It worked on your older brother and made you the king of the playground; ultimatums are a sure way of getting what we want. And because we’re greedy, selfish fucks, we let it casually drift into the phase of adulthood that we are most hungry and unwilling to compromise; romance. Lack the communication skills to express your feelings on a subject? Want to get him to contribute to housework but just don’t know how? No problem, just threaten. And use every weapon you can to do so.
Ultimatums can be used at any point of the relationship rainbow. But as you’re piling up your winning chips, your relationship is slowly dying and deteriorating.
Getting comfortable with giving ultimatums early on is a recipe for disaster. This is how you get your relationship to fail before it even begins. The dating phase should be the most lax color of the rainbow. At no point should you huff and puff about having to do something during this magical time. And in no way are YOU in any position to demand any sort of life changes from someone who hasn’t even committed themselves to you.
Got feelings for a friend? “If you don’t date me, we can’t be friends” will never work. Either the answer is no and you lose a friend or the answer is yes, the person feels forced, and the relationship plummets due to lack of interest. (Feel free to pass this on, this could save a lot of friendships.. because really, can men and women just be friends? )
At the beginning it’s all about trying to please and impress the opposite sex in order to get laid (right Darwin?) but once you’re shagging on the regular, it’s easy to ask yourself, “but what about what I want?” As your relationship becomes more and more serious, it becomes more of a chore to get your partner to do what you want and to reciprocate by doing things you definitely don’t feel like doing. It’s easy to succomb to the simplicity of an ultimatum.
But guess what? Ultimatums are the quickest way to build resentment in a relationship. If you make me do something I don’t want to do too often, I will hate you. Remember when you were a teenager and your parents CONSTANTLY threatened you? You ended most days slamming the door in their face and hating them for making you choose your math homework over your Sega Genesis. And although parenting is a completely different issue, would you want your partner building that sort of resentment towards you? Stop it.
Two of the Deadliest Ultimatums
- Marriage: Threatening to leave if your partner doesn’t agree to marry you or propose is a big NO NO. You’re entitled to want marriage within a certain time frame but by giving this ultimatum you might be signing someone up for a task he/she is NOT prepared for. Marriage is a big step. This mistake can lead to infidelity, an early divorce, being ditched at the alter and triggers an overall mess. If you refuse to listen and decide to threaten anyway, be prepared to walk away if the answer is no. And know that being with someone who doesn’t want to marry you is something YOU can’t do as an individual, and that is why you’re giving him the choice. Don’t threaten because you think the thought of losing you will scare your partner into taking the plunge.
- Using sex: Sex is not a form of currency. You shouldn’t bribe your partner into doing something by offering a sexual favor in return. Once or twice is not a big deal -just make sure it’s done playfully and not as a business transaction. But the second it becomes a habit, sex will no longer be intimate and you’ll inevitably begin feeling like a whore.
When is it okay?
- If you’re telling your partner to either give up the booze or watch you walk out of the door, you’re doing so for his own good and the “good” of the relationship.
- You’re “trading” two negatives. For example: If you don’t take out the garbage, I won’t clean the dishes.” Just as much as he hates doing thing #1, you hate doing thing#2.
- You’re doing something you don’t HAVE to do. For example: If you don’t start picking up your dirty socks, I won’t do your laundry anymore. It’s a favor, not your duty.
- If you don’t stop fucking our neighbor, I’m walking. (Legit ultimatum)
If ever in doubt, ask yourself whether or not you’re prepared to actually walk. That’s how you know the subject is not something you’re willing to compromise on. You should also not use the threat lightly; if the outcome doesn’t result in your favor be prepared to pack your bags.
The Difference Between a Compromise and an Ultimatum
…is you CHOOSE to do it and are not tricked or FORCED into doing it.
Let’s face it, relationships are about compromise and sacrifice. You give up a little bit of this and a little bit of that, but it’s never an issue because they’re nothing compared to the joy of being with your partner.
The key? Communication.
The wording plays a huge role. If you come off sounding like a dictator, demanding something to happen… your partner will hate you and eventually revolt. What you need to learn to do is analyze your demands and try to get your partner to understand the reason you feel the way you do.
Be vocal. Your partner should see something genuinely making you unhappy and want to change it. If he/she feels it an unreasonable request, you discuss it and find a way in the middle. When both partners feel involved in the decision making, it leads to an overall sense of happiness and contribution. One doesn’t feel slave to the other and doesn’t build resentment over feeling “controlled.”
You weren’t granted the title “King” or “Queen”.. Stop trying to use force and abuse to get what you want in life. What’s next, are you going to try a temper tantrum?