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What's the general consensus on ultimatums?

Community Member

Im in the pre-consideration phase. I might consider an ultimatum, but I don't know enough... feel like I've heard support for them, and then heard they're never ok. 



My partner of 10 years, whom I live with:

  • Has depression, anxiety, adhd, autism, substance abuse (cannabis).
  • The weed is not the whole problem, obviously, but his guilt about it and the way he says it affects his sleep and motivation and freedom (ie can't focus after midday due to cravings, can't drive after, etc) makes me think getting sober could be a domino into some positive changes.
  • There's a local rehab service which has free counselling and a live-in 3-week detox program. He's edged around it a few times, but not decidedly said he's going to do it.
  • I think I'm getting to a point where either he changes something or I'm going to completely lose it and numb out. I've had depression and anxiety in the past, and I can feel lately the stress getting me close to that edge. I feel like a human pair of crutches, and I'm worn out.
  • Thing is, I have this intense fear that if he goes there it'll somehow make him worse. Like he'll have a breakdown of worse. Im also worried he'd resent me. Im worried it wouldn't work. Im worried it will work but won't fix anything else. Im worried without weed his anxiety will come back full on again. Etc...
  • I just don't know. Do i push him to do this rehab, in hopes it'll make his life better and then my life better. Or do I let him have his own journey and just set boundaries around how much he leans on me emotionally, and deal with the rest.
3 Replies 3

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

I can't speak for the consensus, but can offer some observations:-

You have a lot on your plate and at some point you need to think about yourself. Accepting that you cannot do or solve everything is often a necessary mindset in order to carry on.

My simple adage is "If you aren't coping or healthy, then your ability to support someone will be proportionally diminished" and this ultimately impacts both of you.

The rehab option, aside from any intended reparation, will give you a much needed break from the daily routine; so it's an opportunity for you also to recharge and regain control.

However, before placing any ultimatums, you will need to consider the capacity of your partner to empathise with your personal struggle. Given the listed impairments, this may not yield the desired response and, as you mentioned, could exacerbate the problem through a misunderstanding of your intentions.

Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni

Hello Violet, consensus's never seem to succeed, this one may though, who knows, but we aren't really informed of what may actually happen and the finer details.

With your partner, I'm in two minds about going to rehab, simply because it may help the person while in there, but as soon as they are let out, their 'friends' suddenly get in contact with that person and suggest to just try one, it won't hurt you, that's the trouble that may happen and is always a concern, especially if that person is borderline.

Your main concern is yourself and whether you want to live under these conditions.


Life Member.

Valued Contributor
Valued Contributor

Hi Violet12


It can be so incredibly challenging when our partner's behaviour becomes depressing and/or anxiety inducing. While there can be the obvious ways in which their behaviour can impact us, the less obvious ways may not always reveal themselves until some ways down the track. As a mum to 2 grown kids, I can tell you a partner not wanting to manage the stress of certain challenges in raising kids can leave you feeling alone in coping with those challenges.


With ADHD and autism, I imagine your partner's a real feeler. I imagine he feels challenge and stress pretty easily at times. I also imagine him smoking offers the experience of smoking a 'peace pipe'. Do you think he's ever felt peace, really felt it? In other words, would he know what a sense of peace feels like? Does he have a reference? If not, maybe it's a matter of introducing him to things that entail a sense of peace. Could be a trial and error process but he might be surprised by what comes to feel peaceful. To offer 2 examples in the way of feeling peace, with the 1st being something most people can relate to:

  1. You know when you're sitting on the couch watching tv and you can feel yourself trying so hard to stay awake. You can try so hard to the point where it's uncomfortable. Then, finally, you give yourself permission to let your eyes close. That is peace, that feeling of no resistance, the feeling of just drifting calmly into sleep
  2. Sitting in a kayak on a lake with the sun coming up. The gentle movement of the water, the warmth of the sun on your face or your back, the silence beyond the water lapping at the kayak. Meditating on it all is an incredible feeling. It's so peaceful. Being a gal who has a fear of water, it took a lot of patience and careful management from my son, to be able to get me in a kayak to begin with. I love it so much now because of the feeling

Feelings or emotions can be easily obtained through a bottle (alcohol) or a pipe. To obtain them through other ways is where the seriously hard work comes in.


If your partner's sensitive to sound, crowds, stressful challenges, inner dialogue and more and he's given no ways or skills when it comes to managing what he's sensitive to, chances are he'll return (turn again) to what works - smoking.


Do you think he'd be up for experimenting with different sensations, how different experiences lead him to feel? If so, it may become a matter of (somewhere down the track) smoking getting in the way of how he wants to feel his experiences and sense of connection to life. Depending on how he experiences an attention deficit or physical and mental hyperactivity and how he experiences life on the spectrum, he could either be an extreme sports kind of person, someone who loves vibing in peaceful states (forms of meditation or yoga that help in managing extreme energy) or maybe someone who just loves to add ventures to life (an adventurer). Do you or does he have a good sense of his nature, who he really is? Is he a bit of an introvert, highly imaginative, a real feeler (sensitive to what he feels in any given situation) etc? Is it possible he has no idea who he naturally is? Those with can't tolerate focusing on what they feel as 'boring', those who have so much energy but don't know what to channel it into or those who face the incredible challenges of managing life on the spectrum have some absolutely incredible natural abilities. While my 17yo son faces challenges when it comes to what's classified as high functioning autism, some of his natural abilities absolutely blow my mind.