My partner is part of a DID system - does that make us polyam?

I have a boyfriend and he’s a system (he has DID) and so because of how many alters he has and because one of them is dating someone else we are in a polyamorous relationship, so is it ok with polyam people if I call myself polyam? I was also wondering if you had any tips as to how I can be a good partner because I kinda get jealous of having to share my boyfriend with other alters. I just want to be a good boyfriend.

Your first question is an easy one - yes, it is totally fine for you to identify as polyamorous! In general, the polyam community isn’t big on gatekeeping. As long as you’re not engaging in cheating or abuse and calling it polyamory, or otherwise hurting people and making us look bad, it’s a pretty big umbrella. You are welcome here! And if anyone makes you feel unwelcome, send them to me.

It’s important for the sake of DID representation to distinguish between your boyfriend and his alters and the body they share - if you and your boyfriend are monogamous, but his alters are dating other people, then you are navigating an interesting space, where parts of your relationship are monogamous and other parts are polyamorous. Emotionally and romantically, you and your partner may be monogamous - but you still deal with the logistical, scheduling challenges and physical/sexual safety concerns of your average polyamorous person. And that’s okay!

As for your second question, that’s a lot trickier! Jealousy is a tricky thing. So are trauma and mental illnesses. And so are relationships! Something to keep in mind is that when your boyfriend can’t be present to you - either because another alter is fronting, or because another alter wants to be physically somewhere (or with someone) else, or simply because your boyfriend needs to attend to the self-care and other work he needs to do to stay healthy as a system, he’s not doing it TO you or AT you. It’s not personal, and he’s not trying to take time away from you or signal that something else is more important than you.

Spend time learning about DID and dating within systems - there are a lot of resources out there, and I list some of them in this answer to a similar question. Remember that systems form as a survival mechanism during severe trauma, and try to cultivate gratitude for his alters, recognizing the important role they play in his and each other’s lives. (Gratitude is a great antidote to resentment.) Make sure you have hobbies, friendships, and other fulfilling things that you can invest time and energy in, so that when he can’t be present to you, you’re not stuck ruminating on jealousy and missing him.

And talk to your boyfriend about what he thinks makes a “good boyfriend” and what he needs from you! He may have opinions about identifying as polyamorous, and he may have a specific way he wants to think and talk about his body and his alters. Everyone is different! You two may be able to work out processes for scheduling and making sure you get the time and attention you need. He may have suggestions for communicating with his alters. If he’s working with a therapist, ask if he’d be okay letting you join a session or two to learn more about how to support him. Ultimately, he’s the best source for information on “what it means to be a good boyfriend to me” and “how I understand my relationships.”