Originally Posted by dron
I'm also struggling to avoid ultimatum language. I know I need the negotiation to be happy, but how do you firmly communicate that without an implicit threat?
By first understanding that you have every right to ask for what you want in your relationship. You can't get what you want unless you ask for it. The tricky part is to ask for it without the expectation that asking automatically means getting what you want.
Of course that also means understanding where your needs are coming from. If they're coming from a place of insecurity in yourself, then there's little your partner can do to assuage that insecurity. If they're coming from a place of insecurity in how the relationship is working, talking about it and clearly articulating your needs can make it a lot easier to work on it.
We have every right to ask for things, our partners have every right to say no. I go into every negotiation with that thought in my head. And if what I'm asking for is essential for me to feel secure in the relationship, then I'll communicate that. Not in the form of "you have to give me this", but in the form of "this is what I really need to feel safe and secure in our relationship". I'll then let my partner choose their own actions with that knowledge. If they choose to honor my feelings and needs then we can move forward. If they choose not to honor my feelings and needs, then I might be examining if the relationship is right for me.
However, my partner also has needs that I would hope are clearly communicated and I would hopefully take them on board and try to honor them as well. If we're both in a situation where honoring the other person's needs means not honoring our own needs, then we probably have goals that are way too different and that would definitely be cause for examination.