The problem with ultimatums is that they seem perfectly reasonable at the time. Look. I’m here. You’re there. So I’ll be patient. I’ll wait for you to get where I am by this date. We wait for a future, handing ours over, at least for the time, into someone else’s hands. Once we hit that magical date, he should know if I’m the one. He should be ready by then. Any reasonable person would agree. But it never works that way. Ever notice that? "But we had a deal, and you knew this date was coming." The thing is, the person on the other side of the ultimatum just thinks about having more time to decide. "Well, I don’t have to really think about it now. The date is so far away, so I can worry about it then." Until "then" comes. When then comes they ask for more time. They "please, I swear. I am not ignoring your needs. I just need to understand why I’m like this. Please, I don’t want to lose you. You are my family." But you’re not. You’re really not. And if they do give you what you’ve wanted all along, you wonder if it’s for the right reasons. You worry they’re with you just because of fear. That’s no way to live the rest of your life.
It’s easy to say, "ultimatums are manipulative and suck." Yeah, mean people suck too, but they’re out there. I think we all dole out the ultimatums, even those of us who stamp our feet about their existence. You know why? Because "if you’re not ready to commit to me, then I’m moving on" isn’t necessarily an ultimatum, but it sure smells like one. IF is involved.
Remember math class? THEN follows IF. If A then B means whenever A is true, B is too. "Then" always follows "If." As soon as you construct a sentence with if, you’re looking for a then. "If I were to lose all my limbs, then what? Would you still love me? Would you still want to have sex with me?" I play the if game a lot, but I rarely pull the if ultimatum. Oh I have, but I don’t need to do it anymore. I found someone who wants me just as much. But I can absolutely understand them.
I understand the whole, "I have needs. If you don’t meet them, I’ll get them met somewhere else." If my need is to be married and have babies, and I’m in a relationship where he doesn’t seem too excited about those ideas with me, then how long do I stay and wait around, hoping he will be ready? This is what floats around in the heads of a lot of people I know. When will he have that epiphany? When I leave, if I stay? If I leave, he’s the kind who should have appreciated me while I was there. If I stay, am I just wasting my time in a dead end relationship? So then, oh yes, women set a deadline! They pick an actual date. A year after we met… by the new year… whatever it is, they pick a date. If we’re not *here* by *this* date, then I’m gone. Sometimes, I think having to say that is reason enough to just leave.
I’m not an authority on this. But I’ve witnessed it enough times. The women who have to put an expiration date on their relationships shouldn’t be in that relationship in the first place.