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We are three adults living in a polyamorous triad family. The content here is intended for an adult audience. If you are not an adult, please leave now.


Polyamory Observations #19

The polyamorous community has its own particular, and sometimes rather peculiar, vocabulary.  I suppose that is true of almost any subgroup that  shares some esoteric interest -- we have to talk to each other, and since we are animals that are wired for language, we invent the words that work for us.  Talk with poly people, and you will hear them describe their relationships with words like quad, triad, web, network, clan, and tribe.  We'll give you words meant to evoke the geometry that we perceive in our relatedness:  hinge, vee, triangle, and line.  We'll name our hierarchies, and we'll mess with the labels for our partners, referring to them by ordinals (like primary, secondary, and tertiary), or the cute appelation for plural spouse-types:  spice.

Much of our inner-circle jargon is borrowed from the larger culture, and tweaked to serve our purposes.  That is not true, however, of the word "compersion."  Compersion is the gold standard of poly loving.  It is understood to be the feeling of pleasure experienced when one's love finds pleasure in another lover.  There's a lot of good writing out there about the theory and practice of compersion -- like this.

I've mostly avoided discussions of the how to's of polyamory; choosing instead to share what the practice looks like inside of our household.  There's no "poly for dummies" lurking in the archives here.  I've particularly eschewed expounding on the idea of compersion because, frankly, I suck at it.  THAT you can find in our archives -- over and over and over.

To be fair, although it is sometimes true that compersion is paraded out in poly circles as a "should do," most of us understand that compersion may or may not be the first response to the appearance of a new love in the life of a partner.  There are poly people who claim that they do not experience the emotion of jealousy.  Others, though, acknowledge that compersion develops over time as the underpinnings of jealousy recede.  We know, intellectually, that jealousy is often the over-arching emotion when a person is experiencing fear, loneliness, anger, and uncertainty at the start of a partner's new relationship.  I seem to drag through that development phase really, really, really slowly -- irritating the crap out of Master in the interim.

Now, I am finding that there's a new wrinkle in my uneasy dance with compersion.  I've come to ponder the possibility that if He were to find a new love -- a new play partner -- then maybe He would work out some of His current ambivalence about His Dominance there, and so be restored to me.  Yeah.  Compersion with a selfish bent -- "find another lover and work this thing out so I can have more of what I want from our relationship."  Maybe that isn't really it (compersion).  Or maybe it is...  Maybe that's what all those proponents of the "compersion" miracle keep trying to tell us -- set the partner free to love fully, and that love will come back to you.  Enlightened self-interest.

Hmmmm...   Interesting.



  1. lol careful what you wish for!

    I am due for a poly post soon (or any sort of post, I suppose!). Compersion is a lovely concept, but rarely part of my experience. Though on the few times I have felt it or been close, it's been lovely. I do see it in others who come easier to poly than I have...though, so for some it's not rare at all.

    Honestly...and I say this as a friend...I think the LAST thing you need is to add another relationship to the mix. Trust me...get a dog.

  2. LOL, Tangerine!!!
    A dog? Really?!?!?
    To walk in all kinds of weather... at the crack of dawn and the dead of night...a never ending supply of baggies to pick up poop with (gotta wonder what dogs think of our poop collecting fetish)...and then there's the wrath of THE CAT DIVA to deal with.
    No -- I don't think so!

  3. Yeah, I also see it as the "compersion miracle". It does happen, rarely. But it's hard for me to get there.

    You know, there's a possibility it might work. But.. I agree with Tangerine, I would think that the last thing you need at this point is more complication. And more people add more complication. However... sometimes the enthusiasm and enthrallment (is that a real word?) might stimulate some interest.

    But I think a dog would be a surer thing.

    Wishing you luck with whatever comes

  4. I wouldn't call my relationship with the sadist "poly." It's much too centered on him, a man who has a number of different types of relationship with a number of different types of people who serve assorted needs.

    I learned about the others slowly. I think he fed the knowledge to me at a pace he thought I could handle. From the very beginning, though, I knew about his masochist slave, and occasionally he used that knowledge to torment me - especially on his very first visit.

    It took quite a while, but eventually I got to the point where I can honestly say that I am now hugely grateful for the slave's existence, who serves as an outlet for the fiend's most sadistic urges and thus enables us to keep going. I think, though, that this gratitude came about largely from learning more about the place I have in the sadist's life. Without that sort of reassurance, it would have been a lot harder.



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