There are times when a relationship hits a wall, and it's "or else" time — "Either you stop drinking or else."; "Either you stop seeing him or else."; "Either you stand up to your mother or else."
And then there's the ever-popular "Either you marry me or else."
JACK: I would be gone the moment a woman gave me a "marry me, or else" ultimatum. It shows how selfish the woman is and makes her man rethink their whole relationship.
If a man is truly ready to get married, he'll ask, and not because of some threat. If a man married a woman because of an ultimatum, he could come to resent her in the future.
My suggestion to women would be instead of issuing an ultimatum, ask the man to marry you. If he says no, listen very carefully to his reasons.
It doesn't matter how long the couple has been dating — three year, five years or 10 years. If a person isn't ready to get married, forcing the issue will more than likely either end the relationship or force a marriage that will eventually result in divorce.
So rather than being angry at a man for not proposing, a woman should nurture the relationship she has with her man to show him that she's worth the aggravation that is inevitably part of keeping a marriage together. And then, maybe her boyfriend will ask her to marry him when he's truly ready.
(CHERYL: Jack, Jack, Jack. There's an old joke about a man and woman who'd being seeing each other for years. One day, the woman says, "We should get married." And the man says, "Yeah, but who'd marry us?" Get it?
If a man isn't ready to marry a woman after dating her for 10 years, what would ever make him ready? She could nurture the hell out of the relationship — cook his meals, wash his socks and trim his toenails — but if he's not ready after a year, he's never going to be. And she has a right to know that.)
HANK: I've been reading all this junk about guys being afraid to commit to marriage. In my opinion, if it's the right woman, the man would commit in a heartbeat. I knew on our very first date that my wife was right for me, and I told her then and there that I was going to marry her.
She didn't agree immediately, but after a few dozen more proposals over the next six months, she finally agreed. We just celebrated our 42nd wedding anniversary.
I once asked her why it took so long for her to agree. She said she wanted to make sure that I was sure.
ALLISON: Growing up, I was warned to beware men who said, "If you love me, you'll let me." Or, "A real woman would prove her love by X." Or, "If you don't do it, I'll find another girl who will!"
Males have used these ultimatums and tests of love for centuries. Now that women are stating what they want, men cry foul. What jerks! Women should consider themselves lucky that the men are revealing themselves so they don't waste their time.
Have you given or gotten an ultimatum? Send your tale, along with your questions and problems to [email protected] And check out my new e-book, "Dear Cheryl: Advice from Tales from the Front."