Dating and Relationship Advice

Ultimatums are a way of saying "my way or the highway." One person sets forth a condition for the relationship. If the other doesn't meet it, the relationship is over.

One of the most common ultimatums is the demand for marriage. One partner might say to the other, "if you don't propose by the end of the year, we're done." Other ultimatums may revolve around lifestyle changes, like seeking help for an addiction, fixing bad habits, and meeting the other partner's sexual needs.

While it's important for both people in a relationship to advocate for themselves, ultimatums set a dangerous precedent for you and your partner. When you only offer two drastic options for a situation instead of learning how to compromise, a small disagreement can turn into a massive regret.

Often, the person making an ultimatum doesn’t see their demands as being unreasonable. They may perceive the ultimatum as a way they are standing up for themselves. In reality, an ultimatum is a fight for power. Follow these tips to avoid problematic power games and threats.

Compromise Is Better

Active communication will always get you farther than a standoff. Instead of offering an ultimatum, you should clearly explain what you need from the other person and express why these concerns are important to you. There's also no shame in seeking out a relationship counselor or therapist. This person can act as a mediator and help you find a way to meet in the middle.

Self-Reflection

Practicing introspection isn’t always fun, but it is necessary to live a meaningful life. Before demanding that other people in your life change for you, try reflecting upon why the other person's action or inaction bothers you so much. If your partner is fighting against marriage or something else that’s important to you, ask yourself this: why is a marriage certificate so important to you? Does it have to be your way, or are there other possibilities?

Get Vulnerable

Self-reflection requires holding yourself accountable for your actions. Vulnerability requires facing your own emotions with courage and honesty. Once you break down your walls and allow yourself to be vulnerable, there will naturally be more mutual understanding between both parties. Our rough edges are what bond us, after all.

Ultimatums are not a sign of love. They’re an unfair, one-sided way to get what you want. A relationship is a living, breathing being. It needs tender care and hard work. Although conflicts can be painful to work through, they’re ultimately an opportunity for growth and a stronger bond.