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More On: Am I Polyam or Not?

yellow daisyby Rami Henrich, LCSW

In the last post I started speaking about identity…something I have thought about quite a bit. I’d like to tell you a bit about myself and my struggle with my own polyamorous identity.

As I mentioned previously, I have been in a polyam relationship for close to 30 years. Naturally, prior to finding out about polyamory a few years ago, I did not think about myself as being polyamorous as I had never heard the term. Since then, taking an active part in the polyam community here in Chicago, in large part as facilitator of the polyamory support group, I have questioned my own identity… am I polyam or am I living a polyamorous lifestyle? And if I am living a polyamorous lifestyle does that mean I am polyam or am I not? When I think about it, I think about who or what defines me? Who is to say if I am polyam, and if I say that I am what exactly does that mean?

Sometimes I think when we say we are polyam, as mentioned in previous post, it helps us feel that we belong, that we have a place, a community, perhaps a feeling of at-homeness when we identify as such. At times saying to someone that I am polyamorous works well to describe me, my life, our life, but it is complicated by the fact that I was living this way long before I knew about polyamory. Sometimes the identity feels like a retro-fit rather than a current, who I am in the moment identity. I have heard people say that they are not polyam, that they are non-monogomous, others that they are polyam-fluid, or hetero-fluid. So many ways to cut the identity pie. Complicated!

So how do we come to an identity? By who I say I am, by who you or they say who I am? Is it family, friends, culture who define me? The question of identity…fascinating. An exploration worth having I believe. Identity, the question of am I polyamorous or not, opens up other questions too…questions that lead to an exploration of self, of parts of self that are more known, and those that are yet to be known, questions about our nature, and our wholeness. A fascinating journey!

About Rami Henrich, LCSW

Rami Henrich, LCSW, is a licensed clinical social worker and a Diplomate in Process-oriented Psychology (or Process Work), as well as a founding partner of LifeWorks Psychotherapy Center and North Shore Psychotherapy Associates. Rami has studied, taught and applied Process-oriented Psychology as developed by Arnold Mindell, Ph.D., for over 13 years. She has a special interest in working with relationship difficulties and those who identify as living an alternative lifestyle. Rami is a certified Imago Relationship Therapist as well as is a frequent speaker on topics including: Sex Positivity: Therapist Bias; Rank & Power; and Polyamory.

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