Thoughts on marriage ultimatums?

I'm torn. On the one hand, I would never EVER want to be in a position to say the "if we don't get married, I'm moving on with my life" line, there are some circumstances in which I understand why some women think this is their best option. (caveat I am 24, not married, and not ready to be married).

I get how if the woman is approaching 30 the biological clock can be a factor.

Also what if she just decided that she waited long enough, broke up with him because she wanted to settle down and have kids and finds out that he actually DOES want the same things, it would have been a good idea to say that she wanted to get married or she was leaving instead of just up and leaving.

I also understand how this comes across as a threat and a demand and that's unattractive in a partner.

To me, it comes across more like a misunderstood and very poorly worded: "I love you and I want to marry you, if you don't want the same, I need to find someone who wants me as much as I want them".

Thoughts on this?

  • Ultimatums are awful! Never do it!
    Vote A
  • Ultimatums work like a charm! Do it!
    Vote B
  • Ultimatums have their place, it depends on the situation
    Vote C
Select a gender to cast your vote:
I'm a GirlI'm a Guy
I also asked this question on another forum and got a lot of "you're so desperate" "you're just after the ring bitch" and "your timeline isn't the only one that matters, so what if you have a biological clock" answers.

haha 1) I'm only 24 and not ready to get married at all so they clearly didn't read the question

2) I'm glad people here can discuss without name calling and woman hating


Most Helpful Guy

  • Ultimatums should not be used as a threat to bully people into doing what you want.

    But if they represent actual true dealbreakers and you are being honest about them, then its about being honest.

    That doesn't mean 'you should make every want a dealbreaker and use an ultimatum'. But people do and should have things that they require and its not unreasonable to say 'if we're not on the same page on this, well I will need to move on and wish you the best'.


Have an opinion?

What Guys Said 7

  • If she's been with him for a few years and otherwise everything seems ok...I could see eventually slowly working towards an ultimatum...but it should definitely not be anything close to sudden...she might be ready, but he might not be...two different people are generally going to reach that point at two different times

  • Well I'm not planning getting married so for me that wouldn't work.

    I get it though that you need to be clear to each other where you are going.

    I wouldn't necessarily set deadline to the exact date but I would just let a reasonable amount of time pass and ask right then and there: "are we going to commit to each other?". If she had to think about it... It's over.

    I'm 28 and I want to have a family. If I meet a girl I would want to know within a few months if we were going to be a couple and say within 1-2 years if we are going to start a family. If she doesn't know... I'm moving on. And I would be upset that I wasted my time with her.

    • would you be upfront about never getting married? What if she wants to start a family but only if she's married? would you still be upset that you wasted time?

  • I voted C.

  • Ultimatums will make him leave, almost guaranteed.

  • It really depends on the relationship. But generally, ultimatums are bad; they are inherently aggressive since they are essentially a threat. Threats and aggression do not have a place in a relationship. Above all else, like the example you gave, communication is critical to any relationship.

  • I think ultimatums are the ultimate expression of how powerless you are, and should be replied to with a hearty laugh.

    And I have to wonder--how many women make it to 30, unmarried, through involuntary circumstances? I'm pretty sure that most young women, if they're fit and make an effort to look/be nice, could get married in their 20's if they wanted to.

    So if a man has reached age 30, and in twelve years of dating/having sex, girls didn't need much of a commitment, why do women think a man will abruptly decide to sacrifice their whole lifestyle and legally be at such a huge disadvantage?

  • I think marriage is pointless unless you're religious. If your man promises to be with you forever and wants to have children with you, that should be enough for you. Why? Because marriage is a HUGE legal and financial risk for the man. There's the splitting of 'their' assets. And then there's alimony, which is paid to the woman in 92% of cases (even though 40% of wives outearn their husbands). Especially if you're not willing to sign a prenup, you should respect a man's unwillingness to sign that marriage contract. But even with a prenup it's dangerous. 50% of marriages end in divorce. 80% are initiated by the woman. Imagine you were marrying a man you would have to pay alimony to and split YOUR assets with, in the event of divorce, even if he initiated the divorce and even if he, for example, cheated on you. And imagine if, even through no fault of your own, you were not able to pay those amounts... You're going to prison! That's the situation that most men contemplating marriage find themselves in. Even just having children is a risk. 90% of custody awards go to the mother, and there's child support of course, which has no guarantee of being spent on the child. Even if it's joint custody, courts are very reluctant to punish the mother for breaking the rules, because they don't want to harm the child. If a man is willing to have a child with you, you should appreciate the huge risk he's taking, instead of complaining that he doesn't want the huge additional risk of divorce settlements and alimony too.

    I know what women will say. "If he trusts me, he'll marry me." Well, women, if you trusted your man, you wouldn't feel the need to marry him. Trust is a two-way street. By agreeing to have children with you, your man is trusting you. You should be thankful that you're with a man who's so rational that he doesn't want to take a POINTLESS risk like marriage.

    And believe me, unless you look like a supermodel, you're not going to find it easy to get a guy to marry you these days, especially if you're on the brink of being 30 or are older than that. I'm just keeping it real. The other exception is a GREAT personality, but I know that any girl contemplating an ultimatum has at best a medicore personality.

    • Oh, and by the way, I'm more than happy to buy a ring, more than happy to have a ceremony. But I'm not signing that piece of paper that will give a woman who cheated on me or abandoned me half MY assets and an extortionate alimony payment every month, with the threat of prison weighing down on me constantly. I guess that's just very 'selfish' of me. Who wouldn't want to go to prison, right?

      I hope women out there understand. I feel that more and more are understanding.

    • Show All
    • 'celestial', you're a thirty-year-old lawyer and you didn't even know that women get 92% of the alimony. Wow. Anyway, here you go. As confirmed by a fellow female lawyer: link The situation is the same in Canada too, as confirmed by this WOMEN's legal fund: link

    • women who want marriage lack sympathy and empathy. we get it. go tell some other people what's wrong with them. you've thoroughly covered your bases here.

What Girls Said 7

  • It really depends, there are some men and women who string others along knowing FULL WELL they NEVER want to get married or have children.

    Then there are other people who take faaaar to long to make a decision.

    SOME men and women have life plans and want marriage/babies by a certain age/time frame. IMO that is reasonable in CERTAIN circumstances.

    If you've been dating someone for 5-6 years and you know that they want to get married/hold children an ultimatum is WARRANTED.

    If you've been dating someone 2-6 months and they're demanding marriage/babies, RUN AWAY!

    IT really depends on the circumstances, the time frame, and the discussions they've had as a COUPLE. If you don't want marriage children (which is perfectly fine) you shouldn't string along a man or woman who does, it isn't fair to them, as these things have a time period on them.

    • Also the possibility of marriage and children should be discussed BEFORE DATING. If a man or woman isn't interested in marriage or dating, they shouldn't enter into relationships with people who are interested in marriage/dating. It isn't fair to either party.

  • My cousin gave her boyfriend an ultimatum and got a proposal and then one week before the wedding he cancels the engagement. My cousin gave another guy an ultimatum and he proposed and then 12 hours before the wedding he gets cold feet and wants to reschedule the wedding for another 12 months down the road so the wedding gets cancelled but before she started giving ultimatums, guys never proposed to her so it's up to you.

    • i'm not close to being engaged nor am I thinking about issuing an ultimatum/ready to get married. I was just wondering people's opinions on the subject. is it seen more as being clear with what you want or is it more like issuing a threat?

    • Show All
    • True the guy still accepted it but damn that's like proposing to yourself and it takes away any surprise and meaning.

    • I wouldn't want a proposal like that either. Unfortunately, some women have found that if they aren't the ones to speak up and say what they want, their men are happy to just continue as they are. Hence the old mother's expression "no one's going to buy the cow if you're giving out the milk for free". I've heard guys who say that if you're living together and you cook together, & clean together, etc. he won't proposed because it's like they're already married but he doesn't have to buy the ring

  • They're stupid and they may ultimately cause the guy to cheat on his wife in the feature or simply resent her for rushing him.

    • i don't disagree that it's an unhealthy way to start a marriage, but nothing causes anyone (man or woman) to cheat. they make their own choices.

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    • didn't mean to be preachy. I have personal experience with cheating and it really bothers me when people try to blame the person they cheated on.

    • You're being too sensitive. I didn't "try to blame the person they cheated on" nor even insinuate that I cheated. What I did is be realistic and say that sometimes S. O.'s behavior can cause cheating. No, this doesn't make the cheater any less accountable or guilty. However, I'm sure there are times where someone wouldn't have cheated had their S. O. not behaved a certain way.

  • Ultimatums do not work! It only makes the guy resentful, if he accepts, that is. You might end up losing an otherwise great guy that way, because you feel the need to flash your money on one day. A better approach is to discuss it calmly and compromise, if possible. Giving the ultimatum is just setting yourself up for failure.

    • well if you're old enough where you won't be getting what you want (husband/kids) with him, then you're losing him anyway because you're going to find someone who wants the same things as you. if you want to settle down and he doesn't what compromise is there?

    • Show All
    • Sure, a head's up is fine. Bu you shouldn't give him that classic line of "You either marry or I leave".

      It's better to have a calm discussion about it. Like mentioning that you intend on getting married some day and if he says he doesn't want to, just break it to him calmly that you don't think it can work out.

    • i agree. some people consider that an ultimatum though.

  • Well, I think girls can demand on this if you are in a relationship for over 6 years. It's a responsibility of the guy to marry her if he is serious and really love her. What's the point of being in a relationship for six years if there's no future for both of you..

    • How in the world does marriage = future, especially if more than 50% end in divorce? The "responsibility" of a guy not determined by you, or a woman. His responsibility is to what he deems to be the right move. Stop trying to bully men with tactics and manipulation, be happy you got 6 years and he still wants you. Responsibility, pfft, you got to be kidding me

    • just to clarify, responsibility is not just what you think the right move is. I mean if you have a kid, but deem the right move for you is to move across the country permanently, that's not fulfilling your responsibility to your kid. responsibility is a duty or task that you're expected to do or that is morally right/legally required. it's not just what any person deems right.I'm not saying that it is a man's responsibility to marry anyone,but that definition is misleading

    • also expressing your opinion and stating what you want (aka a future after six years of being together) is not manipulation or tactics or bullying. the woman in question would just be saying what she wants. if he doesn't want to give it to her, fine! they can part ways. telling her to shut up and "be happy" with whatever time the man benevolently bequeathed her is condescending.

  • I'm indifferent

  • I say on the whole they are terrible, but I could see that if I was with my boyfriend for over 5 years and wasn't seeing any sign of marriage or in depth commitment (I don't necessarily need "marriage" or a ring, but if you're not planning on having kids with me at some point it's not going to work out).

    I mean I look at it this way. Every person you date you're going to either end up breaking up with or dying with (hopefully in marriage, but some are unfortunate early deaths) if I'm not going to die with you then... we might as well go ahead and break up.