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"I gave him an ultimatum and scared him away"
I dated my boyfriend for about two years. Around the end of year one I started realizing that he might be someone I'd like to stay serious with. As the second year passed, I started getting really frustrated that he didn't seem ready to make any type of commitment.
This frustration made me act like a true witch sometimes. I was so sad/confused/angry that I finally told him that I needed a commitment within a certain amount of time.
Needless to say, that didn't go over so well. He asked me not to give him the ultimatum and ultimately said he couldn't give me the commitment.
What was I thinking?! I am totally on-my-face in love with this guy and managed to drive him away. I'm thinking about writing him and telling him as much.
11 Dec 2006
The first thing I want you to do is stop blaming yourself. You dated
this guy for two years…of course you should expect a commitment. And
one of the most important factors in any relationship is the ability
to communicate and have your thoughts and feelings heard. You should
definitely be able to tell him what's on your mind and what you're
thinking in terms of your relationship – after all, you have just as
much a part in it as he does, right?
If there's something about your relationship that you're not happy
with, you have every right to speak up and say something. The flow of
any relationship is that it moves forward, and if you feel your
relationship isn't flowing and is instead remaining stagnant, it's definitely time to make a change.
That being said, the manner in which you bring up your concerns is
important. Unfortunately, ultimatums aren't the best way to conduct
healthy conversations because essentially, ultimatums are threats. And
that's exactly how they come across to the other person – "If you don't do this, I will leave you." When we feel threatened, we automatically go on the defensive because it feels as though we've been attacked. And then, of course, rather than a mutually beneficial and productive conversation, you wind up having a raging argument with your partner.
So it seems to me that the problem here isn't that you scared your boyfriend away, or that he doesn't want to have a real and valid commitment with you, but instead, your relationship is suffering from a lack of healthful communication.
It's important to make sure that when you chat with him (or anyone for
that matter) about issues in your relationship (already a sensitive topic—this can make anyone feel vulnerable and badly because you're pointing out negative things that THEY'VE done to make you feel a certain way), you do so in a considerate, calm, unambiguous way. And, rather than point fingers and place blame and give ultimatums, instead initiate a two-way conversation where you do just as much listening as talking. The important thing here is that both of you leave the conversation feeling that not only were your feelings heard, but that you were understood and appreciated as well.
I would try to talk to you boyfriend once again, only this time, use the abovementioned tactics. Really listen to him. And tell him, in an honest and kind way, what bothers you about your relationship, and ask him his ideas (rather than impose threats) on what you two can do two fix it. Make him feel though, that rather than being all his responsibility, this is a team-effort—and you're on the same side. And then, hear him out. Ask him what's been upsetting him lately, and what you can do to make things better. Show him that you care and realize he has needs too, same as you. Once you get open lines of communication in place, your relationship truly will flourish.
Remember—don't threaten. Instead, discuss what's on your mind in a straightforward way. And then truly listen to his response, and anything else that happens to be on his mind, as well. I guarantee, you'll be on your way to a happier and healthier relationship in no time!