As I’m currently working on the second edition of my book, Polyamory: It’s Not Complicated, I’m expanding on my thoughts of personality type.
In the book, I talk about alpha and beta people. And what this is translating to in my book is defining more granularly with my own alpha personality, the ENTJ, aka the Commander, aka WORLD DOMINATION! ;)
And in looking how this personality type interacts within Polyamory, and even more to why there seem to be so few of us ENTJs and ENTPs in poly, something started to stick out in my mind.
For the near decade that I’ve been in nonmonogamy, why have I never once really felt compersion?
It’s not that I haven’t felt some level of it, but never to the extent that other people describe it. It’s possible that the NT group simply doesn’t have the tendency to it.
As an ENTJ, I can easily set feelings aside and be a fully intuitive thinker type. An INTJ is a Mr. Spock. Give Mr. Spock a more leadership personality, and you have an ENTJ.
So we can set our feelings aside to make decisions. Let me give you an example.
I once had a partner who made some very hurtful choices in their other partners that was stressful with me. Someone more emotional might have demanded a veto and told them to choose them or me.
And an ENTJ, there is right and wrong, black and white, logic, and a solution. So, I insisted that ethical polyamory be restored, which absolutely did not include a veto. It included me meeting with each of these metamours and having a chat. Getting on the same page. Coming to agreement.
I was able to divorce my feelings from my decision. That doesn’t mean I’m unfeeling. It, in fact, hurt like hell. But I was able to “be the bigger person”.
So when it comes to compersion, I often have found that I classify external relationships (metamours) in a few criteria, none of which has to do with feelings.
First, is that relationship successful or not. If my partner is happy, all is well. If they are not happy, maybe they need me to intervene.
Second, is that relationship healthy for my relationship. If it is neutral or healthy for my relationship, all is well. If it is not, maybe my partner and I need to sit and discuss the negative impact and how to solve it.
What is often termed as jealousy and compersion might look like this for others… if those two things are going good, an NF personality type might feel about it, and that feeling is compersion. But an NT doesn’t necessarily “feel” about it, but accept it and be satisfied.
If one of those things is wrong, or going very wrong, an NF may “feel” jealousy. An NT, by comparison will find it unacceptable and dissatisfied.
And these two things can look very similar. Both types can either come with a smile, or with depression/anger. Neither way is superior. While compersion might be a big positive for the NF, it’s offset by the chance for jealousy. So they need emotional tools for dealing positively with negative emotions.
On the other hand, NTs need logical tools for dealing positively with negative situations.
And of course, none of these personality types are hard and fast. An NT can feel compersion, jealousy, and every other real emotion. And an NF can be very logical.
But with these overriding tendencies in play, this might be why NTs, and especially ENTJs have been apparently slower to adopt polyamory. They don’t get this super high emotional boost from the large metamour network, even if they find it logically positive for everyone.
As the Commander type, they also may fall into more emotionally unsympathetic patterns, such as polyfidelity, harems, and One Penis Policy situations. And while emotions may play into this, they’ll back up these stances with very logical and cold calculating excuses.
What do you think? ENTJs make up less than 3% of the population, for both men and women. Does polyamory truly appeal to fewer of them than the general population? What about NTs in general, are they more the monogamous type? What’s your type, and why does that make you well suited for polyamory?