Ultimatum vs Boundaries / deal breakers – just curious

posted 6 years ago in Emotional
Post # 3
581 posts
Busy bee
  • Wedding: July 2013

@3xaCharm:  I think it’s what you were saying towards the end, it’s not supposed to be a threat, and it’s not a control issue.

I think it’s important to know your deal breakers… for example cheating is one for both Fiance and me.

I think it’s the idea of you are welcome to make your own choices but they will affect mine, as opposed to “I want this particular outcome from you.”

So, a deal breaker for someone might be, “I won’t date someone for more than three years without an engagement.” But an ultimatum would be, “You better ask me to marry you or I’ll consider this relationship over.”

I think it depends on if the intent is to bend someone to your will, or if the intent is be true to yourself.

Post # 4
123 posts
Blushing bee

I feel like a lot of it is in the delivery.  For example, I could tell my husband that if he cheats I will leave him, OR I could discuss with him the fact that if he were to cheat (in any way, shape or form) it would be incredibly painful and probably wouldn’t be something that our relationship could survive so he could pretty much count on me leaving for good.

All in all, I think there’s a difference between ultimatums and standards.  Not cheating, lying, screwing things up financially on the sly, etc. are all things that a good partner shouldn’t do and (to me) are standards that are applied to good relationships.  Ultimatums (again, to me) are more along the lines of, “If you DON’T do X, I’m going to do Y”, as in “If you don’t propose by the end of the year I’m cutting my losses and heading out”.

PS – I agree with your last statement that a lot of times ultimatums are when you’re giving THEM control.  You can let your SO know that children are incredibly important and that if he never wanted to have any you’d probably have to move on to a different relationship because it’s something you need in your life.  TELLING your SO that they’d better have a baby with you or you’re leaving is when it seems more like an ultimatum to me.

In the end I think it’s just personal opinion and how the couple communicates.  What seems like a simple conversation/fact to one person could seem like a harsh ultimatum to the other.

Post # 6
3626 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I think it’s only fair, whether it’s an ultimatum or not, to be on the same page. If you want to be married with kids by a certain age, that needs to be known by both parties. I don’t see anything wrong with saying if something does or doesn’t happen, you’ll break up. I don’t know, I see it as open communication so everyone has the same expectations. If it hasn’t been obvious on the boards today, a lot of problems arise when expectations aren’t the same.

Post # 7
2711 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

@Americano:  Ditto.  An ultimatum is about control and getting the exact reaction desired. 

Also, I think a deal breaker is something that’s universal and would apply to any relationship – such as cheating or lying – and is pre-conceived.  An ultimatum is something that is specific to the relationship or person and is a reaction to an event.

Post # 8
1026 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: July 2014

I think that a dealbreaker is “if you ever cheat on me, it’s over”

Vs, an ultimatum: ” If I don’t get a proposal by X with an X ct ring I will leave”

Ultimatums are a manipulative way to get things that you want, where dealbreakers are things that will protect you.

Post # 9
2031 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: July 2012

I think of dealbreakers differently than ultimatums…although I suppose technically they are the same thing in essence because the wording is the same.  I think that when you enter into a relationship, you make a ‘deal’ and set up boundaries.  For example, I will flat out tell someone (and have, on like the first date LOL) that I will not tolerate cheating of any kind, violence, excessive anger, depression, drugs, lying, controlling behavior or using manipulation to get their way.  I’m sure there are others, but those are my major dealbreakers….and most of them are established early in a relationship, as opposed to coming up constantly during the course of your life together.  

An ultimatum comes later, in my mind, and is more of a threat or manipulative behavior, which is a dealbreaker (see above).  I think to say to someone ‘If you don’t stop drinking wine on girls night, I will leave you’ (for an example) is a manipulation, and I would not tolerate that at all.  Just like when a woman says ‘If you don’t take out the trash, you won’t get sex later’ is a manipulation of sorts and is wrong.


Post # 10
2 posts

a deal breaker is a very strange emotion.

The very thought of being with that person just makes you flat.

You know. You just wont get on with it.

It can be as simple as looks.

You just arent excited about that persons looks. or weight.

The problem is people try to keep up the relationship and “use” this person

or give them a raw deal.

The result is that they dump you and leave you feeling confused.

Post # 11
2 posts

an ultimutum is diffrent.

You love your wife. but she is flirting with another man.

Ultimutum. Stop it or i dump you.

She thinks you love her too much and can not do it.

She continues flirting.

You go ahead and dump her.

She thinks its a joke.

She stalks you and does all manner of negotiotaions.

After a few years she hears you are married.

The joke is no longer funny.

It is a reality.

The ultimatum was carried out!

Post # 12
485 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: December 2015

We have discussed deal-breakers.  I’ve stated that emotional or physical cheating or abuse are deal-breakers (emotional abuse i.e. You are worthless, You never do anything right, etc.).  He’s not the kind of person who would do any of them but this was my first relationship and we talk about everything and that’s one thing we talked about.  I wouldn’t call those ultimatums per se.  For me an ultimatum (and I am making something up here) would be like you better quit that rock band or I’m leaving you (if it doesn’t interfere with family life, kids, finances, etc.).  And if it does, it’s then open to discussion.


For me ultimatums are more do what I say or I’m taking my toys home.

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