Ask Toni: The Modern Ultimatum

Photo by Steve Visneau


I’ve been dating my boyfriend for two years, and I don’t think we’re anywhere near getting engaged.  My 29th birthday is right around the corner, and I always thought I’d be married by now.  I don’t know how my boyfriend feels about things, but I definitely don’t want to waste time anymore if he’s not the one.  How can I bring this up to him without making him feel pressured?

Ticking Tammy…


Why are women still giving men the power over their destiny?

First off–it’s so important to be honest in the beginning of a relationship.  You need to tell them what your expectations are for the future.  It sounds a little forward, but trust me you don’t want any surprises later.

Example: I’d like to be married by the time I’m 30, and eventually have children. How do you feel about marriage and children?

I’m guessing the two of you never had this conversation, but don’t sweat it.  There’s always now.  Be honest about your feelings, in a nonconfrontational manner.

Try this: “Babe, I love you and we have a great relationship, but I don’t want to date forever.  I’d like to make sure that we’re on the same page, so, what are your thoughts about marriage?”

His answer will fall into one of three categories: “I can see us getting married,” or “I’m not sure,” or “I don’t think I’m the marrying type.”

If he tells you, “he’s not the marrying type,” then run, don’t walk.  He’s saying loud and clear there’s a 99.9% chance he’s not marrying you.  Don’t become the woman that hangs on to hope, then eventually bitterness.

However, if he doesn’t give you the answer you desire, but he’s still open to marriage, give him the “MODERN ULTIMATUM.”

It goes something like this: “We’ve started something wonderful, but I need to make sure my needs are met too.  I’m at the point in my life where I want to be seriously dating someone with husband potential.  There’s a reasonable timetable in my mind, and if we don’t move forward, then it’ll be time to move on.”

 The vague timeframe eliminates pressure, but lets him know you’re serious.  Once you’ve given him the MU, drop it.  The thing men hate more than anything is nagging.  But men are NOT mind readers.  Subtle hints won’t do the trick.  Lastly, be prepared to back up the MU with actions and not just empty promises.  When it’s your time to go, be a lady and walk out that door.

Most guys inherently feel they’re the captains of the relationSHIP.  Today’s a new day, grab hold of the wheel and charter your own voyage!

Luck & Love,



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6 responses to “Ask Toni: The Modern Ultimatum

  1. A

    If only things were that simple. My girlfriend has done exactly as Toni says. Marriage was something we both wanted for our relationship early on. What Toni neglects, however, is the way relationships change, and the way in which both of us still want to attain that same goal together, but, to quote Annie Hall, “love fades.” After so much time and effort together, it is hard for either side to let go. Try that on.

    • Toni

      Hi. I totally agree and that’s exactly why I wanted to do this column. I think our parents’ advice doesn’t apply to today’s people. The one problem is that every relationship is slightly different. But I will tell you this…if you have to try that hard, it’s not gonna work. People always told me that, but I finally get now. I strongly recommend getting married over the age of 27, because most people grow and change and they don’t always do it together. Through it all, it sounds as though you have a healthy heart. Luck & Love

  2. Katy

    So on the OTHER side of the age dilemma, I asked the question, “What does your life look like when you early retire next summer?” His response was, “I want to do this, and I want to go here, and I want to…” I asked, “And where do I fit into this picture?” He was (expletive deleted) dumbfounded. I responded, “Well, if after dating 3 years & I am not in that picture, its not enough for me, and I’ve had enough. Thanks. It was fun.” Tough walk, but I walked. Girls, you too can do this. You DO get a vote.

  3. Scott

    While I understand wanting to have kids and raising them in a marriage what I don’t understand is the idea of being in love with getting married rather than being in love with the person. It’s like marriage becomes more important than whom you marry. I believe if you love someone, communicate with them and be in that relationship rather than finding one that may not be as good just so you can get married. Which is more important, getting married or being with the right person? Or is anyone the right person?

  4. Toni

    Hi Guys. Thanks for getting involved.

    A, 27 is the magic number, because I figure it has been around 10 years since someone’s lived with with their parents, and at least a couple of years since they’ve finished school. I think someone needs to know exactly what they want before they meet someone. Not 2 halves looking for a whole, but being whole already. Then you can think about marriage.

    Katy, thanks for sharing. That’s sounds rough, but I’m proud of you. A relationship is about “We” not “I.” I have some girlfriends that refuse to leave their relationships because they’ve already put in so much time and they can’t imagine starting over. That’s such a mistake. Life’s too short at any age.

    Scott, you are so right!!! I couldn’t agree more. I’m from New Mexico, so I wasn’t given the Texas Women’s Handbook on “How to Get Married in 10 Easy Steps.” I see so many women put the emphasis on getting married, instead of getting married to the right person. But I think it’s important to know what you want and share it in the beginning. I have friends that are perfectly happy by themselves, I have friends happy in committed relationships without marriage, and I have single friends raising children on their own. I suggest to everyone to ask yourself, “What do you really want out of this life?”

    Luck & Love

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