(Closed) The Ultimatum – what’s the alternative?

posted 7 years ago in Waiting
Post # 3
Member
3968 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

Hey, abirdword! I remember you commented a lot on my posts back in November/December when I was contemplating one.

over the course of weeks and many tears and conversations, I discovered that HE had a timeline, he just hadn’t shared it and it was MUCH LONGER than I was ok with. In the end (this is truncating the whole thing a lot), he thought that me wanting the engagement timeline moved up a year meant I wanted a wedding moved up a year (from his timeline) as well, which wasn’t the case. I just told him that his current plan (or what seemed like a lack there of) was not acceptable, especially since I had to move 500 miles and might not have a job. I asked him to think about what he would be ok with (rather than saying, by this date or else) and he chose a date– our 5th anniversary, and I know since then he’d put a payment on a ring. So for now I just have to hope that he is true to his word. I don’t think it was because he didn’t want to get engaged, it was just that he had a lot going on now (grad school, etc) and we are currently LD so it’s not like I’m around all the time to remind him how much he really does want to be with me– all the negative things are always inflated when you’re apart, it’s harder to deal with little issues on a daily basis. In the end, he gave me the 5th anniversary (which was 2 months and some later than me moving.. I had originally said it had to be by the time I moved) and I compromised. I knew he was serious, it just wasn’t on his radar for another year and some! He apologized for not sharing it with me, but had we not had that talk and had I not put it all out there “I cannot move in August to be with you if I’m only your girlfriend.” He was mad at first, thinking I was trying to make him do something. I said, no, I’m making you think abotu what you want from your life and how you see the next five years of your life, and how I fit into that. It took a long week of him not really talking to me I think to really think about that. I think we’re on the same page now, and I’m trying to not bring anything up and just trust that he will do what he said he would do. Initially I did feel like I forced his hand, but I know that he would let me walk away if he really didn’t want this…. and I even asked him, are you sure this is what you want? If it’s not, that’s fine, we just need to be honest.

 

Whew, sorry that was long. It is so hard to summarize. I think mine was more of a me-matum, and saying, this is not ok, if you don’t have reasons for waiting another year and a half, what is holding you back and if there’s nothing, can we compromise on this?

Post # 4
Member
2493 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I would say set a timeline (i.e. we will buy a house in ** years, we will both have steady jobs in our field in ** years, we will have a baby in ** years, we will be engaged in ** years, we will be married in ** years). If that time comes and goes with no sign of a ring, and he knows that the timeline has past, you have made the ultimatium without actually making an ultimatium. After that, it is up to you to decide what you want to do.

Post # 6
Member
3968 posts
Honey bee
  • Wedding: September 2014

I can’t remember how your waiting is going? Are you in a similar boat as me now?

Post # 9
Member
2395 posts
Buzzing bee

What are alternatives to ultimatums,

 

I’m guessing that by “ultimatum,” we’re talking about the woman telling the man, in effect, “We’ve been together for ‘X’ months or years and I’m tired of waiting around. Marry me — or set a date for us to be married —  or I’m out of here.”

The alternatives are:

A) Go into doormat mode. Be quiet and don’t say anything that might ruffle his feathers.

B) Just go along with whatever he says and hope that eventually you get what you want in life (marriage, children, whatever, etc.) while your biological clock ticks away.

C) Nag him as nicely as possible and hope that eventually he decides to come around.

In case you haven’t guessed, I’m being sarcastic. Personally, I think ultimatums have gotten a bad rap and I find that odd. Ultimatums do not have to be  nasty or threatening. I think it is healthy for both parties in a relationship to communicate in a loving way about what they need. I also think it’s a good, healthy thing to nicely speak up and let your loved one know that you have needs, and you hope he can meet them, but if he can’t, this is a dealbreaker for you and it has been wonderful knowing him. I think the key to a healthy ultimatum is to deliver it nicely and in a loving spirit, always with the full understanding that ultimately, you can’t make anyone do anything and he is under NO obligation to marry you.

 

Post # 11
Member
803 posts
Busy bee

I’ve had to issue many “ultimatums”, but not about proposing. I think that when you are in a long term relationship, it’s perfectly fine to have honest conversations about what you want and are looking for in a significant other. I don’t mean this in a controlling sense, but in a, “this is what I’m looking for sense”. I told my fiance that I was looking for someone who would be very much present in our lives and not just a workaholic. If work was more important to him, then he needed to let me know upfront because I needed to know if we were on the same page. I didn’t want to waste my time, waiting for the rest of my life for a man that wanted to marry me, but not necessarily be on the same page as me. We are together, not because he’s been forced into anything, but because we believe in the same things and we are honest to each other about our beliefs. He knows what it’s like to have an absent father. His father was away for several months at a time. He doesn’t want his kids to have to go through that. 

I don’t like the idea that talking about your expectations for a relationship might be “toxic”. If your relationship ends, it’s not necessarily the worst thing. Yes, it didn’t work out, but ultimately you weren’t meant to be together if you aren’t on the same page. Would you really have wanted to stay waiting for a man who might not want the same things that you do? Or perhaps end up getting married and not being happy together, having him resent you, or you resenting him? You deserve to know upfront where your relationship is heading. If marriage is not on his list of priorities, and it is on yours, then maybe it is time to find someone else. You deserve a man who wants the same things from life, from love as you do. 

A way to approach these conversations without issuing an “ultimatum” might be “Hey, we’ve been together for a while. I know that this seems like a scary question, but where do you see our relationship going? I want you to be openly honest with me about what you think, and what you want, and not to tell me what you think you should be saying. It’s okay if you say that you don’t want to get married, but I am someone who does want to get married, and that is important to me. So I need to know if I’d be waiting for 1 or 2 years, or if that will never happen. Because if you don’t plan on getting married, then it’s not fair to keep me waiting around when I might want things that are different. I don’t need things to happen right now, but I need to know where our relationship is heading and if we want the same things.”

Post # 12
Member
2395 posts
Buzzing bee

Thank you Abirdword… I hope I wasn’t too snarky.

I just think there is a loving and healthy way of going about this.

After dating my Boyfriend or Best Friend (now DH) for approximately 14 months, I was about to go nuts. There was no proposal in sight. My birthday, Christmas, New Year’s, Valentines Day had come and gone. He hinted about getting me a ring several times, then at dinner one night he said something about getting a wedding ring. Weeks went by and no proposal.

Finally one night  I had a dose of what is sometimes called “liquid courage” after one too many glasses of wine (LOL). We were sitting on the sofa watching TV and I don’t know how I got around to bringing it up exactly, but I asked him where this relationship was going. He said he wanted us to be together “for many years to come.” He didn’t say forever, just “many years to come.” I honestly can’t remember what words I used, but I basically let him know that I needed to know specifically where this was going.  I told him all the reasons why I loved him and wanted to be with him too — and then said very plainly that I was not comfortable dating him indefinitely without knowing where this was going. I said it nicely and lovingly, but I also let him know I meant what I was saying. 

So he responded by asking when my lease was up (it was going to be up about nine months from when we had this talk — at our two year anniversary). I told him when it was up and he said we should start planning on moving in together at that point and then getting married about six months after that.

LOL! So I told him at that point that I would love nothing more than to move in together — but that I didn’t believe in living together before marriage. And that I would not feel comfortable moving in and taking a leap like that without being married first.

So, he agreed.

It was really that simple. We talked about it calmly and rationally, and thank HEAVENS he wanted to marry me. If he hadn’t, that conversation would have gone very differently. It would have broken my heart in two, but I simply could not stay in that relationship any longer knowing that there was no hope of a marriage.

I’m just so glad and so happy that he was on the same page as me. If he hadn’t been, I really would have walked. I’m not saying I would have walked away without a backward glance. I know I would have been devastated. But geeze, what’s the alternative? Being someone’s girlfriend indefinitely? Forget that! 😛 

Edit: I forgot to add that he formally proposed with a ring a few months after that.

Post # 13
Member
2395 posts
Buzzing bee

Oh and I also forgot to add: It goes without saying that it would be extremely painful to end a relationship under those circumstances. It would be beyond painful. But if he would seriously let you walk out of his life in order to maintain his bachelor status, then he doesn’t love you enough.

If he really, really, truly loves you the way a husband should love you — he’ll do anything not to lose you and keep you in his life. Even if it means going out of his comfort zone and taking the plunge sooner than he had in mind.

Post # 14
Member
692 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: February 2013

I think it depends on what stage of “waiting” you’re in.

If you’re waiting for your SO to make up his/her mind on whether marriage is in the future at all: I’d set an ultimatum for that, at least, because I don’t want to waste my time with a person who can’t decide if I’m marriage material after a certain point.  S/he doesn’t have to “put a ring on it”, just affirm that they could see it happening with you.

If its a matter of “when”, not “if”: Talk timelines.  Talk about why your timelines are the way they are, what goals you each want accomplished and in what order and what it will take to get them and how long that will take.  What’s compatable between the two, and what needs to be worked out (ie he wants to buy a house before proposing, she won’t put her maiden name on a mortgage).  Its just about the most un-romantic conversation ever, and can cause fights (you don’t want kids until you’re HOW OLD?!?), but its better to know these things now, before you invest more of yourself.  Its not an ultimatum, its trying to figure out how the two of you can accomplish all your goals together.

Ideally, you’ll work out a solution that makes both of you happy.  If your SO won’t budge on their way-too-long-for-you timeline, and won’t cite a reason you feel is reasonable/understandable/legit, then maybe you should reconsider the relationship.  I don’t think I’d want to be with someone who makes me sacrifice or delay big life goals without reason.

Post # 15
Member
598 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

My best advice for avoiding the ultimatum is to keep the dialog open….as I got closer and closer to my breaking point I brought up the idea of marriage in a humorous way more and more often…I even resorted to adding a note “from my dog’ that said propose to my mom on his to do list.  Keep it light….fun….non demanding.  I don’t know what I would have done, but what I do know is that I wanted to avoid feeling like i MADE him propose at ALL costs!

Post # 16
Member
2493 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

@abirdword:  I think that’s because a time line isn’t “You need to propose to me before Jan 31, 2012 or I’m leaving”, but rather a way to set a mutual timeline and see what each person in the relationship feels. It is, sort of, an ultimatium, but it is also an ultimatium that you are both setting for each other. And, remember, time lines can change.

My Fiance and I wanted to get engaged last February. I was just starting my career, we had a few huge expenses come up and all of a sudden we sat down in December and said to each other, lets push everything back a year. We ended up getting engaged this past Christmas. Same thing with buying a house– originally it was going to be the summer that just passed, but we had other things we wanted to buy. This summer we debated it, but with the wedding and honeymoon, it will be difficult. Right now we have pushed it back to December 2012 or summer of 2013. In the end, as long as you are on the same page, its okay.

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