Healthy Relationships: Conversing about Ultimatums (because #metoo)

There is so much good going on lately, with #metoo storming social media and providing a succinct way to show solidarity as well as start a conversation and show the need for change.

As a facet of that movement, I want to urge parents to tell your daughters (ok, and your sons) that anyone they might date who tells them ‘do this, or else I will break up with you’ needs to break up with that person On The Spot. No second chances. Relationships based on ultimatums are unhealthy. Let your young women know that no relationship is worth going against their values. Having a relationship doesn’t transform you into a worthwhile human: you have always been so very worthy of good and you always will be.

I want to urge parents of boys as well (ok, boys and girls), please tell your sons to avoid Ever issuing an ultimatum to anyone. Saying ‘do this or else’ is to try to force someone to bend to your will and that is so inappropriate no matter what context, but especially in a relationship. If you are unhappy with the way dating is going and you have tried mature ways of working it out (you may have to ask an adult to give you mature ideas, that is a good and normal thing to do!), then break up. You can respect a person’s limits by breaking up, but not by threatening to break up. Honestly, you’ll find another relationship. If you hold out for one in which you know that your non-negotiables will be met, then you will be able to work through the challenges together.

I know deep in my bones this is a vital conversation to have.

When one person grows up socialized to think they hold all the power, they wield power. Relationships are not about wielding power; they are about communication, staying true to yourself, and respecting the other person’s limits. They’re about a million things, really, but in a healthy relationship all of those things are kind and good.

 

I’m feeling good about parents and mentors nurturing respect through this conversation.

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