As far as I’m aware, there doesn’t seem to be any research done on this sort of scenario, so just know that my opinions on the subject are based on anecdotal evidence. My own experiences, the experiences of others, and to be candid, my own opinions on human nature inform my opinions on the wisdom of dating someone who is unsure about you.
In my experience, when someone says they aren’t sure they want the things you want, whether it’s about monogamy, their attraction to you, or anything else, it’s likely they don’t want what you want. Maybe they’re just trying to stall for time, maybe they’re genuinely not sure what they want, but odds are good that whatever you want, whatever they’re hesitant to give you, is not what they really want.
If you want a relationship and someone says “I’m not sure”, it’s entirely possible that their mind isn’t made up, but I don’t think that’s likely. People have a hard time reconciling wanting to be with someone who they think is great with not being able to give them what they want.
It’s easier to tell someone who you don’t want what they want and you think you should move on if you don’t feel a connection. It can be hard to do that when you feel like someone is a great fit for you, except when it comes to their romantic priorities. I think that’s why so many people end up in relationships with people who they are fundamentally incompatible with. People spend so much time looking for a great match, one with a high degree of compatibility; they’re often willing to stick with someone who has different romantic wants and needs.
We often separate what people want out of relationships from what makes them a good fit. Someone isn’t a perfect match for you *except* for the fact that they don’t want to settle down.
Pontification aside, here’s what I think. If you’re seeing someone who isn’t sure if they want to be with you in the way that you want to, 9 times out of 10, you should leave. 90% of the time, “maybe” is a “no”. There are some exceptions, and those come down to what your priorities are, your timeline, and whether you’re ready to be disappointed.
If what you’re looking for is someone to warm your bed, and the person you’re dating isn’t sure if they want that or something more, you’re in a very different situation than the person who wants to be married within the next 3 years. If you want a commitment, and they’re unsure if they do too, but you don’t have a specific timeline, and you’ve reconciled the idea that they might eventually not want a commitment, your answer will be different too.
Personally, I’m at the point in my life where dating someone who is unsure of their romantic goals just wouldn’t work for me. I think that for most people, it’s not wise to be with someone who isn’t sure about what they want. Especially if you know what you want and are clear about it. There will always be exceptions to this with happy endings though, but I think they’re few and far between.
If you do decide to give someone a shot that is unsure about what they want to have with you, just be ready for a potential and very likely end to your romantic connection. It might be worth the risk to wait and see if they make up their mind, but I think the odds are pretty low. In most of my experience, the risks aren’t worth it, but if you’re the gambling sort, take a chance if you can afford to.
Good Luck Out There.
Also published on Medium.