Are Relationship Ultimatums Ever A Good Idea?

Written by Harini Natarajan

Ultimatums in a relationship have both positive and negative aspects. While they can shake the mental peace of both partners and are often considered unhealthy, unfair, and unjust, some ultimatums can also help maintain a balance in the relationships. It all depends on the intent of the ultimatums and whether they are fair or not. So, how do you distinguish between them? Are ultimatums a good idea for your relationship? Keep reading to learn more about them.

Do Relationship Ultimatums Work?

Do Relationship Ultimatums Work?


It depends on what type of ultimatums you are giving to your partner. Giving ultimatums immediately after a heated argument may seem the right option at that moment, but it may backfire and strain the relationship further. Does that mean you should avoid giving ultimatums? No. If your intentions are good, giving positive ultimatums when both of you are calm may reinforce a healthy bond. Here are some positive aspects of ultimatums that are healthy in a relationship.

Positive Aspects Of Ultimatums That Work In A Relationship

Positive Aspects Of Ultimatums That Work In A Relationship


1. Your Issues Are Addressed

Keeping issues aside for the sake of maintaining peace in your relationship does not always work. It may cause resentment and destroy the relationship. Be completely honest about your needs and expectations from the relationship. In such cases, an ultimatum might help in addressing your issue directly. It often forces things to be addressed and is hard to ignore.

2. It Stops You From Wasting Your Time

When a couple is unwilling to find common ground about an issue, the relationship hits a dead end. A good thing about throwing an ultimatum is that you are more likely to get a quick response, and there is usually a deadline. If both are willing to maintain the relationship, you will work towards a resolution within the deadline. If not, you will not be shooting arrows in the dark and dragging the issue unnecessarily.

3. It Sets Clear Conditions

When an issue arises, and you try to communicate with your partner, they may walk away to avoid conflicts or arguments. They may even take it for granted. An ultimatum works as a deciding factor as it lays out what needs to be done to keep the relationship going. For instance, your partner may tend to avoid discussion on serious issues. Giving an ultimatum saying, “resolve the current issue before proceeding to any other conversation,” will send a clear message to your partner that you are not letting the issue simmer for long.

4. Ultimatums Can Promote Mutual Understanding

One of the most significant aspects of ultimatums is improving your relationship by promoting mutual understanding, an important pillar in any relationship. If your partner does something that may impact your relationship, the best way to solve this is to communicate, find common ground, and stick to it. This is not possible if there is no mutual understanding. You can give an ultimatum to your partner that you know they will accept if they genuinely want to work on the relationship.

5. Ultimatums Improves Comfort Level In The Relationship

Ultimatums might not always be pressurizing or a deal-breaker in a relationship. It is an agreed-upon adjustment to maintain a healthy relationship. When you vent out your feelings to your partner, it makes you feel lighthearted and comfortable. Both of you get an idea of each other’s expectations from the relationship, which ultimately improves your comfort level.

6. They Help Define Healthy Boundaries

If you feel that things are going overboard in your relationship, setting healthy boundaries may help. In such cases, giving ultimatums play a crucial role. For instance, if your partner is super busy and barely manages time for the family, you can give him an ultimatum asking them to finish office work within working hours; otherwise, you will start enjoying life all by yourself.

However, it is also important to understand when and how to convey the message without hurting them or being rude. Talk to your partner when they are calm and are ready to listen to you. This will help set healthy boundaries.

Give positive ultimatums when both the partners are willing to listen to each other. It helps to open up, speak your mind, set expectations, and work on the flaws to maintain a healthy balance in the relationship.

However, frequent use of ultimatums conveyed in the wrong way can strain a relationship with time. Let’s have a look at negative ultimatums that you should never use with your partner.

Relationship Ultimatums That Can Be Destructive

Relationship Ultimatums That Can Be Destructive


1. Asking Your Partner To Change Something Important To Them

Every individual has their personal preferences. Maybe your partner enjoys weekly night outs with their group, or perhaps a trip with friends without their partners. They have their way of unwinding from the daily schedules.

Whatever it is, never tell your partner that you will end the relationship if they don’t stop doing something they love. A crucial part of being in a healthy relationship is allowing space and let them enjoy their time. Meanwhile, you can also indulge in activities to keep yourself busy and enjoy your me-time.

2. Requesting Them To Prove Their Love For You

People have different ways of showing affection. If your partner is not vocal about their feelings for you, that does not mean they do not love you. And that also does not mean you can ask them to prove their love for you. Such unreasonable demands can make them feel pressured to do something unwillingly just for the sake of it. This may not change the love or care they have for you, but don’t put them in such a difficult situation.

3. Giving Your Partner A Choice Between You And Some Other Important Person In Their Life

Either it’s me, or it’s your family..


Either it’s me or your friends..

Such ultimatums can break your partner from inside. Understand that their family and friends, or whoever it may be, are important for them. They and you are not a choice for your partner, but a part of their life. You cannot expect them to give up on a critical relationship to keep you happy. This will eventually strain your relationship.

4. Demanding Your Partner To Reject Professional Opportunities

Your partner just got the most coveted promotion for which they have to move cities. Or they just landed their dream opportunity, which means they have to stay out of home late. You are not okay with that and ask them to quit or let the opportunity go – this is an unreasonable demand.

Such ultimatums can create a loss of identity in them. They may accept unwillingly for the sake of the relationship, but will that make them happy? This might affect the relationship dynamics and may even strain the relationship.

5. Forcing Your Partner To Do Something They Are Uncomfortable With

Be it a sexual fantasy that you have or want to try bungee jumping with them knowing they are afraid of height – just because you want to do something does not mean you should force your partner into it. Everyone has their comfort zone, and they prefer to stay within that circle. Moving your partner to go out of that zone and asking them to do something for you that they are uncomfortable with will build resentment and make them feel unsafe.

An ultimatum leaves your partner with the belief that they have no other choice but to do what you are asking for. Here are a few reasons why giving such negative ultimatums will never work.

Reasons Why Ultimatums May Not Always Work

Reasons Why Ultimatums May Not Always Work


1. They Make Your Partner Unhappy

Ultimatums in a relationship always come with consequences. Giving an unreasonable ultimatum pressurizes them to give in unwillingly. This will ultimately make them unhappy.

2. Your Partner May Feel Threatened

Ultimatums, if not conveyed in the right way, may feel like a threat. Your partner may give in to your demands, but they will consider you a threat, which is detrimental to any healthy relationship.

3. They Might Retaliate

As soon as you start throwing ultimatums at your partner, they might retaliate. This will escalate the issue, and a healthy discussion may slip into a heated argument. Be careful with your choice of words, the situation, and whether your demands are reasonable or not.

4. Ultimatums Close Doors For Communication

Constant negative ultimatums can irritate your partner, and they may stop giving in to your demands and close all doors of communication. They may feel threatened and emotionally abused and may even refuse to stay in the relationship or find a middle ground.

5. They May Kill The Trust In Your Relationship

Ultimatums may make your partner feel pressured and manipulated. They might even think that you do not trust them on certain matters, so you resort to ultimatums. This feeling can be counterproductive for your relationship as your partner may develop self-doubt, ultimately affecting the bond.

To Conclude

Ultimatums are healthy only when they help both of you come up with a solution to resolve an issue. However, you never know when things may go south. So, if you have any doubts or some lingering issue that needs your attention, have a heart-to-heart with your partner. Be truthful about your feelings, understand theirs and resolve the issue amicably. If you do this, you will never have to resort to ultimatums.

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As Chief Editor, Harini sets the tone and editorial direction for StyleCraze to deliver engaging, interesting, and authentic content revolving around women's health, wellness, and beauty. She has over 14 years of experience in content writing and editing for online media. She specializes in the areas of Beauty, Lifestyle, and Health & Wellness and is proficient in Medical Sciences (Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, and Biochemistry). Her background in Biomedical Engineering helps her decode and interpret the finer nuances of scientific research for her team. Harini is a certified bibliophile and a closet poet. She also loves dancing and traveling to offbeat destinations.