I Gave My Boyfriend An Ultimatum—And It Actually Worked

There came a point in time in our relationship where I had to give my boyfriend the ultimate ultimatum: we’re either together or we’re not. I refused to be in a situationship or not know our status. If he didn’t want to make things official, I was going to move on. Here’s why he said it was a good thing I gave him an ultimatum.

It forced him to think about what he truly wanted.

He was comfortable living the single life, seeing me occasionally… and seeing other girls too. But what did he truly want out of his life? What were his goals? When he actually thought about it, he realized he wanted to eventually settle down and get married. He wanted to have a life partner, best friend, and a wife. His current situation was not helping him achieve his goals and he hadn’t really laid it all out until I forced him to really think about it.

It made him respect me.

He said that giving him an ultimatum showed him that I wasn’t a woman that would just let him have his cake and eat it too. It showed him that I valued myself and respected myself, and this made him respect me too. I wasn’t willing to meet him halfway; it was either all or nothing. I needed him to commit to me or I was going to have to completely cut him out.

I didn’t call it an ultimatum.

I still don’t—I call it boundaries. I told him that although I care about him a lot, the back and forth in our relationship was causing me too much anxiety and turmoil and if he didn’t feel he could commit to give me what I needed, I would have to move on. Moving on wasn’t about threatening him or punishing him, it was about doing what was best for me and my own mental health. Remaining in any kind of contact with him would just hurt and make it harder to move on, so I would have to go cold turkey. Explaining it that way to him showed him that I was making a mature decision, not just trying to manipulate him to get my way (which is how I think some men view ultimatums).

It set me apart from other women.

Unfortunately, he had other women in his life who were content without a commitment—or more likely, they weren’t content but used passive-aggressive techniques to try and get him to commit instead of setting boundaries and being prepared to walk away. Which, speaking of…

I was prepared to walk away.

 In order to set a boundary, you have to decide what you’re willing to do if the boundary is crossed. In this case, I was prepared to walk away if he couldn’t give me the stability and commitment that I wanted. I knew what I wanted for my life and I knew I needed to move on if he couldn’t give it to me.

He wasn’t prepared to lose me.

Fortunately, when he realized that I was truly planning to cut him out of my life if he couldn’t commit, he decided to step up his game. He gave me full commitment because he didn’t want to lose me.

Our relationship improved dramatically.

Once he gave me the commitment I needed, I felt I could relax a little bit. Since I had the security from him that I craved, I didn’t have to feel insecure about our relationship status anymore. This made me able to focus less on where our relationship was going and able to live in the moment more, which was what he wanted in the first place. By him giving me what I needed, I was actually able to give him a little more space.

It helped him get where he wanted to be.

He sees my ultimatum as a defining moment in his life: the moment he could have chosen to remain single, continue to hook up with random women, and stay in the life he was living. He views his decision to commit to me as forward progress—the moment he did choose to be in a committed relationship, move forward in his life and make progress towards building the life he truly wanted.

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