"There you are, you see" I typed, in response to the message I'd just received. "I told you there was nothing to get over-excited about. I knew she wouldn't dump you."
Ultimatums, eh? It is always easy to predict the outcome of such scenarios.
In my experience ultimatums are rarely carried through. From harassed mothers deploying the repetitive (and thereby pointless) "just one more time! I mean it! We'll go home! Right, that's it, if you hit your brother again just one more time..." to adults standing, hands on hips, declaring "I mean it, it's me or her/him/the dog/the TV/the next door neighbour", ultimatums are a daily ritual for some.
In the great battle to get other people to do what we want, ultimatums are a poor weapon of choice. They are ineffective. Even toddlers know they are unlikely to be enforced. The problem is that as soon as you issue an ultimatum, you have to stick to it, if you want it to work, and that's where it all falls down for most people. If you tell someone that the result of their undesirable behaviour is going to be a smack/you leaving them/a small fire in their half of the wardrobe and then decide to let it go, "just this once", you have taught them that you are a toothless dog and they'll be off being naughty, consequence-free, for the foreseeable.
As I have said before, I am a second, third, fourth chance kind of person, so ultimatums would never be part of my arsenal as I just couldn't commit to that sort of irrevocable action. I prefer to keep my punishment options open and infinitely flexible.
How about you, though? Have you ever issued an ultimatum? Did it work?