I recently found out that polyamory is when you fall in love with more than one person at a time, and I was like, “Holy *insert bad word* that’s me!” But I’m in a monogamous relationship and want to continue that. Does this mean I’m actually not poly, I just get attached to people easily?

I get a lot of questions along this line - people wanting to know whether they’re “really” polyamorous, or how they can tell whether they’re poly, or how they can find the right label or identification. But I am not an arbiter with the power to bestow or validate someone’s identity claim. No one is. Anyone who says they are is being a jerk.

The thing about human sexuality is that it’s fluid. It insists on defining itself rather than shifting to fit a pre-existing definition. There’s no test, no part of the brain we can peel back and look at to find a blinking light that says POLY or MONO, or GAY or STRAIGHT, or anything like that.

Relationships work best when they’re allowed to just be what they are, to develop organically, to grow in the ways they need to. If you’re happy in a monogamous relationship, good for you! Keep doing that. Keep doing that as long as it makes you feel healthy and fulfilled. If you could also see yourself being happy in a polyamorous relationship, that’s okay! Those realities can co-exist just fine, in an identity and in practice.

The only thing that you are, completely and definitively, is you. External labels and definitions can’t always get at the core of who you are and what you need to be healthy. If identity labels are important to you (and that’s okay), find one that meets you where you are. Maybe you identify as poly/mono-fluid. Maybe poly in the general case, but mono for this person. Or maybe you’re just this person, in this relationship, as it is, right now.