Giving an Ultimatum

ultimatum

Giving an ultimatum should not be a go-to strategy in a normal social situation. If so, you will wear out friends and romantic partners quickly. Instead, an ultimatum should be a move of little resort, when you’ve endured a lot of pain or trauma due to your relationship with this person. An ultimatum can change a relationship entirely, and put a person back on the proper path. Someone may wake up and make amends, or stop toxic or painful behavior such as substance abuse or infidelity, when they realize that they are going to lose you. Otherwise, they may stick with their bad behavior. But at least you tried, and now you know that this isn’t the relationship for you. Make sure this is your last straw if you issue an ultimatum, and plan to go through with it. If it fizzles out but you don’t walk away, the person will lose respect for you. The first step is to think carefully about the reasons why you want to issue your romantic partner an ultimatum. Make sure that there aren’t any other avenues open to you. Search your heart and make sure you are ready to leave this person if they don’t change their toxic behavior.

Make sure you are calm and ready when you issue the ultimatum. If you are still carrying negative feelings with you like anger, frustration, hurt and so on, it will come out when you confront your partner. The focus shouldn’t be on your negative feelings, but your concern for them and your need for them to change their behavior, if they value your relationship and wish for it to continue. Make sure your estimate of the chances of success is concrete and realistic. If your significant other is a hardcore alcoholic and not very fond of you, chances are your ultimatum won’t succeed. Make sure the time you choose to talk is appropriate. It should be when you are both free, without company, and at a stress free time. Plan it out in advance. Make your ultimatum reasonable. Make sure it’s an achievable goal for the other person. You can expect them to make amends and moves to say quit a bad habit. But they aren’t going to be able to change who they are. Make sure what you expect is clearly communicated. Expect them to react negatively, at least at first. But if they really love you, and are already starting to recognize that they have a problem, this may be the shakeup they need to save themselves, and your relationship. If you’re in a relationship where you feel that your partner needs to change, read the advice of Kevin Darne in his book, My Cat Won’t Bark! (A Relationship Epiphany).

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