A comment on the Iron Rule of Tomassi #4

Rollo mentioned that once a woman gets into a cohabitating situation, that her sexual availability markedly decreases. It seems to me that so long as the man is able to give and act out the ultimatum that “either I get a sexually satisfying relationship or I’m out (or you’re out, if it’s my place)”, then there should be no problem.

Sure, there are financial and legal entanglements, but this would be akin to dead money on any investment – sure it hurts, but that’s the risk one takes. And in the case of a lease, the man could always take the attitude that he wants out, and is only living in the apartment because he is on the lease (he could always go back to his available bachelor days.)

Interesting you used the word “ultimatum” here. It’s important that you understand what an ultimatum implies. Whenever a person delivers an ultimatum, always understand that this is a declaration of powerlessness. In other words, “I am so out of control in this circumstance you must do this or I will remove either myself or you from the circumstance.”

First off, in this particular instance it’s far more likely that you’ll be the one leaving considering the preference modern legalities give women today with regard to evicting them from such a situation. Secondly, it only confirms for her what she wants to know, that she is your one and ONLY source of sexual intimacy and by you cohabiting with her, emotionally, financially and logistically it makes it almost impossible for you to really make good on your ultimatum. You only consolidate her sexual monopoly by living with her.

I’ve already gone into all the practical reasons as to why a guy should never move in with a woman in Iron Rule #4, but I think it may be better to ask yourself why you do want to move in with her. What are you benefitting from in this situation that you aren’t by remaining independent of each other? For most guys the fantasy is more accessible sex, but if you’re living as you suggest here already, how is living together any different? And even if this were the case, that you had more sex with her by living together, you are still assuming a greater degree of responsibility, accountability and liability in your relationship and in your day to day life in exchange for that sexual accessibility. How is that an advantage? How is that not like marriage anyway?

As I’ve stated in the prior posts, when you commit to ANYTHING – women, career, education, family, etc. – you necessarily lose options and your ability to maneuver in taking advantage of them.


Ultimatums are declarations of powerlessness because you are resorting to a direct threat to get someone to do what you want them to, and in doing so you OVERTLY confess your weak position. If you were in a genuine position of control it wouldn’t be necessary to resort to an ultimatum; you’d simply use that control. There are many ways to effect a change in another person, but ultimatums will never prompt a genuine change. If they change behavior it’s prompted by the threat, not unprompted, organic desire.

One of the primary tenets of my Game philosophy is that true desire cannot be negotiated. A natural, unsolicited desire state, unmitigated by obligation or concerns for resources exchange, is the ideal basis for any intergender relationship. Any factors that introduce elements that hinder this genuine desire – exchange, negotiations, obligations, reciprocity, etc. – weaken this desire and weaken the relationship. Delivering an ultimatum is the most direct, overt way to introduce exactly these elements into a relationship.

Now you might say that an ultimatum is implied in how you stated this it to her, or the context it was in. If this was your intent, you are still in a position of powerlessness since you are still trying to get this person to do what you want. It’s not what you can do to her (i.e. withdrawing your attentions) that’s the power issue, but the actual desired result, getting her to genuinely have a desire to do what she has no desire to do.

I should also add that ultimatums are, ultimately, self-defeating. You can keep your dog from running off by chaining him in the yard, but that dog still wants to run off. You cannot effect a genuine change of desire with an ultimatum as your relationship will be founded on that threat. And this is the real power issue; that you’d want a person to conform to your desire so badly that you’d use a threat to effect it in spite of the foreknowledge that it can never be a genuine conformation because they didn’t orginate it and did so only under duress.

So from your standpoint, yes you do have the power to affect your own actions (like walking away), but you are powerless to force her to do what you want (prompt a genuine desire in her), thus you resort to an ultimatum and only illustrate this OVERTLY.


It’s very important to make the distinction between setting boundaries and delivering ultimatums. Men with a head for absolutisms seem to think that avoiding ultimatums is the same as spinelessly avoiding laying down the law and setting the frame for a relationship (or even a particular plate they’re spinning). Establishing boundaries and assuming frame requires exemplification and demonstration. As with the 9th Law of Power: Win Through Your Actions, Never through Argument – demonstrate, do not explicate. There is no more overt an explication than your delivering an ultimatum. Ultimatums only lead to behavioral shifts based on the fear of repercussions, never a genuine desire for that behavior.

However, a continuous demonstration of what you necessitate in a relationship is vital to its health and your continued primacy of frame. Telling a woman what’s what or else often smacks of insecurity and childishness, but a firm discussion-less enacting of what is important to you and necessary for any future relationship viscerally teaches her what is expected by experiencing the very repercussions you ultimatum would only advertise to her.

Published by Rollo Tomassi

Author of The Rational Male and The Rational Male, Preventive Medicine

41 comments on “Ultimatum

  1. One thing a guy can do to help with cohabitation is to do what I did when I was married — keep your bachelor pad.

    I had business near my 2 bedroom condo, so I always had a weekly excuse to spend the night there. When I was making weekly trips half hour away from the shared home, the next day was always sexual and she showed signs of missing me.

    When my marriage ended due to her BPD, I had a place to go. We never visited it together, I was adamant that it was my place of peace and meditation — even though I rented the spare bedroom out to a roommate to cover expenses.

    Having an exit like that is a de facto ultimatum without verbalization — she knows you have a way out, and it’s subconscious to her.

    If you can’t afford to keep at least a tiny studio on the side, you can’t afford cohabitation either. There are no cost savings there once you calculate the actual costs involved — including dried up sex and constant nagging.

    Idea for guys who can’t afford a studio themselves: rent one with 3 of your other guy friends in relationships, with none of you telling your significant others about the others sharing in your costs.

  2. Ultimatums are power grabs that come from fear. These try to take over the prize while at the same time devaluating it. The answer is no.

  3. ok. points taken. i do this a lot. sometimes it fails. sometimes it works. i would say its a split right down the middle. my rationale being, i want to see the woman im with submit to me. it turns me on. turns me off if she doesnt. its a sign that she’s not a keeper.

    i should add, i did not grew up here (in canada now). i grew up where women do as they’re told. back water part of the world, yes.

    any thoughts on that, brothers

    1. If I may, I think your difficulty may stem from the fact that submissive women want to choose to submit to a strong man. She does not want to, and likely will not be, subservient. Instead of demanding that a woman you are with “do as [she is] told”, ask for, or politely tell her, what you want. This can be done in a very manly fashion. “Baby, please go get me a beer” or “baby will you please go get me a beer?” Don’t do it in that sing songy beta way (that is so incredibly irritating) but just say it expecting this to happen. Also, a woman that you are just beginning to date is not going to be able to trust you enough to fully submit to you. You are going to have to be a bit patient and show her that you are a man that she is safe submitting and giving herself to.

          1. from experience the best way to get a blogger is to send a real pic if your hot, still you got brother diego twisted pretty good. your tricky ha even YOUR hamsta is tricky

    2. thank you miss

      i follow this blog and agree with practically everything rollo writes about. but this one, my system keep coughing it out

      ultimatums are never issued for matters like “get me a beer, or else”. thats just stupid. they are issued for make it or break it situations.

      if a woman has been with you long enough to know your character, no explicit declaration is necessary, she’ll get it. but if she doesn’t know you enough, you have to make your position known and make your statement, lest you want to play some childish guessing game. that’s the only demarcation line that will dictate the procedure. the principle is the same. its simple

      you are bound to lose a lot of women through this because that’s how they are — they all test our limits. test them right back, issue a statement, then smile.

      1. ultimatums are never issued for matters like “get me a beer, or else”. thats just stupid. they are issued for make it or break it situations.

        I realize that. I was commenting more on the woman doing as she is told situation.

        you have to make your position known and make your statement, lest you want to play some childish guessing game.

        Yes, you do. But you can do this without making an ultimatum. One can draw the line in the sand without making it a threat. As Rollo said, when one feels that a threat is all that is left to make the situation change, then you show your hand and reveal your weakness. Read the last section on boundaries again. Make your position known without the threat.

        they all test our limits. test them right back,

        I would not suggest testing them back. You are being pulled to far into her doing that. Rather, stand absolutely firm. Make her come to you. And as you said, do it with a smile.

      2. afraid of a little test, stingray? 🙂

        you know what im thinking right now?
        ultimatums can very well be the male equivalent to female shit testing. it’s a screening tool, to know how much a girl is into you, viscerally.

        i’ve had girls walking away without a batting an eyelash. and i’ve had girls pining for me for years after the fact. like i said, right down the middle.

        why are you guys afraid to verbalize cause-and-effect logic, anyway? ultimatums are merely that — verbalized cause-and-effect logic. very masculine, if you come to think of it … oh right … you have to “subcommunicate” the message to appeal to the feminine perception 🙂

        anyways. you just got me thinking rollo.

        1. afraid of a little test, stingray?

          Nah. I just don’t think men should reduce themselves to female tactics is all. Don’t shit test. You’re better than that. There are better ways to see if a girl is into you and while I am not surprised that you have had girls pine for you, what Rollo is describing here is an even higher form of strength that I believe would have fewer girls walking away and more pining for even longer.

          1. okay miss, ive done my thinking.

            its not the ultimatum itself, or the act of handing it out. its the character of the man who issues it, or the target’s perception of that character.

            an ultimatum cements a strong character if he is strong. or it weakens his character further if he is weak. if the character is undefined, it could go either way.

            i remember roissy saying once that the tingle is strongest for a woman cowering in a corner. i’ve seen that and i believe it.

  4. About a year ago, I was learning Game the hard way — after a decade of exhibiting nothing but beta traits, my wife was going out drinking with her tennis-playing girlfriends, without me, about once or twice a week. It was always last-minute, and she always stayed out later than promised.

    This behavior would leave me stuck at home in charge of our son. I bitched and moaned and pouted, and threw fits, and gave all sorts of ultimatums, but this never worked, obviously.

    The one thing that broke the pattern was my telling her that the next time she went out without me, she needed to give me at least a couple of hours notice, to give me time to find a sitter. No anger, just a simple demand that no one could reasonably refuse.

    Then, the next time she went out, I did. I didn’t drive over to find her and her friends at their favorite watering hole. I didn’t tell her where I was or who I was with. I didn’t make a show of it. I merely sent her a text telling her that if she got home before I did, not to pay the babysitter because I had already taken care of it.

    She sent me half a dozen texts that night, asking me where I was and what I was doing. I ignored them, just as she had always ignored me whenever I had texted her, asking her for an update about her plans.

    That night, she came home to find me gone. Not sitting in bed, waiting and angry.

    Now that I understand Game better, I see that I had finally accomplished two things: it showed her the natural consequences of her behavior (without telling), and put myself in a position to meet other women.

    It stopped her unwanted behavior dead in its tracks. It worked because: (a) I exhibited power, and (b) I exhibited having other sexual options.

      1. It’s totally great. I think I’m going to patent,something like “actions speak louder than words”
        then start teaching pua seminars at
        $5000 a pop – weekends in Vancouver

        You really CAN learn stuff on blogs

  5. Even issuing an ultimatum has the taint of insecurity.
    Simply explain your displeasure to her.
    It shouldn’t be too difficult, because it IS women who transgress most often in today’s west.

    If she keeps testing you, tell her you’re out.
    The kid who whines about his broken toy needing fixing
    is far less powerful than the rich kid who demands:
    “it’s broke! – get me a NEW one.”

    Get a new girl.
    God… will make more.

  6. Ok, I’ve read your piece a few times and I don’t understand. This is the portion of Game I don’t understand at all. To me, a person treats you like you want them to, or they don’t. If they don’t you leave or you make them through force. Needless to say, the later option is not an option (for me) with women.

    So lets say a girl is acting in a way I find unacceptable. Here’s a recent example, a coworker went to training at work. I asked her to send me a pic of her in a radiation suit. I’m guessing I wouldn’t even be able to tell it was her. She ignored my text which I find completely unacceptable. This wasn’t the only transgression but it was her last since I’ve now frozen her out.

    What Phinn describes is the way that I know how to handle a woman. Yet, I’d much rather say to her, “Listen, I didn’t deserve to have my text ignored.” However, “Any factors that introduce elements that hinder this genuine desire – exchange, negotiations, obligations, reciprocity, etc. – weaken this desire and weaken the relationship.” I completed agree.

    So what is the proper response?

    1. One of my favorite cinematic lines of all time is when Clint Eastwood says “Deserves got nothin’ to do with it” in the final climactic scene of The Unforgiven. If someone treats you in a manner that you don’t think you deserve to be treated, the problem is more than likely not them but you. Basic social niceties like replying to a text are just that, nice. No one “deserves” anything, if people choose to ignore your requests that is more indicative of your own lack of clout or status than their lack of manners. I get the vibe that freezing your co-worker out was an attempt at posturing to convince yourself that you were really the one in the driver’s seat when in fact your co-worker has the upper hand, hence your emotional reaction (no one likes to realize that they’re powerless, after all).

      I see a similar phenomenon occur regarding so-called “sluts” on my college campus. There are guys that assume that since this girl goes home with lots of different guys that she has no standards and will go home with them, only to discover that this girl who can’t seem to keep her legs closed won’t even give them the time of day. Naturally, these guys tend to vitriolically reframe these girls as stupid, disease-ridden whores that you wouldn’t touch with your friend’s cock. After all, it’s much easier on the ole’ psyche to convince yourself that not wanting something is as good as having it, right?

      If you want people to listen to you or respect you, focus on becoming a person worthy of listening to or respecting. It’s petulant and a waste of time and energy to try to force people to do what you want; focus instead on making them want to do it.

      1. Harsh, but probably spot on. “…focus on becoming a person worthy of listening to or respecting.” Something I’m definitely working on.


  7. Is this a viable alternative to an ultimatum.. Show me that sexy outfit your gonna entertain me in tonight and if she kicks up a storm go out and do something else..Such as poker night or martial arts class

  8. Rollo, I have an idea for your next post… When ever I hear a female coworker say the following phrase “I’m going home to the second shift”… It annoys me… She’s going to work for her family but she want credit
    What’s your say on that kind of fem shit? “going to the second shift”
    damn females always try to get extrea treats…

  9. Ran: “What’s your say on that kind of fem shit? “going to the second shift””
    “Lucky you get a nice rest here, then.”

  10. if you give her an ultimatum that you will cut her out of your life, it frees you, and that is the power

  11. I didn’t get what your alternative was? Setting rules and boundaries? When do you set those boundaries? A lot depends on that. If you set them at the beginning of a relationship, you are setting the frame. If you set them after she did something that you did not like, that’s as good as an ultimatum.

  12. i recently fucked up by giving a woman i had been chasing for a long while a begging ultimatum. It was, as Rollo says, an indication of my powerlessness in getting her to treat me with respect. Accordingly, I didn’t even get a reply. Her silent treatment then baulked me into being the one who then announced that the whole thing was over: “that’s it; it’s over”. She kept her cool — or basically didn’t care — she didn’t say one word at the time or in the five months since. I shot myself in the head. Never give an ultimatum.

  13. This is exactly what struck me as weak in Leif’s refusal of Jenny’s LJBF … in came in the form of an ultimatum and therefore signaled a significant level of powerlessness.

    You’ve got to start somewhere though …

  14. Pingback: Boundaries |
  15. hmmm, utlimatums and games and power. As a woman, I allowed my first man of 30 years to game on me — never again. No man is worth all that is written here, nor any woman for that matter. Relationships are about respect each other and valuing each other not getting oneself a dog. So … game it on and you will lose your love. 🙂

  16. And as far a the second shift statement — same as men say when they babysit their children. Indicates the message, I’m owed for what I am doing and baby you’d better comply. Such statements are not spoken by people desiring to be in the relationship. Those relationships are in trouble.
    But who give a bleep because single people with equal to poor behavior are a dime a dozen – leave when it isn’t working out for you 🙂

  17. Ultimatums and dread seem to work the same in my experience. If dread does not work, I am pretty much forced to give an ultimatum just as a heads up as I feel anyone deserves full disclosure. Can’t kick them out (live in’s) due to tenant laws, so some verbalization is necessary to make it known the end is near.
    As in “you need to start looking for an apartment/place to stay”, if they are into you at all they WILL change, or they follow your lead and get the hell out. One monkey branched out the others have done well to change. Will it stick? I seriously doubt it lol
    Thanks Rollo!

  18. Years late, but there a more detailed explanation of this? A lot of the best articles seem to end before they get going here and lack some solid examples at times.

  19. If you are in a situation of cohabitation you have already been castrated and are in no position to give ultimatums. Who cares about boundaries. If the reason someone is giving ultimatums is because someone doesn’t respect or value you or is playing games or disrespecting you at this point they are of no value. They have nothing to offer you. Other people will willingly offer you what you desire if you ask if you simply seek them out. No one is a “prize”. It is the weak and insecure person who needs to test someone to get validation and feel significant in a relationship or situation. You are acting out of fear if you compromise yourself to conform to someone else. If you don’t like how someone acts you can leave or tell them to change their behavior. Only if you don’t follow through are you compromised.
    Ultimatums work when you don’t have anything to lose and someone has given you no reason to care. There is nothing wrong with confronting someone, telling them what you want and how you want it. If they don’t like it they can worry about it on their own time. Always act from a position of power. If you have to give someone an ultimatum then let them decide. Just follow through. Be confident. You owe nothing to anyone. If they aren’t willing to offer what you want then find someone who does. Let some sentimental sad sack worry about someone’s feelings who is willing to shit on yours.

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