1 Ultimatums can promote confidence. You are laying everything out on the table for your partner by embracing your confidence and politely conveying your wants and beliefs to them. If they choose to work with you to improve a specific issue or behavior, the relationship can progress. If not, then you have nothing to lose and everything to gain by being confident.
2 Ultimatums can reduce tension. Since nothing is agreed to until everything is agreed to, there is less chance of an argument breaking up a relationship. Both parties know what they want and need from the relationship, which reduces conflict over small things that might otherwise cause arguments.
3 Ultimatums can show respect. Being confident enough to state your desires and needs openly shows that you have faith in your partner and their ability to understand you. It also demonstrates that you are willing to work with them rather than against them when trying to get something done (i.e., change something about the relationship).
4 Ultimatums can show leadership. Being confident enough to state your desires and needs and not worry about how your partner will react means that you aren't afraid to lead the relationship forward. It also means that you don't require your partner to come to you for decisions to be made; instead, you make the decision and take action. This shows that you are responsible and able to handle responsibility, which is important in a leader.
Ultimatums frequently get a poor name, especially in the context of partnerships. In fact, in certain circumstances, ultimatums may lead to good partnerships. They may, for example, be vital in establishing required boundaries with your spouse and ensuring that your relationship is pleasant for both of you. However, most often they are used improperly or without sufficient consideration for the other person's feelings.
Here is how not to use an ultimatum: don't start any argument by saying, "This is what I want..." Instead, try starting with a question that shows you have thought about the issue carefully: "Honey, would you like me to bring home more money?" Or "I was wondering if there was anything specific you'd like me to do around the house."
The point is to open up a dialogue about what matters to each of you so that you can work out a solution that satisfies everyone involved.
As far as giving your boyfriend an ultimatum goes, this is only acceptable if you plan to leave him if he doesn't agree to change his behavior. Otherwise, you're just being unfair and disrespectful. An ultimatum implies that the other person has done something wrong, which is not the case here. So don't use them unless you're willing to back down if you don't get your way.
Finally, remember that relationships are not transactions.
The major motive for issuing an ultimatum is to assert control over the relationship. In any case, people occasionally issue ultimatums in attempt to gain control in a relationship. These people feel that issuing an ultimatum will instill dread in the other partner, implying that the relationship may fail. They are wrong: most people want to be given freedom but enjoy feeling powerful.
People issue ultimatums to force a change in another person's behavior. They believe that threatening to end the relationship if the other person does not comply will cause the person to change his or her mind set. Again, they are wrong: most people want to be given freedom but enjoy feeling powerful.
People also issue ultimatums as a form of negotiation. They believe that by making a threat, they can get what they want from the other party. For example, someone may offer a friend a ride home from work if they go with him. The friend accepts, because he does not want to appear rude and send the friend home alone in the rain. However, instead of just giving the friend a lift, the driver could have said, "If I give you a ride home, I'll need to know where you live so I can let you back in through your front door." By including this clause, the driver has put the friend in the position of having no choice but to accept his offer. The driver has successfully negotiated a deal with his friend.
An ultimatum is a form of power play. Giving an ultimatum is a type of manipulation as well. When your spouse begins to suspect that they are being influenced, they will begin to doubt your trustworthiness. This will cause them to feel controlled and manipulated.
Spouses who are being unfaithful can use ultimatums to control their partners. If your husband or wife starts to act in a manner that you do not like, they may say that unless you do x or y by a certain time tomorrow, they will leave you. This way, they get their own way while also showing you who is in charge. Spouses can use this tactic to get each other to do things for the sake of peace but which they know they would not do otherwise.
Ultimatums should never be used by one spouse against the other. It is abusive and controlling behavior that needs to be stopped before it causes more damage than good. If you are thinking about using this tactic yourself, stop now before you say something you regret.