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  #131  
Old 12-05-2011, 12:53 AM
Thalantos Thalantos is offline
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I think compersion is real. With what little experience with poly my wife and I have had, I found myself quite happy at how happy she was with her other relationship. So yeah, I'd say it's real, and it's probably a decent part of why I'm poly.
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  #132  
Old 12-05-2011, 01:18 AM
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Originally Posted by hyperskeptic View Post
It seems to me the feeling or experience for which the term 'compersion' has been coined is real enough.

I just wish the word didn't come across as so utterly fake. I almost can't bring myself to utter it.

Why coin a new word, when existing words will do? There's the ancient Greek term, philia, which refers to a particular kind of love or affection or just plain old friendship. In particular, it's the desire for the happiness of another person, which works best when it's reciprocal. True friends rejoice in one another's happiness.

(In fact, I'd rather call my current way of thinking about relationships "polyphilia".)

If you don't like using actual words from dead languages, call it affection, compassion, grace, generosity, anything.

Just don't call it 'compersion'.
philia is not compersion. It describes brotherly (non-romantic) love between two people. Using "polyphilia" to describe your relationship tendency simply means that you are capable of forming friendships with more than one person at a time. In other words, being a regular, socially functional human being...

Affection means liking someone.
Compassion means feeling awful when someone is suffering and wanting to fix it.
Grace and generosity aren't any kind of emotion.

Compersion is a very specific emotion: the feeling that you are happy about your romantic partner being in love with someone else.

The closest alternative I can think of would be sympathy, which describes being in emotional agreement with another person about the same object. But that's not appropriate, because compersion doesn't mean "I am also in love with your lover."

Empathy is also close, because it does not require you to actually have the same feelings but only to intellectually understand them. But that's still not the same as feeling happy about it, it just means "I understand that you are happy to be in love."

Why call a feeling "jealousy" when we can just say "fear?" Jealousy refers specifically to a fear of loss of something that a person values... You can be jealous when your mom has a new baby because you're scared she won't love you anymore. You can be jealous when your best friend gets married because you're afraid they won't come to drink and watch football with you anymore. You can be jealous when you and a coworker are up for the same promotion and you see him taking the boss out for dinner one night.

That's why you can feel compersion and jealousy at the same time. You can be happy for your partner that they're in love and full of NRE, and at the same time afraid that they'll spend less time with you and forget your birthday.
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  #133  
Old 12-05-2011, 01:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
philia is not compersion. It describes brotherly (non-romantic) love between two people. Using "polyphilia" to describe your relationship tendency simply means that you are capable of forming friendships with more than one person at a time. In other words, being a regular, socially functional human being...

Affection means liking someone.
I take my reading of philia from Aristotle, near the end of his Nicomachean Ethics. There are degrees and kinds of philia, for different kinds of relationships and contexts.

The best and most perfect form of philia is genuinely wishing for the other person's happiness . . . even, it would seem to follow, if the other person finds sources of happiness that are not you.

What else could it possibly mean to "like" someone?

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Originally Posted by SchrodingersCat View Post
Compassion means feeling awful when someone is suffering and wanting to fix it.
Grace and generosity aren't any kind of emotion.
In Aristotelian terms, grace and generosity, like compassion, are virtues, which are habits of responding to emotions with moderation, in a manner that is appropriate for a given circumstance. They are character traits, states of being.

Emotions are too fleeting, too volatile, to be taken as good or bad in themselves . . . or so Aristotle would say.

(Sorry, should have warned you all. I'm a professional philosophy geek.)
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  #134  
Old 12-05-2011, 01:44 AM
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But then she asked him to start lying to me again
Sometimes jealousy is a very appropriate emotion to have in a relationship. Like pain, it can be a warning sign that something is wrong.

If my SO's OSO were saying such things about me, compersion is the last thing I'd be feeling.
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  #135  
Old 03-23-2012, 05:03 PM
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Default Jealousy into Compersion?

Husband had his date yesterday afternoon. It went very well. This was with (let's give her a name because it looks like this is going to turn into something) Fawn. They talked for hours, connected really well. She was interested in his life/relationship story. She was open about hers. Which isn't poly and she is single currently but bisexual. Her last partner was a woman. He seemed genuinely happy last night after coming home. Excited, fully of possibilities and confidence. I was full of love and relief that his experience was so positive yet his own. It felt really good.

This is not how I felt much of the time he was on the date. The four hours he wasn't home I felt waves (not huge ones but pangs) of jealousy, self doubt (what the hell am I doing?), and then get a hold of yourself woman this is going to be ok. I know that jealousy is normal, its not to be ashamed of.

Yet, I was surprised by the rush of happy once he walked in the door and was glowing. The jealousy went skittering away and hearing about his date was pleasurable, warm like we were sharing something special. Which we were.

Is this compersion? Does the jealousy still come even though you feel the joy for your partner? I will search this too but just wondering what the current thoughts are.

thanks!
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  #136  
Old 03-23-2012, 05:11 PM
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i found the discussion on jealousy vs. envy. very enlightening.
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  #137  
Old 03-23-2012, 10:18 PM
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Yeah, I would say that's what you felt. Compersion is something you kinda do better at with practice. It don't come in an instant for most people. Though some pick up the skill faster than others, and yet there are others that never are able to figure it out at all. I guess it's just like any other skill in life, I suppose!
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  #138  
Old 03-23-2012, 11:55 PM
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I definitely think the two things can coexist. When he was physically away from you, on the date, it was new and scary, and jealousy thrives on uncertainty and fear. But when you saw him, saw his happiness and knew he was still with you, you felt his love for you and yours for him and knew that him being with someone else wasn't changing that, and compersion thrives on trust and love.
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  #139  
Old 03-26-2012, 06:33 PM
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Thank you Annabel and RfromRMC.

Its clear there is no straight path but I suppose that this is expected as life isn't neat and pretty. Why should this be any different than the rest of existence. When its all shiny and new its hard to remember that its not linear and life is long.
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  #140  
Old 04-03-2012, 03:17 AM
Mudita Mudita is offline
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Not quite the same thing but close.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mudita

And it can be cultivated
http://www.buddhanet.net/metta_in.htm

These guys have been at it for 2500 years, it' just not been part of our inherited European culture.

Not saying it's the only way or the right way, just a way.

Last edited by Mudita; 04-03-2012 at 03:29 AM.
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