Ultimatums in Relationships
Posted Thu Jul 30, 2009 01:37 PM
Here’s my line of thinking: ultimatums are usually viewed as a manipulative way to strong-arm someone into doing what you want. And while I agree that they can be that (particularly if used lightly or frequently or with no intention of following through), I think there’s another side to them: one last effort to save a relationship that would otherwise be over, because it’s worth enough to you to try.
Is it not open, honest, genuine, and sincere to go to your partner and say, “I have a problem with our relationship, and it’s serious enough that if we can’t fix it I have to leave”? Doesn’t it show that you value the relationship too much to walk away from it without doing everything in your power to find a resolution? Isn’t it better to offer your partner a choice in the matter rather than leaving them cold?
SilentTyped’s situation is that there’s a sex act that he very much wants to experience in his lifetime that his girlfriend is now dead-set against. Does the fact that it’s about sex rather than some other aspect of the relationship make a difference? Is an ultimatum about sex worse than an ultimatum about, say, your partner’s unacceptable behavior or a lack of emotional closeness?
I’m not sure where the line is and when an ultimatum is bad and when it’s not. It seems to me that if your relationship has any depth, bond, or emotional connection, you owe your partner the opportunity to decide whether it’s worth it to make a change that they may not like to keep you around. They may value you more, or they may value the status quo more – either way, shouldn’t it be their decision? Wouldn’t it be less respectful of someone you supposedly love if you just walked away?
Also, in SilentTyped’s situation, it seems to me that his girlfriend has already given HIM an ultimatum, albeit an unspoken one. By refusing him a sex act that she knows is very important to him, she’s asking him to choose between her and that sex act. There’s a tacit implication of “learn to live without it or leave”. Is this truly any better than if he were to say “I need this from you or I have to leave you”?
Help me get this sussed out, please. Thanks!
Posted Thu Jul 30, 2009 02:28 PM
A) He issued the ultimatum first, so refusing the orgy isn't issuing an ultimatum, it's making a choice based on his. This is different from SilentTyped's scenario because his gf may not be clear on how important it is to him -- he has not yet decided whether it's worth leaving over, so I'm fairly certain he hasn't told her.
2) Even if it was an ultimatum, my point is that it seems to me that ultimatums are okay sometimes, and might even be good in some circumstances. Ultimatums, used right, are just a way of looking out for your own needs. (Note: NEEDS, not wants.) If you need to not have an orgy, then it's good to be up-front about that. If he does need to have an orgy, then it's good for him to be up-front about that. And if both of those things are true, then it's good for you to either work out a compromise ("go have an orgy with someone else and I'll be here when you get back", for example) or to split up. If he REALLY NEEDS to experience an orgy, and you REALLY NEED not to, then you're not compatible, are you?
Posted Thu Jul 30, 2009 04:39 PM
In the end you're gonna have to decide whats best for you.
Posted Thu Jul 30, 2009 06:32 PM
I don't know what or who wronged you but trust me not all girls do that
as for the ultimatum thing...
Depends on what it is.
If he "needs" a certain sex act I am unwilling to do a d he wants to break up with me for it then I don't think that is a good relationship anyways.
If you never have sex or such and you have tried working on it saying "I can't live in a sexless relationship" is different and certainly something needs to be done be that part ways or try working on things. Be that counsilling or her consenting to more sex
For MOST women (not all!!) sex is more tied to emotions and such. If she doesn't feel loved or pretty or is stressed be it work home or personal she isn't going to be up for sex (again this is not all women)
I don't think all ultimatums are bad but saying I want anal or an orgy or threesome or I'm gone isn't a healthy relationship either
My two cents
Posted Thu Jul 30, 2009 08:03 PM
Posted Thu Jul 30, 2009 08:16 PM
Sex should be about compromise. Not 'do this or else'. If you're going that route then the relationship is completely fucked.
Posted Thu Jul 30, 2009 09:34 PM
Sex should be about compromise. Not do this or else. If you're going that route then the relationship is completely fucked.
I totally agree you on this! your comments sum it up quite nicely.
Posted Thu Jul 30, 2009 09:57 PM
That being said, ultimatums in relationships are almost always best solved by taking the "or else" option, unless of course someone is saying "stop doing drugs or else" or "stop drinking or else".
If it's not damaging, and it's something as ridiculous as "let me film you blowing 4 of my guy friends or I'm leaving you" it's probably about 99.9+00.1% the best choice to bow out and say "sorry you win."
Posted Thu Jul 30, 2009 10:29 PM
Ultimatums are an all or nothing , my way or the highway kinda deal , & IMO if the relationship has got to that point it's over already anyway , so why even bother .......
Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009 02:55 AM
Ultimatums for sexual acts is ridiculous. You'd be doing the other person a favor by breaking up with your partner, since they could easily do way better than someone so shallow.
Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009 12:31 PM
Fasterfingers made a good point regarding substance abuse, dishonesty and infidelity; but I think this may have to see with each person's own view on those issues. I don't tolerate dishonesty, so no need of an ultimatum there... once it happens it's over and that would be clear from the start. I see substance abuse as a health problem, and more likely I'll try to help solving it with some type of treatment. I couldn't tell you how far I would go though because I've never faced this type of problem... I tend to stay away from them. Infidelity pretty much falls in the dishonesty realm, but it could be a manifestation of a relationship problem... I'll treat it on a case by case basis, but more likely I won't tolerate sex outside the relationship unless it's been previously agreed upon. Again, I've never had to face this situation since, to the best of my knowledge, I have never been cheated on.
Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009 06:44 PM
Really? So if someone's partner starts ignoring them and they are feeling unloved because of it, you would consider it nothing more than pure manipulation to say "I need your love and attention or I need to move on"?
Posted Fri Jul 31, 2009 07:10 PM
I would only say "I need your love and attention..." and add "Is there anything I could do so you could spend more time with me?" (just an example, it could be anything) I will try to get this message across many times... as many as necessary until it becomes obvious that the other person does not consider my needs important, in which case, I'll just leave the relationship.