No one wants to hear these words from their partner:
“We’ve been together for a long time — and you haven’t shown any commitment. Either we get married by the end of the year, or it’s over.”
While many communication problems can threaten a relationship, few things can destroy a relationship more quickly than a marriage ultimatum. How should you handle the situation?
Don’t call her bluff; she could really be prepared to leave. Keep in mind that this is not something to be taken lightly. Generally speaking, women do not like to create tension. Women who consider giving their boyfriends a marriage ultimatum do so because they feel trapped. Such people view time spent in a relationship as an investment, and they don’t want to waste time on someone who isn’t right for them in the long-term.
So how should you respond? If your partner makes the ultimatum early in the relationship — say, less than 6 months — make sure she is being serious. If she is, run for the hills. Otherwise, take into consideration if “she is the one” for you. Here are some guidelines on responding to a marriage ultimatum:
When she is wrong for you…
Tactfully end the relationship. If your long-term goals do not mesh with hers, it is not possible to share a future in which you are both happy. Getting married when you know that it won’t work out can result in costly divorce proceedings. This can be particularly nasty if both members of a marriage are not willing to participate amicably.
Here are some tips for a break-up: Choose an exact time and place for the break-up. Pick a place that has no attachment for either person. Do it at a time when you are both calm and rational. Be honest, and be prepared for a bad reaction.
And never break up over a text message or phonecall. Unless you are in a particularly bad relationship, this is profoundly unclassy.
When you don’t know if she is right for you…
Attempt to delay. While keeping someone on a string is not advisable or courteous, you might legitimately need time to determine if you are both compatible with each other.
There isn’t a lot of pride in it, but you can stall by creating vague goals that you must reach before agreeing to a marriage. Waiting until you are promoted to a higher position within your company, or until you reach a greater level of financial stability are good examples of goals. Avoid specifics. Naming a specific job position or an exact amount for your savings account can bring your deadline closer than you would like.
Delaying an ultimatum could be difficult, depending on your circumstances. If you have been together for several years, you should know if you are compatible with each other. In fact, some relationship experts state that if a couple is not married within three years, their future marriage could be doomed to fail. If you have already delayed popping the question for too long, these tactics may not be practical.
When she is right for you…
What are you waiting for? If you are absolutely sure, then have some courage and accept. However, you should do it in a way that shows genuine interest. She will always remember if you kowtowed to her demands only to keep her content. Accepting the demands of an ultimatum out of a basic sense of obligation lacks romance. A marriage that starts off on the wrong foot like this will likely end in divorce.
There is a way to accept this proposal without damaging the future of your relationship. Delay the proceedings, using the tactics above. Then surprise her. The proposal should still be spontaneous and passionate.
A marriage ultimatum indicates a communication problem. By following these strategies, both you and your partner benefit. Remain tactful, and establish what your intentions are. This is the simplest way to avoid future heartache.