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The Male Perspective: Do Ultimatums Work in Relationships?

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The Male Perspective: Do Ultimatums Work in Relationships?

A guy gives us his take on ultimatums. When should you give them if at all?

Ultimatums. Women tend to give them when men aren’t doing what they’re told, acting right or when we’re not meeting your needs as men. But do ultimatums work in relationships? Some of you might be saying, “Hell yeah that works!” while others say quiet the opposite. My male take: ultimatums work sometimes and only in certain situations.

PLUS: Relationship Advice on How to Fight Fair

Real relationships aren’t like those in talk shows. Issues aren’t fixed with finger snaps, neck rolls and the audience screaming, “Oh no you didn’t!”The Jerry Springer and Maury Povich shows aren’t real! So, when do ultimatums work and when don’t they? Let me show you:

When an ultimatum actually works:

Scenario:  You are fed up with your man because he has this terrible habit of not bathing or cleaning up after himself.

Fed up, you say, “If you don’t change your ways, I’m leaving you.” This is a legit gripe that would warrant drastic action because it affects your quality of life. At this point your man has to make some changes. However, before running out the door because of his sicote, give him the opportunity to gradually transform his filth into sweet, odorous cleanliness (i.e. he starts bathing or tiding up the bedroom).

Scenario:  Your man cheated and he says it is due to problems in your relationships. 

If you still want to work it out despite his cheating ways, you should say, “If we don’t work this out, either you go or I go.” Or, “It’s either him/her or it’s me.” This works only if you still love your significant other and can acknowledge that you are going through a really rough patch in your relationship. And that you are willing to forgive his transgression. If you’re not willing to forgive (and it’s certainly within your right not to), this isn’t the time for an ultimatum; it’s time for a departure.

When an ultimatum doesn’t works:

Scenario:  Your man is abusive beyond measure.

An ultimatum is not warranted here, but law enforcement is. Or, if you’re real hood, you hire Big Mike from the block because he owes you a favor. #DontJudgeMe

Scenario:  You have petty gripes and your man has little habits that drive you insane. 

For example, he leaves the cap off the toothpaste, he didn’t take out the garbage one day, he’s not at your beck and call and doesn’t do what you ask him to do all the time, he didn’t walk the dog. You catch my drift. These complaints are so small that they are forgivable. As long as he has a legitimate excuse and is willing to adjust his behavior to make you happy, an ultimatum is not needed.

MORE: Fighting Over Dirty Dishes? Tips on How Not to be a Nag

Ultimately, ultimatums are final. Like most things in life, once stated they cannot be undone. So if you have the pantaletas to give an ultimatum, you better be ready for the repercussions.

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Rich is a proud married guy and father of two. He enjoys helping women understand the mind of a man.


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