Dating ambivalently is more dangerous than it sounds.
Maressa Brown is a journalist and astrologer who’s a regular lifestyle contributor and resident astrologer for InStyle. She has nearly two decades of professional experience writing, reporting, and editing lifestyle content for a variety of digital and print consumer-facing publications including Parents, Shape, Astrology, and more. She is currently based in Los Angeles and completing her first title with Artisan Books to be published in early 2023.
From inadvertently finding yourself in a situationship to being love-bombed or experiencing FODA (aka fear of dating again), there’s a bevy of ways that a well-meaning foray into the dating world can go sideways. Now, dating experts are pointing to a new 2022 trend that’s more pervasive than you might realize: hesidating.
Coined by dating site Plenty of Fish, the trend is, unsurprisingly, a downstream effect of the pandemic and the perpetual feeling that life is so uncertain at the moment. “From socially distant walks to video chats, to finally, meeting IRL for the first time, for many singles, dating can be a lot and the idea of getting into a relationship feels even more overwhelming,” Kate MacLean, resident dating expert at Plenty of Fish, tells InStyle.
In fact, MacLean says that POF’s findings show 70% of singles are unsure about their relationship status and whether they want something serious or more casual. In other words, they’re hesidating. Ahead, experts break down what the term really means and how to contend with it, whether you’ve matched with someone who’s hesidating – or you’re doing it yourself.
What Is ‘Hesidating’?
In short, hesidating is “feeling indifferent about dating, unsure if you want to date seriously or casually because life, in general, is so uncertain right now,” according to Plenty of Fish.
And dating experts we spoke with can absolutely see why so many daters are experiencing it right now. Stephanie Macadaan, LMFT, a therapist in the San Francisco Bay Area, California, explains, “The last few years have been full of uncertainty, and for people who may already feel anxious or avoidant around relationships, this lack of safety and security can translate to fear of commitment and hesitation around getting into a relationship.”
Hesidating could also be the result of a person attempting to gina following the pandemic, says Emily Simonian, LMFT, Head of Clinical Learning at Thriveworks in Washington, DC. “The last two years halted socializing in a major way, so it makes sense that people may not want to throw themselves into dating, which can require a lot of emotional energy,” she notes, adding that she’s worked with people who experienced positive personal growth during the pandemic and found that the more time Thunder Bay local hookup spent alone reduced their fear of loneliness. “That experience, which is called a corrective emotional experience, possibly created a sense of indifference toward dating for some.”
Even people who are determined to start a serious relationship might end up hesidating, because they’re not sure if their match possesses all the qualities they’re looking for in a partner, points out Maria Sullivan, dating expert and Vice President of Dating.
“In the mind of a hesidater, they will typically pull back or seem uncertain when things start to progress in a relationship due to their own internal struggle when it comes to making decisions, both romantically and in general,” she explains. “For many hesidaters, the idea of a long-term relationship with someone who isn’t a true match is overwhelming and scary, as coming out of Covid-19, nobody wants to lose even more time. This leads to the hesitant attitude and, in some cases, even prevents a relationship from becoming committed or serious altogether.”