I stumbled into polyamory shortly after the death of my first boyfriend. I was with him when he died in the hospital. It haunted me, he haunted me for years to follow. There was a smell in the room he was in and it would reemerge suddenly at opportune times that made me feel like he was watching out for me.
My next boyfriend suggested we open up because I didn’t have as much experience dating other people and I fell head ovet heels in love with polyamory. At my peak I was a girl with five casual flings, after my gender revolution, a genderqueer person with three boyfriends, a girlfriend and two boyfriends. The configurations go on and on as I fluidly moved between relationships.
But there was this residual belief in me about this alternative universe where my boyfriend never died, I never became polyamorous, I never became queer, I just lived happily ever after in a cishet life.
It’s understood that sometimes alternative identity stems from trauma. There’s quotes and memes floating around about how we identify with our trauma so much we don’t know who we are without it.
I found myself falling deeper and deeper in love with my fiance, loving with my whole heart in a way I thought impossible since my first boyfriend died. So I did the unthinkable. I broke up with my other partners and commited myself to be (at least temporarily) monogamous. And with that the weight of my traumatized identity lifted. It doesn’t change everything. I’m still a relationship anarchist. I’m still genderqueer. But this part of my idenity lifted, I was no longer defined by my broken heart, letting it shape my motives in polyamory. Maybe I’ll be polyamorous again in the future and approach it from a healthier place, but right now I need to be monogamous to honour the healing of this wound, the broken heart which no longer defines me.