“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 polyamorous 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 polyamorous, 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 polyamorous 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 polyamorous 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…
Rami Henrich 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 20 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.