She Doesn’t Mind

I’ve been doing a lot of dancing lately to this song:

Hands up high, we burning up the sky
We got the dance all crazy, got the club on fire
I like the way you dance, you got me in a trance
My baby she don’t mind at all…

Girl I got you so high, and I know you like,
So come and push it on me, if it feels alright,
When you drop it low, and break me off,
No, she doesn’t mind (aight)
She doesn’t mind (aight)
She doesn’t mind.

Now, while dancing isn’t quite equivalent to sleeping with someone, I think it is worth noting that the kind of dancing many Caribbean people do is rather suggestive. In fact, an island friend told me last night that he once had someone warn him that he might face sexual assault charges for dancing with a girl at a bar one night. The girl, who he’d just met, was from the Caribbean as well, and had suggested that she and my friend “show them how it’s done” in the Caribbean.

If a Jamaican man like Sean Paul has a baby who doesn’t mind him letting another girl push it up on him, I’d say that’s pretty open-minded and on the road to compersion. I’m not going to say that his baby must be okay with the idea of an open relationship or polyamory, but given that there are some people who’d be irked if their partner even danced tamely with someone else, hey, the song makes me happy.

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Operating in a Monogamously Minded World

As I move and live and socialize in this monogamously minded world, I am constantly made aware of how monogamously minded I am myself, having grown up in it.

I catch myself expecting other people to be monogamous. I catch myself communicating in such a way that would be non-threatening to a monogamous person, even to people who have stated that they are comfortable with my non-monogamy. I’ll feel completely comfortable, even proud, if a romantic interest texts me and I can reply that I’m “just hanging with the girls,” but if they happen to text me while I’m talking with another interest, I find myself hesitant to admit it, and I’ll often reply, “hanging with a friend.”

I catch myself worrying when someone I’m interested in becomes interested in someone else; I worry they’ll lose interest in me, as if they aren’t capable of what I do. I don’t give them enough credit. I catch myself being surprised when those same people continue to show interest in me, even in plain view of those others they are canoodling with. It’s funny how quickly my worry is assuaged, and rather nice, and I just kind of wish the worry wasn’t there at all. I wonder if that’ll ever happen.

I’m hesitant to make new interests aware of the existence of other new interests. Old lovers are easy; I simply introduce myself as someone who already has some ties, and if the person is still interested in me, I know they’ve made a decision to continue with that knowledge. When a friendship is still forming though, and another one begins, too, I find myself conflicted about just how much and how to divulge that information.

I’ll figure it out; I always do. But I’m sure I’m not the only one experiencing these things, and I felt it was worth sharing.

Jealousy

“Are you really okay with that?”

With someone I love being happy, of course I am! Am I immune to jealousy? Hell, no!

The little green monster bites me, too.

There are some people out there who say that they lack the capacity to feel jealous. I am not one of them. I get that sinking feeling when I see someone who I enjoy making happy being made happy by someone else. Does this other person make them happier than I do? Am I at risk of losing someone I care about to someone else? I can’t pretend that these feelings don’t pass through me.

At the same time, though, I simultaneously feel the urge to smile. After all, someone I care about is smiling, and more often than not, I am welcome to join in the moment. For me, it is most often the case that the happiness I feel at others’ happiness overwhelms the jealousy that is present.

And, as quickly as I cause happiness, the jealousy passes, and I am reassured that I am not losing someone; rather, we are including someone in our joy, and that person is including us in theirs.

So much for "three's a crowd".

People in the polyamory communities I’ve interacted with call this feeling of being happy at seeing someone you love be made happy by someone else “compersion.” Some call it the “opposite of jealousy.” It’s strange feeling jealousy and it’s opposite at the same time, but it’s not like the human race isn’t used to that experience. How many of us have both loved and hated someone? How many of us have been sad to leave a place, but happy at what lay ahead? How many of us have been angry at the actions of a child, and yet amused by the situation?

Jealousy is a negative emotion. We’re always talking about how to handle our negative emotions like anger, hate, and grief. Yet, we allow people to experience levels of jealousy without considering whether that emotion should be managed rather than given free reign.

How do you manage jealousy in a relationship? Often, the same way you manage anger, resentment, or sadness: COMMUNICATE. This is no news flash. I’ve had many a long discussion about my jealousies with people I care about, and the result has always been me receiving more than enough reassurance to see that my jealousy was coming from my own insecurities. Over time, I’ve managed to kill off a number of those insecurities, and have become exponentially less jealous. I still have some that I don’t think I’ll ever get over – some things are buried too deep to dig up without simply inflicting more damage – and that is why I talk with the people in my life about what I need to keep feeling happy for their happiness.

No one’s had a problem with it yet.