posted at 8/22/2011 7:56 AM EDT
I accepted your request this morning, thanks!
I'm sorry, I somehow got on the "marry me or else" tangent from this...that's awful about how your situation turned out - what a you know what she was!
Anyway, I think an ultimatum is the most passive way to cause change there is. Instead of just leaving a relationship that isn't working, the one who should do the leaving issues an ultimatum instead. And, if it works such that the person who's had the choice thrust on them chooses the thing that the passive ultimatum issuer secretly doesn't want there's a problem for both of them. The person who issued the ultimatum is secretly saying, "Oh, no, they did it." And, the person who caved is saying, "I caved. Darn it...now, what."
Personality wise (societially encouraged? nature? who knows why?) women are more passive people than men. Passive at work getting paid less and promoted less, passive in relationships not getting their needs met because they don't speak up about them, etc. So, does it stand to reason that women would be more likely to use the utlimate passive tactic, the ultimatum? I'm guessing so. But, there are plenty of passive guys out there, too.
But, there are exceptions to the utlimatum being all passive. Your alcoholic family member's turn around because of their "straighten up or get out!" ultimatum is one of them. My telling BIL, "Respect me like humans deserve or you don't get to have a relationship at all with me," doesn't strke me as passive. He continued his shenanigans, I cut off our relationship. I couldn't be happier that he's "gone." I put up with him 3 years as I tried to teach him to be respectful. When it became clear that was not going to happen...
I don't know if your questions can be answered to your satisfaction...at least I've done the best I can, and this is all I've got - a contradictory, confusing, blah, blah, blah of thoughts. :)