by Rami Henrich, LCSW
“Polyamory is an identification that mirrors LGBTQ identification in the sense that it is not something I can control, squash, or stop. I did not make a decision to do this. It is not something that I can stop.“
That’s what Helen said when I interviewed her for a research project in 2011. For her, and many others who I have spoken with in my psychotherapy practice and the Polyamory Support Group that I have been facilitating for three years, polyamory is believed to be a deep identity and not a choice.
For others, being polyam is a way of speaking about a chosen relationship style. The question of identity is an unfolding one, some of us finding comfort in identifying as polyam, perhaps because it gives us a sense of belonging somewhere, particularly when we feel outside of the relationship mainstream where monogamous beliefs, rules, and conditioning impose themselves.
Seems that being polyam can be both…a way of speaking about a chosen relationship style and an inborn identity. What I have seen is that for many being polyam means having multiple emotional connections with people, or emotional connections with multiple people at the same time. Bottom line is that polyamorists are able to be in love with more than one person at a time.
Interesting to think about…and sometimes difficult to come to terms with one’s identity…