Giving a married man an ultimatum: 16 tips

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The man you’re with is married. It’s a tough situation and you have no choice but to give him an ultimatum?

Giving an ultimatum is a tricky, challenging situation, and it’s not always clear how to do it properly.

Can ultimatums even truly improve things? Can your relationship remain healthy after you give him an ultimatum?

How do you even exactly define an ultimatum? In what ways is it different from stating your expectations and setting your boundaries for the relationship?

There’s not always a clear answer, but here are 16 tips on how to best go about it.

What exactly is an ultimatum?

The word ultimatum comes from the word “ultimate”, which means something’s end. Giving an ultimatum essentially means that you are telling your partner that you will leave if he doesn’t do something you need them to do—usually by a certain deadline.

An ultimatum can take many forms in a relationship. Here are a few common examples:

  • Demanding to specifically label the relationship within a few weeks or else you will see someone else.
  • Stating that you’d like him to propose to you within the year or you will walk away.
  • Telling him to stop talking to someone you’re uncomfortable with or else you will break up with him.

If you find yourself telling him similar things, essentially making him choose between you or something else, then you’ve been giving your partner ultimatums. But are ultimatums good or bad? Or does it depend?

Are ultimatums good or bad?

The answer to this question depends on a lot of factors. Generally speaking, however, ultimatums can be either extremely beneficial or extremely damaging for your relationship.

The risk with ultimatums is that you’re guaranteed to see an outcome, whether it’s the one you want or not. It might be just the push your guy needs.

Either way, your man will do something incredibly important, and you won’t know if it’s a mistake or not until he does it.

Think about it. Do you want your man to marry you because he truly wants to? Or because you pushed and threatened him into doing so?

16 tips on how to properly give a married man an ultimatum

1) Think deeply about the problem and potential solutions

If you’re thinking about giving an ultimatum, there’s a good chance that you’ve already tried other things. Your back is likely against the wall already.

With that said, giving an ultimatum isn’t always the right thing to do despite that situation. An ultimatum is final and you can’t retract it.

An ultimatum should be your absolute last resort. Try thinking of other ways to communicate with him about the issue and solve the problem first.

2) Reflect on your own emotions

If you find yourself giving an ultimatum because of an intense emotional outburst, this is a big red flag.

Understandably, you’re likely incredibly frustrated about the issue at hand, but giving an ultimatum will most likely make things worse.

Be sure to always communicate with him about the issue once you’ve contained your own emotions. This way, you can talk about the problem logically and potentially arrive at a better solution.

3) Get some knowledge

When you’re dealing with a sensitive topic like giving an ultimatum to a married man it’s easy to become frustrated and even feel helpless. You may even be tempted to throw in the towel and give up on love.

I want to suggest doing something different.

It’s something I learned from the world-renowned shaman Rudá Iandê. He taught me that the way to find love and intimacy is not what we have been culturally conditioned to believe.

As Rudá explains in this mind blowing free video, many of us chase love in a toxic way because we’re not taught how to love ourselves first.

So, if you want to solve your situation with having to give a married man an ultimatum, I’d recommend starting with yourself first and taking Rudá’s incredible advice.

Here’s a link to the free video once again.

4) Warn him clearly but kindly first

It’s rarely a good idea to give him an ultimatum. But it is always a good idea to reassert your boundaries and limits.

Always tell them if they’re broaching your boundaries. Do it kindly, clearly, but also seriously.

Any good partner will be understanding and it will usually not lead to a situation where you don’t need to give him an ultimatum.

5) Pick the right time and place

If you’re absolutely sure that you need to give your man an ultimatum, you need to pick the right time and place to talk to him about it.

Bringing it up inappropriately or out of the blue will definitely make things worse. Plan the time and location in advance.

It should be a place where both of you feel comfortable and where you are afforded the privacy you need for a serious conversation.

6) Set a clear deadline

If you don’t set a deadline for him to change, your ultimatum will feel like an empty threat. He just might continue on with his usual behavior indefinitely.

Giving him a time frame will push him even more and give him a sense of urgency. Give an appropriate deadline for the change you want.

Demanding that he stop talking to that girl within the week is reasonable. Demanding him to propose to you within the week might be too much.

7) Write down your demands before you talk to him

If you’re giving him an ultimatum, you’re probably in for a long conversation about it.

You likely want to tell him a lot of things, but in the heat of the moment, it’ll be difficult to remember everything and even harder to express them in a good way.

Devote some time to note down your main talking points before the big talk. You can even bring it with you when you see him.

8) Make sure he respects your feelings

If you’re giving him an ultimatum, he will likely be defensive. He might try to shift the conversation, convince you that you’re being unreasonable, or even gaslight you.

He will invalidate your feelings and try to prevent you from stating your demands firmly. Don’t let him do this and call him out if he does.

He is disrespecting you if he does this and you need to stand your ground.

9) Resist his sweet-talking

If he doesn’t try to downplay your feelings, he may instead try to sweet-talk you out of your concerns and worries. He wants to temporarily make you forget about them as you get smitten by his affection.

Once again, make sure to call him out and tell him you know what he’s doing.

It’s just as disrespectful and delays your much-needed expression of frustration with how things are currently in the relationship.

10) Focus on talking about yourself, instead of him

When communicating your needs and boundaries, focus on how you feel instead of trying to blame the other party. You can do this by using “I” statements in place of “you” statements.

For instance, say something like, “I feel like I need to be the only one in your life and I can’t take having to share you with another woman anymore. I know it’s been like this for a while but I’ve realized it’s not working for me and I’d like to have this situation resolved. It makes me really uncomfortable and I can’t keep on being in a relationship like this anymore.”

That will likely go down much easier than saying, “I want you to leave your wife. Why you haven’t done it yet? Why are you so weak and indecisive?”.

The first statement shows emotional maturity and tries to seek resolution. The second one is highly confrontational and will likely lead to an argument.

11) Frame it as a choice instead of a threat

The key to giving an ultimatum and avoiding its numerous pitfalls is to frame it as if you’re giving him a choice instead of telling him what he should do. This way, you’re still being respectful of his agency.

Make it a “this or that” proposition and he has to choose between the two. You’re not threatening him per se, but making it clear that he has to choose.

It might be counterproductive if you threaten him and pressure him into the choice you want him to make. This is because he might feel defensive and walk away from the problem instead of directly facing it.

If you want to know if you can have a future together, then you might be interested in the video below. it goes through the signs that he won’t leave his wife for you. 

12) Be prepared for his rejection

Before you state your boundary (or your ultimatum, essentially), you need to accept that he has the right to his own boundaries and decisions. This means that he can also reject your offer and not accept your demand.

It will of course be painful if he does, but that is the reality of your situation if you’re already issuing an ultimatum. You need to prepare yourself for it mentally and emotionally.

13) Choose for him

This might be contradictory to our last two points, but this might work, especially if your man is being incredibly indecisive. But it can also be effective if your man isn’t known for his decision-making skills.

If he can’t bring himself to choose, then just choose for him. If you’re really past your limit because of his actions, then simply tell him and walk away already.

Tell him that you deserve better and you can’t take being constantly in pain and stressed out from the problems of your relationship.

14) Give each other some space to think after the talk

After you give him the ultimatum, you’ll likely want to know his decision right away. But you definitely wouldn’t want an answer that he didn’t think deeply about. Remember this is essentially a make-or-break moment for your relationship.

You may want to tell him that you two should not talk to each other for a few days. This will afford you some temporary peace of mind and him some much-needed space to truly decide on such an important choice.

Remember that both of you should want him to truly mean his answer and not just tell you what you want despite feeling the other way.

15) Realistically assess the odds

Giving an ultimatum is an emotionally intense and complex situation. The chances of it working are impossible to precisely predict as there are a lot of factors involved in each situation.

Still, try to think of how your man truly is and put yourself in their shoes. It might give you an idea if he will accept or not. Assessing this might give you some insight as to how to give him the ultimatum for the best chance of success.

If he is a respectful, receptive, and open-minded person, then you have reason to hope. But if he has been stubborn about the issue ever since, then you might need to steel yourself for the end of the relationship.

16) Remember that you can find love elsewhere

Giving an ultimatum means putting the relationship on the line. He can and just might reject your demand. If this does happen and he no longer wants to commit to you, it’s crucial to start moving on.

Remember that there are billions of other men in the world. There will at least be one out there who will be worthy of loving you and being loved by you completely.

Other alternatives to an ultimatum

Ultimatums should be your last resort to fixing the relationship. There are a lot of other alternatives that you should definitely consider first.

Have an open and honest communication

Having clear and honest communication throughout the relationship is crucial in working through the issues of your relationship.

In fact, doing so will most likely prevent you from arriving at a situation where you’d even consider giving an ultimatum in the first place.

Trust and vulnerability are at the heart of any relationship. Your partner, if they truly love and respect you, should always listen and prioritize your needs and feelings whenever you state them. They should work with you to keep the relationship healthy in all aspects.

Be open and never hide anything from your partner. They can’t be a good partner to you if they don’t know how you feel. Doing so will also make them feel like it’s okay to open up to you too.

Trigger his inner hero

Sometimes an ultimatum isn’t the best option to solve the problem you face. There is a method that can be much more helpful.

You see, for guys, it’s all about triggering their inner hero.

I learned about this from the hero instinct. Coined by relationship expert James Bauer, this fascinating concept is about what really drives men in relationships, which is ingrained in their DNA.

And it’s something most women don’t know anything about.

Once triggered, these drivers make men into the heroes of their own lives. They feel better, love harder, and commit stronger when they find someone who knows how to trigger it.

Now, you may be wondering why it’s called “the hero instinct”? Do guys really need to feel like superheroes to commit to a woman?

Not at all. Forget about Marvel. You won’t need to play the damsel in distress or buy your man a cape.

The easiest thing to do is to check out James Bauer’s excellent free video here. He shares some easy tips to get you started, such as sending him a 12 word text that will trigger his hero instinct right away.

Because that’s the beauty of the hero instinct.

It’s only a matter of knowing the right things to say to make him realize that he wants you and only you.

Click here to watch the free video.

Reinforce your boundaries

Another way to avoid giving ultimatums is to set your boundaries in the relationship—and do it early.

If you let your partner immediately know what your limits are, and what you need to feel secure and happy in the relationship, then it minimizes the chances of him breaching these boundaries in the first place.

If he truly respects you, he will not violate these boundaries of yours and you likely won’t even need to give an ultimatum later on in the relationship.

Do this from an early stage in the relationship and cultivate a healthier bond between you too. This will help avoid creating problems in the first place, so you don’t have to stress about solving them later down the line.

The takeaway

If you’re reading this article, you probably feel that giving an ultimatum is the only possible way to solve your problem with your man. However, giving one is still extremely risky and it just might be the nail in the coffin for you and your partner.

There are other ways to fix the relationship, mainly by clearly and respectfully communicating your needs, desires, and boundaries.

If you really need to give an ultimatum, however, make sure to keep the conversation mature, respectful, and honest. You can hope for the best, but it’s likely smarter to also expect the worst.

Anna Dovbysh

With 8 years of writing experience and a deep interest in psychology, relationship advice, and spirituality, Anna’s here to shine a light on the most interesting self-development topics and share some life advice. She's got a Master's Degree in International Information and is a life-long learner of writing and storytelling. In the past, she worked on a radio station and a TV channel as a journalist and even tought English in Cambodia to local kids. Currently, she's freelancing and traveling around the globe, exploring new places, and getting inspired by the people she meets and the stories they tell. Subscribe to her posts and get in touch with her on her social media:
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