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New2Midlo 51M  
381 posts
1/21/2021 5:38 pm

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New2Midlo 51M  
504 posts
1/21/2021 5:39 pm

The word compersion, which hasn't exactly been recognized as a word, 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.

That's what I found when I looked up the word, which I obviously did, subsequent to someone recently soliciting my views on the subject. Basically, how did I feel about open relationships and could I experience that joy? The simple answer is I'm not sure I could be in an open relationship, much less feel happiness when my partner slept with someone else. Because the awesome person who posed the question deserved a bit more than a knee jerk 'ain't no other guy fuckin' my woman' response, I gave the topic serious consideration.

In a nutshell, I take pride in my skills in the bedroom; it's part of what value I bring to a potential mate. Feel free to throw things at me, but I like to think of my value proposition (yes, I'm always a marketing guy) is that of a complete package. As such, I admit my feelings would be hurt if my partner wanted to bed other men.

Granted, being open to such arrangements could make finding a life partner easier, not having to worry about them meeting your sexual needs, in addition to your emotional ones. On the flip side, try having the conversation with someone you've just developed a relationship with, where you inform them that it's fine they don't satisfy you in bed, because you'll just sleep with others. If you do, please invite me and I'll bring popcorn.

In some cultures, open relationships are the norm versus the exception. In fact, there are those where sex is viewed as something you do as a social thing. In others, a man's wife must have sex with her husband's brothers at the same time as her husband. It then becomes a mystery as to who fathered the resulting child, facilitating it being viewed as a child of the whole family, who all contribute toward raising it. If you're inclined to learn more about how sex is viewed in other cultures, I recommend reading the book, Sex at Dawn. As with most books about sex, there are worthwhile nuggets of knowledge interspersed with a few cow patties. Plus, the author has a real problem with society advancing to specialization (i.e. you're a farmer, she's a doctor) and seems to wish we'd have all stayed as hunter gatherers. I may or may not have sent said author a note reminding that specialization allows him to pontificate about his views on sex and not force him to forage for seeds. But I digress.

Specialization has wired our culture has wired us for jealousy. I envy the lifestyle, income, and hot wife of an ugly yet successful attorney. He envies a hedge fund manager's lifestyle, income, and hotter wife. I'm envied by, well, no one really. Anyway, you get the picture. Rewiring jealousy out doesn't happen overnight.

Let's not forget fear and its role. But it's different for men and women. I read somewhere there's a high correlation between your gender and the type of fear you experience, relative to infidelity from a partner. Men are afraid of losing their partners' bodies and women fear losing their partners' hearts. In this instance, I identify more with women than my fellow penis owners. Every play partner I've had has developed strong feelings for me. This dynamic was eloquently explained to me by a woman I was chatting with on the subject, who said, 'What kind of dumb shit are you? You know damned well that a woman's pussy is wired directly to her heart.' Sage words, indeed. But a valid reason for concern over losing your female partner in an open relationship.

The person who asked for my opinion on compersion made a great point.
I’m sure you could also appreciate the idea that I don’t feel an obligation to be everything to everyone is very appealing to me.

Putting pressure on yourself to be everything to someone can be a strain on your relationship. However, don't be so sure you're not everything to that person, just the way you are.

As a hopefully relevant example, I always considered being able to cook with my partner to be essential. However, I found myself in a relationship with someone who, after cooking a few meals for me that were just on this side of edible, was prohibited to be in the kitchen unsupervised. She felt pressured, from within, to learn how to cook and did her best. But I came to the realization that having a partner who cooked wasn't a must have. The true crucial criterion was a partner who appreciated good food, didn't consider Applebees or other chains to be fine dining, and offered the appropriate level of appreciation when I cooked. Oral sex or gazing at me adoringly were both acceptable. My point is that she always was everything I ever wanted and should have never felt that pressure, from herself or me, in the first place.

One final petty argument I'll make, before I yell at you to get off my lawn, is that the deck is so ungodly stacked against men, when it comes to exercising their openness. If a woman says, 'I'm in an open relationship and am looking for a lover', guys will line up for her. If a man makes the same claim, he'll hear nothing but crickets and 'you're cheating, aren't you?'

Don't take my comments as a universal condemnation of open relationships. One of my colleagues / friends has an open marriage and both parties seem very happy. Then again, he's an ungodly smart, 33 year old studmuffin, and thus, doesn't have the same challenges as us mortal men. But his wife knew about his sex drive when she married him and seems okay, so long as he occasionally brings one of his girls home for both of them to play with. I hate him.

Now, get off my lawn while I envy my colleague.

SweetMysterie 48F
3476 posts
1/21/2021 7:59 pm

I enjoy learning new things in blogs; thank you for the new word.

I do like the word, but in my personal experience it is indeed a difficult and possibly unnatural feeling to have within a marriage. I suppose circumstances and personalities might make a vast difference. Neither my husband nor I seemed to feel much compersion during our attempt at an open marriage. It lasted less than 6 months or so (the open part) and it wasnt long after that ended, that our nearly 20 year marriage did too.

Now I could certainly be happy for my partner when he's happy doing *something* he enjoys, but probably not doing *someone* he enjoys.


“As with the butterfly, adversity is necessary to build character in people.” ~ JB Wirthlin

New2Midlo replies on 1/23/2021 9:09 am:
Your last sentence made me chuckle. And we're in the same boat. When something amazing happens for my partner, I'm almost as happy for her as she is. I don't think a healthy relationship can thrive otherwise.

BiggLala 49F  
29386 posts
1/22/2021 9:22 am

You said, "...I take pride in my skills in the bedroom...," and "...try having the conversation with someone you've just developed a relationship with, where you inform them that it's fine they don't satisfy you in bed, because you'll just sleep with others."

As I understand it, compersion is NOT about skill level, or whether partners completely satisfy one another. Rather, one or both partners are [hopefully] satisfied, while still wanting to experience satisfaction with others. They might enjoy satisfaction with others alone or together.

I'll agree, it's a heady concept to grasp. I'm not so sure I could be in an open relationship either. I too might also question whether I'm satisfying my partner. I do know that, if I met someone wanted an open relationship, my *deal breaker* would be that we swing together rather than having sexual partners separately (explaining my rationale for that is a post on it's own ).

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New2Midlo replies on 1/23/2021 9:07 am:
Thanks for the clarification, Lala. It is a heady concept that I think many of us have difficulty relating to. I applaud those who make it work, but I think the vast majority of society couldn't sign up for such an arrangement.

Hey, we agree on something! A note for the annals of blog history

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