I Gave My Boyfriend An Ultimatum & It Was The Best Thing I Ever Did

I Gave My Boyfriend An Ultimatum & It Was The Best Thing I Ever Did ©iStock/max-kegfire

Nobody wants to get to that point in a relationship where it’s necessary to say, “If this doesn’t happen, I’m leaving.” Ultimatums are serious and shouldn’t be taken lightly, but while patience is a virtue, it runs out eventually. That’s exactly what happened to me — I gave my boyfriend an ultimatum and it was the best thing I ever did.

  1. I met him when I was young and stupid. I was only 19 when I met my first serious boyfriend, and I was totally ill-equipped to handle a relationship. Also, I had never been in a relationship, so I had absolutely no frame of reference for how a serious romantic partner should treat me. Those two truths combined and created a situation that no one should be in.
  2. Like an idiot, I fell in love. Love is terrific when it’s right. In other circumstances, love can be a destructive force that dismantles you right from your core. Love that’s good and pure builds you up and improves you, but toxic love does the opposite: it makes you question your own value and accept circumstances you shouldn’t.
  3. I became a victim of abuse. I didn’t know that’s what it was at the time, but hindsight is 20/20. It took years to become a truly bad situation, but it did. My self-esteem was completely destroyed by a man who claimed to love me. He was verbally and emotionally abusive, and I accepted it because I loved him.
  4. I wasted a lot of time. I thought I was lucky because I finally found someone to spend my days with, someone who would utter those three magical words. I didn’t realize that it was possible to have that and still be lacking what I really needed. I thought that he really loved me, and he’d always be there for me.
  5. I thought I wanted to marry him. When I look back now, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I thought I wanted our love story to end in forever, because that’s how love stories are supposed to end. I didn’t realize that we didn’t have the connection necessary to make forever last. I also didn’t realize that I deserved so much more than he was giving me.
  6. I finally started to see the bigger picture. When I fell in love, it was partially with the concept of love in general. When I began to see the details of what was going on, I knew something was off but I couldn’t put my finger on it. I was so glad to be part of a romantic arrangement that I didn’t realize how chaotic and damaging it was for me.
  7. I gave the ultimatum. We had been together for about 9 years when I finally came to that point. I had already been dragged down to the point where I had no idea how much I was worth. I just knew that I was ready to either get married or move on with my life. That realization lead to the ultimatum that would change my life forever.
  8. I stood up for myself. It wasn’t easy to tell someone I loved that I was close to leaving him, but I knew that it was necessary. I couldn’t waste any more time waiting around in limbo; it was time to rip off the Band-Aid and get it over with.
  9. In my heart, I already knew the answer. Deep down, I knew that he wasn’t going to make the commitment I wanted. I didn’t want to admit it, but I knew the ultimatum would most likely lead to a really devastating breakup, and the most messed up part of it was that I blamed myself. After being emotionally abused for years, I thought that the commitment wasn’t happening because I wasn’t perfect enough to deserve it.
  10. The breakup hurt a lot, but it was absolutely necessary. When I look back now, I see how toxic that relationship was and I wish I’d left sooner. When a relationship spans nearly a decade and involves cohabitation, a breakup feels like a divorce, even if you were never married. If I hadn’t had my heart set on marriage, I probably wouldn’t have left him and I’d still be in that messy, abusive situation.
  11. I found my independence and learned what real love is. After the breakup, I began to live like I’d never lived before. I moved to a new city, focused on my career and rebuilt my self-esteem from the ground up. I wasn’t looking for love, but somehow it found me anyway. The man I’m with now is simply too wonderful for words to express, and I’m eternally grateful that our paths crossed. If I hadn’t given that ultimatum, I may have never found the incredible happiness I have now.
Anna Martin Yonk is a freelance writer and blogger in sunny North Carolina. She loves hanging out with her goofy husband and two rescue dogs and can be found at the beach with a drink in hand whenever possible. You can find her on Instagram @mrsyonkdogmom or on her Facebook page.