Netflix’s ‘The Ultimatum’: Is the Strategy Harmful or Helpful?

If you haven’t seen Netflix‘s new dating show The Ultimatum, prepare for chaos — all in the name of loveThe Ultimatum is about six couples who are at a standstill about marriage. One partner would like to get married, and the other is not quite ready. In true Netflix fashion, the show’s creators turned things up a notch: either they get married, or the relationship is over. While they decide, they’ll be dating partners from the other couples.

The show highlights a relationship tactic that can make matters messy. Here’s everything you need to know about ultimatums and some advice from therapist, Megan Harrison.

When ultimatums are harmful

This strategy is not a smart move if you’re aiming for a healthy marriage. For example, one hesitant cast member, Randall Griffin, was given a final proposition by his partner, Shanique Imari, who’s ready for the next step. “I think it’d be best to just get rid of some debt I have in my past, in order to have a great life for her. That’s ultimately my reason but she doesn’t understand that,” Randall said on the show.

Ultimatums place immense pressure on your partner and can become abusive. The “what I want or the highway” approach fails to take into consideration what the other person truly wants and desires.

Harrison discussed how harmful these situations can be with Verywell Mind: “They are particularly damaging because they are threats that force changes in behavior. [This] often leads to resentment and insecurity in the relationship since your partners [feel] pressured into doing something they [don’t] want to do.” It essentially destroys any foundation you both established over time.

When ultimatums are helpful

They have the potential to be helpful when dealbreakers arise like being unfaithful, engaging in risky behavior or invalidating your feelings. Although you still may not receive your preferred outcome, you owe it to yourself to communicate and set your boundaries.

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