What Is Compersion? The Opposite of Jealousy!

2 min read
Photo by Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

Compersion is the term used to describe a feeling of joy one experiences when seeing someone else experience joy.

It is a feeling strongly associated with ethical non-monogamy and polyamory, because it can describe the sensation of joy it’s possible to feel when seeing your partner gratified by someone else.

Here’s an explanation of compersion from Psychology Today writer Elisabeth A. Sheff, PhD.

Compersion is the flip side of jealousy, or the glee of seeing one’s lover falling in love with someone else. Polys who experience compersion liken it to being happy that their partner got a part in a local theater production or was chosen employee of the month – it does not affect the person directly, but they are still happy to see their partner happy and having good things happen, regardless of the nature of those good things. If something brings joy to your partner, then it makes you happy. Practiced polys act in compersive ways like vacating the large bedroom for their partner to host a visiting lover, taking care of kids so their partners can go on dates, and treating their paramours kindly.

There’s also a wonderfully explanatory podcast episode from Curious Fox about the sensation of compersion. Here’s a sneak preview:

Want to learn how to get to a place where your partner’s joy brings you joy instead of triggering fear? Want to hear stories of how people moved from established rules that protected them, to establishing freedom that liberated them in the spirit of joy and compersion? Then give yourself the gift of curiosity, and tune in!

Have you experienced feelings of compersion before? Maybe it’s been something you’ve struggled with in your experiences with ethical non-monogamy? We want to hear about your experiences!

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