Since jealousy and compersion are opposite emotions, a lot of people think they are mutually exclusive – that you either feel one or the other about any given person or event.
But I know from experience you can feel both almost simultaneously.
Tonight is the perfect example. Brad (the father of my child and life partner of 6 years) just got home from his first date with a new woman a couple of hours ago.
I was sleeping in my daughter’s bed when he came in and kissed me. He stood hovering over me, shining his cell phone in my face, waiting for me to wake up. I cussed and grumbled and pulled the covers over my head, until he gave up.
I spent the next hour unsuccessfully trying to fall back asleep. I knew he was excited to tell me about his date, and in my dreams, I was excited to hear about it. So I crawled into bed with him and prodded for the details. He was too tired to say much, but I could tell he’d had a great time.
She sounds like an awesome woman, and, unlike all the other women he’s dated since we opened our relationship 2 years ago, she’s totally into non-monogamy.
For a while it seemed like every woman Brad was interested in either explicitly or secretly wanted monogamy. But, after two years of avoiding them, he finally started attending some of the local poly social functions last month.
His courage paid off. He met a beautiful, open-minded woman at his first meet-up, and it sounds like Date # 1 went swimmingly.
The little I heard about it was enough to work me into a full-moon frenzy.
“You are SO jealous,” he teased.
“Ravenously jealous,” I admitted. “Madly jealous!”
“Murderously jealous!” I laughed.
But Brad wasn’t worried. He knows I LOVE feeling jealous – that it’s about the biggest turn-on I could hope for.
I’m a Scorpio, who once upon a time was the most jealous, most possessive, most psychotic girlfriend a guy could (not) hope for. Any poor man who became the object of my affection was nearly suffocated by it. With my first boyfriend, I was furious when he didn’t act jealous and possessive over me.
So one of my reasons for wanting to open my relationship with Brad was to overcome my jealous “nature.”
I’d read one could transform jealousy into a feeling called compersion – joy and sometimes even arousal (oftentimes in my case) at the idea of your partner experiencing joy or sexual pleasure or falling in love with someone else. I was fascinated by this idea and determined to experience it.
Luckily it came relatively easy for me, and, in retrospect, I think I’m starting to understand why.
I’ve never resisted the negative feelings associated with jealousy. I’ve always remembered the words of Ethical Slut author Dossie Easton – invite those jealous feelings in, sit with them, offer them a cup of tea, and ask them where they came from.
No matter how uncomfortable the feelings are, don’t run from them. Don’t try to escape them.
Jealousy is almost always a cover emotion for fear. Figuring out which specific fears you’re experiencing can help dispel them.
Fear of abandonment? Fear of replacement? Fear of being alone? Fear of being not good enough? Fear of being unlovable? Unattractive? Not as sexy, pretty, smart, successful, interesting or good in bed?
Once you realize exactly what it is you’re afraid of – and once you’ve examined the invalidity of your beliefs and the unlikelihood of the scariest outcome – you realize what silly tricks your mind was playing on you, and you’ll feel instantly better.
After this process you free up energy for positive emotions like unconditional love for your partner, a newfound appreciation of him or her, excitement, curiosity, arousal, and even happiness for the person who’s found some form of happiness in him (aka compersion).
Once you’ve mastered compersion, it’s almost like nothing can go wrong (I imagine). Whatever makes your partner happy makes you happy. You’ve learned how to truly love someone, which – as Teal Swan says – means you consider them an extension of yourself. You value their well being and best interests as if they were your own (because they are your own).
This kind of love is the opposite of jealous, possessive and controlling (which really isn’t love at all, it’s fear). This is the kind of love that sets the beloved free… and makes him much more likely to come back 🙂
So next time you’re feeling jealous, allow yourself to feel it. Don’t deny or repress feeling it. Admit to your partner you feel it. Because feeling it is the first step to making it go away.
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