I was chuckling at a text I had received from a friend as we got into the car – DJ and me – as we were leaving her taekwondo class. Naturally she inquired what I was chuckling about. I paused for a second because the comment from a friend was her observation of someone else’s poly approach. I use poly loosely, not because I’m thinking they aren’t doing it right, but because there is so much jealousy and drama that comes up that it is clear one partner is truly trying to be poly but really isn’t. But this person is trying to be part of the cool poly crowd – and taking one for the team. Meanwhile, they have spent the past few years asking for lots of advice while taking none of it.
I stopped for a moment then decided “fuck it” – she knows I’m poly – so let’s see how she reacts to the story.
“Oh, a friend just sent me an observation about a couple who is trying poly but its clearly not working for one of them. Have you heard of the word compersion?”
Not surprising that she had not, so I told her it was like the opposite of feeling jealous of something happening to someone else, instead of you feel joy. Then I explained that one partner will be texting with someone they are dating, the other partner will get jealous. Then when you ask why him why he’s jealous, it’s because the partner and the date are talking about something he has no interest in. So you ask if he is going to learn more about that interest of his partner’s so they can have similar conversations – and he answers no.
DJ starts laughing. “Sounds like something out of a bad teen romance – girl has crush on boy, girl’s friend talks to boy in class, girl gets mad at friend because ‘you know how much I like him – how could you do that to me?!?’ Nothing has happened except a casual conversation but drama ensues.”
I swear I was laughing so hard at her description of it that I was almost crying because – it’s so fucking true. Exactly like that – that was one or more conversations I have had with this pair.
Once we both stopped laughing, I told her in cases of compersion, you would celebrate the fact your partner has someone who shares that common interest that maybe you don’t share. “For example, I love that your dad has had people in his life that loves going to comicons with him. You have no idea how much I love that. He would try to drag me to these things – he would want to be there for 3 days, and by hour 3, I’m ready to go curl up in the corner and find my happy place. By the end of day 3, I’m convinced I need treatment for comicon related PTSD – that is NOT my place. So I love that he has had people he can do that with. I wish I could give him that gift, but I can’t. Sure I could be jealous he has someone else, but why? Why should I begrudge him someone he can engage with and try to be that person that will never be that geeky about it with him?”
She starts laughing – “yeah, I have friends I can geek out about anime with – and those I can’t….nothing wrong with it. Truly.”
Then because she is my daughter and we have this kind of relationship, she launched into telling me how she and her friends are about to stage an intervention with another friend who is hell bent on defining her sexuality now just because some friends around her have done it. Then we discussed self awareness, early tendencies, etc.
It’s so nice having that dialog with her!