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Let's get real: Love can wait for a long while, but it can't always wait forever. And if it feels like you've been waiting for an eternity for your significant other to pop the question without even so much as an inkling he's researched the four Cs, it can be tempting to issue a proposal ultimatum: "Propose to me by the new year," you might want to say, "or I'm saying sayonara."
But "ultimatums are generally not a good idea," says Patrick Wanis, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of Find Love Fast. "Games and manipulative behavior, as well as threats or forced demands, do not succeed and only act as a wedge in the relationship, destroying trust and love."
Jane Greer, Ph.D., relationship expert and author of What About Me? Stop Selfishness From Ruining Your Relationship, agrees. "A proposal ultimatum can do a lot of damage," she says. "If a man isn't ready to propose, your telling him you're going to leave if he doesn't will just layer on your needs and complicate the picture for him."
See More: How to Handle the Shock of the Proposal
Rather than deliver an threatening ultimatum, Greer suggests you initiate a conversation in which you "tell him you won't be able to make big life choices like moving to another state without knowing that you both plan on a serious future together," she says. "Go with the notion that you have a timeline for yourself, and inform him of what you are going to do at that point, not what he has to do. Don't wait in limbo — take things into your own hands, and decide what you will or will not do, not what he must do."
Still tempted to lay down the law and force his hand? Then you may be feeling out of control, in your relationship and in love. But remember: "An ultimatum cannot make or force someone to love you or commit to you," Wanis says. "When a person agrees to your demands but doesn't really want to do it, then he will resent you and become bitter in the future."
The only time an ultimatum might work, Wanis says, is "if the person simply needs a push because they are a procrastinator or somewhat fearful of making decisions." But that's a fine line — our experts don't recommend you try to distinguish without having a conversation about your individual goals and goals as a couple.
"Issue ultimatums in the beginning of the relationship, not half way through," Wanis says. "Clearly spell out the deal breaker and what you want. If he knows right at the beginning what you truly want and he is in alignment and acceptance with you, then there won't be a need to issue an ultimatum later. And don't try to fool him or manipulate him by telling him what he wants to hear — tell him what you really want from him and what you want in your life."