involved in relationships about me to be happy. I want them to have what makes them happy, as much as that is possible.
Envy is something I have to deal with in relationships – I want something that someone else has, whether than be a personal situation, time, act, or item that one of my metamours has or gets from our shared partner. This is one I have had to dig into quite a bit and I still struggle with, sometimes more often than others.
The podcast Polyamory Weekly gave me the greatest insight I ever got on dealing with envy. The discussion was between the main host and her metamour about how they nteracted within that relationship and their individual relationships with their shared partner. The main host notes that when she feels envy, she digs down into the feeling and figures out what is causing the envy, then asks her partner for whatever that is. The reasoning being that the worst answer she could get would be no – if she doesn’t ask then the answer might as well be no, but if she does ask, there is a chance that she could get what she wants. If it is a no, then there can be room for discussion and negotiation so that the host can get some of what she really wants.
I have tried to use this strategy when dealing with envy myself, and have, for the most part, seen great success with it. Weird how communication works, huh? The only time I have run into issues with it is cases where getting a “no” would feel far worse than not knowing if I would possibly get it; I weigh the benefits and costs and it comes out with a net cost that is unacceptable for me. These are few and far between – I have only had this come up twice in my life.
As for compersion…damn! I have not always experienced compersion – it is, for me, a learned way of feeling. When I can open my heart up, then a lot of joy and love comes in. This has not existed in all of my relationships when I had metamours. That is not to say that I did not like my metamours in those relationships. I did. I just did not get that extra bit of joy from that relationship. Which was what it was. I am glad to experience it now – I am often overjoyed.
Compersion does not exclude the presence of envy in that relationship, for me at least. Often it comes alongside it. It makes envy so much easier to deal with when it does pop up.