Should You Wait For Commitment Or Walk Away?

Should You Wait For Commitment Or Walk Away?

For the best advice on sex, love, dating and relationships we ask two experts with personal experience. Cathi Hanauer is the author, most recently, of Sweet Ruin, a novel about love, marriage, and adultery. Daniel Jones is the editor of both the "Modern Love" column for The New York Times, and Modern Love, an anthology derived from the column. They've been married for 15 years, and together they provide a his and hers take on relationship questions. This round: dating and commitment.

Question: I just started seeing this guy, and I think I'm falling for him. He tells me that though he likes me, he's still actively seeing other people. Should I wait for him to commit to me exclusively, or do I more on before I get too close? –Liza, 26

Her Take: I'm wondering what makes you think he will commit to you, if he's still seeing other people. Seems to me either this guy is just not the committing type, or he's (say it with me) just not that into you.

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The point is, I'm not hearing wedding bells here. So if you think you'll get hurt if he won't commit, yes, move on before you get too close, if you can. (Big if.) But first, sit the guy down and tell him you like him a lot but you can't see him unless he can commit to you. Ultimatums aren't ideal, but honesty is better than games—or naïveté—in the long run. Maybe he's been waiting all along for you to ask. Either way, you'll know from his answer what your real choices are.

His Take: The question isn't whether you should move on or wait for him to commit to you. It's whether or not you want to be a player in his dating game (which, incidentally, means you could also see other people.)

He's giving you his terms up front, and he's doing so with admirable honesty—and it's not because he may decide to commit to you exclusively if he loves you enough. Clearly, he likes keeping his options open and doesn't seem worried about losing you over his admission. Waiting for him to change will only lead to frustration and disappointment.

But look on the bright side. Here's a chance to see how you'd fare in the jealousy funhouse of a non-exclusive relationship. Why not give it a shot for the sake of experience? Just be sure to make the choice yours, not his.