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The Partner That Uses Threats And Ultimatums Is An Idiot

by Ellen "Jelly" McRae 15 days ago in love / marriage / dating
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And women, we're the biggest culprits, I'm sorry to say!

Frustrated? Don't use threats | Image created on Canva

I should probably defend my sex, especially in relationships. 

But I'm not going to support a trait I believe is stupid and sets people up for failure. Nope, can't do that.

The reason I say this is because my sex is well known for using threats and ultimatums in relationships. We use them all the time to make our partners do what we want. And force them into situations they wouldn't otherwise want to be in.

What's worse? We women often think it works, too. 

We think it's going to improve the relationship when in reality it does the opposite. Now I'm not saying all women do this, and it's exclusive to us. 

Everyone, at some point in their life, has been a culprit of making an ultimatum and sticking to it. 

No matter what.

In truth, it doesn't matter who does it or not. It's more about doing it in the first place. And those who think this relationship approach works aren't the smartest people in the room.

Let me explain.

Let's get it straight: Defining relationship threats and ultimatums

Some people in this world are lucky. Not only have they never experienced a relationship threat or ultimatum, but they've also never issued any other. 

I would say if you're one of those people, you're a unicorn and we should submit your life to science for analysis. 

Because you truly are that rare.

Relationship threats and ultimatums is where one partner threatens to leave the relationship if the other partner doesn't do what they want. They use the idea that being in a relationship with them is a prize, of sorts. 

If the partner doesn't concede to their requests, the person making the ultimatum strips the prize away.

The most common relationship threats and ultimatums are usually about:

  • Making a commitment
  • Changing behaviours
  • Changing emotions
  • Changing lifestyle or joint behaviours

Idiots believe the threat is going to save your relationship

One of the ultimatums on the list I mentioned was making a commitment. Get married. Have kids, Buy a house together. Significant life events that tie two people together.

Many partners wait for their other half to reach the same readiness as them. Others can't stand waiting anymore and put down an ultimatum. Make a commitment or I'm out.

It's stupid to think this is going to save the dying relationship if that's how you perceive this imbalance of wants. But it's also ridiculous to assume the other person won't call the bluff and walk away.

It could do the opposite of saving the relationship. It could be what breaks the relationship for good.

Threats and ultimatums come with risk and reward. People who use them unwisely assume there are no risks, only potential rewards. If it's not rewarding, the ultimatum doesn't do anything to change the relationship.

And if there is any risk, it's negligible.

Idiots believe the ultimatums change what a partner wants

If we continue with the commitment example, using an ultimatum or threat doesn't change how a person feels about settling down. It doesn't make them want marriage, kids or a house any more than they already did.

Forcing someone to do something they don't want to do doesn't change their fundamental desires and instincts. 

It's not mind-control. And it isn't smart to think it is.

The problem is that some people will concede to a threat, simply because they're convinced their partner will go through with it. 

But that doesn't actually mean:

  • They've changed their mind about the commitment itself.
  • That they will eventually grow to accept the situation (it could cause the opposite effect).
  • That they will be happy with the situation moving forward.
  • That they will contribute to the situation - If it's buying a house, they end up resisting any ideas like renovations because that would be putting effort into something they already hate.

Idiots believe threats help their partner learn better relationship techniques

It's redundant to think that if you keep using threats and ultimatums to get your way, the other person will learn how to behave in the future. That your relationship will become easier and you will have fewer issues as a couple.

What actually happens is the partner learns the opposite of good relationship techniques. 

They learn:

  • You will abuse a sense of power to get your way.
  • You resort to underhanded tactics to get your way - As opposed to healthy communication.
  • They can resort to underhanded tactics to get their way - If you go low, it gives them permission to go lower.
  • Threats and ultimatums work with other people in your life - They end up using them on your family, children, friends, and co-workers, causing bigger social issues.
  • How not to fix any behaviours that frustrate you enough to leave - It's like telling a child they can't play outside without telling them why. It lacks any education, communication or a plan to improve. It's all or nothing.

Idiots believe threats build teamwork

And the biggest thing your partner learns from ultimatums and threats is that you're not a team. They learn the relationship is a dictatorship, with you in charge and them subservient to you.

If that's the way someone wants to have their relationship, and both parties agree, then keep doing what you're doing. 

Yet, most people don't get into a romantic relationship to have their life, thoughts and feelings controlled by their lover.

Usually, we enter into relationships to form a team. 

We want to work together with someone to build our life, reach our goals and for the companionship that comes with sharing life together. Love is what shows us we know this person is someone we can trust to build a team with.

Ultimatums and threats reverse any teamwork a couple has built. It can erase all the hard work needed to get you into this space. 

If these was a point system, you just lost them all in one hit.

It's naive to think an ultimatum will bring you closer as a team. Like the risk of the relationship ending, it can push you both to the other sides of the playing field. 

You're no longer working together. You're working against each other. 

And that's not a team.

Idiots think ultimatums help relationships move forward 

Sometimes you hit a point in a relationship when you think you've tried everything to resolve an 'argument'. 

You've done everything to resolve the gap in your understanding of how the relationship should function. 


  • Talked to your partner about the problem - At length, or without any success. You've tried to start the conversation but it never goes anywhere. You keep ending up in the same spot.
  • Tried to adjust your own behaviours - You know you can't change the other person so you've tried to work through what you can do differently. It might have included speaking with a professional therapist to help manage your expectations and feelings.
  • Tried to reach a compromise - You both want something different and you've tried to meet in the middle. Some of what you want and some of what they want.

And now, because you've done all the right things, and more, and you're still in the same position, ultimatums and threats are all you have left. 

Am I right?

Despite being at the end of a tether, the partner that thinks this last resort will work is a fool. 

If they assume their partner will change, even though they've done everything else to appease the situation, why will this work?

If the shoe was on the other foot, would it work for you? No, right? So why do it to someone else?

And the next time you think you have this magic pill to fix your relationship, remember ultimatums aren't it.

Keep this threat technique to yourself, whilst we're at it. We don't need threats and ultimatums spreading like wildfire.

But that's not a threat by the way. I would never threaten you. I'm not that stupid.

And I care about our relationship way too much to do that.


About the author

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

Writes about romanceships (romance + relationships) | Loves to talk about behind the scenes of being a solopreneur on The Frolics | Writes 1 Lovelock Drive | Discover everything I do and share here:

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