I've avoided writing on this topic until now mainly out of respect for my amazing partner but also that its taken me almost two years to actually grasp....actually understand fully what the act of 'compersion' means.
In other words, I have talked at length about this with my partner and it's now an important conversation to be had as Its timely and its very real. I'm growing and changing.
According to the Urban Dictionary (I cant find it written up in any other dictionaries) comperison is:
"...A feeling of joy when a loved one invests in and takes pleasure from another romantic or sexual relationship."
I can literally hear the audible breath being taken in by some people reading this as the concept goes against every single principle in the Christian Judaic, capitalist, singular relationship bound marrying and ownership of one and each other. For God's sake who invented these vestitudes of hateful relatedness???
So I looked further and came across this really interesting article in the Huffington Post - http://www.huffingtonpost.com/gracie-x/compersion-a-polyamorous-principle-that-can-strengthen-any-relationship_b_6803868.html
From what I can understand the term is derivative of the ethos of polyamory, essentially where an individual has not one sexual partner but many and that combination many happen in any variety of configurations. I have grave reservations as to whether true polyamory can work particularly where one of the 'trouple' is a third spoke in the wheel.....but it is possible and does work too.
So, in essence, the article explains how a couple are discussing his connection with a lover the night before and the partner, a woman recognises and observes the enraptured, engaged and animated person she once new in her husband when they were first dating. So, what has happened the woman has remarkably found the capability to feel her jealousy, accept that as a feeling, move past her fear of abandonment or rejection, unlock her feelings of genuine excitement at a physical and emotional level and at the same time be present to her boyfriend who society in general would have deemed his actions as "cheating".
In my thinking for me to achieve that state, that incredibly liberated feeling of freedom to feel beyond what society would have us think is normal, restricted, exclusive....to actually live in an open and SHARING relationship (as opposed to dont-ask-dont-tell) then the whole world suddenly becomes different. Sure the sex is exciting but at the core, for me, the metaphysical gravitas of this way of living profoundly changes the ground rules on what it means to be in a partnership.
A few years ago I left a boring, serial, relentless monogamous marriage where intimacy was lost due to the enclosed state of "owned" that I felt. I could no longer interact with others as I would normally....chat, flirt, enjoy their company. Out of the heavens it seems I met an incredibly intelligent blonde faery who encouraged me to reflect deeply on my life experiences, my sexual connections and my relationships with others. I admitted that nothing scared me more than "being me" ....connecting with others as I feared reprimand, rebuke, rejection and abandonment.
We met people together and we connected with them. The whole world changed for me.
On the other hand, it has been drummed into me from birth that a man takes a woman as his wife and for ever more till the day they die.....they have to put up with each other and generally a sexless and boring life together. Not always but thats the exception to the norm of seven years, two kids and a divorce later.
So now that I'm thinking this through, it seems that the woman in the article context is actually in an incredibly powerful and autonomous state of freedom herself. Not only is she happy that her partner is having sex with others and enjoying himself, she is actually enjoying relating to his experiences....and perhaps getting sexually excited herself as a result.
That doesn't necessarily mean she's voyeuristic either. It could mean that she might join him with those lovers a some point to but there is absolutely no obligation or pressure to do o.
So this act of love, the act of compersion which is meaningful, intentful and deliberate seems to be the way that highly intellectual, highly sexual and high achievers seem to ensure that their own relatedness is healthy. It's not a relationship - that term just became redundant as this is a new way of living and being free at the core of what so many supposedly "good marriages" fester....infidelity.
Well in a relatedness filled with compersion such things as infidelity are null and void. Jealousy still exists as it is an emotional state and an important instinctuual feeling of loss if your headspace is low. It means the prtnership is always on charge, dynamic and open.
This now brings me back to my own personal journey. I have always thought that the state of compersion to be intellectually possible but impossible in the everyday practical sense. The excitement that it brings me is also heavily balanced with conditioned fear and guilt. There is the practical considerations of what combinations excite one's partner and who in fact is benefitting most from the activity! It seems that the woman in the article is having as much fun or more than her partner who is now relaxed, relieved and rejuvinated.
By the way I don't see this as a gender specific nor identity related phenomena. It is spoken about as being possible and preferable across all variants of humanity.
The mere though of having (permissibly and encouraged) multiple lovers fills me with a faint fear and light headedness....but also a deep soulful relief. A massive, massive shift in a life that is otherwise locked up in one modality.
The married state of monogamy is gut wrenchingly boring. A new state of compersion whilst tough emotionally would I think build resilience, emotional resilience, would bring honesty and love back into couples connections with others.
I think compersion is the way to go. Its a genuine, excitable feeling human act of generosity, of power gathering, sharing, caring and connecting.