Opposite of jealousy polyamory

What Is Compersion? Unpacking The Opposite Of Jealousy

It's about how people in these types of open relationships deal with jealousy.

The concept is called compersion.

What is compersion?

The word compersion is loosely defined as the opposite of jealousy. Instead of feeling upset or threatened when your partner romantically or sexually interacts with another person, you feel a sense of happiness for them.

Consider how you usually feel when your partner gets a big promotion at work or accomplishes a new fitness goal, or how you feel when your best friend tells you about a new guy they've been dating that they're really clicking with: You're genuinely, totally stoked for them, right? This is an instinctual feeling for most of us. Now apply that to when your partner is having fun flirting with (or sleeping with) a new flame that's not you. Instead of sparking jealousy, it sparks earnest empathetic joy. That's compersion.

"It's joy that has nothing to do with your joy," Effy Blue, a relationship coach specializing in consensual non-monogamy, tells mindbodygreen. "It's sympathetic joy or unselfish joy, where you are joyful for the other person for things that have nothing to do with you. You're just happy for them because they're in a good place, because they are experiencing joy, and you can sort of look at it from the outside and feel the same experience."

According to reporting from GO Magazine, the term itself emerged in the late 1980s within a San Francisco poly commune called Kerista. But Blue says the concept itself has a much older, deeper history: The Sanskrit word for it is mudita, which translates to "sympathetic joy," and it's actually part of one of the four core pillars of Buddhism.

"If you sort of dive into the Buddhist teachings and down the mudita path, they will actually tell you it's the hardest virtue to master," she says. "There are a ton of mudita meditations, which is something else I recommend to people. "

That's an important part of this actually: Compersion doesn't often come naturally to people, in large part because of the way we've been evolutionarily trained to protect our mating relationships and how today we've now organized our entire society around monogamy. That means that for many, compersion is a feeling or skill set that takes conscious practice.

Why people experience jealousy.

The evolutionary purpose of jealousy isn't relevant anymore, but the emotion does still play a role in our lives. Blue compares feeling jealous to having an alarm bell going off in your head.

"It's very similar to a fire alarm in your house, right? It goes off, it's loud, it's obnoxious, it's alerting to something, it has a function. And you know in a similar way, it's very disorienting," she explains. "In the same way, when you're triggered into feeling jealousy, it's very disorienting, and it can be very overwhelming. But ultimately, it's alerting you to something. Once you quiet the alarm, once you turn off the fire alarm, what you would normally do is sort of go around your house and figure out what's going on. … Is something actually on fire, or is it a false alarm? Same with jealousy—it's alerting you to some sort of discomfort."

Sometimes the emotional alarm is going off because something's actually wrong—your partner isn't giving you the attention or affection you need, for example, or perhaps they're betraying a promise or agreement you have about your relationship, which of course makes you feel unstable or upset. Other times the alarm goes off over misperceptions or just our own insecurities. We're worried a lively conversation between our partner and an attractive stranger means that they're no longer as interested in us, that there's a chance they might be more interested in someone else, that there's a threat to the relationship. Even if none of that is true, our anxieties can get the best of us, and so jealousy is how it manifests as an emotion.  

"Some people have more of a disposition for jealousy," Blue adds. "It's a character trait. Just like some people are happy people, some people are more solemn people, you get people who are more jealous."


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Do polyamorous people experience jealousy?

Yes, absolutely! Research shows people in consensually non-monogamous relationships do experience jealousy; they just experience less distress when it happens.

"Ultimately there is no such thing as not experiencing jealousy," Blue says. "Jealousy is part of the human emotional spectrum. It's like saying 'I never feel sad,' 'I never feel angry,' 'I never feel happy.' To say 'I never feel jealous'—I don't think it's realistic. I haven't ever really truly met anyone who's said they haven't felt jealousy. I think some people say they don't feel jealousy because they're in a specific relationship that doesn't hold grounds for it. It doesn't trigger them into jealousy."

The main difference between poly and monogamous folks deal with jealousy. Mainstream, monogamous society tends to treat jealousy as a sort of disease, something to be deeply feared and that might signal something irreparably wrong with a relationship. Jealousy is treated as a powerful, ugly emotion that we believe can consume and crush us.

That's not how it is among polys: "We recognize jealousy as just another emotion," she explains. "It's just part of life and part of processing and part of the emotional section of the human experience."

A lot of it just comes down to practice, she says. Non-monogamous people just spend more time processing their feelings of jealousy and have more practice with dealing with it. With enough practice, it stops being so big and overwhelming. And, perhaps in time, compersion can appear in its place instead.

How to practice compersion.

Learning to be compersive will probably take some practice, and that's especially true if you're someone who tends to be more jealous in general.

"The baseline for everybody is different, but we know that we also have neuroplasticity. We know that humans can learn and grow and expand and evolve, and we have done so for millennia. So just like empathy, compersion, or mudita, is something that you can cultivate and practice and grow," Blue says. "For some people it will come easily. For other people, it might be more of a process, and you have to sort of really dig deep to try to find it if it's not something that comes up naturally for you."

Here are a few ways to embark on that process:


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1. Start with empathy.

Some people are born with a ton of empathy; some aren't. If you're not great at intuiting and resonating with other people's emotions, Blue says that's the skill to work on first.

2. Intellectually reason through it together.

My partner and I made compersion an active practice, a skill that we both worked on together. It didn't really come naturally to either of us, but we supported each other as we tried to do it. Initially, it was basically a lot of mental gymnastics trying to reason out why we should be happy when the other person scored a hot date. Once you fully get why it doesn't make sense to feel jealous—i.e., your relationship is totally secure, and the presence of another person in your partner's life is not a threat to your relationship whatsoever—then you can start to disarm that alarm more easily whenever it goes off in your head.

"For some people, it works that you kind of go through the intellectual mind," Blue says. "You try to understand what it could be and then sort of move into that space."

We found a lot of ways to support our intellectual belief in compersion with actual psychological rewards. For example, I'd help my partner get matches on Tinder and give him tips on cute bars to take them, and after the dates, he'd tell me how they went and give me a ton of love and affirmation whenever I pouted over him having a good time. Meanwhile, he played wingman with me when I wanted to meet up with a potential flame at a party or concert, and I always made sure to come home to him and share the sexy things I'd done with the new guy and what things I wanted to migrate into our own sex life. In this way, we began to be able to associate positive experiences together (showering each other with affection and affirming the strength of our relationship) with the aftermath of one of us having fun with someone else. When it became clear that these extradyadic encounters only brought us closer, it became easier and easier for us to feel earnest joy for the other person's romantic successes.


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3. Support each other through jealous moments.

For a person to feel compersive, they usually need to feel safe and secure in their relationship. (Not a blanket rule, but for the uninitiated, it's usually a good prerequisite!)

If you're working on practicing compersion as a couple, make sure you're addressing any feelings of jealousy that bubble up in either of you with a lot of love and gentleness. Blue says it's good to encourage the jealous party to talk through their feelings and dig at what underlying fears are actually driving the jealousy.

"Listening I think is really important, listening without judgment and without being defensive," Blue says. "Separate your stuff from your partner's theories. Your partner's feeling jealous, and they've done some work, and they're sorting of saying 'I feel jealousy because I worry that you're gonna leave me.' … When you hear that, some of us feel accused as if we are doing something wrong. We're not somehow enough, and we've made some sort of a mistake, and immediately we become defensive. I think if we can get into that sort of separate state and realize our partner, when they're working through something like jealousy, is battling with their own stuff, battling with their own insecurities, or own unmet needs, [then we can be more able to] lend an ear to that to really understand what's going on with them. "

Encourage each other to make requests, she adds. If your partner's jealous, ask them: What do they need from you? What does it look like? What requests can they make that you can accommodate so they feel safe and secure again?

Compersion in monogamous relationships.

Compersion is life-changing even for people who want to stick to monogamy.

With a fundamental understanding of compersion, I'm able to look at moments where I could be jealous in my current monogamous relationship and instead respond in a more levelheaded or even joyful way. It doesn't bother me if my partner tells me he finds another person attractive, nor am I freaked out if I find myself flirting with a charming stranger on the subway. We might not be entertaining other relationships at the moment, but my partner and I can at best find it cute and at worst feel totally neutral about it when these brief interactions with other parties occur.

We, of course, still feel jealous from time to time, but that emotion isn't scary or damning to us. It doesn't really hold any power at all over us.

"Whether you're in a monogamous relationship or a non-monogamous relationship, practicing processing jealousy and cultivating mudita, or compersion, is just going to serve you. It's going to make your life easier. It's going to bring you closer to joy and lightness," Blue says. "Wherever you are, it's a practice. It's a worthwhile practice."


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Compersion: What It Is and How to Achieve It

Compersion is often called the “opposite of jealousy.” It’s possible to cultivate feelings of compersion.

If you see your partner snuggling up to another person, you might feel jealous. But what if you felt something else: a positive emotion? A feeling of warmth and happiness?

First coined by the Kerista Commune in San Francisco, the word “compersion” is now becoming more popular. Because it’s associated with polyamory, compersion has gained popularity as consensual non-monogamy has become more mainstream.

While compersion is often called the “opposite of jealousy,” it’s possible to feel both compersion and jealousy simultaneously. It’s also possible to cultivate feelings of compersion whether you practice monogamy or not.

Compersion is the positive emotion one feels when one sees their partner involved with another person. It’s often called the “opposite of jealousy.”

Try to imagine a warm feeling you may experience when you see your best friend snuggled up with their spouse. You might think, “Wow. I’m so happy they’re happy. It’s nice to see them being treated well!” Now, try to imagine that you’re feeling that same happy emotion, but for your partner.

Compersion is about deriving joy from seeing another person’s joy. It’s about empathizing with their happiness. If you’ve ever been happy for someone else, you’ve experienced something like compersion.

According to research, such as a 2021 study, anticipated compersion may be linked to greater relationship satisfaction.

What is compersion in polyamory?

Compersion is a commonly used term in polyamorous communities. But polyamory isn’t the only form of consensual non-monogamy.

Other forms of consensual non-monogamy include:

  • polygamy (marriage between multiple people)
  • open relationships (sexual relationships among multiple people)
  • swinging (couples “swapping” sexual partners)
  • triads or throuples (three people date one another)
  • polyfidelity (all partners in a group agree not to have romantic and sexual relationships outside the established group)
  • casual sex (people have non-committed sexual relationships, possibly with multiple sexual partners)
  • casual dating (people date multiple people without any commitments)

You might feel compersion in any of the above situations.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that non-monogamous people never feel jealous. As a 2019 study found, consensually non-monogamous people can and do experience jealousy.

Can monogamous people feel compersion?

“Compersion” originated in the polyamorous community. But is compersion exclusive to non-monogamous relationships? Not necessarily, says Joli Hamilton, PhD, a psychologist in Westfield, Massachusetts, who did her doctoral research on jealousy and compersion.

“I have found many monogamous people can identify compersion once they know how to name it,” Hamilton says. Hamilton’s current research looks at how monogamous people experience jealousy and compersion.

How can monogamous people feel compersion if their partners aren’t dating other people?

The same way monogamous people might feel jealous if their partners aren’t dating other people.

Every possible stimulus for jealousy is also an opportunity for compersion. Monogamous people might feel joy at their partners’:

  • close friendships
  • work wins
  • other positive experiences

Can compersion be learned? Hamilton believes so. “Compersion is definitely a learnable feeling,” she says. “One of the reasons people [may find it difficult] to feel compersion is that they don’t learn the word for it while they are young and developing their emotional vocabulary.”

“If you want to ease the sting of jealousy, nurturing feelings of compersion can help,” she suggests. Still, she recommends avoiding perfectionism here: Jealousy is natural, and you’re not bad for feeling jealous or not feeling compersion spontaneously.

Learning the word for compersion is a good first step, Hamilton says.

Acknowledge jealousy

This might be counterintuitive, but acknowledging jealousy is the first step to nurturing compersion.

As Hamilton notes in a Tedx talk, “Compersion: the Opposite of Jealousy,” jealousy is a healthy and common human emotion. Instead of feeling ashamed of our jealousy and suppressing it, it’s better to acknowledge it and sit with the feeling.

In her research, Hamilton has noticed that people who handle jealousy well tend to acknowledge their jealousy and don’t judge it as a bad feeling. Instead, they normalize the emotion and remember that they can ask for what they need — reassurance, affection, or quality time with their partner.

Practice with nonromantic relationships

Hamilton suggests practicing compersion with nonromantic relationships first. “Our society tends to place a lot of emphasis on jealousy being a romantic behavior. Learning how to feel compersion when a friend or family member is experiencing joy can be an easier entry point,” she says.

A good place to start is to try and notice situations when you feel excited or happy for other people. When you feel that warm feeling when your friend achieves something amazing, that’s compersion.

“You can practice fostering compersion by noticing when those waves of warmth occur and building on them,” Hamilton says. “Just noticing and naming those sensations — ‘hey, that’s compersion!’ — is a step toward inviting more compersion into your life.”

Notice the bodily sensations of compersion

How does it feel, physically, when you’re happy for someone else? When you notice those sensations, it can help to label them as compersion to increase awareness of the concept.

“You might feel warmth in your chest, a relaxed belly, a softness in your neck and shoulders, a tingle in your fingers, or myriad other sensations of pleasure and joy,” Hamilton says. “Knowing your body’s early signals of pleasure and joy can help you tune into those when you are faced with a situation where jealousy and compersion might thrive.”

Let compersion and jealousy coexist

Although compersion is described as the “opposite of jealousy,” you can feel both simultaneously, as one 2021 study shows.

“Compersion does not require you to stop feeling jealous,” Hamilton says. “Much the way you can feel both happy and sad at the same time (we often call this bittersweet), even about the same event, you can feel compersion and jealousy at the same time.”

Jealousy is a natural human emotion — but so is compersion, the feeling of joy you might experience when your partner is in a romantic or intimate relationship with someone else.

Although compersion isn’t a term we hear as often as jealousy, it’s possible to cultivate compersion in our relationships — romantic and nonromantic, monogamous and non-monogamous.

If you’re trying to cultivate compersion, you might benefit from the following resources:

  • Joli Hamilton’s Tedx talk, “Compersion: the Opposite of Jealousy”
  • What Ethical Non-Monogamy Is and Isn’t
  • Throuple, Quad, and Vee: All About Polyamorous Relationships

I'm glad my wife is happy with someone else: what is compersion

Compersion is the joy, excitement, or interest that occurs when your partner enters into a romantic or sexual relationship with someone else. Afisha Daily spoke to a sex expert, a psychologist, and people who experience compression to find out how this complex feeling works.

There is no polyamory without compression

Compression is usually associated with polyamorous relationships (when people allow themselves and partners to have romantic relationships outside of the traditional monogamous couple. — Note ed. ). Sex columnist, Menʼs Health magazine columnist and polyamorous Arina Vintovkina believes that compression is a very important condition for the existence of polyamory.

The term "compression" itself was coined in the Kerista commune, a utopian community organized in New York in 1956. One of the foundations of the ideology of the commune was polyverity - this is when you can enter into romantic and sexual relationships only with members of your community.

In 2009, Newsweek published data showing that more than 500,000 American families are in polyamorous relationships. And the American Institute of Public Opinion Gallup conducted a study that showed that from 2001 to 2015, the number of polyamors more than doubled. There are no such statistics for Russia yet.

What compressive people feel

Arina Vintovkina speaks of compersion as a kind of empathy. “In essence, this is a feeling of joy associated with situations when a loved one is happy and enjoys another romantic or sexual relationship, but not with you,” explains Arina. - That is, it is joy for the fact that your partner is well. This is something like the fuel that ethical non-monogamy "rides on. "

According to a sex expert, compression is possible where the subjective sense of security and trust in a relationship is so high that the emergence of parallel love and sexual relations is not perceived as a threat.

"Conditional third" does not deprive you of something, but, on the contrary, adds something new to your relationship and to the life of the person you love and to whom you sincerely wish happiness

Umar Alimov is 49 years old. He is a compressive polyamorous with experience and at the same time a devout Muslim. His first polyamorous relationship arose in the early 90s, when no one in Russia knew the words "polyamory" and "compression". At the moment, he is only married, but until recently he had a parallel relationship. He says that the values ​​of Islam do not quite coincide with the values ​​of polyamory, and now their relationship with their spouse can be described more as polyamorous than as Sharia.

When another man appeared in the life of Umar's wife (their relationship is platonic), he experienced sincere joy. “This is a person with whom the wife is happy and well, with whom she can realize what is inaccessible to her in our relationship,” explains Umar. - In general, in polyamory you don't have to look for some ideal - you can realize different things with different people. To use a rough analogy, one woman may love football, another may love boxing, and yet another woman may not like sports at all.”

Muscovite Alexander Bortnyak is 35 years old, he has a wife, Alina, and two lovers - Eugenie in St. Petersburg and Irina in the USA. Many of Alexander's relationships ended with the fact that he profitably married off his companions. This is exactly what happened to his ex-wife: they lived together for ten years, then she went to Spain and married someone else there. Now Alexander is raising their common son.

At first, Alexander only experienced compression at the end of the relationship, when the connection with his partner weakened and she found a new romantic interest. Subsequently, it turned out that the same joy can be felt by remaining in a relationship. “When a person shares the good, the good becomes twice as much. Compression is about that,” the man says.

Compression vs jealousy

Oleksandr Bortnyak does not agree that compersion is the exact opposite of jealousy, as it is often said about. In his case, these feelings exist together: "People who boast that they never experience jealousy remind me of the hedgehog from the joke:" I won't fart, I won't fart ... Oh, it's not me ... it's not me ... ". We have been taught to be possessive too long for us not to feel jealous at all.”

Alexander says that to overcome the feeling of loss that occurs when a loved one enters a new relationship, one can use frank conversation and understanding of each other's needs: “Just the fact that my wife will spend a week with another man does not make me jealousy. But it arises if my feelings and our relationships are damaged, if our agreements are violated.

Umar Alimov believes that compersion can completely replace jealousy in romantic relationships.

“Jealousy is when you get hurt because your loved one is not happy with you. Compression is when you are happy because your loved one is not even happy with you,” says Umar

Arina Vintovkina is sure that not only monogamous people, but also polyamorous people can experience feelings of jealousy. The question is not how, in principle, not to experience any negative feelings, but what to do with them: how to process them inside yourself and express them outwardly. “People living within the framework of ethical non-monogamy, as a rule, have a “black belt” in this “discipline,” says Arina. “Otherwise, their life would be a complete hassle and moral self-torture.”

Arina suggests that compersion is opposed to jealousy in order to somehow convey to people what kind of feeling it is, what register it is from - that is, the incomprehensible is explained through the understandable. Also, the sex expert says that in the same situation, you can go crazy with jealousy that your loved one has exchanged an evening with you for an evening with someone, or you can be glad that this evening will give him a new experience, new sensations that will enrich your relationship.

“As a rule, you register both in yourself at the same time,” says Arina. - It's like sweet and sour sauce, where there is both a sour component (jealousy) and a sweet one (compression). The proportion in favor of the second is important.”

Benefits of compression for a monogamous couple

Jo-Ellen Knott, writer and sex researcher, believes that compression can benefit any relationship, including monogamous ones. Moreover, this feeling, in her opinion, can go beyond romantic relationships. Jealousy is completely natural for most of us, but by overcoming it and learning to genuinely rejoice for our partners, friends, family members and colleagues, we receive a huge reward in the form of mutual respect and support.

“Compression turns a person's personal experience into a shared experience. This allows couples to have more pleasure and happiness without breaking the bond with each other,” says Jo-Ellen

Author of books on ethical non-monogamy Gracie X also talks about compersion as a polyamorous principle that can strengthen any relationship. For her book, she conducted research in which she interviewed friends, acquaintances, colleagues, and random people about their relationships with partners. As a result, she noticed an "almost viral tendency" to take the other person for granted, to have high expectations, and to make her partner feel an oppressive sense of duty. Gracie came to the conclusion that it was compressiveness that could get rid of these suffocating attitudes and make relationships more harmonious.

Can compression be learned?

“How can I learn to feel compered towards my partner?” one Quora user asks, to which he receives rather contradictory answers from representatives of the polyamorous community. Some people think that compersion can be cultivated in oneself by following a certain set of rules. Someone recommends just waiting for a truly trusting relationship in which it will appear by itself. And someone says that not experiencing compression is quite normal.

“Compression is more than just empathy. Empathy in the philistine sense is the ability to sympathize, empathize with someone, to see meaning in other people's experiences or actions. Understanding the meaning of sex with another person, we do not necessarily stop feeling anger, resentment, sadness, fear. A sure way to try to develop compersion is to engage in psychotherapy with a focus on building personal boundaries, understanding your own needs, self-respect. In jealousy, several feelings are usually combined, and it is important for a person to figure out what kind of cocktail he has.

If a person basically has a trusting relationship with a partner and wants to try new things, the best way is to talk to him. Discuss together how you both feel, what you need now, whether you need someone else.

It is important to clarify that it is not worth remaking yourself, doing something with your views and beliefs for the sake of someone else. Compression can be developed, and this is largely a matter of your own experiences in relationships. It is possible to enjoy the fact that your partner is now with someone (not with you) if you are sure of your relationship, you have agreements, you know that the partner will not do more than what you are aware of. It also works if you know what you want yourself, and are sure that your partner's date with someone else does not threaten you, you have your own plans and you are fine with them.

As for jealousy, it is normal to feel feelings, it is normal to worry, it is normal to distrust if there were reasons. It is important to share emotions with a partner, ask questions and at the same time think about self-esteem and about yourself.”

How to Deal with Feelings of Jealousy in a Polyamorous Relationship - The Knife

Those who practice consensual non-monogamous relationships believe that jealousy is something like an "umbrella emotion" that hides deeper feelings and needs, and it gives us the opportunity to work on yourself and become more self-confident and whole people.

As Franklin writes in his book More Than Two, in the end, jealousy is just a feeling (or a mixture of feelings). And just as we don't allow emotions like sadness or anger to control our lives, there's no reason to grant such privileges to jealousy.

Wau believes that jealousy is insidious. She whispers in my ear, suggesting that we are a victim, that those around us offend us, and that we need to stand up for ourselves. And most importantly, she convinces us that we do not need to openly discuss our feelings. Jealousy thrives in silence and silence. And then it poisons us, makes us feel anger towards another person and shame directed at ourselves.

Jealousy in monogamous relationships is different from jealousy in CCW. According to Wagner, monogamous people are more possessive. It is characteristic of relationships in which there is a lack of trust, and is justified and legitimized by our society.

A jealous, possessive person will say, "You are mine, and if you find someone for yourself, I will make you pay for it. " Those who choose to live in the CCW tend to be less possessive, and for them jealousy is primarily a problem of alienation and competition (they compare themselves to others and feel they are not good enough).

In these cases, jealousy arises unexpectedly and takes its victim by surprise. So, in addition to the difficulties that jealousy basically entails, those who initiated the transition to an open relationship feel hypocritical, immoral, wrong people, bad polyamorous.

While the partner resisted and stood up for prudence, their only desire was to feel the sweet taste of freedom and experience the joy of intimate communication with other people. But this partner met someone, and it undermined their self-confidence. They are filled with fear so strong that they are already thinking about giving up freedom in favor of security.

As you may have guessed, those who choose to work on jealousy see it as a social and cultural setting that can be manipulated and reconfigured. If we agree that jealousy is a feeling that cannot be tamed, trying to lead such a lifestyle would be madness. Those who prefer CCW believe that if you want it hard enough, you can change your perception of jealousy and deal with it.

And even if there is a biological aspect to jealousy, once you get rid of once inspired ideas, work on unresolved issues and relationships in the union, and it will become something insignificant and easily controlled. It will not be a panic fear that binds and causes a stupor, not a knife in the heart from which you experience acute pain, but a pin prick that you will not even notice.

According to many members of the CCW, the responsibility for jealousy lies not with the third party with whom the partner is dating, and not with the partner who “causes” jealousy by his actions, but with the person who experiences it (which is different from monogamous perception).
See also

"I got up at night to go to the toilet, I see my parents are in bed with friends. " How one becomes polyamorous and what such a relationship can bring

Lessons of polyamory. How relationships with multiple partners taught me empathy, diplomacy, and other important things

Of course, the behavior of a partner can cause jealousy if he behaves disrespectfully, treats you indifferently and only cares about his own needs. But if your partner loves you, shows care and the only thing that makes you feel jealous is his desire to be with other people, I think it makes sense to look into yourself.

We feel jealous when we realize that we are no longer the whole world for a partner. This is not easy to accept, and it is precisely this that those who choose non-monogamy most regret. Understanding that another person cannot provide everything we need and that we can meet our needs with a few people is much easier. After all, when you are “everything” for another person, it gives a sense of wholeness and nourishes your self-esteem.

Jealousy is not always related to sex. It can be caused by how much time a partner spends with a lover, their communication, or a smile that appears on his face when someone else's name is mentioned. Or the fact that he comes home after a meeting, beaming with happiness, and this is not because of you.

For many people, it is easier to imagine that their partner is sleeping with someone, but not falling in love with someone. Feelings can scare much more. What is even scarier is the combination of feelings and sex.

I think that in this situation, most people lose self-esteem, they stop believing that they are good enough and worthy of love, they lack a sense of their uniqueness. The desire to be unique is connected with a childish longing for a mother who will always be there, will always accept us and satisfy all our needs, give us a sense of security.

It is no coincidence that an older child becomes jealous when a younger brother or sister appears. Children on an unconscious level feel that the satisfaction of their needs is under threat, and experience a fear of death. A two- or three-year-old child is completely dependent on a loving adult, and the possibility of losing this love can threaten his existence.

What we experience when we see our partner with someone is a lot like this childhood fear of death. In addition, the fear of death is accompanied by a recurring feeling of being erased, of disappearing, of being something dynamic and transforming. Perhaps this is a chance to rethink those childhood experiences and remind ourselves that we are no longer in the same position.

In fact, our survival does not depend on a partner. Even if he leaves us, we will not die, we will remain alive. Nevertheless, this very painful, difficult, deep experience requires proper awareness and compassion.

Perhaps this early experience makes it easier for many to explore other practices and sexual partners, while preventing their partners from doing the same. Most of us would like to live life to the fullest and be free in our actions, but at the same time the partner wants and desires only us. However, this is hardly feasible.

We either give up freedom so that the other side gives up theirs, or we are ready to let them have what we want for ourselves (or we simply cheat on them - and this is the most common scenario). To allow means to lose control, to plunge into uncertainty, uncertainty, doubt. Therefore, the transition to an open relationship forces many to come face to face with their fears and inner demons.

Jealousy is a collection of feelings based on our unmet needs. Behind jealousy are fear, anger, pain, a sense of betrayal and loss, helplessness, a sense of possessiveness, fear of separation, sadness, loneliness, humiliation, rejection, and much more.

The sexologist and writer Malka Feldshtein, who moved into an open relationship with her husband, remarked very accurately: “It is human nature that is non-monogamous, and the ego is monogamous.”

When we are jealous, it means that our needs for security, stability, self-confidence, a sense of uniqueness, love, partnership, and trust are not being met. If you still decide to overcome jealousy, this will lead to personal growth and development in these areas.

But if jealousy is experienced by a person who has been "dragged" into an open relationship against his will, under the threat of losing a partner, this feeling can be extremely destructive and devastating, and even capable of breaking him. Therefore, you need to listen to your feelings, analyze your motives and understand what you are trying to achieve.

Here is a letter from 41-year-old Monica. She has a husband and three children and lives in a polyamorous relationship.

My relationship with a friend is at a distance. When we met, he lived not far from me, but a few months later he moved south, and it was not clear if he would return. Loaded with work, caring for children and other chores, we very rarely saw each other. We met every two months or less, and it was not at all easy.

There was a woman living in the city with whom he used to cohabit, and there was some sexual tension between them before he left. I knew about it, but I also knew that for some reason they had never discussed their relationship—at least not until recently. The fact that there is a person he is attracted to made me a little jealous, but it was not worth serious discussion.

My friend has always been okay with me seeing someone else, especially when he's so far away. He himself never exercised his right to be with other women in the new city. And then, during one of his visits, he suddenly began to enthusiastically tell me how he began to communicate with that woman and make plans. It was clear that they were attracted to each other, and he was going to bring his plans to life.

Then I felt that I wanted to die. I was seized with panic fear, I was suffocating, it was as if a knife was stuck in my heart. And then I became disgusted. It's just gross. How is this possible when we are in an open relationship? He doesn't mind when I date other men (and I'm fine with that) and I just pretend I don't care when he does the same? Why, when it comes down to it, am I not okay anymore? What kind of hypocrite am I? What kind of person am I? How dare I experience these feelings?

After much deliberation, I decided to talk to a friend about what I was experiencing. Endlessly apologizing, ashamed and worried, I told him about my feelings and the inability to cope with them. We sat down and discussed the situation. Why am I so jealous?

On reflection, I realized that I was worried: now he will have to divide his time between the two of us. I look forward to his short visits for days on end, and then I still have to share it with someone? I can't do that. So I asked him to help me with this. I said that I was working on myself and trying to cope with jealousy, but at the moment, under these conditions, I asked him to meet with other women (and even with this woman from my city, if she comes to him herself) while he is away from me. And when he arrives, let him be completely at my disposal.

Then he wrote a code of conduct for both of us - about how we behave with other men and women while he is away. We agreed that when he comes to the city, he will be only mine, and when we are apart, we are free to do what we want (and with whom we want). I also asked him not to tell me about other women, but to do this only if I asked myself. And tell only when we are near, when I am in his arms, so that I feel protected and loved. Then he returned to the city, and he had affairs with several women - I had nothing against and was very proud of the progress I had made in this direction.

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How to learn to live without jealousy? Philosopher's advice

Marital jealousy. How does jealousy work from a scientific point of view? Apparently, it was an unfair situation where one side had everything and the other had nothing. When at last someone also appeared on the other side, the first one opposed it. Such behavior can be called two-faced or hypocritical, these are double standards. But we are not always able to meet our own requirements.

There are situations that are too difficult. And that's okay. The right decision is not to deny your feelings and not to ignore "difficult" emotions. Do not try to play nobility and generosity when in fact you experience completely opposite feelings.

When we deny and ignore difficult emotions, they don't go away. They only intensify to eventually develop into a jealous tantrum or other uncontrollable behavior that sweeps away and destroys everything in its path. That is why it is so important to properly evaluate and accept your feelings.

It's also good that Monika wasn't alone in her experiences. And even if not immediately, but still, she decided to tell her partner about her feelings. She did not accuse him of making her jealous, that is, she took full responsibility upon herself. Also, she did not give him ultimatums and did not demand anything from him. She asked him to help. And when a loved one helps us survive difficult moments, goes through them hand in hand with us - this is the most wonderful feeling. It gives us complete confidence in his love.

In turn, this man did not give up his right to be non-monogamous for Monica. He never once said, "Honey, if you're so jealous, I'll just give up on myself." At the same time, he also did not follow the path “these are your feelings and this is your problem, figure it out yourself. I have the same right to meet others as you do." Instead of these extremes, they sat down and talked, analyzed the situation, found out what exactly provoked Monica's reaction, and found a way out that suited both of them and in which she was able to work on her jealousy in order to “let go” of him over time.

With jealousy, as with any other feeling, the most important thing is simply to acknowledge the fact of its existence, and then to accept it. People think that there is such a thing as "negative emotions". But, in my opinion, there are just emotions that are unpleasant to experience, such as anger, sadness, pain, jealousy ... However, these are just emotions. They reveal what we lack and what we would like to have, indicate our thoughts and how we interpret the situation. They can also shed light on our painful past experiences.

Thus, these emotions help us to look deep into ourselves and our thought process, to see what beliefs we hold, what pain we hide from ourselves. In fact, they are our friends who suggest where the failure occurred. If we let them show up instead of suppressing them, they can go away on their own. If they stay, then not without reason.

For example, there may be an unconscious belief that if I get jealous, my partner will notice and want to get closer, give me a sense of security. Or will it give me an excuse to forbid him something that I think threatens our relationship; and with the help of jealousy, I can test their strength and find out how devoted he is to me. Moreover, through jealousy, I will know that I still love him; or maybe I will arrange a showdown that will warm up our desire, and so on.

By understanding what makes you feel this emotion, you can find an alternative way to satisfy the need (for security, closeness, trust, passion), which is much more effective than jealousy.

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