Ultimatums get a bad rap in relationships, but they’re not always unfair and unjust. And sometimes they can actually help make a relationship better, like when they help you set boundaries and communicate what you need and value from your partner. So what makes an ultimatum healthy? When it’s given in a calm moment while you’re both listening and being respectful, not threatening, according to relationship strategist Anna Gonowon. Experts say these ultimatums can actually improve your relationship.
- “I need time to get ready” - If you need some time to get ready before you go out and your S.O. doesn’t ever seem to get that, it can cause a strain on your relationship and could lead to fights. So be direct and let your partner know what you need so you’re on the same page.
- “I will choose to do something else if you stay on your phone” - If your partner is always glued to their phone and you’re over it, it’s okay to get the message across that their behavior isn’t okay with you.
- “That makes me uncomfortable, please don’t say that again” - It’s healthy to start with how you feel so your partner gets it and then set the boundary so it (hopefully) doesn’t happen again.
- “When you message your ex, it makes me feel hurt” - Telling your partner this makes it clear where you stand and from there, they can choose to see your side or not, and if they don’t, you’ll have to decide if it’s a dealbreaker for you. But coming from a place of concern instead of anger or resentment may help.
- “We don’t always need to watch TV together if we want to watch different things” - An ultimatum can be as simple as coming to a compromise on screen time. And that fight about what to watch gets old fast.
- “Either we’re exclusive, or I have to think about if I want to continue this” - This is about defining the level of commitment you’re both willing to make. Calmly and clearly explaining that you don’t want to see other people lays your side out there and if they don’t feel the same way, you can decide if you want to move on or not.
- “We need to be able to save money” - Talking finances can be tricky, but doing it in a calm, yet concerned way, may give you a better outcome. Be upfront about financial expectations and the ground rules that work for both of you, especially if you share a bank account.
So...Big Al Wants to Know: What ultimatum have you given your sweetie recently? Did it help?