Compersion: the two types

Finding Happiness in Unexpected Places: Compersion is love

A photo of a couple feeling joy for each other depicting compersion for an article by Lisa Opel for pleasepinchmehard

Foto von Alexander Grey auf Unsplash

3 min read

Embark on a journey of love and joy: the compersion experience unveiled! Explore the embodied and attitudinal aspects, real-life stories, practical insights, and must-reads for anyone embracing a world of empathy and bliss.

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Compersion? It might sound like a complicated term, but it’s a beautiful concept that’s changing the way we view love and relationships. Today, I’m here to guide you through this enlightening journey of emotional growth and share why compersion could be the missing piece in your romantic puzzle.

Picture this: You’re sitting across from your partner at a cozy café, sipping your favorite latte. They lean in with a twinkle in their eye, and you know they’re about to share something wonderful. Their voice drops to a conspiratorial hush, and you listen intently as they reveal their deep affection for someone new. Your heart swells with happiness, not a hint of jealousy in sight. You, my friends, are experiencing compersion.

So, What Is Compersion, Anyway?

Compersion, simply put, is the ability to find joy in your partner’s joy, even if that joy comes from a romantic connection with someone else. It’s the opposite of jealousy and insecurity. Instead of feeling threatened by your partner’s other relationships, you genuinely feel happy for them and their newfound connection.

Imagine your partner excitedly talking about a fabulous date they had with someone new, and you find yourself smiling, eager to hear more. This is compersion in action—a powerful and liberating emotion.

Let me tell you about compersion in a little example.

In the world of relationships, we often encounter various emotions – love, jealousy, insecurity, and, in my dear friend Sarah’s case, compersion. Sarah embarked on a personal journey that led her to a profound revelation about love, happiness, and the boundless possibilities of the heart.

It all began when Sarah’s partner, Alex, expressed their interest in exploring polyamory. Sarah, like many of us, initially found this idea intimidating. The thought of sharing her partner’s affections with someone else triggered a mix of emotions: fear, jealousy, and even a sense of inadequacy. However, Sarah’s love for Alex was deep, and she was willing to embark on this journey of self-discovery together.

As they navigated the complexities of polyamory, Sarah began to experience compersion, a transformative emotion that opened her heart in ways she had never imagined. Compersion comes in two distinct flavors: embodied and attitudinal.

Embodied Compersion

Sarah’s first taste of embodied compersion occurred one evening when Alex came home from a date with a radiant smile. Instead of feeling threatened or jealous, Sarah found herself genuinely excited to hear about their evening. They snuggled up together on the couch, and as Alex shared the details of their wonderful date, Sarah felt an overwhelming sense of happiness. In that moment, she understood what embodied compersion truly meant – her joy was intertwined with Alex’s joy.

Attitudinal Compersion

As Sarah continued to explore this new world of polyamory, she delved into attitudinal compersion, a deeper level of emotional growth. This form of compersion is rooted in a genuine desire for your partner’s happiness, even if it comes from a connection with someone else. Sarah found herself not only accepting but also actively supporting Alex’s other relationships. She’d offer encouragement, schedule their date nights, and celebrate their connections.

In the words of renowned relationship expert Kathy Labriola, “Attitudinal compersion is the ability to take pleasure in your partner’s joy and pleasure without necessarily sharing in it physically. It’s the ability to experience happiness and excitement for your partner’s connection with others.”

Sarah’s journey into compersion was a transformative one. She discovered that love is not a finite resource; it multiplies when shared. Her relationship with Alex became stronger and more resilient. Trust and communication thrived, and they built a foundation of unwavering support and understanding.

Sarah’s compersion journey didn’t come without its challenges. She had to confront her own insecurities, communicate openly with Alex, and embrace the idea that love knows no bounds. Through it all, she learned that compersion isn’t just a concept; it’s a way of embracing love’s infinite possibilities.

In the words of renowned therapist Dr. Elisabeth Sheff, “Compersion is a joyful, loving way of embracing the unique and complex nature of love itself.”

As Sarah’s story illustrates, compersion is a journey – a journey toward deeper love, boundless happiness, and the joyful acceptance of love’s diverse expressions. It challenges us to embrace love beyond societal norms and preconceived notions. It reminds us that love, in all its forms, is a beautiful, ever-expanding tapestry of human connection.

The Benefits of Compersion

Now, let’s explore the incredible benefits of embracing compersion:

  1. Strengthened Bonds: Compersion fosters open communication and emotional intimacy in your relationship. When you genuinely share in your partner’s happiness, it creates a strong, supportive foundation.

  2. Freedom to Flourish: It liberates you from the shackles of jealousy and insecurity, allowing you to focus on your own growth and happiness.

  3. Expanding Your Heart: Embracing compersion can expand your capacity to love and empathize. You’ll find yourself becoming more compassionate and understanding, not only in your romantic relationships but in all aspects of life.

  4. Building Trust: As you navigate the complexities of non-monogamous relationships with compersion, you’ll build an unbreakable trust with your partner.

Practicing Compersion in Everyday Life

Are you ready to embark on your journey of compersion? Here are some practical tips to get you started:

  1. Self-Reflection: Take time to explore your own feelings and insecurities. Understanding your emotions is the first step towards embracing compersion.

  2. Effective Communication: Maintain open and honest communication with your partner(s). Discuss boundaries, expectations, and feelings regularly.

  3. Practice Empathy: Put yourself in your partner’s shoes and try to understand their experiences and emotions. Empathy is the cornerstone of compersion.

  4. Focus on Self-Growth: Use this journey as an opportunity for personal development. Invest time in self-care, hobbies, and activities that bring you joy.

  5. Seek Support: Connect with like-minded individuals, join online communities, or consider therapy if you need guidance on your compersion journey.

Further Tips on Compersion

  1. Online Communities: Join online forums or communities where people share their experiences with compersion. You can gain valuable insights and connect with others on similar journeys.

  2. Counseling: Consider couples or individual counseling to navigate the complexities of compersion. A professional can provide guidance tailored to your unique situation.

  3. Open Communication: Practice open and honest communication with your partner(s). Sharing your thoughts, fears, and desires is key to building a foundation of trust.

  4. Mindfulness: Explore mindfulness and meditation practices. These techniques can help you become more aware of your emotions and reactions.

Reading Tips on Compersion

Here are some additional reading recommendations to explore the concept of compersion:

  1. “The Ethical Slut” by Dossie Easton and Janet W. Hardy: This classic guide to polyamory and open relationships delves into various aspects of ethical non-monogamy, including compersion. It offers valuable insights into building loving and consensual relationships.

  2. “Opening Up: A Guide to Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships” by Tristan Taormino: Tristan Taormino provides practical advice and relationship narratives in this comprehensive guide to open relationships. You’ll find tips on managing jealousy, fostering compersion, and navigating non-monogamous dynamics.

  3. “More Than Two: A Practical Guide to Ethical Polyamory” by Franklin Veaux and Eve Rickert: This book explores polyamory from a practical and ethical perspective, emphasizing principles like compersion and effective communication. It’s an excellent resource for those looking to build fulfilling and ethical non-monogamous relationships.

  4. “The Jealousy Workbook: Exercises and Insights for Managing Open Relationships” by Kathy Labriola: Kathy Labriola’s workbook provides exercises and insights to help individuals and couples navigate jealousy and cultivate compersion. It’s a hands-on guide for building healthy non-monogamous connections.

  5. “Polysecure: Attachment, Trauma and Consensual Nonmonogamy” by Jessica Fern: This book explores the connection between attachment styles, trauma, and consensual non-monogamy. It offers valuable insights for understanding and improving your emotional well-being in open relationships.

Compersion is like a secret ingredient that adds depth, understanding, and love to our relationships. It’s a beautiful reminder that love isn’t a finite resource; it multiplies when shared. As you navigate the world of compersion, remember that it’s a personal journey, and you’re free to explore it at your own pace.

So, are you ready to embrace the transformative power of compersion? It might just open up a world of joy and love beyond your wildest dreams.

Read my story about polyamory here.

Need more info on polyamory and open relationships? Read my blog post “From monogamy to more”.

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