Lacking Compersion

It can be hard when you struggle with seeing your partner experience compersion while you experience jealousy.

I've been struggling with something in my open relationship for a while and thought I would ask about it. I appreciate it's unusual, but I'm curious about your thoughts.
My partner and I are both active in the furry community, a big part of intimate expression in that community is through art. I find that I struggle with feelings of jealousy and insecurity when I see my partner's character depicted (especially sexually) with other people. Is there any advice you have for feeling better about this?
My partner is very supportive and understanding of me struggling with this, but I still feel bad as he's very good at being happy for me in the inverse situation and I really want to be able to offer that in kind.

Part of this I feel like is the pressure you’re putting on yourself a little bit, which is compounded by the fact that your partner doesn’t seem bothered by the same thing. But you’re not the same person and there may be deeper and/or different reasons as to why this is something that triggers you. The pressure you seem to be putting on yourself to offer this “back” to your partner is probably only making the situation slightly worse.

I realise that part of your community participation might be participating through art, but is there a reason that you’re seeing these pictures? I assume that the art is just your partner and doesn’t necessarily involve you. Is your partner showing you the images? Is there a way if you’re seeing them digitally to use filters so that you don’t get surprised by them or can prepare yourself? 

Can you explore some of these feelings with a therapist? If your relationship is newer, it also makes a lot of sense that you would feel a little bit nervous or jealous by things like this. Can you allow yourself to have your feelings without the expectation that they should change for a little bit? Acknowledge the feelings that you have, notice them and let them pass.

You are not your feelings. You aren’t a “jealous person”. You just are experiencing these feelings. And they likely won’t and don’t linger. But when you turn your feelings into a bigger problem and judge yourself for having them, they become a much bigger problem than they have to be. It may be that you always feel a little jealous about it and that’s fine. You don’t actually have to experience happiness in this situation for your partner.

I do feel like sometimes people just don’t experience compersion and sometimes maybe the jealousy goes away but you never necessarily feel some type of happiness. I will generally have a little bit of fear and jealousy whenever I am dealing with a new partnership but I don’t necessarily experience a huge amount of happiness nor do I think I would have in this situation be that interested in seeing art of my partner’s character with other people. I wouldn’t necessarily be adverse to it but I wouldn’t go out of my way to look at either. 

So overall, I would say that you can work through some of the triggers of this with a therapist, but also consider changing your personal expectations because they may be what causes some of the anxiety or exacerbates it. Let yourself have your feelings. Experience them and let them go and see what happens with that instead of trying to control them.

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