I Don’t Regret Giving My Boyfriend An Ultimatum — It’s The Only Reason We’re Still Together

Most of the time when we hear the word “ultimatum,” we think it’s soon to be the end of the relationship in question. While it’s usually a sign that something has to give, not all ultimatums end in a breakup. When I gave my now-boyfriend a choice to either define the relation or hit the road, things actually worked out in my favor.

  1. If you don’t ask, you won’t get. The saying “ask and you shall receive” actually proved to be right. I knew my guy was a little shy and would never make the first move defining the relationship — hello, I was the one who actually had to plan our first date! — so I took a risk and let him know how I was feeling.
  2. I finally found what I was looking for in a relationship. A relationship is about two people and a whole lot of compromise. If there’s something major in your relationship that’s missing, an ultimatum may not be a bad way to finally get what you’re looking for. On the other hand, giving someone an ultimatum shouldn’t be taken lightly. Whatever you’re asking for has to be worth the possibility of your boyfriend breaking up with you. For me, it was.
  3. It felt so good to get out of the gray area. All of the frustrations and doubts I had about our relationship went away. I was finally able to focus on what mattered — our future — and forget about what would stress me out. When you’re in the gray area, it seems that every little thing that goes wrong, like not getting a text back or flaking on plans, is a sign that your relationship is headed for doomsday. By giving my boyfriend an ultimatum and defining the relationship, I finally felt confident enough to know that we were meant to be.
  4. He honestly just had no idea what I wanted. As much as I thought he knew everything about me, sometimes I forgot he’s not a mindreader. He had no idea that I was so frustrated with where we were in our relationship, and that’s just his personality. By finally opening up and letting myself be vulnerable, he finally understood what I wanted from being a couple.
  5. I learned labels can just be a technicality. The saying “if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it’s most likely a duck” can apply to relationships as well. I was so frustrated with him just because I wasn’t sure if I could officially call him what he already was, my boyfriend. By laying down the law and giving him an ultimatum, I got what I wanted, a label, but our feelings only got more intense.
  6. It made us closer. By finally telling each other what we wanted, our relationship was only able to grow. We finally were on the same page and could work as a team, instead of being mysterious and playing hard to get. One of the best parts about giving my boyfriend an ultimatum was finally being done with the BS and being done with playing games. I know what he wants, he knows what I want, and we’re both happy together.
  7. He wanted the same things too, he was just too nervous to ask. While I definitely had doubts about giving my boyfriend an ultimatum, it worked out just the way I wanted to. He was on the exact same page but just didn’t know how to bring it up. Defining the relationship or taking the next step with someone you care about can be super scary but if it’s the right person, it will work out.
  8. Communication is key. Listening to what we both wanted and making it clear would have been a dealbreaker for either of us was a crucial part of the process. While ultimatums can definitely work, there’s a lot that can go wrong. If you’re not ready to say exactly what you want — and prepare yourself for a response — it’ll never work. It’s all about listening, compromising, and working towards what you both want.
  9. If it didn’t work out, I would have been okay. Giving him an ultimatum could have backfired on me, but it didn’t. I’m happy about that, but I also know that if asking for what I wanted and needed from him made him run, he wasn’t meant to be in my life anyway. Thankfully, he still is and we’re happier than ever.
Emily Ann Gutgold—Emi, for short—is a recent graduate of Penn State University. Her social handle @MiSCONGENiEMiLY stems from her one-time stint as a pageant queen where she was unanimously voted Miss Congeniality by the other contestants. In her free time she enjoys running and eating ice cream, but not at the same time. She currently lives in New York City and works in digital media.