Is it ever a good idea to give your partner an engagement ultimatum?

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The response can be quite telling. You could also be putting pressure on your partner to make a major decision in a time frame that is not theirs.

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Talks of marriage usually start after a couple has been together for some time and the relationship is stable. However, just because one person is ready for marriage doesn’t necessarily mean the other is. Many couples find that one partner is more ready than the other to take the next step. This begs the question: What should you do next?

Can giving your partner an ultimatum – either to propose or end the relationship – help the situation?

Although relationship experts do not advocate giving your partner an ultimatum, which can make the receiver feel trapped, powerless and vulnerable, they agree that it can help both partners have a mutual understanding of their goals.

Although relationship experts do not advocate giving your partner an ultimatum, which can make the receiver feel trapped, powerless and vulnerable, they agree that it can help both partners have a mutual understanding of their goals.

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Experts agree that it is important to convey your message in an approachable way.

Anna Osborn, a Sacramento-based marriage and family therapist, says that the ultimatum can have a negative connotation. It shuts down communication. Instead, communicate your feelings in a way that is inclusive of your partner’s feelings, indicating that you want to understand the reasons behind them and not suppress them. Your relationship can benefit from you being firm about your intentions and presenting your case in a nonthreatening manner.

You will uncover sensitive issues.

You may discover that your partner has some difficult reasons for not proposing when you begin to have discussions about marriage. Osborn says that some men wait until they are able to financially support their partner before proposing. It is a way of admitting that they aren’t ready to marry. These reasons will help you feel at ease about marriage and give you an opportunity to share your views on the subject, which can lead to compromise.

Perhaps your partner is reluctant to marry because of the failures in their marriage. Osborn says that the hope is that you can reach the heart of these differences. He also adds that emotional conversations can help unlock fears each person is trying to conquer.

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There will be compromises on the engagement timeline.

Your ideal timeframe for the wedding can differ from your partner’s. Without threatening to end the relationship, it can help you to talk through your ideal timeline without being too harsh.

Although both parties may need to agree on the timing, it is a good idea to be able to confirm that it will occur within the specified time frame. Bodden warns that if the compromise is prolonged, it can lead to resentment. Bodden says, “It is time to consider whether you are really a match.”

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Relationship roles will be challenged.

Janet Page, a New York City marriage and family therapist and author of Get Married this Year: 365 Days to “I Do”, says that in all relationships one person assumes the leadership role. Tension can be caused by misunderstandings that arise when the male isn’t the leader but the female is waiting for him.

She says that communicating expectations can clarify intentions and speed up the engagement. A woman can also propose to herself. Page states, “That could be a very powerful ultimatum.”

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