Most of us would not appreciate being given an ultimatum if there were any other options. Yet, many people use this form of manipulation on a regular basis to get what they want. In one way or another, it almost always backfires.
In relationships, ultimatums rarely are well received. There are several good reasons to stay away from ultimatums.
First, ultimatums box people into a comer and limit and distort their choices. An aggressive and obnoxious sense of pressure is added to an already difficult decision, which seems to create an almost universal repulsion.
Second, even if the person demanding the ultimatum ends up getting what he or she wants, they are often resented and retaliated against by the person to whom they issued the ultimatum.
For example, Jean says to Robert, “If you don’t agree to attend my family reunion I won’t talk to you for a week and you can forget about borrowing my car.” Robert may end up going—but resent the entire trip and harbor negative thoughts about Jean for a long time to come. He may find ways to “get back at her” and may even lose respect for her for painting him into a corner.
In the long run, a more effective way to ask would have been for Jean to say, “I’d really love for you to be there with me. I hate to put such pressure on you, but I have to admit that I’ll be very disappointed if you don’t come.”
Not always, but often, an ultimatum stems from the fear that, in the absence of the ultimatum, you’re not going to get what you want. So, out of desperation, you demand it, attaching a serious consequence—hoping that will do the trick. The problem is, you push the person away far more often than you frighten someone into doing it your way.
What’s most important here is to simply see that it’s best to avoid ultimatums whenever possible. You’ll probably end up getting more of what you want anyway—and without question, your relationship will be on a more solid footing. So stop giving ultimatums—or else!
A relationship advice tip on How do you make a relationship last long. Free relationship adice to save any unhealthy marriage. Find out more insider secrets on how to make a relationship last long