Tell us about the time you threw down the gauntlet and drew the proverbial line in the sand by giving someone an ultimatum.” ~ The Daily Post
Giving a person an ultimatum is never advisable. Like, ever. Because the result of an ultimatum, 99 times in 100, is not a happy one: If Person B’s response to Person A’s ultimatum is, “OK, I will do what you’ve asked,” there is a high likelihood of Person B experiencing some resentment down the road. “I quit my job for you, and now I miss it, you bastard.” “I moved for you, and this place sucks, you turdball.” “I stopped hanging out with my best friend for you, and now I have no friends. It’s your fault.”
Meanwhile, if Person B responds to the ultimatum with, “Oh hell to the no, ho,” Person A is left having to either follow through–or not.
My first ultimatum came when I was in my early- to mid-20s, with Dave. (Remember Dave? See minion No. 2.) Things were not in a bad place with Dave, but I foresaw a future for myself where I would not remain in my town of residence. I did not see Dave ever wanting to leave, however. Though he was unhappy, he was rife with excuses that kept him put.
Now, I did not want things to end with Dave. I was happy in my relationship, which was less than a year old at this time. However, I did not want to be two years into things with Dave, ready to say sayonara to my city, and have a boyfriend digging his heels in saying, “I ain’t movin’, you can’t make me.” I’ve always been a fan of transparency in relationships, and I wanted Dave to know where I wanted to end up, literally and figuratively. And if our goals did not match, I wanted to split up before either of us got too involved.
So I brought up A Talk. You know, one of those discussions you need to have with a romantic partner that will likely shape the rest of your relationship. They’re never fun to have, but sometimes, they’re necessary.
I told Dave that I did not see myself living in our town for more than a few years. I got the impression his timeline was a little longer, and I wanted to know what he wanted two, three years down the road. If I left, would he leave too? Would he break up with me? Would he want a long-distance relationship.
Dave proceeded to surprise the crap out of me by saying, “Yeah, I’d move with you.”
Cue angel song and puppy kisses and rainbows shooting out of the windows.
Occasionally, over the remaining year or so we dated, this topic would come up. Should I apply for this new job I found out-of-state? Should I sign my lease again for one more year? Where would we end up?
Each time this conversation began, Dave would clam up. Radio silence. Pursed lips. Pulling his hand away when I’d try to hold it. Narrowed field of vision at any spot where I was not. “Did you change your mind?” I would ask, and Dave would invariably say no, he had not. But I could rarely get anything else out of the man.
When Dave and I split up after more than two years together, there were a plethora of reasons. Oh, the reasons. One of them? Dave never wanted to leave. Or maybe he did, but he didn’t have the wherewithal–or, let’s be frank, the guts–to go through with it. For months after this realization–that Dave might grow into an old man and die in this very same city he swore he one day wanted to leave–I was convinced he had lied to me. That early in our relationship, he told me something that allowed us to have a serious, long-term romance that was largely built on a big fat lie.
Today, I view things differently. I don’t think Dave was lying to me; I think he was lying to himself. I think he wanted to be the kind of man who up and moved adventurously, who left a lacking job and a tiny town for better. But as much as he wanted to be that guy, he wasn’t that guy.
And I was that girl.
And now I live somewhere better. And maybe, one day I’ll move to somewhere better again.
Today, I’m with a man who will come with me.
‘Cause he’s married to me and he doesn’t have a choice. Bless his heart.