etflix has done it again with another new dating show, but this one is the hot mess we always knew we didn’t need. Putting six couples to the test, The Ultimatum is simple: Get married at the end of the season or break up.
For each couple, one is either receiving the ultimatum (ultimatee) or giving one (ultimator). But The Ultimatum doesn’t just ask and answer: marry me or else. An eight-week experiment puts couples to the test where they swap partners, adding temptation to their decision. This almost ensured that few couples would make it out of the experiment together.
Here’s the problem.
The couples were young.
Most couples are in their early twenties and have been together for two to three years. The ultimator didn’t just want commitment or monogamy; they wanted to lock it down for life, and if the ultimatee wasn’t here for it, their relationship was over.
Few people are ready to marry at 24, so demanding commitment without first understanding the ultimatee’s objections was callous and dismissive.
Also, ultimatums never work.
And here’s why. Ultimatums take away choice. If you are in a relationship with someone, you would hope they would want the same things. To be forced or coerced into a marriage you weren’t ready for guarantees a negative outcome.
For those couples who managed to stay together, an equal amount felt the experiment was the push they needed to walk away. In the end, the ultimatum backfired, breaking more hearts than it healed.
The real agenda was glaring.
Repeatedly throughout the season, we saw the ultimator express their motivation for marriage. Some of the reasons included having “invested years together” and not wanting to “start over.” One wanted to “show everyone she is mine.” Another tricked her partner into being on the show.
On the surface, their confessions were admirable, but their true intentions were less than romantic. Getting married to stake a claim or to progress a relationship that wasn’t ready is questionable. And when the ultimatee had objections, the ultimator went full dictator. Yikes!
Transactional relationships are a loss for everyone.
Perhaps most disappointing about The Ultimatum was the transactional nature of each relationship. If the ultimatee was not ready for marriage, the relationship would be considered a “waste of time.”
Few aim to waste time in relationships with people who have different goals, but there is value in what you learn in a relationship. While each relationship may not have the outcome you want, it is unfair to suggest you gained nothing from it.
Would you give someone an ultimatum? Drop us a comment on Twitter.
Photo courtesy of Netflix.