Are ultimatums ever a good idea? If so – when? If not, what can you do instead? What should you do if you receive an ultimatum from your partner? And how do you undo the damage that an ultimatum can do to a relationship? In this episode, we’re going to cover all the ins and outs of what to do when you come up against a dealbreaker in your relationship, and how to handle your last-ditch attempts to get things back on track.
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Neil Sattin: Hello and welcome to another episode of Relationship Alive. This is your host, Neil Sattin. Today, we are going to cover a topic that’s simple and a little bit tricky. It’s the topic of ultimatums. Are they ever worth it? What’s the good, what’s the bad, what’s the ugly when it comes to giving or receiving an ultimatum in your relationship? And are there ever circumstances where an ultimatum is the best choice? That’s what we’re going to cover in today’s episode.
Neil Sattin: Okay, so first, what even is an ultimatum? An ultimatum typically occurs when one of you comes up against something that is a deal-breaker for you in your relationship. So, the ultimatum, it comes from the Latin “ultima,” which, if I’m remembering right from my high school Latin, means “the last.” So it’s basically the thing… It’s like the last thing, it’s your last resort. And it really should be your last resort. If you find yourself giving ultimatums all the time, then that should be a major red flag for you that something is not going well in your relationship, or if you’re receiving ultimatums all the time. And an ultimatum is fairly simple, it’s “I want you to either do this thing, or stop doing this thing. I want some change in you, or some commitment in you,” or whatever it is, “I want this from you, and if you can’t give this to me, then I’m done. I’m out of the relationship.” So ultimatums often come up when you are up against a deal-breaker for you.
Neil Sattin: So, an example might be that you know you really want to have children, and your partner has been kind of wishy-washy on the topic of whether or not you’re going to have children. And so you might say, “I need you to decide, one way or another, if you are willing to have kids. And if you’re not, then I’m done because… Not because I don’t love you, but because I want to have children.” So that’s one example of a deal-breaker. “Decide whether or not you want to have kids, if you’re a yes, great, we can keep going; if you’re a no, I’m done.” That’s the ultimatum. Another one that you may have come across is if someone in a relationship has an addiction, like they have a drinking problem, the ultimatum might be something like, “You stop drinking, or I’m done.” Right? So it’s pretty simple. “You blah, blah, blah, and if you do it, awesome. We keep going. And if you don’t do it, then I’m out of here.”…
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