My partner recently opened up to me that our sex life was not fulfilling for her and she’s asked to me to date other people until I “figure it out” or “mature sexually.” In the mean time, she’s asked that she doesn’t want to have sex with me at all during this period.  The implication being that I should date people and drop them once I “figure it out” or find hookup dates to experience having sex with other people and get a clue.

I got into a non-monogamous relationship with her to have emotionally fulfilling relationships with people that I would date and I don’t feel comfortable with hooking up with people I’ve only just met. And now that I’m actually dating somebody else, she doesn’t want to hear about what’s happening, finally revealing to me that she’s been looking at my text conversations with my date without my consent because she doesn’t want to hear me talk about it to her.  I feel like this whole situation is really messed up, I love my partner but right now I feel incredibly uncomfortable with what’s happening.  

I guess I’m trying to figure out if actually dating other people right now is a good idea, because I’m seeing my partner exhibit alarming and controlling behavior that I don’t want to get other people exposed to.

There are lots of red flags here. One is that you say your partner “implied” something rather than coming out and saying it. Clear, open, and honest communication is crucial to a healthy relationship. Then, she pressured you into doing something you didn’t feel comfortable doing. She also went through your phone without your consent, which is a major problem.

You yourself feel that she’s exhibiting “alarming and controlling behavior.” It’s not about whether you should expose other people to her…it’s about whether you should expose yourself to her. This doesn’t sound like a healthy relationship at all. Just because you two are non-monogamous doesn’t mean you can’t break up with her or that you two are obligated to work through any conflict by trying to solve it with more relationships.

You may love your partner, but if someone puts you in a situation you feel uncomfortable in and continues to push, you don’t deserve that and sometimes the best thing to do is to get out of the relationship. Try talking to her about how not okay her behavior is. Give her space to explain why she’s been acting like this and making these demands, but if there isn’t a strong willingness to change course immediately and work with you to get back to a place that’s healthy for both of you, it might be time to leave.