Struggling To Practice Compersion With Metamour(s) This Valentine’s Day? Here’s 7 Ways To Master It.
Happy Valentine’s Day, lovers! Whilst we here at #open don’t need a capitalistic holiday to celebrate love, pleasure, connection and compersion (we do that every day!), we hope that you all are loved on a little extra today in all your amazingness and uniqueness.
I mean, can we just take a moment to honor the fact that you are actively choosing to relate with others in a way that uniquely supports you? That you are actively creating new frameworks for loving and being loved? Choosing to live a non-monogamous lifestyle in an ethical and authentic way, no matter its specific contours, deserves to be celebrated –– especially today, because Valentine’s Day often glorifies heteronormative and mononormative scripts for romantic love.
We know that trying to align your polycules’ schedule this week can be as complex as mapping out the Targaryen Family Tree. Perhaps you won’t be able to connect with all your honeys on this actual day and that can be challenging. This V-day, we invite you to welcome more compersion into your celebrations of love. Whilst compersion is by no means the magic potion of a happily ever after non-monogamous life, it can truly help all of your relationships and connections to grow, even if it can be challenging to embody sometimes.
So, what is Compersion? A Brief History
Compersion is a term that was first invented by the Kerista commune based in San Francisco (using a ouija board, how cool!?) in the early 1990s. Since then, compersion has become a core concept within the many variations of ethical non-monogamy that exist.
According to Dr. Marie Thouin on whatiscompersion.com, “compersion is our wholehearted participation in the happiness of others. It is the sympathetic joy we feel for somebody else, even when their positive experience does not involve or benefit us directly. Thus, compersion can be thought of as the opposite of jealousy and possessiveness.” Alike much of the terminology that refers to non-normative relationship styles, compersion can mean something different to whoever you ask.
Often when we feel threatened or jealous, it is because we don’t feel secure in ourselves for whatever reason. Doing the inner work to enhance our self-worth will naturally shift our relationship to jealousy.
In the context of Valentine’s Day, it might look like celebrating your partner receiving gifts and and loving words of affirmation from others. If you can’t physically be with someone you love on this day, it might look like finding joy in knowing that they are giving and receiving pleasure with another person(s) that they feel safe with and loved by.
How awesome is it that we, and those we love, can let that much love, connection and pleasure into our lives!? If knowing that your partner is fulfilling one of their kinkiest fantasies with another person makes you smile inside and out, you are rocking compersion, my friend!
Why is compersion such a great asset to healthy relationships, you ask? Firstly, compersion can help any relationship to thrive, not just in a non-monogamous dynamic. If you know that someone is genuinely happy when you follow your dreams or fulfill your desires, even if they are not directly involved, you feel unconditionally loved.
It’s the best feeling in the world when someone who loves you genuinely wants the best for you. It creates safety within the relationship that allows for honest communication and authentic expression of needs, wants and desires. Compersion strengthens relationships so that all involved can safely be who they are without having to withhold any part of themselves for fear of not being loved.
You can choose to swap consumerism for compersion for Valentine’s Day! Wouldn’t that be the greatest gift for all of your partners, lovers and friends? Here are some steps you can actively take to welcome more compersion, and in turn joy, into your life:
1. Explore your relationship to jealousy.
One of the first steps of welcoming more compersion into your relationship is to do some inner excavating of your internalized beliefs and values around jealousy love, intimacy, vulnerability and sexuality. Yep, every day is a school day in the ethically non-monogamous life, especially V-Day!
Often when we feel threatened or jealous, it is because we don’t feel secure in ourselves for whatever reason. Doing the inner work to enhance our self-worth will naturally shift our relationship to jealousy. Strengthening your intimate relationship with yourself first and foremost will lay the groundwork for experiencing compersion in your other relationships.
2. Cultivate safety within your relationships
Feeling safe within your relationships is a key element of truly being able to welcome compersion and be happy for a loved one without feeling insecure. Honest communication, trust and feeling valued within a connection are the building blocks that make us feel secure enough to feel empathetic happiness for someone we love without it affecting how we feel about ourselves.
Make sure you schedule in time for fun, pleasure and connection with your loved one to fortify your relationship. When we feel safe and valued in a connection, we are far less likely to experience jealousy when they are in love with / getting to know someone else.
3. Communication is Key
Communication is the literal foundation of being ethically non-monogamous. It is just as integral when welcoming more compersion into our connections.
If jealousy does arise, that’s OK. Being vulnerable enough to share that with your partner takes the charge out of the feeling of jealousy and allows you to feel more empowered and secure within yourself again. Vulnerability is power, and that will in turn enhance our own self esteem which is a huge part of authentically being joyous for someone else.
Just as equally, voicing when you genuinely are happy for a partner when they are smitten with another person is something to be celebrated. There’s no better feeling than celebrating your partners’ love with them or getting giggly and excited when they’re dating someone new. This open and honest communication is what builds trust and safety within a relationship.
READ MORE: HERE’S THE SECRET TO FEELING SECURE IN NON-MONOGAMY
4. View your metamour(s) as a gift
Your partner’s other partner is known as a metamour. Fostering positive emotions toward your metamour is definitely going to aid in welcoming compersion. It is totally up to your polycule on how close everyone gets, but developing a relationship with your metamour(s) and getting to know them can help with feeling less threatened / jealous – especially if it is a new connection.
Of course this can be difficult if you have a gut feeling that they aren’t a good fit for your partner for whatever reason, but knowing that your partner and probably your own relationship will grow can help with feeling positive about your partner’s other connections. Whether we willingly accept it or not, anything that helps someone we love grow is a gift. If they feel loved along the way – even better!
5. Acknowledge you are benefiting from your partner’s other relationships
One beautiful thing about non-monogamy is that it frees us from the expectations that we have to be one person’s everything. Choosing to live within a relationship structure that gives everyone autonomy of their own time, energy and emotional resources is one of the most loving things you can do as far as we are concerned. When your partner has other relationships, this frees up your time and energy for you to explore other sides of yourself.
You can pursue different needs and desires that your partner might not want to / have the capacity to fulfill. Acknowledging this naturally allows us to feel happy for our partner(s) as they get to explore themselves in other relationships.
6. Surround yourself with loving community
A supportive community of people who love you is the antidote to just about any wobble this weird and wonderful life might throw your way. Spending time with those who know and love you deeply helps in those moments when your partner is out at a play party with a lover and you’d rather not stay at home on your own wondering how it’s going.
Nourishing your platonic connections helps you to feel fulfilled by all relationships within your life – not just romantic ones. It’s vital for your mental health and self-esteem to laugh it out with your chosen family whilst playing your favorite TRPG. Enjoying time with loved ones inevitably helps to feel the warm rush of delight when you think of your partner who is currently in a flow state whilst getting tied up by their dom.
READ MORE: 21 MOST POPULAR SEXUAL ORIENTATIONS IN THE APP
7. Go easy on yourself!
On this day of love, don’t forget to show yourself some love and compassion too. It takes time to decolonise our minds and hearts from the mononormative conditioning we have been soaking up since literally being in the womb! You’re not going to suddenly be the master of compersion and never jealous ever again, and that’s OK – you’re human! The idea that people in non-monogamous relationships never experience jealousy is a myth. The discomfort is where the biggest growth lies, and we deserve to wade through these unchartered waters gently.
We know that being ethically non-monogamous is not always rainbows and sunshine, so we celebrate all of our community who are living their lives with authenticity and integrity. We hope that welcoming a little bit of compersion allows your cup of love to be overflowing this Valentine’s Day! If you are welcoming new connections to practice compersion with this month of love, download the #open app to meet and connect with like-minded singles and couples in your area and beyond.