Ultimatums – Why They Just Don’t Work With Men

Why Ultimatums In Relationships Don't Work With Men

As I say in Girl Gets Ring – “No good relationship ever started with an ultimatum”!

Unfortunately you wouldn’t believe how many people still think an ultimatum will get them what they want. Sometimes people use ultimatums thinking that it will build a stronger relationship or, even (Gulp!), that they should use an ultimatum to get married!

Sad but true.

Ultimatum according to Dictionary.com is defined as:

“A final, uncompromising demand or set of terms, issued by a party to a dispute, and the rejection of which may lead to a severance of relations or to the use of force”.


That doesn’t exactly spark images of warm and fuzzy romance or a happy marriage now does it?

In fact, there’s lots of verbiage there that could really be construed as a contradiction to a successful union, wouldn’t you agree?

Really think about it… who do you know that responds well to “demands” or a “use of force”? Not anyone I know that’s for sure!

I’m guessing your man won’t like it either, the same way you probably wouldn’t like it if “demands” or a “use of force” was used on you.

How to Build a Strong Relationship …

Strong relationships and marriages are built on mutual respect, trust, love and care for each other. None of those adjectives partner well with the ones used in the definition above.

This is why ultimatums are fundamentally a huge fail when trying to create a successful relationship that hopefully leads to marriage. Put simply, external motivations never last very long at all. It’s always the internal stuff that sticks.

They seem like such a good idea… so why don’t ultimatums in relationships work exactly?

That’s a fair question, so let’s dig into it a bit more deeply. Here are 6 reasons to reconsider ever using an ultimatum to get married…

Why Ultimatums In Relationships Won’t Work:

  1. You are in essence threatening the person you want to have a relationship with for an outcome you have absolutely no control over. Ultimatums are often born of desperation. You want someone to give you something, they are resisting for whatever reason and in a last-ditch attempt you issue a demand that says “Give me what I want or there will be consequences.”
  2. “My way or the highway” is what you’re ultimately saying, which doesn’t speak well in regards to your mutual respect for each other. If there is no room for negotiation or compromise, then what’s the point of the relationship? People are individuals, with differing thoughts and feelings, opposing point-of-views, and the ability to make decisions without a show of force.
  3. People are rarely REALLY prepared to follow through on threats or they wouldn’t be making them in the first place to try and force the result they want. So you issue a demand or a threat and when the other person refuses to give in you are left floundering because the response wasn’t the one you expected to receive. Now you’re have to either back-track and apologize (which doesn’t bode well for your future relationship dynamic), or you have to make good on your threat, which without a doubt is probably the opposite of what you really wanted.
  4. When you put pressure on someone to try to bring them closer, instead of working to build a stronger relationship, it usually winds up having the opposite effect and pushes them right out the door. Are you really prepared for that? I mean really, really?
  5. On the flip side, maybe your guy caves to your demand. However because the decision is made under pressure, it may not have been his true decision. A choice made under duress is really not a choice at all is it? The result of that little scenario is that he could wind up resenting you and feeling he made a mistake. That certainly doesn’t make for a happy marriage recipe!
  6. Then we have you and your well-being. When you force someone into a decision they may not have been ready for, you often wind up feeling like crap for forcing their hand. It’s not an “honest win”, so to speak. Self-doubt then enters the picture, and before you know it your insecurities overcome you and you wind up unraveling any good that may have came from issuing the ultimatum in the first dang place! Not exactly the picture perfect ending you envisioned…

So is this to say that ultimatums never work? No, of course not.

There are always exceptions to every rule.

But in my experience ultimatums are usually weapons of mass destruction that can backfire on you faster than you can say boo. Then you’re left in a heartache situation you probably weren’t really ready to be in.

A Better Alternative For a Stronger Relationship…

Calmly and clearly communicate your needs and expectations to your man. If he truly cares about you, he is going to hear you and respond to meet those needs, because deep down inside he wants to make you happy.

If he doesn’t, it may be time to consider cutting your losses and moving on (sans the dramatics), because he might not be the right guy for you after all.

So how about you? Have you ever issued an ultimatum in your relationship? Did it work out the way you’d hoped it would? Or did it backfire? I’d love to hear your story in the comments below.

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