Are ultimatums in relationships always a bad idea? Are all of them destructive for a relationship, or are some of them actually healthy and necessary?
People call them ‘relationship killers,’ and if you want to check whether it’s true, keep reading below.
I would define healthy ultimatums as a kind of compromise that couples make to maintain a healthy and successful relationship.
Most people see ultimatums as really big threats to their relationships. I wouldn’t call it that. Relationship ultimatums are just how one partner wants to get their way if the other side refuses to compromise.
As long as you keep them realistic and healthy, they won’t be a threat to your relationship.
However, they won’t have a positive effect if you use them to control your partner and want to force them to do something they don’t want to.
Unfortunately, the thing is that most couples tend to be misguided about relationship ultimatums. That’s why ultimatums have become one of the most common reasons for breakups today.
I couldn’t agree more with the very famous relationship expert, Paula Quinsee.
She said, “The worst thing you can do is give your partner an ultimatum or make them feel like they are being forced to make a decision.”
Actually, most relationship experts agree that, in most cases, when someone gives an ultimatum to their loved one, it backfires on them.
They don’t get the response they hoped for; it only creates an emotional distance between partners.
The Pros And Cons Of Ultimatums In Relationships
The thing is that ultimatums in relationships have both advantages and disadvantages.
It can save a relationship sometimes, while on the other hand, it can become a killer for a relationship if you don’t do it the right way.
Here are a few pros and cons of ultimatums in relationships that may help you decide whether giving your loved one ultimatums is good for your relationship or could actually lead to a breakup.
Ultimatums can improve your relationship
One of the most important pillars of a healthy relationship is mutual understanding.
If you’re bothered by something your partner does and think it’s harming your relationship, you can work it out through healthy communication and reach a compromise.
However, if that doesn’t work, you can give them an ultimatum that they will most surely accept if, of course, if they honestly love you.
On the other hand, it can also be pretty destructive
The thing is that no matter how much someone loves you, if you give them an unrealistic and unfair ultimatum, it won’t pan out the way you want it to.
No one likes to be controlled, and unrealistic relationship ultimatums are just how one partner wants to have control over the relationship and, of course, over their other half.
You can’t immediately start to threaten your partner with ending your relationship if they don’t compromise on something.
That’s toxic and deeply unhealthy. It’ll damage your relationship to the point it will be irreparable.
It can ensure both partners feel comfortable in the relationship
Giving ultimatums doesn’t always have to be a dealbreaker for a relationship. We can see it as a compromise that both partners sometimes make to get what they want.
It’ll help maintain a healthy relationship, and allow both partners to get what they want, and make them feel comfortable in the relationship.
Ultimatums truly work as compromises in romantic relationships sometimes.
But, it can also make your partner feel pressured…
This is one of the worst side effects of giving ultimatums in relationships. Partners give ultimatums to each other without even knowing it may leave terrible consequences on both of their mental health.
That’s why all couples should always prefer compromises when it comes to solving issues between them.
Compromises never leave any future resentments between partners, and we can’t say that when it comes to these kinds of demands in relationships.
And ultimately, it can make your loved one go away
Demanding your partner to do or to change something in this way can be destructive for your relationship. In most cases, people don’t get the response they were hoping for.
The partner who was given the ultimatum will feel trapped and pressured to do something they don’t want to do.
It won’t take long for them to realize that the other side is playing mind games with them and end that relationship.
However, it plays a crucial role in setting healthy boundaries
The first time you try to change your partner or their actions in this manipulative way, they’ll realize that it’s time to set boundaries in your relationship.
Of course, it’s a good thing because setting boundaries, and by this, I mean clear and healthy boundaries, is essential for every healthy relationship.
You also must have your own boundaries besides those you set in your relationship because that will prevent other people from manipulating you.
Maintaining a healthy relationship is never an easy job. That’s why both partners must create healthy lines of communication between them that will also help them set healthy boundaries.
5 Ultimatums You Should Never Make In A Relationship
No matter the amount of time you spend with someone, you never have the right to set unrealistic and unfair demands.
There are ultimatums that no one would ever accept, no matter how much they love someone. That’s why these kinds of relationship ultimatums below are deeply toxic and, in most cases, unforgivable.
Here are five examples of things you should never demand your partner to do if you love them and want to keep them in your life.
“It’s your family or me.”
Family is truly a no-go-zone when it comes to relationship ultimatums. You simply can’t ask someone to choose between their family and you.
Just try to picture how it would make you feel if the situation was reversed. How would you feel if your loved one asked you to choose between them and your own family? Awful, right?
Family is the most precious thing in every person’s life. It’s simply something sacred for each and every one of us.
No matter how bad your relationship with your partner’s family is, and even if you feel that your partner chooses family over you, you should never demand that they forget their family to keep you in their life.
“Choose between your friends and our relationship.”
This situation is very similar to the previous one. Along with family, friends are also one of the best parts of our lives.
It would simply be unfair to end your friendship with someone you’ve been hanging out with your entire life for someone you’ve just met.
If you make your partner choose between their friends and you, I’m sorry, but I’m almost completely sure that you won’t get the answer you hoped for.
Is your partner spending way too much time with their friends? Are they giving them much more attention than they’re giving you?
I know how much it hurts and how much it’s bothering you right now. But, trust me, there are so many other (and less hurtful) ways you can work it out with your partner.
Demanding your partner chooses between you and them should be your last resort for solving this issue.
“It’s our love or your furry friends.”
This is also a huge NO-NO. I claim that no person in this world could demand that I get rid of my furry friends. The love I feel for those little creatures is simply unexplainable.
That’s why I know for sure that telling your loved one to do this will not only hurt their feelings but will also make them reconsider your relationship. They’ll most surely pick their little friends over you in the end.
However, if there are any medical reasons why you shouldn’t have or be around pets, you should be open and talk honestly about it with your partner.
I’m sure they’ll be understanding and that together you’ll find the best solution to your problem.
“It’s your career or me.”
So, here’s my story related to these kinds of manipulative relationship demands. I’m generally the type of woman who doesn’t like to be told what she can and can’t do in her everyday life.
At the time, I was working as a massage therapist in a wellness center, and, to be honest, most of my customers were guys. My then-boyfriend simply didn’t like it and demanded that I quit my job.
I really loved him, and we had a great relationship, but I couldn’t put up with that pressure every day. I left him and, of course, continued to work there until I found a better job.
It’s so unfair to demand someone to give up their career for you.
If you think they’re neglecting you because of their job or career, you should confront them about it and work on finding the best solution together. That’s how things function in a healthy relationship.
Giving up your values for your loved one
Your values represent a huge part of your identity, and giving up on them would simply result in losing yourself. No person is ever worth giving up who you are.
When someone loves you, they’ll accept you the way you are, which means they’ll also accept your beliefs and values.
They won’t even try to change you because they fell in love with you precisely because of what they’ve seen in you.
A relationship can blow up at any minute while you’re stuck with yourself forever, and that’s why you need to base your life on your own values and don’t ever allow anyone to change them.
5 Ultimatums In A Relationship That Are Actually Healthy
These ultimatums below actually prove why these kinds of demands are often confused with boundaries. Either way, all of these are healthy and will never leave any negative effects on your relationship.
If your partner sees any of these demands as empty threats and doesn’t accept them, then you need to come to terms with the fact they don’t really love you and let them go.
“Either we’re exclusive, or we’re nothing at all.”
Well, yes, every person has the right to give this one to their partner. If the other side has genuine intentions and feelings for that person, they’ll accept it without even thinking about it.
If someone doesn’t want to commit to you only and refuses to date you exclusively, then it means you should stop wasting your precious time on that person and move on.
Just because you honestly love someone, it doesn’t mean that they’re your forever person.
Don’t accept any excuses. If someone doesn’t want to have a serious relationship with you, it’s only because they want to keep their options open, which, once again, means they don’t really love you.
“If you don’t stop talking to your ex, our relationship is over.”
When you’re entering into a new relationship, you must leave your past where it belongs; in the past. That means that you shouldn’t keep seeing your ex and that you shouldn’t be in contact anymore.
Your partner has every right to be angry and to ask you to cut contact with your ex. If you don’t have any feelings for your ex anymore, you won’t have a hard time leaving them in the past.
“We won’t share our bank accounts until we’re official.”
This is a very normal demand, trust me. It’ll save you from many future resentments and fights.
You never know how your relationship may end, and sharing bank accounts can only make things much more complicated if you break up.
A good relationship doesn’t imply having a joint bank account. It even doesn’t mean that both partners trust each other completely.
So, there’s no need to do it before you make your relationship official.
Actually, you don’t even need to do it then because I know so many couples who have been married for many years and don’t have a joint bank account, and they still function very well.
“If you start giving me reasons to doubt your loyalty, I’ll leave you for good.”
Here’s another boundary you have to set because you simply owe it to yourself. Don’t ever allow anyone to make a fool out of you.
If your partner starts giving you clear reasons to doubt their loyalty, you should immediately confront them about it. If they deny it, then you can make them think about their actions in this way.
Don’t leave things with empty threats. If they continue to give you reasons to doubt them, if you find out they’ve cheated on you, you should leave them immediately and for good.
Trust me. It’s the only way they’ll learn a lesson.
“The moment you disrespect me is the moment I’ll walk away.”
So, there are a few main foundations of a healthy and good relationship. Respect is truly at the core of every successful relationship. I always say, if there is no respect, there’s no love.
This doesn’t only apply to romantic relationships. You should never allow anyone to disrespect you, neither your loved one nor your best friend, nor any other person in your life.
This is a pretty reasonable demand every person should request from their loved one. No one should ever be in a relationship where they don’t feel respected and treated the way they deserve to be treated.
If you feel that the other side mistreats you in the relationship, you have every right to turn your back on them.
That person clearly isn’t aware of your worth, and sticking around would only mean that you aren’t aware of it too.
As you can see, ultimatums in relationships don’t always have to be deal breakers. Some of them are actually good and can keep your relationship healthy.
For most people, these kinds of manipulative demands represent a last resort for their problems. Unfortunately, they aren’t even aware of the consequences it can have on their relationship.
If you feel like there is no other way to improve your partner’s behavior or to make them change something for the sake of your relationship, it’s always better to consult with a relationship psychotherapist than to give them an ultimatum that can be destructive for your relationship.
I’m hoping you will manage to find a compromise with your loved one on the issues that you’re dealing with and that you won’t decide to go down this path.
Always keep in mind that everything can be solved through open and honest communication. True love doesn’t tolerate any kind of manipulation.