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.