I see something happening. It's starting to bug me.
It's to do with this term "compersion". Rather, with the high-octane take that some people have on it, or even experience. I'm delighted for them. Trouble is, such intensity of compersion can leave many others quaking in their boots.
For anyone who isn't familiar with the word, compersion is feeling pleasure, or other positives, in your partner's relationship with their other partner(s). While compersion isn't the opposite of jealousy, it's usually mentioned in the same breath during pep talks given to green-eyed poly people. Especially newbies. It is often presented in a believe-it-or-not tone, as an emotional feat they can one day achieve that is nigh-on unimaginable in their current anguish. And it's in this conversation that, if the well-meaning adviser isn't careful, the rot can set in.
Mark that "well-meaning". Well-meaning is not always well-thought. Thing is, I blame a lack of diplomacy, rather than a presence of sadism, when these talks have painful consequences. In a friendly attempt to point up the breathtaking contrast between how the sufferer is feeling now and how they might be able to feel one day (or should perhaps even be feeling already), the compersion cheerleader can end up doing just that: cheerleading. At a time when their friend is in a palsy of insecurity -- eyes wet, throat dry, body folded badly into an armchair -- it isn't likely to sit well for that wreck to be exposed to the gleeful tales of someone who delights in scooping her beau and his new woman into a red two-seater, with a map to the nearest lover's lane.
For one thing, I'd bet a crisp twenty that most poly people who do 'achieve' compersion don't experience it in that bursting, intoxicated way: not in the early days, at least. For most of us, however raw we did or didn't feel when our partner first stepped out with someone new, time is the quiet hero that sat and stitched, and sat and stitched, and ushered us to a point at which a smile flickered across our face when one day we glanced out of the window and saw our partner with her head on the other guy's shoulder. And that first wee smile, that silent "Aww, look at them...", is often a surprise to us, like the fart that sneaks out of a dozing dog and makes the hound hit the ceiling.
That's the way I'd introduce the concept of compersion to someone who is hurting and who also, crucially, asked me in the first place. Compersion is one of those topics that will twist the already-shitty knife that is unsolicited advice. Your reluctant audience will probably find the idea of Hallmark-style compersion intimidating, because she'll interpret it not as an idea but as an ideal: an ideal that she should be able to attain sooner rather than later, and maybe should be feeling innately. So now she'll fairly squeak with resentment and inadequacy. I don't blame her.
The real shame is when wider, gentler definitions of compersion tend to be pushed aside. That you might, one day, feel occasional twinges of approval when you know that your lover and her lover are out at their archery class -- which you know they both enjoy -- is much easier for the imagination to take on board.
Here's the kicker: that's all that compersion has to be. If that's your compersion, so be it. It's a tremendous piece of human loveliness, in and of itself, to get to a point where you are content to do your partner's ironing so that they can enjoy that archery class with another important romantic person in their life. And to be pleased for them.
And if you can do that without also relishing the mental image of lover-boy sending an arrow through his own self-satisfied fucking foot, so much the better.