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Is Compersion a Necessity in Polyamory?

Nov 2, 2023

Is it wrong that I don’t feel compersion even though I am polyamorous?

So short answer, no.

Compersion is not required.

And I think that it is worth looking at what are you taking compersion to mean?

If you are looking at compersion as something that only exists in an absence of jealousy then like very people experience that kind of compersion.

I think of compersion not as a thing that happens in the absence of jealousy or instead of jealousy but as like an emotion that can happen at the same time as jealousy or completely separate.

There are a lot of times where what I feel is a mix of compersion and jealousy or envy where there are ways in which I am so happy that my partner is getting to know this person and is excited about them, and also ways in which I’m feeling uncomfortable or nervous or uncertain or insecure or worried.

Compersion is not that you have a perfectly happy feeling and that’s the entire story.

Compersion is your ability to feel happiness for someone else’s happiness, joy for someone else’s joy.

I think all of us have this ability.

I think that sometimes it is harder to tap into especially because we tend to experience – like we are having a mixture of challenging emotions and more like positive emotions.

It is often easier for us to focus on the challenging emotions because even from just like a basic evolutionary perspective, stuff that feels bad is more important to deal with than stuff that feels good.

And so, if you are having jealousy, it may be hard to notice the pieces of compersion that you are feeling.

And so, you don’t have to feel compersion to be polyamorous.

There are a lot of great folks in the polyamory field who are writing about their experiences of doing polyamory as folks who don’t really feel much compersion.

And I think you can always look at like are there any things that you do feel that are in that compersion vein?

Are there any ways in which you are happy about this person?

Maybe your partner really loves to watch anime and you are not that into it and this person will happily watch the anime with them.

So you don’t have to try to fake that anymore or listen to the talk about it, right?

Is there any grain of compersion you can find?

Give yourself a high-five for that.

So yeah, it’s not required.

And I think a lot of times we are feeling it in the way that is messier than we expect it to be and so like give yourself permission for it to be messy.

Give yourself permission for it to be maybe not your thing.

And also, look for little bits of it that maybe happening for you.

If you can find a little bit of it, that’s awesome.

Part of how our brain works is that we tend to see what we are looking for.

And so if what you are looking for is jealousy and jealousy thoughts and jealousy feelings, you are going to see a ton of them.

If what you are looking for is any little spec of compersion that might be happening, you will start noticing more of it.

And so, find ways that you can help yourself positively attune towards that.

And if you don’t have any, you don’t have any.

That’s okay.


That’s totally fine.

You don’t have to have it to be polyamorous.

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