Ultimatums are used in nearly every facet of life. They can become a useful bargaining chip that allows people to experience personal gains or can lead to the demise of particular situations when an amicable solution cannot be found. Often, they are broadcast in haste with no real intent for action and other times they are delivered at a breaking point where one person has made the distinct decision that change is mandatory for continuation. However, when it comes to relationships – the ultimatum normally involves something meaningful like marriage or having children – and forces one partner into a decision that they may have not made otherwise. The problems with delivering or accepting an ultimatum can have a deep impact on the relationship years later and before you decide to offer or accept one, you must think clearly!
It is important to understand exactly what an ultimatum is. Most relationship experts will warn you that ultimatums are simply ‘fear based’ relationship techniques that spark anger, resentment and ensure an avoidance of successful conversation. In other words, when you have begged, pleaded, or talked enough – you come up with an ultimatum to invoke pressure and fear in the hopes your mate will roll along; or risk losing you along the way. Obviously, the stakes are high, but are they high enough?
You also have to understand that giving your boyfriend an ultimatum is a distinct message that getting YOUR way is more important than the relationship at hand. You may have the perfect relationship without vows and rings. Perhaps to your soul mate, you are already as good as married and yet you want the ring and ceremony to prove it. So, you offer an ultimatum – either we wed or we part. At the moment, it may feel like the right thing to do because you believe in marriage and believe that your relationship deserves a clear status, however – the ultimatum in and of itself can feel forceful to your mate and depending on his personality – can have catastrophic effects. Have you wondered what will happen if your gamble doesn’t pay off? Are you willing to denounce your own words?
To the person being offered the ultimatum, it can feel as though their feelings are not being taken into account. Putting someone in a position to marry you or hit the road – may be offering two ‘worst case scenarios’ to your boyfriend, rather than one that they can live with. You also have to wonder how much mutual respect lies within the relationship is one partner is willing and determined to threaten someone they love in order to get their way. Before you lay down your cards, you should consider how you would feel if you were offered an ultimatum to give up something or someone you love with no options.
There are many happily married couples who got that way over an ultimatum. This seems to say that sometimes there may be a need for a little nudge in the right direction. Whether these couples would have found themselves married at some point anyways, is beyond answering. And this is exactly one of problems with offering your boyfriend an ultimatum. In your own mind, you will wonder what would have happened had you never been forceful. You will spend time curious about why the person you married had to be literally pushed into marrying you and you will have some self-limiting feelings about their intentions. Even if everything is working out perfectly, according to your very own plan and without a hitch- you will be faced with the mystical unknown of what would have been should you waited for things to fall into place on their own. At the same time, some quarrel in the future, some argument, some conversation will loosely reference the ultimatum that put you on the road to matrimony in the first place. Then what? It can easily lead to one of those never-ending silent regressive arguments that puts a wedge in the relationship. Your boyfriend will also continuously have an out. When he messes up as your husband, or when things go wrong – he will always be able to say with truth that ‘he didn’t want to get married anyways and that YOU forced him into.”
Still, despite all the things that ultimatums are, they are often the very powerful tool that causes two people to tie the knot. In many cases, it is the woman who stands on her pedestal with the affirmative purpose of getting a ring on her finger. For many men who may shy away from the institute of marriage it can be extremely difficult to understand why the ‘mirage’ of marriage is so important in the first place. Especially if the two of you are already living the “real deal” without the paperwork. As a woman, you also have to give thought to exactly why it is so important for you to be married. Is it because your friends are getting married? Is it because you feel pressure from the outside world? Is it because you don’t feel your relationship can go to the next level without a strong label? Even more common – do you feel that being married is going to fix something in the relationship? The answer to this question may be quite revealing to you and should be done before you offer any ultimatum to your boyfriend.
Some Men Need a Gentle Push Towards Marriage
Admittedly, many men would not get married if there were no pressure. The whys are as confusing as men are themselves. To a woman, who thinks completely differently – there is nothing wrong with marriage if the love is there. But your man may see things in a different light. Many men believe that weddings in general are fluffy and pretentious. They may think spending the time and money on something awesome like a great vacation together is more important and definitely more fun. They also may feel that they treat you (and love you) as if you were their wife and don’t need a ceremony to prove their love to you or have children with you. They may see your nagging to get married as misplaced insecurity or a way for you to ‘keep up with the Jones’s.’ Your boyfriend may think that they aren’t ready for marriage or they may not want to take the heat from all of their friends. Who knows? If you ask your boyfriend about marriage and he shrugs away with indifference ask him why. And be understanding. There may be a real reason that he doesn’t like the idea of marriage. If he has preconceived notions that once couples get married, relationships fall apart – then he may be NOT be marrying you, because he wants things to remain the same. Similarly, he may not have had happy experiences with his own married parents and thinks that he can avoid them by avoiding marriage altogether.
Giving your boyfriend an ultimatum is definitely not an assured way to get what you want. There are many men who will run at the first hint of married life. Since marriage is definitely about two people, it is important that both people talk about it together. This talk should involve many of the hard to ask and hard to answer questions that make each of you who you are today. It is impossible to know someone so completely that you can predict or assume you know how he or she feels. It is also impossible to have a relationship work if it is one-sided or being dictated by a ‘leader’ or boss. If your boyfriend does not seem to be making the choices that you want him to, you have to wonder why. If the answers don’t seem to make sense, then it is up to you to do for yourself what makes you happy. The ultimatum may be worth a try, but can be regrettable down the road. Having some faith in your relationship and discussing why marriage is so important to you; that you would risk losing the entire relationship to get it should be your first step. This doesn’t mean that your boyfriend is going to agree in part or as a whole. It also doesn’t mean that he or you are wrong to feel the way you do. However, the fact that you love one another and are already committed deserves a high level of mutual respect.
Before you throw out the ultimatum to wed or get lost, try to count your blessings. Realize all the things that you already have, existing happily without the ring. Take time to be appreciative and grateful for what your partner adds to your life and remain aware that getting married is no guarantee in life. Depending on why you feel an ultimatum is necessary – make sure that you do it with pensive meaning rather than throwing out empty words. Otherwise, it won’t be effective. Even more important, try to have enough faith in your relationship to see that love comes in various forms and has many definitions. It may be that it is best to go with what is working, than try to force your relationship into marriage by giving your boyfriend an ultimatum.