Relationships are all about respect and trust, and issuing an ultimatum is the fastest way to destroy all that good stuff. An ultimatum is when you force or demand someone to do things on your terms, giving them the choice of either going with your decision, or leaving the relationship.
While there are definitely logical reasons that people decide to demand these terms, it’s an unhealthy, toxic way to handle your relationships. Don’t let your tiny fights backfire into huge, life-changing events you may regret. Here’s why talking it out is always better than an ultimatum.
1. Misconstruing it as a good thing
Ultimatums are sometimes romanticized or seen as a good thing. Often, we’re taught that doling out their ”dealbreakers” is a way to stand up for yourself and your desires. However, it’s actually a selfish and terrible form of communication.
2. Power imbalance is dangerous
Power games are the fastest way to ruin a relationship. A fight for power imbalances two people, and you always need to focus on equality in your relationship. When people feel like power is being taken from them, their ego can only handle so much rejection and disrespect.
3. Start a marriage on the wrong foot
Negotiating with your partner and meeting them halfway is the foundation of a healthy and happy relationship. Marriage brings up a lot of emotions for people, and some are more ready than others to dive into that milestone. If you propose an engagement by serving up a demand, it takes a normally joyous union and turns it into a pressure-filled attack if someone’s not ready.
4. They encourage the wrong way to fight
While engagement and marriage ultimatums are definitely some of the most common, there are of course situations with more gray areas, that corners someone into making demands. If a partner is not being as intimate as you’d like, or is suffering from an addiction of some sort, remember not to get defensive or yell. Instead, keep a calm state of mind and try to maintain an open mind!
5. They don’t encourage self–reflection
Being introspective takes work and requires us being accountable for our own actions. It’s hard to see the truth sometimes, but reflecting on our thoughts and choices is a good way to figure out why something triggers us so much. For instance, ask yourself a series of questions. Why is a piece of paper important to signify your relationship? Must it be your way or the highway, or there are other options available?
6. They let you keep your shell on rather than getting vulnerable
Serving up two drastic options is a sure way to keep your walls up. Protecting ourselves is natural, but if we want to become closer to our partner, we need to let them in on the imperfect aspects as well. Revealing your weakness and insecurity takes strength, and learning to express your emotions to each other is one of the best skills you can have.
7. They breed resentment
Even if the other person grudgingly agrees to an ultimatum, that doesn’t mean they want to do it! They don’t want the alternative of losing you, and as a result, might commit to something they don’t really want. Why force a marriage if it will just lead to a future divorce? Listening to each other’s needs is vital — if you’re not on the same page, the person caving will hold onto a grudge that grows and grows inside.
8. They’re manipulative
Manipulating someone is the worst thing you can do. Cheating is a form of infidelity and manipulation, but so are ultimatums. If someone does this, it’s the ultimate sign of crossing boundaries, and presents a red flag for future situations and serious conversations. In a case like this, ultimatums are frequently served alongside guilt trips. Both are control tactics.
9. There’s no bonding involved
Fighting over serious topics is never fun, but often, there’s a light at the end of the tunnel. Arguing proactively (keeping your cool, explaining your perspective sincerely) can connect you and make you stronger than ever as a couple. But there’s no chance for bonding when you’re setting unfair demands.
10. They’re a sign of impatience
Patience isn’t a virtue in all of us, but it’s important that we try and understand that not everything can happen in our time. In a relationship, you have to share the spotlight. It’s not all about one person. As an individual, you should be your main priority! Focusing on someone else isn’t only impatient — it’s a sign that you’re deflecting your own problems.