Category: Ultimatums in Relationship

Trying to Fix Others to Make Yourself Feel Better

When I met my husband, he was going through a divorce. He’d recently moved with multiple pets into an old, crumbling house that had been a college rental for years.  The pets were insane and both the house and yard were a wreck which nobody had attended to for years.  The hedges were overgrown, the […]


Ultimatums and Power

As the parent of a two-year old, I give a lot of mini-ultimatums throughout the day. These ultimatums work because I have more responsibility and power than my two-year old does. It is my responsibility to keep my child from hurting himself and others, and I hold the power to enforce many boundaries because he […]


When to Give an Ultimatum

I’ve written before about why ultimatums rarely work in relationships.   Relationship ultimatums tend to go along the lines of “Change your behavior, or I leave.”  Most of these ultimatums don’t work because the person issuing the ultimatum isn’t ready to follow through with the threat to end the relationship; however, there are times when an […]


Following Through with Consequences

Some days I just hate to give consequences.  The ensuing tantrum from my daughter is no fun to deal with.  I often hope that the threat of the consequence is enough to get her to listen to me.  I’ve definitely learned that I need to be ready to back up whatever consequence I tell her […]


No Gender Has the Lock on Emotional Issues

I get a lot of comments on this blog, mainly in response to my posts about the silent treatment and ultimatums in relationships. It seems that some people believe that one gender tends to be more prone toward emotionally dysfunctional behavior.  For example, many readers believe that the silent treatment is a guy thing.  I […]


Describing the Rules in Advance vs Reacting After the Fact

As a mother of a toddler, I hear myself saying things like, “If you head-butt Mommy again, you can’t sit in Mommy’s lap anymore.” This is a rule that I regularly enforce, and enforcing it is easier because she knows that rule exists ahead of time. Our child also has rules that we need to […]


A Breakup Disguised as an Ultimatum

I once overheard a person describing her frustration with her partner to a friend.  It was clear that things were not working out in the relationship, that she had reached the end of her rope and truly wanted to call it quits.  She listed her many grievances, and stated that she was tired of being […]


Why Ultimatums Rarely Work in Relationships

A classic dynamic in romantic relationships is The Ultimatum.  One person wants the other to behave in a certain way, and threatens to leave if they don’t.  Some examples include threatening to leave if your partner doesn’t stop drinking, hanging out with unsavory friends, or cheating.  The threat even seems to work for a while, […]