"You're asking me, will my love grow?Normally, it's easy to recognize when a romance arc ends with a Relationship Upgrade or an outright Happily Ever After. The tale may end with True Love's Kiss, romantic Holding Hands, an embrace, a mutual Love Confession or proposal, or even a wedding. Babies Ever After may ensue, particularly in the credits. What about those romance plots that end on an ambiguous note? What if both parties seem interested, and there's no definitive "no," but there's no kiss, no embrace, and no wedding? This can occur when a story ends with the tentative start of a new relationship, rather than with the culmination of the relationship. In some cases, separated characters are reunited, or a quarrel between two romantically interested characters is resolved, but it isn't entirely certain where the relationship is going to go. Instead of a "yes" or "no" answer to Will They or Won't They? we get "probably" or "kinda sorta maybe." Unlike some other forms of No Romantic Resolution, a Maybe Ever After ending hints at or implies a successful conclusion to a romance arc. However, the degree of resolution can vary widely. At one extreme, a Maybe Ever After ending can strongly imply that the characters in question are entering into a long-term relationship, coming just short of explicitly indicating that. At the opposite extreme, there may be just a hint of something romantic developing between the characters. When adding examples, don't forget that there must be a reasonable likelihood that the characters in question would end up together. Wishful thinking doesn't count: if you can't point to specific evidence of a potential romantic relationship, leave it out. Likewise, there must be at least some degree of ambiguity about the status of the relationship: if the ending leaves absolutely no doubt about the fact that the two characters are a long-term item now, the example belongs in Relationship Upgrade, Last Minute Hookup, Happily Ever After, or They Do rather than this trope. This is a common ending trope in anime adaptations of manga, where it may manifest as an alternative to a Gecko Ending. In Western literature, it may function as part of a Sequel Hook. Maybe Ever After is the subtrope of No Romantic Resolution, which may offer less resolution or may otherwise lack the hint-of-a-positive-ending that characterizes Maybe Ever After. If your example involves secondary characters whose relationship involves little or no romance arc to speak of, it might be a case of Hooked Up Afterwards. See also Belated Happy Ending, where a sequel clears up the ambiguity of a Maybe Ever After, as well as Downtime Downgrade, where the resolution is unraveled in between the first work and the sequel. Contrast with Did Not Get the Girl, which may lead to a Bittersweet Ending. This is an ending trope, and not all spoilers will be marked.
I don't know, I don't know.
You stick around now, it may show.
But I don't know, I don't know."
I don't know, I don't know.
You stick around now, it may show.
But I don't know, I don't know."
— The Beatles, "Something"
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Anime & Manga
- Rihoko's arc in Amagami SS ends with Junichi and her apparently closer, but still in his "friend zone". SS+ solves this problem.
- Some kind of attraction is implied between Zessica and Kagura at the end of Aquarion Evol.
- Axis Powers Hetalia: The Buon San Valentino strip, in which Germany finally seems to be coming to terms with his feelings for Italy, never got finished, so we never get to see what happened there.
- The B Gata H Kei manga ends pretty clearly for the main couple, but the anime, which ends somewhat abruptly halfway through the manga, stops on a more ambiguous note. The ending certainly strongly suggests that Yamada and Kosuda are going to make things work, but at this point in the series Yamada still hasn't fully admitted her feelings even to herself, nor has she completely given up on her explicit goal of only using Kosuda to lose her virginity before moving on to sleep with 99 other guys, and no resolution has been given for ether of her romantic rivals.
- The leads in Bitter Virgin end the manga on this note. They pretty much agree to start dating, but know that Hinako's issues and past are a huge hurdle that might take years to overcome and Daisuke admits to himself he's not sure if he can really help her with that, while Hinako thinks that Daisuke may well be better off with a girl that doesn't have these issues. Even the two leads themselves don't think they'll stay together forever or know what exactly will happen, even in the near future for them. That said, both have implied their desire to stay until the other finds someone who is better able to bring happiness to the other, and it could be argued that the devotion they show makes it difficult to imagine that ever happening.
- Boku Dake Ga Inai Machi: Satoru is demonstrated developing some romantic connections with two different girls, Kayo and (especially in the manga) Airi. While one does naturally fall through, the last scene has him in his new timeline having a new first meeting with the other, concluding with him remarking how there's no telling what the future may hold and suggesting that something may happen there.
- Bokura no Hentai features this in its Distant Finale: Ryousuke and Hacchi haven't seen each other in years. They broke up in middle school due to Ryousuke falling for Marika. They meet several years later at a mixer and seem to have romantic hangovers however the ending is ambiguous if they'll become a couple. They at least mended their loose ends from their falling out.
- Brigadoon: Marin and Melan is an unusual example. Normally, if a series ends with Sealed with a Kiss, you assume that They Do, but in context since the ending doesn't say whether Marin goes to Brigadoon with Melan, as opposed to staying on Earth, it's quite possible that this is a goodbye kiss. The new ending theme for the episode may hint at a happy ending, but not in a conclusive way.
- Ergo Proxy fits this: Vincent/Ergo Proxy chooses Re-l over Monad, and they both escape from Romdeau unscathed, but they're separated and it's unclear what Re-l thinks of his new self-appointed duty to kill off the human founders of Romdeau.
- Fullmetal Alchemist:
- Roy and Riza. Fans can debate forever on whether or not they love each other, but even in the epilogue, where there's Babies Ever After for other characters, there is no almost hint of what happens between them since the end of the series. It is confirmed by their last photo that she's still working alongside him. The third art book has commentary from the author that the military regulations prevent them from getting married, if Riza wants to remain working under Roy.
- Al and May Chang. They had some Ship Tease and the epilogue shows May and Al in the Elric family photo, but never clarifies exactly what their relationship is. The anime muddies the waters further by adding Paninya and Garfiel, who definitely aren't family members, to the same photo.
- The 2003 anime has its own set of this. Most obviously are Roy and Riza as the ending episode has an epilogue scene that's heavy on the Ship Tease between them; however, Fullmetal Alchemist: The Conqueror of Shamballa keeps it open by having little interaction between the two. The ending to the anime has Edward stuck on the 'wrong' side of the Gate, but the "Kids" OVA shows Edward's three grandkids, one of whom is identical to Winry. Whether this means he (or Alphonse) married Winry or Winry's Earth alter is vague, as is whether it's even canon.
- The anime version of Genshiken ends this way between Sasahara and Oguie due to the show being Cut Short. They do get together in the manga and their budding relationship is explored. They are boyfriend and girlfriend when the anime is revived, but by that point in the story Sasahara has graduated and is largely Out of Focus so it doesn't come up much.
- GUN×SWORD: The finale ends with an unexpected reunion between two characters who had gone separate ways years before. They don't do anything but stare at each other, but the jingle from the ring on Van's hat suggests that he's happy to see the all-grown-up-now Wendy.
- The Movie of Gundam 00 has this trope. Just prior to Tieria launching for the final battle with the ELS, Mileina surprises him with a short but cute love confession out of the blue. Right afterward, he hitches a ride to the ELS homeworld with Setsuna and the 00 Qan[T]... and that's it. She's never seen again and it's unknown if he ever returned to Earth... although there IS a Tieria-type Innovade aboard the Sumeragi fifty years later.
- Gundam Seed Destiny ends on this note for Athrun and Cagalli. They were together at the beginning of the series, then a war and politics got in the way, Cagalli almost got into an Arranged Marriage with another man, harsh words were said, and near the end of the series Cagalli is shown not wearing the engagement ring Athrun gave her. It's obvious they still care for one another, but whether the relationship is salvageable is unknown. Also, Athrun's given some Ship Tease with Meyrin and Cagalli tells her to 'take care of him' just to make it more confusing.
- In the last chapter of Heaven's Lost Property, Ikaros gives a Dying Declaration of Love to Tomoki. She soon comes back to life along with everyone who died in a Reset Button Ending, but Ikaros' confession isn't even mentioned again until a bonus chapter in which Tomoki finally decides to "settle things" with Ikaros, only for him to back down when he realizes she isn't ready to hear his answer. Later, Tomoki vaguely asks Ikaros to "always stay by his side" and Ikaros complies.
- The finale of Izetta The Last Witch doesn't make it explicitly clear whether Izetta and Finé became a couple, but there are some hints they were heading in that direction due to the very strong amount of affection they shared for each other.
- The anime of Kaze no Stigma ends with Ayano using her "bond" with Kazuma to bring him back to himself. However, despite the fact that she's been forced to acknowledge her feelings for him, there's no real resolution to the Romance Arc: just a hint that there's potential for their relationship.
- In the "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue of Mahou Sensei Negima!, Konoka and Setsuna are deliberately taken right to the border of They Do. Both are shown in wedding kimonos and Setsuna is bridal carrying Konoka, but while it explicitly says they got married (in the same year), it doesn't say if it was to each other.
- In MÄR, this might be the case with Koyuki/Snow and Ginta. The anime ending is significantly more suggestive than the original manga. Given their feelings toward each other, and the fact she's the only one of his potential love interests still with him at the end, this may have been the implication.
- Mekakucity Actors puts this on both of its main pairings.
- Both Takane and Haruka are established to have feelings for each other, but neither of them ever actually spat it out, due to multiple personality problems. Even after Haruka comes back to life, we never get to see whether he or Takane ever told each other their feelings.
- Shintaro and Ayano spend a good deal of their screentime fervently denying any kind of attraction, despite blantant cues that that's not the case. Later, Ayano admits privately that she isn't the girl Shintaro needs (implying that she wants to be), and Shintaro went into solitary seclusion when Ayano died. The last time they are seen together, they make awkward small-talk and then both try and say something... but refuse to finish after they interrupt each other. Then go straight back to denying everything when Kano appears and calls them "love birds".
- At least we still have an on-going novel and manga which both contain far more detail than the anime. (And may give more hints the Will They or Won't They? with a a handful of other characters.)
- Monster has ambiguous endings for minor characters Karl and Lotte and between main characters Nina and Tenma, who show hints of potential romantic interest by the end of the series, but who are (temporarily?) separated by education and work.
- Oreimo zig-zags the issue all over the place. Kyousuke and Kirino are unambiguously in love. But right after their mock wedding and Big Damn Kiss, it turns out they decided to end their relationship, because brothers and sisters can't really get married. But Kyousuke kisses her in the epilogue, and there's a vague implication that they're secretly still in a relationship...maybe. The afterstory then virtually confirms that they remained together, and only ended the public side of their relationship to continue privately without the worry of social repercussions.
- The anime of Oreshura ends like this. He and Masuzu confess their feelings to one another and he then tries to get all the other girls to hate him so that he can avoid "the battlefield". This somehow leads to some kind of weird individualized pseudo-Relationship Upgrade with each of them(Hime now thinks she can hold him rather than have him hold her, Ai now has his seal(blood) on her "marriage certificate" and thinks she is as good as his wife(she intends to have the form recognized officially once they graduate... because that will work), and Chiwa apparently is now spurred into being more sexually aggressive with him(she kissed him out of nowhere)). However, Masuzu seems to have the upper hand and actually be the object of his affection. Probably.
- The anime of Ouran High School Host Club ends without definitively establishing which of her two major Love Interests Haruhi will choose, although there are some pretty strong hints.
- For much of the The Mobile Police/New Files continuity, Noa and Asuma have a Strictly Professional Relationship. Still, there's no denying they have chemistry. Their bond is such that their squadmates clearly believe their relationship goes deeper than "just friends". Yet, there's No Hugging, No Kissing either, though they've gone out while off duty. The last 2-3 episodes suggests they might be be headed towards actually becoming a couple, but still leaves it up in the air.
- This was finally subverted by The Next Generation live-action adaptation, which serves as the Distant Finalenote for the original series. During which, it's confirmed that she and Asuma finally got together, sometime after the OVA continuity's conclusion; making it a Belated Happy Ending for them.
- Phantom Quest Corp.: There's no denying the attraction between Ayaka and Detective Karino, but Ayaka is obstinate and plays hard to get. She isn't above flirting with him though. At the end, she starts to confess her feelings for him, 'til her top pops open due to Clothing Damage from her duel with Mukyo. Naturally, he can't help but look and gets decked for it. It's left unclear whether he still has a shot with her, afterwards, or if he's ruined his chances for good.
- Ranma ½ ends with the secondary finances/crushes on both sides crashing Ranma and Akane's wedding. Soun says that another cannot start until they sort out these relationships. On one hand, the two agreed to the wedding and Ranma confessed his love earlier, but on the other, it's ambiguous if Akane remembers the confession (long story) she didn't explictly confess, and Ranma's motives for the wedding were not entirely motivated by love.
- A Silent Voice has an open ending between Shouya and Shouko. They have mutual affections and flirt with each other but aren't a couple.
- In the Trigun anime, its implied Meryl has feelings for Vash, but by the end of the story its never made clear whether he feels the same way.
- The Vision of Escaflowne ends on this kind of note. Hitomi has returned to Earth, but the very last scene implies that she and Van can still communicate across the dimensional gulf, which in turn suggests that travel between Gaea and Earth may still be possible.
- The anime of Welcome to the N.H.K.'s includes a declaration of love, and it sure looks like it's mutual. But at the very end, Satou and Misaki are meeting together as usual, and though they are clearly involved in each other's lives, it isn't clear whether they are involved as friends or as romantic partners.
- Robin and Amon in Witch Hunter Robin. They've had heavy Ship Tease from the start, and while the ending has Amon basically agreeing to stay by her side for life (in case she ever loses it and needs someone to stop her, though it's shown neither believes such a thing will happen), we get no confirmation of anything.
- The World God Only Knows actually concludes with this: Keima confesses to Chihiro, she gives out a rejection, then later she appears before him and invites him for tea.
- Your Name ends with Taki and Mitsuha finally reuniting and sort of recognising each other, and that's it. Whether they actually get together is left unknown, albeit strongly suggested by the heavy symbolism. It's less unclear in the novelisation.
- Throughout the entire series Yu-Gi-Oh! had a subplot involving Anzu's Two-Person Love Triangle with Yugi and Atem. At the end, Atem goes to the afterlife, and the series ends without saying whether or not Yugi and Anzu wind up together. The first episode of GX is set ten years later, and a grown-up Yugi appears, but gives no backstory on what happened in the interim. Thenceforth, several other characters make cameos, but nobody reveals what happened to any of the characters after the first series.
- Earth and Sky: The Ship Tease between Braeburn and Rainbow Dash isn't brought up again after chapter 34, where them getting together was left as a possibility in the future.
- At the end of the Star Trek fanfic Memories Born Of Fire, Spock tells Christine Chapel that he has to sort out whether taking a human wife would work out. However, he tells her to ask about the possibility of a Relationship Upgrade later.
- The Vocaloid fanfic Rotting Camellias ends with Miku and Luka going forth into an unsure future together. Although Luka admits she wants to have Miku in her life and Miku agrees to do so, it's not stated directly that the two will get together.
- The last chapter of the Superjail! fanfic An Unexpected Child has this sort of ending, with the Mistress hinting to the Warden that she might go out with him after all just before she and the rest of Ultraprison leave.
- Batman: Mystery of the Batwoman ends with Bruce and Kathy driving off into the sunset together. However, anyone familiar with Bruce's track record with relationships isn't going to hold their breath for the wedding. Even more so when it was a Foregone Conclusion that Bruce would end up all alone.
- Mulan ends with what is essentially the couple's first date. No declaration of love, no kiss, just a "hey, let's get to know each other better." They marry at the end of the sequel, however.
- In Zootopia, at the very end, Nick and Judy are best friends and police partners. While we get a brief mention of the L-word, it's being used semi-sarcastically and unclear if it indicates friendly love or romantic love, and then it immediately cuts to a sloth gag.
- The Simpsons Movie featured a subplot with Lisa and her movie-exclusive boyfriend Colin. Near the end of the movie, they go out for ice cream and this interaction is never heard from again.
Film (Live Action)
- Already Tomorrow In Hong Kong - a Spiritual Successor to Before Sunrise below - ends with Ruby and Josh realising that they might have fallen for each other, but they don't know whether or not they should leave their spouses. Ruby in particular has just got engaged and is due to leave town next week. The film literally cuts off just as they're in the taxi together, unsure of what to do next.
- The Apartment: Baxter seems to be totally head over heels about Fran; she, on the other part, is severely traumatized by her past love experience (which had led to Interrupted Suicide) and had only realized a few minutes ago that he is a guy who can make her happy. Though she came back to his titular apartment on the New Year Eve for the film's ending, they don't share a kiss or even embrace, and she doesn't reciprocate his love confession. However, her glowing smile and a hint that she's left her abusive romantic interest for good allow enough space for optimism, along with the immortal last line:
Fran: Shut up and deal.
- Before Sunrise ends with Jesse and Celene very clearly in love, despite only having met the night before, but having to separate and return to their homes in American and France respectively; they agree to meet up again in Vienna six months later, but the audience doesn't find out if they made the rendezvous and it's left to each person's individual opinion to decide. This fact was remarked on by many critics of the film, and hearty lampshaded in the sequel. Then a sequel was made almost a decade later that clarified things: Jesse made the rendezvous, but Celene didn't due to a sudden family emergency.
- Broadway Danny Rose has a Bitter Sweet Ending but ends on a glimmer of hope with Danny Rose chasing after Tina though its unclear if his accepting her offer of friendship will extend to anything more than that.
- Definitely, Maybe has Will reuniting with April after not talking to each other for many years and even sharing a kiss, though given their past relationship, it may not be a sure thing that they will get together.
- Easy Virtue ends with Larita leaving her marriage to John because she realises the age difference is too great. Jim hops in the car with her and they drive off together. Jim had been the only member of John's family to show her any kind of kindness, himself being unable to relate to his wife anymore. It's unknown if this ending is romantic in nature. Jessica Biel thinks they're just kindred spirits and Jim is just taking an opportunity to escape. Colin Firth meanwhile believes there's some kind of spark between them.
- The ending of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind has Joel and Clementine get told about erasing their memories of each other — and the film ends uncertainly about whether they will give things another try. An alternate ending would have shown a much older Clementine going to Lacuna to erase Joel again — only to be told that she and him have been doing that repeatedly over the years and always ending up finding each other again.
- From Here to Eternity ends with both Karen and Alma leaving the island a few weeks after Pearl Harbor. Karen had broken it off with Warden when he wouldn't become an officer so she could divorce her husband for him. However it's unclear if she's going back to America with her husband or not, and she has a hopeful line about returning to the island someday. So it's entirely possible she might come back and pursue Warden once again.
- Good Will Hunting ends with Will having "to see about a girl." We never see his and Skylar's reunion, or get any sense of whither or not their relationship will have any future (which we have reason to doubt, given how much emotional damage Will still carries).
- Going the Distance has one after Garrett moves closer to Erin and they re-connect at the concert.
- At the end of The Graduate, Ben saves Elaine from the wedding she doesn't want to have, and they jump on a bus. So what happens then? We don't know, but the looks on their faces don't seem terribly promising. What's more, the wedding is already over by the time Elaine runs out of it - meaning that she's legally married to someone else.
- A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints does this with Dito and Laurie. He left town fifteen years ago, she waited for a while and eventually had a baby with a man who's not around anymore. When he returns, there's clearly a spark between them. But it could go either way, as the climax's focus in Dito reconciling with his father and best friend. The movie is Very Loosely Based on a True Story and the open-ended nature is deliberate - as the real Laurie had died of AIDS long before Dito returned to Astoria, and her portions are partially written as a Fix Fic.
- Hail, Caesar!: Despite the date between Hobie Doyle and Carlotta Valdez being set up by the studio to increase public interest in them and therefore their movies, the two actually get on incredibly well, with the implication being that they may strike up an actual relationship, or at least a good friendship. However we never find out either way.
- The Half-Breed ends after a series of traumatic events which conclude with Lo's forest home burning down. Lo, the eponymous half-white, half-Native American protagonist, says he will leave to seek a new home elsewhere. Teresa, whom Lo saved from arrest and hanging, says that she realizes she loves him, and that they'll never be apart, and she'll follow him anywhere. He walks away, she follows, the film ends.
- In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2, they had this happen between Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood, something which definitely didn't happen in the books. Neville mentions to Harry that he's going to find Luna so that he could tell her that he loved her, but whether he actually did or not, and whether the confession was before or after their scene on the stairs, is left vague. According to Matthew Lewis (who played Neville), they got together for a "summer fling", but eventually moved on to their canon pairings.
- High School Musical of all things: While the rest of the story resolves itself Troy and Gabriella settle for an Almost Kiss at the end and singing ambiguous lines such as 'together's where we belong' in the final song, but don't actually get together or admit their feelings. (Ironically its the Beta Couple, Chad and Taylor, who definitively decide to go on a date.) By the second film Troy and Gabriella are together, though them not being able to kiss becomes a Running Gag.
- In Imitation of Life, Bea finds out that her daughter Jessie has fallen in love with her fiance Steve, Bea decides to break up with Steve to prevent anything coming between her and Jessie. But she tells Steve to call on her again whenever Jessie falls in love with someone else.
- In Good Company has Dan's daughter Alex (played by Scarlett Johansson) breaking up with Carter (played by Topher Grace) midway into the movie. The ending hints that they are possibly still romantically interested in each other but did not actively pursue it.
- Into the Woods:
- Cinderella agrees to come live with the Baker, Jack, and Red Riding Hood at the end. Nothing is said and it could be an entirely platonic thing - but there does appear to be something between her and the Baker that indicates they could fall in love somewhere down the line.
- Rapunzel and her prince are last seen riding out of the kingdom during the Giantess's rampage. It's left open whether their Fourth Date Marriage will be a happy one.
- I Want Someone To Eat Cheese With has an ambiguous ending as to whether James winds up with his schoolteacher, Stella.
- In John Tucker Must Die, Kate and Scott still had some unsolved feelings for each other. Beth, Carrie and Heather noticed and begin to act as Shippers On Deck when the movie ends.
- Kissing Jessica Stein ends with Jessica getting dumped by Helen, but then there are hints that Jessica might get back together with Josh.
- Little Manhattan has this as a subplot for the protagonist's parents, who start off the story in the process of getting a divorce but through some quirk of the law haven't finalized their split yet. Near the end, he comes home to their apartment to find the "his" and "hers" labels mysteriously vanished from the various containers in the cupboards and refrigerator, and his parents in the bedroom laughing together as they look over old photo albums and reminisce about all the good times they've had and how exactly they got together in the first place. Have they decided to call off the divorce and stay together after all? Well, maybe.
- In Lockout, Snow and Emilie end the movie with her punching him in the face, him being very surprised and saying "For a second there I thought you were going to kiss me!" and then they walk off into the sunset together as he says that he can't see the relationship going anywhere and her responding that it all depends on how good he is in bed. He laughs and says that, in that case, it will last about ten minutes.
- Magnolia: It's not at all guaranteed that Jim and Claudia will have a successful (or even long-term) relationship, especially given her cocaine addiction. But it is fairly certain that they will try.
- Marty ends with Marty saying "If we have enough good times together, I'm gonna get down on my knees. I'm gonna beg that girl to marry me", and then calling Clara, the girl he went out on a date with.
- In the Romantic Comedy One Fine Day, the protagonists don't even make it as far as dinner together. Instead, they fall asleep on the couch at the end of a tiring day.
- Pandorum ends with a rather tender moment in the escape pod between Bower and Nadia. Of course they've only just met and Bower has just remembered that his wife left him, so it could go either way.
- Paul & Michelle (1974) ends this way, with Paul and Michelle separated, but holding out some hope that he will keep his promise to return to her again in three years when he's finished with college.
- In The People I've Slept With, the final scene shows Angela meeting Jefferson a few months after the other events of the movie. At this point, the other issues have been resolved and it appears they may resume their relationship.
- In Rear Window, Jeff and Lisa are a couple at the end — the question is whether they're going to last. Early on, Jeff says that their relationship can't work out, because their lifestyles are too different — he's a photographer who takes dangerous assignments, she's a fashion model. Lisa can't really counter this, but they still remain together. The ending scene shows the ambiguity of their future; Lisa is wearing a shirt and pants instead of her earlier, impractical high-fashion outfits, and she reads a book called Beyond the High Himalayas. However, once she notices that Jeff has fallen asleep, she puts the book away, and starts reading a fashion magazine — showing that she hasn't really changed.
- The Rebound ends in this way with the main couple sitting down to dinner with their extended family, secretly holding hands.
- Trish and Han in Romeo Must Die end the movie just hugging and comforting each other over their losses. They've only known each other a short while, but it's unclear if they'll pursue a relationship. A kiss was filmed for the end but replaced with the hug due to potential Narm - as the cast and crew thought it would be odd for Han to kiss Trish right after seeing his father shoot himself.
- The film Scott Pilgrim vs. The World ends this way.
- Mal and Inara at the end of Serenity.
Mal: So, you ready to get off this boat and back to civilized life?Inara: I, uh... I don't know.Mal: (Beat) Good answer.
- Sideways: Miles and Maya break up due to his lying about Jack's upcoming wedding. Hearing about his ex-wife's pregnancy finally hammers in that it's really over between them, and then Maya sends him a long letter about how much she loved his (likely never to be published) novel. The film ends as he rings her doorbell.
- The Spectacular Now has Sutter getting a grip and travelling to Philadelphia, ending just as Aimee sees him waiting for her. Bear in mind that he had caused her to get into a traffic accident and stood her up when he promised to move to Philadelphia in the first place. Aimee has shown herself to be forgiving but she could have finally had enough. This is in stark contrast to the book, which made it clear that they wouldn't reconcile and Sutter's life would go nowhere. The two leads disagree on what happens; Miles Teller thinks that Aimee has matured too much and will see them Better as Friends. Shailene Woodley thinks they will get back together.
- At the end of Taken 2, it's implied that Bryan and his ex-wife will reconcile, but it is left open-ended enough that some reviews referred to the reconciliation as a dropped plot point.
- Due to the Timey-Wimey Ball, Teen Beach 2 leaves Official Couple Mack and Brady in this state at the end as they've only just met.
- At the end of The Book Thief, it looks like Liesel and Max might end up together. But even the many-years-later epilogue is deliberately vague about the identity of her husband.
- In The Death Cure, Thomas' romantic arc with Brenda has this kind of ending. The series is closed with them Holding Hands while Watching the Sunset in the safe haven, but there's nothing confirming that they're hooking up, although they might. But then, Thomas is still grieving for the loss of his friends, particularly Teresa.
- A single line at the end of The Diamond of Darkhold, hints that Doon and Lina might be falling in love with each other. There's no further mention of them after that. It does mentions that they end up sharing a house, so it's safe to assume that they probably did end up together.
- As of the end of the Dresden Files novel "Cold Days", Harry and Karrin have a serious talk about their relationship. She is extremely reluctant, given certain qualities Harry shows in the novel, and point blank says she isn't ready for that yet, but, when Harry says, in effect, "So, we're friends?" says:
We passed the "just friends" phase long ago. I just need time, Harry.
- Fablehaven ends with Kendra and Bracken tentatively considering getting into a relationship. On one hand, there's a definite attraction between them. On the other hand, Bracken is Really 700 Years Old and not technically human. Meanwhile, Kendra is still a teenager, and human. (Mostly.)
- Diana Wynne Jones's Fire and Hemlock has a very subtle ending, and has left a lot of readers uncertain as to whether Polly and Tom will get together or not. The villainess's trap for them implied that the only way for Polly to help Tom was to reject him, but since the trap was set up so that this was true when they were "Nowhere" (that is, in Faerie), Polly works out that this implies they can be together "somewhere". However, Polly's relationship with Tom has always been either as a child hero-worshipping an adult, or a teenager with a crush. So if they're going to start anything new, she acknowledges that they're going to have to get to know each other as adults, and find out whether it'll work or not.
- In the revised ending of Great Expectations, Dickens implies (without explicitly stating) that Pip and Estella will end up together. It's noteworthy that the original ending had Estella marrying someone else instead.
- The ending of The Millennium Trilogy has Lizbeth rush off to Paris to reconnect with Mimmy, but it's not really clear if either of them are interested in rekindling their relationship. Salander's relationship with Blomkvist is less vague; she decides that she's no longer really attracted to him. Blomkvist's other relationships are left ambiguous as well—while he admits to Erika Berger that he thinks he's in love with Monica Figuerola, he can't say for certain that it's serious. And while he and Erika are temporarily halting the sexual part of their relationship, as they typically do whenever he's seeing someone, there's really nothing to say that it won't resume again.
- Unlike The Song of The Lioness and The Immortals, both of which ended with clear romantic couplings, Tamora Pierce's Protector of the Small ended on a Maybe Ever After note, just reminding readers that Kel is still attracted to Dom. Pierce was making sure to demonstrate that you don't need romance to be happy or whole.
- Patricia C. Wrede's The Raven Ring ends with Eleret turning down one suitor and traveling homeward with the other. However, the relationship with Karvonen is just beginning, so this falls into "Let's see where this goes" category.
- Mary Stewart's The Stormy Petrel ends with a promise that Rose and Neil will see each other "next term," suggesting the potential for a romantic relationship. In this case, ending the novel with just the beginning of a potential romance is quite realistic, as they've only known each other for a few days.
- At the end of The Thrawn Trilogy, Luke gives Mara Jade his father's lightsaber for a multitude of reasons — but mostly because he wants her to have it. She reflects that he's just given her one of the last remaining links to his past, and thinks that this is not a subtle message, and he's wasting his time. But as he's leaving, she tells him to hang on a minute — she's coming with him.
- Successive books in the Star Wars Expanded Universe largely ignore Mara Jade and this hint. Luke has had a lot of love interests. It's not until the same author came back with the Hand of Thrawn duology that they, in fact, got together. It was followed quickly by Star Wars: Union, in which they were married — and then other authors had to acknowledge it.
- In a case where the "maybe" is clear but ultimately, fortunately, "no", there's Splinter of the Mind's Eye. It was intended to be the sequel to the first Star Wars movie if it didn't make enough money for Lucas to tell the story he really wanted (i.e. The Empire Strikes Back), so Han Solo wasn't involved, but Luke and Leia were. Along with endless subtext.
- At the end of Vampire of the Mists, it appears that Sasha and Liesl might end up together. Of course, that depends on whether they survive at all, and whether they manage to cure her of lycanthropy. So who knows?
- Toll the Hounds ends with Spinnock seeking out the human priestess Salind to confess his love to her, but it is unclear if anything comes from it, as the book ends shortly after we see him leave for her tent.
Live Action TV
- Happens in one episode of Castle. The main witness to a crime has amnesia and doesn't remember anything. As a part of the investigation the police end up bringing in his ex-wife (who he doesn't remember). At the end of the episode the two of them decide to go out on a date together.
- An interesting case in Chuck. After two and a half seasons of Will They or Won't They? Chuck and Sarah become an Official Couple after the mid-season finale of Season 3, and marry at the end of Season 4. Season 5, however, ends with Sarah Mind Raped by the Big Bad Quinn with a faulty Intersect, wiping out much of her memory of the past four years and turning her against the team and leaving her believing her marriage to Chuck was part of her mission. By the end of the first part of the finale Sarah is shown that these events were genuine, but she doesn't feel them now. The second half drops hints that her memory hasn't been entirely destroyed and she may recover, and the very last scene is of Chuck and Sarah sitting on the beach from the premier with Chuck telling Sarah their story and both laughing as he tells her about their adventures over the last five years. The episode and series closes on a kiss between them, but the ending is ultimately ambiguous over whether Sarah's memory and feelings will ever fully be recovered.
- Though Word of God is that the ending was meant to show that Sarah has always loved Chuck and always will.
- The drama adaptation of the manga Flunk Punk Rumble has this for Adachi and Shinagumi. The former finally confesses in the last few minutes and the latter seems to be playing hard to get, grinning and teasing him by feigning obliviousness when he asks her for an answer. Things are looking good though.
- The series finale of How I Met Your Mother is this for Ted and Robin. After The Mother died of a Soap Opera Disease, the kids figured out that their dad is actually telling the story as a way for asking their permission to date Robin which they accepted. The show ended with Robin, looking out of her apartment window and saw Ted who is holding the blue French horn. Though it's been pointed out throughout the show that Ted and Robin's relationship didn't work out at first due to several issues which remained unresolved. So, it still means that Ted and Robin would have one more date, but it does not necessarily mean that they would get married with Robin being a stepmom to two teenagers.
- Played with in the finale for JAG. During the last ten minutes, Harm and Mac finally admitted their love for each other after nearly a decade and she accepted his marriage proposal. However, as she was being reassigned to San Diego, and he was reassigned to England, the show did end on a question mark, as they literally flipped a coin to determine whether Mac would resign from the Marines or Harm from the Navy so they could be together.
- Single Father ends on an optimistic note but without a definitive happy ending for Dave and Sarah.
- Spaced ends this way for Tim and Daisy. They had some very subtle UST built up, and the finale revolves around Tim getting Daisy back to live with him, but it's not a romance that pulls them back to each other. It was intended to be followed up in a third season, but the show was ended by the creators. A while later, a DVD extra was filmed showing they had hooked up and had a baby.
- Marsha and Mike are the same as they share a final scene together that implies but doesn't state at all that they will get together.
- The last episode of Stargate Atlantis hints at an attraction between Ronon and Amelia Banks, a gate room technician and Action Girl with kickboxing skills.
- That '70s Show ended this way for Eric and Donna. Although they had been the show's primary couple for the first seven seasons (sans Season 4), Eric left the cast in Season 8, and they broke up offscreen. He returned for the finale, but his scenes with Donna did not make it clear whether they were reconciling or not.
- Ugly Betty ends this way with Betty and Daniel together in London, but not necessarily "together". Again, the lack of resolution may be a result of the series being canceled.
- Veronica Mars ended this way, with hints of possible feelings lingering between Veronica and Logan. In this case, the lack of resolution might simply be a result of the series being canceled. The 2014 movie then reaffirmed their feelings for each other.
- The X-Files series ends this way. The romantic arc for Mulder and Scully had been going pretty much since day one, and even after they were officially a couple and had a child, they couldn't be together. The final scene of the series ends with the two cuddling on a hotel bed while on the run from the FBI. It was the first time they'd been able to do such in over a year, and it ends with Mulder saying "Maybe there's hope." It's unclear about where the relationship is going or even where they're going. The 2008 movie "I Want to Believe" shows that they had bought a house and were living together like a married couple. Chris Carter actually played on this trope in the trailers for the movie, as the trailers imply that Mulder and Scully were no longer together.
- By the point of the 2016 revival mini-series, Mulder and Scully have not seen each other for several years, having broken up again at some point. However there is, of course, the traditional UST, albeit now without the U.
- Star Trek: Enterprise never actually clarified the ultimate status of the relationship between Captain Jonathan Archer and his old flame Captain Erika Hernandez. They seemingly rekindle their relationship in "Home", and her subsequent appearances involve flirtatious banter with him, but there's no reference to whether or not the rekindling lasted. Given that the only reason for their breakup (he was promoted and she wasn't) had ceased to be an issue, however, and the warmth of the aforementioned flirtatious banter, it's as reasonable to assume the relationship did last as it is to assume that it didn't.
- The first generation of Skins ends with Sid packed off to New York by his best friend to find Cassie, the girl he loves. The final scene is of Sid looking around right in front of the restaurant where she works. Although as of Series 7, Cassie's episode "Pure" both confirms that they found each other, and also reveals that it didn't work out.
- The Addams Family technically ends on this for Wednesday and Lucas. The implications are on the heavy side, just short of actually confirming their marriage, but it's apparent that both have gone through some Character Development and may still have a few issues to work out. (Averted in the tour version, where a brief wedding scene is part of the curtain call.)
- Arnold and Nabalungi in Book Of Mormon.
- Cripple Billy Claven and Slippy Helen McCormick in Martin McDonagh's The Cripple of Inishmaan. Possibly a Belated Happy Ending as the next play in the trilogy, The Lieutenant of Inishmore introduces Mairead and Davey Claven, a sister/brother duo with personalities eerily similar to Helen and her brother Bartley respectively. Billy was established as having no living relatives. This hypothesis depends on how long Billy lives after the ending of The Cripple of Inishmaan.
- Sophie and Octavian in Der Rosenkavalier.
- The stage version of Holiday ends with Linda running after John, who has just broken up with her sister Julia. Her brother Ned drinks a toast to them and to his grandfather. Curtain. We're never told what kind of relationship John and Linda end up having, we can only hope that Linda wins John's heart in the end. The 1938 film adaptation adds an extra scene of the couple reuniting, and ends on their kiss.
- Into the Woods:
- The Princes abandon both their marriages and are seen with Snow White and Sleeping Beauty at the end. Given their womanising ways and the fact that they don't grow as characters, it's possible they'll get bored with these women too.
- Likewise Cinderella breaks things off with her prince and the Baker's wife is killed by the Giantess. Cinderella agrees to move in with the Baker and be a family with Jack and Red Riding Hood. It's Fanon that Cinderella and the Baker will probably end up together and about 90% of the fandom ships them.
- At the end of Measure for Measure, the Duke proposes to Isabella, a novice in a religious order. She never replies, so the script leaves it unclear whether she accepts or declines. Depending on which performance you see, however, this might be played as a Maybe Ever After: some theater companies depict her giving a sign of consent or acceptance. Others have the actress assume an expression of dismay or shock (or pointedly walk offstage), implying a rejection.
- In My Fair Lady, Eliza returns to Henry, and it is clear from both their responses that they're reconciling after their quarrel. There is romantic interest on both sides, but no definitive sign of a Relationship Upgrade.
- Hal and Catherine in Proof.
- Blaze Union's C ending hints that protagonist Garlot and his childhood friend Siskier might be getting together in the near future—if for no other reason, because their third childhood friend Jenon (who had a crush on Siskier) and Garlot's first crush Nessiah are both conveniently dead, leaving Siskier with no more obstacles. Remarks by the creators in an interview confirm that they eventually do get together.
- Final Fantasy:
- Rikku and Gippal in Final Fantasy X-2. The scene where he says they were together (which Rikku denies) is optional though she does have a few moments in the game that suggests otherwise and the two are seen leaving the Farplane holding hands.
- Nearly every single possible pairing in Final Fantasy XII. Vaan and Penelo have known each other a looooong time and are travelling together at the end, Penelo's final line being "Every sky pirate needs a partner" and that's it. Supposed Platonic Life Partners Balthier and Fran get a bit of Ship Tease in the game, as do Balthier and Ashe, though nothing ever comes of either relationship.
- In Gloria Union, the B ending involves Elisha sending a letter to Ishut that hints at her having feelings for him, and Ishut's comrades teasing him about it. Aside from that, nothing.
- The Legend of Zelda:
- The Legend of Zelda: Spirit Tracks: The constant strong Toy Ship of the game would suffice by itself, but it goes further. The last shot of the game is Link and Zelda holding hands in a very romantic tone. Also, in two of the three epilogues of the game we see that they still are together in some way.
- The Legend of Zelda: Skyward Sword as well. After chasing/saving Zelda for the entire game the two of them stand together on top of a statue where the game previously teased a kiss and look over the landscape. Zelda decides that she's going to try to make a life for herself there and asks Link if he'll be doing the same. He smiles and the game ends.
- In The Legend of Zelda: A Link Between Worlds, a gossiping man will reveal that every night, Zelda will gaze wistfully at a painting of a previous generation of Link and Zelda, implying that Zelda is of the age to want a romantic attachment. This puts the final shot of the game of Link and Zelda looking at the same painting together and smiling at each other in a different light.
- Despite having a happy ending, Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII leaves a lot of things frustratingly unclear, like did Snow and Serah finally get married? What happened to Noel and Yuel? Did the two sets of Implied Love Interests, Fang/Vanille and Hope/Lightning hook up?
- Solatorobo strongly implies that Red and Elh will get together in the near future (and, as of DLC Quest #8, Elh knows Red's feelings, though he has amnesia of the event and Elh has decided to wait until he comes to his senses on his own, rather than trying to push for anything — despite the fact that asking to remain together was what prompted Red to begin to confess). Less strongly implied but still quite possible is Beta Couple Merveille and Béluga.
- Tales of Graces. Hubert and Pascal. Before the final cutscene the ship looks almost sunk, as Hubert has already confessed his love to Pascal and she essentially didn't get it. But in the ending cutscene she interacts with him and nearly no one else, gives him an Affectionate Nickname, and meows at him. Then resident Big Brother Mentor and Troll to end all trolls, Malik, takes Hubert aside, gives him Pascal's communicator, and encourages him to "tame the stray cat." During the credits there's a sketch of Hubert sitting at a fountain and receiving a message from Pascal.
- Undertale has Toriel and Asgore that were once married, but a tragic event broke them apart due to Toriel being angry at Asgore for his response to the tragedy. In the Golden Ending, they are shown to be working at the same school, implying that the two have either made up or they're on speaking terms with each other at the very least.
- Heavily implied to have happened to Jimmy Patterson and Manon from the first Medal of Honor. It's mentioned that Patterson proposed to her, and the 2010 reboot has you playing as his grandson. Doubles as a Historical In-Joke, as Manon was based on a real woman named Helene Deschamps Adams, an OSS operator who worked closely with an American Lieutenant during the war and married him when the war ended.
- In EarthBound, Ness takes Paula back home and leaves her there. They're just kids, but Everyone Can See It.
- Some of the non Miou endings in A Profile give a hint to a possible Kaine/Miou relationship developing in the future. Before this, Kaine was alternately jealous of and angry with Masayuki regarding Miou because he felt that Masayuki broke up with her in a harsh way.
- In Katawa Shoujo, Shizune's route ends with Hisao, his girlfriend and her best friend going their separate ways for now, but promising to meet again one day.
- Homestuck ending on an ambiguous note naturally involved this trope. Rose and Kanaya were the only confirmed ship, whilst everyone else is left up in the air. Dirk and Jake had earlier attempted to break up (neither telling the other), but by series end they are seen talking and even playing soccer together. Dave and Karkat had heavy Ship Tease post-retcon, but the narrative danced around a concrete confirmation. Then Dave and Jade have a last minute Ship Tease, and the series ends with the three of them sitting together for a picnic leaving the answer up to the audience as to who got together (though Word of Saint Paul is that they're a One True Threesome). Roxy began wondering if John was "boyfriend material," and the two do end up spending time together, but Roxy had a number of moments with Calliope that could be interpreted anywhere from romantic to platonic. The ending features the three going for a walk through the woods, again leaving it to the audience to decide who hooked up. Finally there was the doomed version of Vriska and the Game Over timeline Terezi, who reconcile in the afterlife during a montage, with their meeting point marked with a distinctive red (the color of Matespritship) and an embrace. Neither character is present in the finale.
- Magick Chicks established Faith's affection for Tiffany near the beginning. Tiffany was reluctant to reciprocate because she thought of Faith as her enemy and because she was straight. Despite her misgivings, she was struggling to accept that she was actually attracted to her and eventually began to consider the possibility. The comic went on indefinite hiatus before the issue could be resolved, though their last interaction had Tiffany offer Faith a DVD of her morning workout. Naked.
- In Penny and Aggie, the title characters, having tried and failed at a romantic relationship in their last year of high school, keep in touch through college and beyond. The comic ends with their five-year High School Reunion, during which they discuss their recently-ended relationships with others, and what they've learned from those and from each other. In the final strip, Penny asks Aggie what she thinks they mean to each other now. Aggie smiles and says, "Now's when we find out."
- The final episode of Code Lyoko left a hint the Ulrich and Yumi might get over their Unresolved Sexual Tension, but left it really unclear.
- In Justice League Unlimited, the Love Triangle between Shayera, John, and Vixen is closed out by John declaring his intention of staying with Vixen. However, given the existence of John and Shayera's Kid from the Future, as well as flashbacks that reveal John and Shayera are a Reincarnation Romance, this is less than convincing. Word of God states that John and Shayera will eventually be together.
- The sequel comic shows what happens. Vixen gets killed, and John and Shayera get together.
- Drakken and Shego are implied to end up as more than business partners in the Series Finale of Kim Possible. Their final scene has Drakken's flower wrapping them together and the two sharing a shy smile, but it isn't made clear what their current relationship is.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: In the episode "Hearts and Hooves Day", Big Mac and Cheerilee fall in love due to a love potion given to them by the Cutie Mark Crusaders. At the end of the episode after the potion has been cured, they're last seen pretending to still be in love before going off to have a picnic. It's left ambiguous whether they're just friends putting on a act to troll the CMC or whether there's actually something going on.
- In Over the Garden Wall, Wirt and Sara end the series finally acting on their mutual undeclared attraction, agreeing to have what's probably a date, but it's up to the audience to guess where things went from there.