beginning an open relationship

Compersion is a Lofty Goal

compersion in polyamory | open relationships and compersion

Dear ones, I shot you a quick video about compersion because, well, it comes up a LOT in sessions about open relationships.  And honeys, a lot of you are way too hard on yourself about not feeling all compersion-y when you start out in non-monogamy.  

Yes, compersion (feeling joy for another's joy or love when seeing your partner experience another love) is a beautiful thing.  It can feel really wonderful to share.  But it is extremely uncommon in beginning open relationships.  

Many people go YEARS without really experiencing compersion in a polyamorous context.

It's not impossible, but what I know to be true is for most folks their internal pressure to "get over it" when experiencing (totally normal) jealousy, insecurity, and anxiety and pressuring themselves to feel compersion instead only makes it harder to get there.  

Ease up dear ones.  Give yourself a little compassion and patience.  Allow yourself to feel your feelings.  Practice self care.  And please, recalibrate your goals from compersion to simply managing reactivity, finding peace, acceptance, ease, or comfort in non-monogamy.  You can always bring yourself around to compersiontown later.   

Be well, Gina


open relationship help | polyamory advice | compersion

Hi!  I'm glad you're reading.  Let me know if I can help you:

  • reconnect with passion & desire in long-term partnerships
  • rebuild trust after infidelity or dishonesty
  • move beyond jealousy, fear, and insecurity 
  • manage intense emotions that arise in conflicts
  • resolve sexual dysfunction & disconnect
  • change communication & codependent patterns
  • open your relationship & practice polyamory with integrity

I lead couples retreats, host workshops, and see private clients online (and in Portland, OR).

Call me for a free consultation to rethink the way you do relationships.

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a communication consultant, sexuality counselor and certified relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationships, jealousy, and infidelity.  

20 Reasons Why People Choose Open Relationships

20 Reasons to Choose Open Relationships

People choose open relationships for all kinds of reasons. Just like monogamous relationships, people choose non-monogamous relationships for both healthy and unhealthy reasons.  

In my years of working with open marriages and poly couples, I've heard a myriad of reasons people choose open relationships. 

Here are some of the reasons I hear most often from individuals in polyamorous or nonmonogamous relationships:

  1. We don’t believe in the status quo.
  2. There is greater security outside the confines of a two-person relationship.
  3. My partner and my sex drives are out of alignment.
  4. I have spent my whole life in polyamorous community and prefer to stay in the community I know and love.
  5. I am bisexual and my wife is straight.  She doesn’t want me to lose connection to my queer identity.
  6. Why not?
  7. I enjoy the communication and honesty necessary for long lasting open relationships.
  8. I believe open relationships require higher personal integrity.
  9. Having multiple income streams in one household can make for greater financial abundance and sustainability.
  10. We enjoy sharing play partners.
  11. Polyamorous relationships require greater self-development, introspection and have pushed me to grow as a person.
  12. I am not willing to sacrifice one relationship for another.  
  13. Sex with one person for my whole life would be boring.
  14. My partner has a fetish or kink I am not into, and I want to support her in getting her needs met.
  15. Trying to meet all of my partners' needs on my own would put a lot of pressure on our relationship.
  16. I like more than one kind of person.
  17. My life is richer with more than one partner fueling my emotional intimacy needs.  
  18. I don’t want to limit my partner’s personal expression or have mine limited by her.
  19. I like diversity.
  20. I enjoy watching my partner connect with other people.

Remember open relationships only work if both parties can consent and the relationship is founded in honesty.

Consider your own reasons for choosing a monogamous or an open relationship.  

  • Which model works best for you and why?
  • How do you define the boundaries of your monogamous or open contracts?
  • How do you communicate expectations about intimacy with others with your partner?
  • How have your beliefs about monogamy and non-monogamy changed over time?
  • What beliefs do you have about other relationship models?  
  • How do you know which model is best for you?

No one is born polyamorous or monogamous, these are relationship models we choose. Neither option is right or wrong when made honestly and intentionally.  

If you are thinking about opening your relationship and want help talking about it with your partner you might want to attend the Polyamory 101 course I am leading on July 13, 2016.  

Or give me a call for a free consult. I am glad to help.


poly counseling in portland | open marriage counseling portland

Gina Senarighi, MS, MA, CPC is a sex educator and relationship coach specializing in polyamory, open relationshipsjealousy, LGBTQ issues and infidelity.  

She can help you:

Contact her for a free consultation to see if working with her is right for you.

Click here to download her free guides to strengthen your relationship (monogamous or not).