I’m So Happy for You!

That’s when it dawned on me, friendships are a lot like a polyamorous structure.

I’m So Happy for You!
Photo by Bonnie Kittle / Unsplash

Relationships are interesting. Friendships, parent-child, sexual, work ones all take on different meanings and with different boundaries. Some are deeper than others and some are more playful.

The key is that whatever relationship you form with another person (or more) you need to make sure that it’s one with happiness at its core.

Why am I happy for happiness? All because of a book recommendation.

Elle Beau recommended the book “Opening Up: A Guide To Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships” by Tristan Taormino. The main thrust of the book is about polyamory and how to open up a “closed” relationship to one that’s more “open” when all parties involved want to.

She remarked that it’s quite good for monogamous relationships as well and that intrigued me. I’m still in the middle of reading it but the two main points that resonated with me were nonviolent communication and compersion.

Maybe I’m just a well-groomed hippie?

I didn’t even know what compersion was until I came across it in the book and looked it up. Compersion is defined as “the feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; contrasted with jealousy. (via Wordnik)”

My partner and I are in a monogamous relationship and even broaching the topic of “opening up” is met by fierce resistance. I have no desire to open up and neither does my partner. We’re happy just the way things are right now but that doesn’t mean I’m curious to learn more about it.

I have a constant need to feed my head and I love learning about alternative structures, ideas, and counter-culture that revels in all the glorious colors of life.

Maybe I’m just a well-groomed hippie? Or was it too much LDS?

Nonviolent Communication

Life in my house tends to be volatile. I have two wonderful but pain-in-the-ass teenagers that I love very much.

I get it, I went through puberty too and started the arduous task of figuring out who I am at their ages. My son loves to challenge me now and my daughter loves to argue with my partner. There’s can be a lot of yelling, posturing, and arguing at random times.

I feel bad

It’s something that’s bothered me for a long time. I prefer harmony, not pay lip service to it, but it’s hard to put into practice. I succumb to the arguing as well. What can I say? I’m human, but I want to be better.

Enter nonviolent communication.

Nonviolent communication is defined as:

Wikipedia

Easier said than done? Right?

Well not so fast, it’s quite easy to do if you reframe how you feel at the moment.

That’s the trick, reframing how you feel at the very moment and that can be hard. You just have to catch yourself and express your feelings in a way that isn’t an attack.

“Opening Up” has made me realize that my partner and I have a fairly large and varied friend network.

Instead of attacking someone by saying something like “Why do you always do this? Don’t you get it!”

You can say something like this, “I feel bad when this happens.”

Just that little change suddenly makes the altercation more empathetic because you’ve been there too. You’ve been attacked and felt bad, you see the other person as a fellow human being and not an adversary.

We started to consciously use this technique in our house over the past month and there’s been a big change. There is less yelling and more talking now. Do we still have big blowups, yes, but it takes time to change learned behavior.

Compersion

One of the most interesting words I learned was compersion. Simply put it’s the opposite of jealousy and it’s something the both of us have been doing unknowingly for years. Not only in our relationship with each other and our children, but with our friends as well.

We have friends that fill a need we have that we can’t give to each other.

“Opening Up” has made me realize that my partner and I have a fairly large and varied friend network.

I have my karate friends whereas my partner has her pickleball friends. She has her FB gardening friends and I have my Twitter friends. She loves to visit her friend on a farm and I love to do photo walks with my photography friends.

We have different groups of friends that fill a certain need for us.

That’s when it dawned on me, friendships are a lot like a polyamorous structure. We might not share a sexual bond with these friends but for some, it is an emotional one. We have friends that fill a need we have that we can’t give to each other.

And that’s OK.

When my partner heads down to her friend’s farm for a few days or organizes a potluck for her gardening friends, I’m happy. I can either join or spend the time doing something else.

When I’m off on a photo walk or photoshoot my partner can go play pickleball or just take a nap on the couch.

There is no jealousy. There’s just happiness and joy.

There is no need for me or her to monopolize each other’s time. We may be fluid bonded but we support each other to become better. Better happy human beings.

We can choose to take joy in our partner’s life…

I’m happy for her, I’m happy for us, and I’m happy for me.

I’m So Happy for You!

When I write or say “I’m happy for you,” I mean it. I truly am happy for you.

You might be working toward a hard-earned goal, or you had something wonderful happen to you that’s worth noting.

You can start small.

Sharing a bit of happiness, even its mere acknowledgment of an event or something important in their life is such a wonderful positive sentiment to give to someone.

I do it because your happiness brings happiness to me.

It’s weird how that works but it does.

We need to practice being happy for others as a way to find happiness ourselves. There’s only so much time we in this world, why focus on the negative when we can choose to be happy.

We can choose to take joy in our partner’s life, in our children’s lives, and our professional life.

It’s a choice.

I’ve written about how love is a renewable resource and how time is not. They are the raw ingredients for happiness, you just have to take love and consciously mix it with time you have together! It’s a conscious choice you have to make.

And the best part?

You can start small.

Start by saying, “I’m happy for you.