Vanessa Lachey Says She Gave Nick a Relationship Ultimatum — But Is That a Good Idea?

Find out what a relationship expert has to say about ultimatums and seeing other people before committing to someone.

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It can feel like there are only two choices when you've been dating someone for a long time: Get married, or take a break to see if there's anyone else out there who might be your "person." While there are other options *cough* non-monogamy *cough*, there's a lot of pressure for those who do want to be in an exclusive relationship and get married to find "the one."

Netflix's new show, The Ultimatum: Marry or Move On, follows six couples who are all thinking about getting married — one person in each relationship is ready to get married ASAP, while the other has some reservations. Over the course of eight weeks, each couple has the ability to choose a new partner from one of the other couples on the show (yikes!) and experience what it's like to be in a new relationship again. If a new couple forms, they move in together for a "trial marriage" to help them decide whether to stay with their original partner, get serious with someone new, or leave alone. It seems like the show creators are trying to answer the age old question: Is the grass really greener on the other side? (

The show is hosted by Nick and Vanessa Lachey, who have been married for more than 10 years and also host Netflix's Love is Blind. In the premiere episode of the new series, the couple spoke openly about how an ultimatum and taking a short break from their relationship helped them decide to get married.

"I always said I was gonna be that girl that would never give a man an ultimatum," says Vanessa on the TV show. "We dated for five years, so I finally said, 'What are we doing?'" She then reveals that the two separated briefly before reuniting. "If I'm being completely candid and transparent, we took a break. We both saw one other person, and we realized that if we got out of our own way, we could be amazing together."

So, is it healthy to see other people before committing to one? Are there benefits to a couple taking a break and then reuniting? And finally, is it healthy to propose an ultimatum if one person is ready to get married and the other isn't? Time to discuss.

Should you see other people before committing to a partner?

While this show's premise is wild, there is something to be said for taking a moment and questioning if the person you're with is the person you'd like to spend the rest of your life with, especially if you're monogamous. What are the qualities in them that make you want to spend your life with them? Which qualities are a bit worrisome or give you pause when thinking about spending "forever" with them? When individuals date many people, they're able to experience different personalities, backgrounds, and cultures — and not just what they grew up with.

Being intentional about dating before committing to one person can help you feel more comfortable taking the step of engagement with someone. When you've experienced many different types of relationships and people, you can make an informed choice on who you want to be with. (

What are the benefits of taking a break and reuniting?

If you've been in a monogamous relationship with someone for a while, it can absolutely be beneficial to take a break to reflect, reassess, and really decide if you want to continue on in the relationship. However, it's important to set some ground rules for the arrangement, so it doesn't create a fissure in the trust between you and your partner. For example, are you taking a break and not seeing each other? What about dating other people? How long is the break? What kind of contact do you want with each other during the break? Answering these questions together beforehand can ensure the break is helpful and not hurtful to the overall health of the relationship.

Is a relationship ultimatum healthy?

Yes and no. Giving someone an ultimatum to try to get your way or manipulate someone else (i.e. you try to change their mind or get them to do something you want that they have told you they don't) is not healthy, nice, or good. On the other hand, if you have decided you want to get married or move on after dating someone for five years, you have every right to communicate that.Ultimately, it comes down to intent, impact, and delivery. There's a big difference between telling someone they have no choice in something and communicating that you're hitting a limit. If it's truly a limit for you, it's not manipulative to share your feelings.

Here's an example of how you might start the conversation in a healthy way: "Hey honey, we've been together for five years, and I'm going to be XX years old next year. I would like to talk about our future together. Marriage is really important to me, and while I'd like to be married to you, I'm not sure if that's what you want too. Can we talk about this?" That's very different from saying, "If you don't propose to me in the next two months, I'm done here." In other words, the format of Netflix's new show, which involves concrete ultimatums and strict timelines, isn't exactly healthy.

At the end of the day, the best thing to do is be honest with yourself and your partner about how you're feeling. Having open conversations is key, whether you decide to take a break and see other people or commit to getting married. And while it's apparent an ultimatum helped Nick and Vanessa see things clearly, that may not be the case for everyone (as viewers of their new Netflix show know all too well).

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