The Ultimatum Always Sucks

One of the most annoying misunderstandings people can have about MMSL is that I’m encouraging people to run gung ho to an ultimatum of “Pussy or GTFO”.

Well yes indeed I am saying to work toward a relationship where you get your needs meet, or don’t stay in it. Which if your need is sex, can indeed be summed down to “Pussy or GTFO”. But it’s in no way a snap judgment call. If anything I’m encouraging a very slow trickling run up to the ultimatum putting anything and everything in place to attracted the wife’s sexual interest before the fork in the road. Far more frequently than not, the ultimatum is never even reached as she finds her interest in him revving up and her vagina comes out of cold storage.

But ultimately… there may need to be an ultimatum. It’s the final thing you try… that’s what ultimate means.

And it fucking sucks.

Please go read Phase Four at LTRistry

No really. No read it. I’ll wait.

As you can see he’s basically issuing an ultimatum and it’s tearing his heart out. It’s one of those to good to leave, too bad to stay things. My hunch is that it’s over and even if she tries to comply… she doesn’t really want to. You shouldn’t have to issue an ultimatum to someone to get them to have a child with you. They’re meant to look up at you doe-faced and glassy-eyed as you fuck them into motherhood. At least for the first couple of tries anyway.

It’s hard to watch it all playing out too. MMSL is wicked good fun when one of my boys breaks into the endzone and does the touchdown dance, but once in a while you see them get crunched in a heavy tackle and it’s not nearly as fun. You just hope they get up.

Also have a read of Badger with Don’t Let Temporary Discomforts Hold You Back From Making Tough Decisions

 

Comments

  1. Peter Phoenix says:

    The kid thing is something that should have been sorted out in the early stages of a relationship. Even if the sex issue did magically resolve itself, he’ll still want to have kids.

    The sad thing is that he has taken the most youthful years of her life, any future partner for her would most likely be a trade down.

    He didn’t “take” anything from her, she made her own active choices in this too. But I do agree that any future partner for her will be a trade down.

  2. ChevalierdeJohnstone says:

    Excellent advice as usual, Mr. Kay.

    Part of being the Captain is making tough decisions you don’t want to make, for the good of _both_ of you. Sometimes that means ending the relationship because doing so is the best thing for both of you in the long run. The modern legal system makes this impossible for a man to do after marriage, so it’s doubly important that he make absolutely sure of himself and his partner before getting married.

    I wish I could recommend MMSL (the blog and the book) to every guy I know, married and unmarried. Sadly, our society socializes men to think that they don’t need any help. It’s like being manly and not looking for help or advice is more important to them than happiness and a successful relationship. I know guys working on screwing up their 2nd marriages and their response is to buy their wife more flowers (or shut her out and spend even more time at the office) yet they refuse to consider looking for advice or doing things a different way. Thoughts on how to overcome such reservations?

  3. Yeah, Ben’s ‘Phase 4′ post is painful to read. Good on you, Ben, for doing the hard work that’s brought you to this place.

    Ben’s gotten his relationship to the point where the Sex issues can (probably) be resolved. Prior to the MAP, my situation wasn’t identical in that regard, but it was within shouting distance. Fortunately for me and Mrs. mgwk, her answer to “kids?” was a precondition to serious dating, 14 years ago. So for me, that piece of the puzzle is already in place.

    The problem is that for most people, when you run the numbers with one of those “decision matrix” tools, it doesn’t make sense to have children. In terms of all those PITA circumstances parents go through, and the twin sinks of time and money, and — most of all — in terms of opportunity costs. Not to mention the wild card of “something really bad” happening, somewhere in the 19+ year journey from fetus to adulthood.

    The reason to have children is… because in your heart, you know that you want kids. Because you hang out with coupled friends, siblings, cousins, witness them wrestling, and think, “I want that!” Because when you see the tough parts, you feel, “I’m willing to deal, if/when the time comes.”

    Evolutionary drives hit guys and girls differently; they hit different people differently. Ditto for life goals and bucket lists. I’d never advise anybody to try and convince a potential spouse into wanting or having kids — the problem is, you might succeed.

    Ben’s manly approach will pay dividends as he continues his journey. As pointed out above and at his blog, he’s also doing a good turn for his lady, as unlikely as it is that she will feel that way.

    Stay the course.

  4. That was truly painful to read. Whether or not you want children is something that you should work out *before* you commit. This bit caught my eye:

    “She has been perfectly open and honest about this from the beginning. I have been… less honest. With her and with myself. I told myself that it wasn’t a big deal, that you can have a perfectly happy and fulfilling life without kids. I told myself that I wasn’t ready for kids anyway and I’d worry about it later. I told myself that anything can happen, she might change her mind, we might break up for other reasons. I told myself that there was no reason to deprive myself of what I want now (being with her) because of what I might want later.”

    I’ve seen that general attitude so many times, with children and other issues like whether or not to get married, and someone always ends up completely miserable. You have to take someone at their word when they say they don’t want marriage/kids/whatever.

  5. Hey, thanks for the link. Having the guys is a really advanced red-pill skill, it really doesn’t come that easy to most people (even people like me who are decisive and fast-moving in other areas).

    LTRtistry’s post is tough to read.

    ” I want to have kids. She doesn’t want to. She has been perfectly open and honest about this from the beginning. I have been… less honest.”

    This is something I tried to hit in my post. You gotta be honest about what you want and whether the other person can give it to you.

    These people have been together almost their entire adult lives so it’s going to be a difficult break. I don’t envy the hangover period but I think he’ll feel quite liberated.

    “She wants to buy a house together. I don’t think I can enter that kind of long-term financial commitment with her until I am confident that our sex and relationship problems are dealt with.”

    Buying a house would be the durable-goods equivalent of having a baby hoping it will bring you closer together. Rule of thumb: don’t make binding commitments (marriage, children or joint purchases) if the relationship has unresolved problems, because those commitments serve as a subconscious incentive for one or both parties to not address them.

  6. “I wish I could recommend MMSL (the blog and the book) to every guy I know, married and unmarried.”

    You can! I’ve been recommending it to guys left and right. It really is a good, soft introduction to red-pill topics, much easier to absorb than going straight to Roosh and Roissy. I have more than one single friend who reads this blog.

    When the book came out I told Athol to send me business cards with the website link on it that I could hand out to people who saw me reading the book in public. He was capital-strapped but maybe he’ll get to a point where he sends 15 referral cards with every purchase.

    Ya know that’s not a bad idea.

  7. I read LTRistry’s post at the Forum. If he and his lady disagree on something as fundamental as whether to have children, there is no way forward for them. Athol’s hunch is probably correct: it’s probably over. If she has held out this long in her refusal to have children, she’s not going to change her mind now. It’s best for both of them to move on.

  8. FeralFelis says:

    @Ben-
    I couldn’t get my comment to post over at your blog.

    I read and enjoy your comments at MMSL.

    That was one of the most gut-wrenching, honest pieces of writing I have ever read and I appreciate you sharing this window into the discovery of your truth.

    I was married for 16 years to a man who became more and more angry, obnoxious, distant, and unreasonable and I didn’t understand why (I was the one who wanted sex all the time). When I finally pulled the plug, the first thing he said was, “Now I can go find someone who wants kids.” :O After reading your post, I wonder now if he behaved the way he did because he didn’t have the courage to end the marriage himself.

    Good luck to you, and thanks for sharing.
    You are going to make an awesome Captain, Husband and Dad to some lucky woman!
    FeralFelis

  9. FeralFelis says:

    In reference to the “….. less honest” comment.

    Seriously, folks. When we are in our 20’s, how many of us really KNOW ourselves? We “think” we have a clue, and maybe Ben had an inkling that he didn’t share the “no children” vision of his lady, but I know women who weren’t sure if they had a biological clock ticking until they got into their late 20’s or early 30’s. And there’s a reason people have a “mid-life crisis” at age 40; their priorities change because they changed as people. If they don’t stay married as they go through the crisis, was it because they were “…less honest”? No, I don’t think so. It’s because as we get older we (hopefully) grow up and get wiser, and things that may not have even been on the radar 20 years ago are now a priority. So I for one am giving Ben the benefit of the doubt when he makes that comment, because by age 24 I was quite certain I didn’t want kids, I was taking a stab in the dark at everything else.

  10. “and even if she tries to comply… she doesn’t really want to”

    This hits the nail on the head. Not specifically with Ben, just in general with ultimatums.

    If you have given it your truly best try, focused on improving yourself and communicating your needs and she is still not responding making you feel like an ultimatum is all you have left then like you said, she just doesn’t want to comply.

    You can apply this to anything that may cause an issue in a marriage; sex, spending too much money, gambling, booze etc…

    They all have their different complications, but in order for an undesired behaviour to stop or a desired behaviour to start the person has to want to first and foremost.

    Most people typically do want to out of love for the other person, or the desire for the relationship to continue. Those that don’t, well the relationship will likely follow its due course.

  11. alphaguy says:

    Ben remind me a bit of myself with a different ending. First of all, I wish I had read MMSL and Dr. Glover in my 20’s and had made better choices and had been clear about what I wanted when I was in the prime of my dating life. I got married at 30 and my wife and I both say we oxytocined each other into it and it felt comfortable but the crazy good sex was never there. I wanted kids and she was ambivalent. But I never pushed hard and she worked hard at her career. When she turned 40 she got pregnant by accident followed (on purpose) 15 months later by another. Then the marriage started to fall apart, but due to MMSL and NMMNG we were able to turn it around and not have a vibrant functioning (and sex filled) marriage.

    Many men these days don’t understand that they need to “take the lead and set the tone” of their relationship with their girlfriend\wife. If they are not on your plan, it’s time to seek someone that will be on your plan. It’s so hard to be objective when all that damn chemistry is working to keep you bonded to someone!

    I do agree with FeralFelis that in my mid 20s kids were not on my radar and it wasn’t until I started growing up and approached 30 that I thought that kids were something I wanted in my life but I was such a nice guy I could never have that conversation with my girlfriends and then wife…

  12. Highlander says:

    The whole “kids or no kids” really should be discussed, especially if you plan on getting married, but “Babies rabies” infects a lot of people who claimed to not want any rug rats in the beginning, particularly women in my experience. People do change over time, my wife wanted two, me I was willing to take what came either way, but since we split she hardly see’s the kids at all, both of our kids live with me full time……As for the whole MLC thing, it’s a whole different kettle of fish, where their actions are more a result of hormonal issues than any form enlightenment regarding past decisions.

  13. “Ya know that’s not a bad idea.”

    I gave two people the website the first week the book was out. One I wrote on a receipt, the other I had to tell verbally.

  14. “If she has held out this long in her refusal to have children”

    I think language like “holding out” and “refusal” are too strong. She’s not doing him wrong or resisting anything or trying to rip him off, she has certain desires for her lifestyle that she’s been upfront about. There’s nothing selfish about not having the desire to be a parent.

  15. Why do people seem to think that the hard conversations get better with time? Rip off the bandage and be done with it. Yeah, it’s going to sting for a bit, but leaving the bandage on will let it get wet and smelly, and then you’ll start getting gangrene…body parts turning black…

    Relationships are the same way. If there are topics you just can’t talk about, that’s part of your relationship turning black and dying. There shouldn’t be taboo topics between spouses (or spouses-to-be)–the advice to avoid certain conversational topics is supposed to only apply to acquaintances and colleagues!

  16. “There’s nothing selfish about not having the desire to be a parent.”

    OF course. Poor choice of words on my part. She’s not being dishonest or manipulative. She’s felt this way a long time. If she’s always felt this way it’s not going to change after 9 years together.

  17. I have written a follow-up blog post:

    http://ltrtistry.blogspot.com/2012/07/the-talk.html

    There will no doubt be many more, but that is the last one I will link to in these comments. After that, I will assume that anyone who wants to continue following my story will do so over there or in the MMSL forum thread.

    @Peter Phoenix:

    There is truth to what you are saying. My biggest regret out of all of this is that I was unfair to her by depriving her of the ability to search for someone with whom she could have a long-term future. She deserves that. I thought I could be that person for her. I was wrong.

    At the same time, I can’t truly regret it because it allowed me to have nine years with the most amazing woman I have ever known. Is that selfish of me? I don’t know. But it would be dishonest of me to say that I would trade those years for anything.

  18. Changed Man says:

    ““and even if she tries to comply… she doesn’t really want to”

    This hits the nail on the head. Not specifically with Ben, just in general with ultimatums.

    If you have given it your truly best try, focused on improving yourself and communicating your needs and she is still not responding making you feel like an ultimatum is all you have left then like you said, she just doesn’t want to comply.

    You can apply this to anything that may cause an issue in a marriage; sex, spending too much money, gambling, booze etc…

    They all have their different complications, but in order for an undesired behaviour to stop or a desired behaviour to start the person has to want to first and foremost.

    Most people typically do want to out of love for the other person, or the desire for the relationship to continue. Those that don’t, well the relationship will likely follow its due course.”

    So, phase 4+ is just for you, to be able to walk away with a clear conscience?

    Sometimes the red pill can be pretty damn depressing.

  19. Ben, I have always enjoyed your thoughtful posts and you seem like an amazing guy. I’m sorry for the pain this life-change is going to cause you.
    I hope someday you will look upon the past years as the broken road that led you straight to your “Jennifer”.

  20. @Changed Man:

    “So, phase 4+ is just for you, to be able to walk away with a clear conscience?”

    Partly. And partly to make things easier for her in the long run. For her to know that I did this ONLY because of the insurmountable difference in our long term goals, not because I stopped loving her or stopped being attracted to her. That we both did everything we possibly could to make it work, and that it’s not her fault it didn’t. My sincere hope is that if I give her a reasonable amount of time to think this through, she will come to agree that this is the only thing that is fair and right for both of us and we will be able to part on good terms.

    Eventually, I would like to be able to be friends with her. That might not be possible for a long time, though, if ever.

    So yeah. Pretty !@#$ing depressing. Not as bad as continuing to lie to myself and deny the inevitability of this for another ten years, and not NEARLY as bad as putting a child that she doesn’t actually want into the middle of this, but still. Depressing.

  21. John Q Galt says:

    “He didn’t “take” anything from her, she made her own active choices in this too. But I do agree that any future partner for her will be a trade down.”

    I have to respectfully disagree. I think his behavior borders on douchebaggery. Unless I misread his post, she made it clear she didn’t want kids, and he was less clear – how unclear (or if he lied about it) is unclear.

    So she’s tooling along, thinking things are going fine and wanting to take the next step to permanence with him…and he is blindsiding her with something she thought was resolved years ago.

    And, speaking as a father of two myself….having kids is the most significant change any of us will ever do in our lives. Emotionally, physically (for the woman), financially, everything changes completely.

  22. I can’t argue or disagree with you or defend myself. I was lying to myself as much as her, but she’s the one who’s the victim of it. It’s not that I never told her that I wanted kids, but I always said that I wanted them “someday” and would then qualify and minimize and try to rationalize that statement away as much as possible. I realize that doesn’t excuse it.

    As soon as I consciously realized how badly I wanted kids and how deep my self-deception had been, I told her right away. She has every right to be furious with me and it’s a testament to her compassion that she’s not. I can’t change the mistakes I’ve been making. I can only stop continuing to make them, and hope that sharing the pain they’re causing me now serves as ample warning to anyone who might make the same mistakes.

  23. Focusing on the sex side… the birth control pill might be the cause of the problem. My wife had the same problem for years until we figured out that even a low dose pill was killing the sex drive and making sex uncomfortable, or even painful.

    Now, no more pill… Sex is as often as I want it, baring external circumstances. And she orgasms pretty much anytime she wants, whereas before that was once in a blue moon.

  24. RedPillAwakening says:

    So glad that not wanting kids is something that my wife and I both agree on. She is completely adamant that she never wants them. I wouldn’t mind having them in an alternate universe with a legal system that is not completely misandric, and constant money problems are not an issue. In this world, in the current anti-male US legal environment, not having kids is the only logical choice for any man whose wife-game is not super-tight 24×7 (Mine is not – I am too emo and will probably always struggle with some form of betatude and one-itis, no matter how hard I try to act tough and fake it). To say nothing of this world being too sad to bring other people into it where they will experience rejection and disappointment and sickness and have to suffer and eventually die. If you all will excuse me, I need to go listen to The Cure and Death Cab for Cutie now lol

  25. RedPillAwakening says:

    And @Ben.. You bear no responsibility whatsoever for “wasting her productive childbearing years” or whatever nonsense you are beating yourself up for. If it was that important to her, it was her responsibility to pursue her own personal quest to find somebody who felt the same way, and unless she made it abundantly clear and you repeatedly and blatantly lied, she is just as responsible for it as you are. Either way she is 29 and has plenty of time. No reason to blame yourself for that, what you are doing is hard enough already. Ignore the haters.

  26. holdingallthecards says:

    Ultimatum is another word for Threat. This is pushing your agenda, not love. Breakups suck, but there are a million other women out there that are more compatible for your life plan of kids, and twisting someone’s arm on this issue is not advised.

    Painful sex still? Sounds like she should get a second opinion outside of that medical practice (for her future sex life). Twenty-nine is way too young to be hanging it up.

  27. OFF The Grid says:

    I would also like to add that being 21 with a hot new girlfriend where you are having frequent passionate sex, and she just happens to not want children, puts you in a different state of mind than being with a 29 year old woman that can’t stand having sex with you because it hurts. Relationships are all about balance. “giving up children” might be acceptable if you are getting drama-free hot sex on a regular basis from a woman you have up on a pedastal. Living with two great incomes and no children with a sex pot would be a lot of fun that most any man would have a hard time turning down. The problem comes when you add a lousy sex life to any relationship, than any “sacrifice or compromise” doesn’t seem to be worth it anymore. I know it sounds bad, but I will just put it out there.

  28. John Q Galt says:

    @RedPillAwakening…sure, people have been suffering since (depending on your mindset) multi-cellulare organisms evolved to eat sing celled organiams, or Eve ate the apple. But people also have orgasms, fall in love, get drunk with friends, are hugged by their children, accomplish goals, eat great meals, and sink into a hot tub after a hard day. Imho it is worth it-and I’m midway through an open faced shit sandwich.

  29. I'm a man says:

    I’m not the same person i was 5 yrs ago let alone 20+ yrs ago when i got together with my wife. Things change, we learn and grow. Ben is taking responsibility and attempting to set things right. this is not over yet. His wide eyed honesty is refreshing.
    Kudos @Ben and best wishes.

  30. John Q Galt says:

    Edited for claritt…sucks to be me RIGHT NOW, but tgings will improve. I think happiness is the natural state of manlind.

  31. This is Jen says:

    I gave an ultimatum once, he gave in…..came back to bite me in the a&& big time. Walk away now.

  32. Changed Man says:

    @I’m a man
    Completely agree with the ‘people change’ comment. Wife & I were talking just last night about how being on this planet for roughly 50 years, the last 6 months of being on the red pill have been greatest growing experience we’ve had, both individually and as a couple.

    @Ben
    For this reason, don’t be too hard on yourself, Buddy. As Feral pointed out, when any of us were in our 20’s, it’s doubtful that we knew what we wanted, let alone who we were. As painful as it is, be comforted that if/when you two part, it will be as better, wiser people because of the the time spent growing together… and that’s not a bad thing.

  33. On the issue of blame, to clarify, I was never dishonest about wanting kids. What I was dishonest about was exactly how high that sat on the priority list and what it meant for our long-term future. We were both guilty of ignoring the cold hard reality of that. I’m not ready to start apportioning exact ratios of blame– that’s something I can deal with years from now with the benefit of hindsight– but it’s not 100% my fault and I’m certainly not blameless either.

    Both of us were eating Blue Pills like breakfast cereal. We were raised to think that as long as the love was there, everything else would fall into place. That’s a terrible, terrible lie. There were people who tried to warn us, but we blissfully ignored them.

    @holdingallthecards:

    My intention is not to twist her arm. I don’t see any hope that the relationship is anything but over. What I am hoping like hell happens is that if I give her the time and space, she will see that too and we will be able to part on as good terms as are possible. Some folks have told me to “rip the Band-aid,” but you just plain can’t end a nine-year relationship that easily. We have been together our entire adult lives, literally a third of the time we have been on this Earth. I absolutely owe it to her to lay out the facts as I see them and trust her to draw the same conclusions from them that I have. As shitty as this is, going to her and saying, “I’m leaving you and this is why” would be shittier.

  34. Yeah, the more I look at this situation, the more I’m thinking that if you have to lay down an ultimatum to get what you want, especially on something as fundamental to the relationship as sex or children or even marriage, then the relationship is already over. Even if the other person gives in, they’ll never fully buy into it; they’ll never be a fully committed sex partner, parent, or spouse. You’ll have to pick up the slack or live with the results of their lack of commitment-better to end things now and find someone who wants what you do. And hope they’re honest with both you and themselves about what they want.

  35. I'm a man says:

    It’s a legal mine field for a man to leave a marriage. “rip the Band-aid” might just fire up a never ending shit storm. @Ben is working the alpha and beta to meet his goal.

  36. @The MacNut:

    That’s definitely true in my situation. I was lucky enough to stumble on the Red Pill earlier than a lot of guys around here, though. This would have been a helluva lot easier if I’d done it seven years ago. If I were just discovering this stuff after 15 years of marriage with a house and a mortgage and a couple of kids… I just don’t know.

    Living a life with someone that you had to deliver an ultimatum to in order to get them on board with the kind of life you want to live instead of choosing it freely is always going to be sub-optimal. The question is whether that’s better or worse than the alternative. If the problem is sex, and the man delivers an ultimatum and his wife capitulates, but he always knows in the back of his mind that she’s only doing it to keep him around as a breadwinner… well, that might be a shitty feeling, but if there are kids involved, let’s just say that I’ve got full respect for any man that sucks it up and decides that it’s still the least of all possible evils. And no disrespect for any man who decides that’s still not good enough and walks anyway, as long as he does the responsible thing and is still there as a father for his kids, even if that’s every other week.

    I’m not here to tell anyone how to live their life. When the only options in front of you are bad ones, you pick the least bad one and live with the consequences.

  37. FeralFelis says:

    As it relates to ultimatums, while I have never *exactly* been given one, there have been times in my life when I was 100% dug in on an issue and was forced, persuaded, or otherwise presented inarguable reasons for me to compromise or change my point of view.

    Guess what? Gag on my own words…. there were times I was wrong! It turns out, I like guacamole, I can see a need for universal healthcare coverage, and maybe I was even a little shocked I learned to love your mother-in-law!

    The point is, just because you have to give someone an ultimatum one day doesn’t mean they aren’t going to honestly come to embrace your way of thinking some day!

  38. FeralFelis says:

    correction:
    *I learned to love your mother.

    MY mother-in-law. Sorry….

  39. @Feral:

    “The point is, just because you have to give someone an ultimatum one day doesn’t mean they aren’t going to honestly come to embrace your way of thinking some day!”

    In general… sure. In my case… I don’t think the odds of that happening are good enough to gamble a child’s future on it.

  40. this is Jen says:

    Living a life with someone that you had to deliver an ultimatum to in order to
    get them on board with the kind of life you want to live instead of choosing it
    freely is always going to be sub-optimal.

    ———————————————————————————–

    i guess I was too young ( read stupid) to are, at the time. I wanted him…the fact that he didnt want me nearly as much was of no consquence.

    sometimes you learn things the really really hard way

  41. SentWest says:

    Agreeing with Drew re: the painful sex.

    I can’t take any birth control pills whatsoever, or sex becomes extremely painful. I also went to the doctors many many times, all of whom completely missed the whole birth control pill & antidepressant combo that was killing my sex drive and making it physically agonizing. I spent years thinking I was some kind of freak, it was not fun at all.

  42. This isn’t the first time or the last time a person will have a change of heart about how they envision their lives with a partner. It sucks for both of them but Ben’s priorities have changed and hers have stayed the same. It just turns out this one likely a deal breaker. Does he hold some responsibility for “following along” and not revealing his developing view on family? Yeah sure, I guess so. But we’re all human. I have several friends that SWORE they never wanted kids and are now happy parents. I’ve seen other stick with the plan of no kids and live happily ever after too. Good luck Ben!

  43. FeralFelis says:

    @Ben-
    “In general… sure. In my case… I don’t think the odds of that happening are good enough to gamble a child’s future on it.”

    I agree, Ben. I was making that point mostly to the folks who were pondering the very nature of what it meant to have to give an ultimatum, and if that automatically meant the ultimatee would never be on board.

    I believe you have analyzed your situation 100% accurately and fairly and with everything we know from your blog and these posts, you are doing the right (albeit painful) thing for both of you. I hope she agrees, and I hope after ya’ll get through this you can still be friends. It’s not easy, but it’s possible. You’re doing a great job of growing self-aware and accepting personal responsible (not that you needed any of our approval…I’m just letting you know I’m in your cheering section.).

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