‘The Ultimatum: Queer Love’: Which Couples Are Still Together? (PHOTOS)

'The Ultimatum: Queer Love' Episodes 5-8
Spoiler Alert
Courtesy of Netflix

[Warning: The following contains MAJOR spoilers for The Ultimatum: Queer Love finale and reunion.]

The Ultimatum: Queer Love delivered its finale and reunion (Episodes 9 and 10) on Wednesday, June 7, and after all of the interpersonal drama, only one couple is still together.

The Ultimatum requires participants to break up with their partners, date new people, and then get back together with their former loves in a two-month experiment. The time apart, the Netflix format argues, will show these people what and whose needs aren’t being met in their original relationships.

As Season 1, Marry or Move On, and Season 2, Queer Love, show, the issuers of the ultimatum were unprepared for the consequences of coming onto this show. And like in Season 1, some ultimatum issuers surprise themselves by connecting with their trial marriage partner, which throws a wrench into their original intentions.

Any person who follows a polyamorous relationship style would say these people don’t have to expect all their needs to be met by one person. But The Ultimatum doesn’t allow for polycules (a connected network of people and relationships predicated on consent by all partners involved) to form, although it doesn’t explicitly ban it.

While the cast of The Ultimatum: Queer Love seems largely monogamous, select cast members are certainly more OK with their partners falling in love with someone else. Some are capable of making space for their partner’s new connection to coexist with their own (as shown by the Mal, Yoly, and Xander love triangle in Episodes 5-8). Regardless of their openness to ethical non-monogamy, the ultimatums must be answered by the end of the season.

The answers were given in the finale, and the aftermath of said decisions is shown in the Episode 10 reunion. Here, we break down the relationship statuses of The Ultimatum: Queer Love‘s couples.

The Ultimatum: Queer Love, Available Now, Netflix

Lexi Goldberg and Rae Cheung-Sutton in 'The Ultimatum: Queer Love' finale
Courtesy of Netflix

Lexi & Rae

Broken Up

Lexi stayed mad about Vanessa for weeks, doing little work (at least on camera) to work through her anger. Rae tried her best to make Lexi comfortable and apologize, but Lexi continued to make Rae feel ashamed for the hookup. During a tense dinner with Lexi’s parents, her father pointed out that they were, in fact, broken up when the hookup took place. But Lexi fairly noted that Rae didn’t have to promise she wouldn’t hook up with Vanessa in advance, nor did she ask her to.

Lexi eventually stopped shaming Rae for this moment, but it caused a lot of stress that her anger didn’t allow much space to process. Rae was still paralyzed with indecision, never trusting herself to take a risk. She took a risk with Vanessa that she quickly regretted, but figuring out why she acted that way was hard to do when Lexi constantly made her feel like a bad person for it.

Eventually, the tension subsided, and they were able to arrive at decision day with ease. They both proposed to each other (Rae went first), and both said yes. They were happily engaged during the reunion, but a text slide at the end of the episode revealed that Lexi and Rae broke up not long after filming wrapped. They have been split up ever since.

Sam and Aussie in 'The Ultimatum: Queer Love' finale
Courtesy of Netflix

Sam & Aussie


Childhood trauma prevented Aussie from ever learning how to communicate properly. Sam, an experienced communicator, learned through her trial marriage with Tiff that she enabled Aussie’s poor communication by never questioning Aussie’s repeated need to shut down in the face of conflict emotionally.

Unwilling to budge on this front in their trial marriage, Aussie began to feel that Sam wasn’t being supportive, but it was just the presence of Sam’s new boundaries that made Aussie feel “unsafe.” Aussie told Sam they no longer felt “safe” with her after an emotional breakdown at lunch earlier that day. It was an unfair judgment, and Sam told Aussie as much.

Contrary to how Aussie handled the fallout with Mildred, Aussie returned home to talk things out after this fight led to another emotional shutdown. Aussie sobbed in a confessional interview while explaining how letting your past traumas influence your relationships unchecked will make you lose the people you love. Sam and Aussie’s communication issues started to improve from there, and Aussie expressed in a solo commentary that Sam was “the one.”

Aussie proposed to Sam in Episode 9, and Sam said yes. During the reunion, they shared that they’re taking their time before getting married but that is still very much the goal. They’re first choosing to tackle the difficult but ultimately rewarding task of revealing their relationship to Aussie’s family, which will serve as Aussie’s coming out to their family.

Tiff and Mildred in 'The Ultimatum: Queer Love' finale
Courtesy of Netflix

Tiff & Mildred

Broken Up

Another example of letting childhood traumas define current relationships, Mildred struggled to let anyone — Tiff, Aussie, whomever — speak their side without her disagreeing and interrupting. Having been abandoned by her mother when she was a toddler, Mildred pushes people away by breaking up with them often whenever she feels scared of being left in the relationship. And when she was scared (which was often, occurring basically anytime someone challenged her on her comments), it was nearly impossible for the other person to explain their side of the story.

Before their trial marriage, Tiff also instigated fights and spoke out of defensiveness. This was seen in their fight with Sam about where their dog, Shylo, would sleep, during which Tiff jumped to the conclusion that Sam hated dogs because she wasn’t sure about Shylo sleeping in the bed (she had never slept with a dog in her bed before, and therefore didn’t know how she’d feel about it). Tiff learned a lot about healthy communication through Sam and applied that to their talks with Mildred, but Mildred didn’t catch onto the same lesson. Mildred seemed to believe she was an expert communicator, but getting defensive when someone challenges your views is not healthy communication.

Mildred eventually realized the toxicity she was helping to create, acknowledging her part in the relationship discomfort with Tiff. They both seemed ready to get engaged after this resolution until Mildred revealed she never loved her first wife. This realization was made in hindsight after her divorce, but Tiff feared that Mildred would one day realize she wasn’t actually in love with Tiff either if they were to get married.

While it didn’t seem likely at the beginning of their decision scene, Tiff did end up proposing to Mildred, and Mildred said yes. They left the experiment happy, but the reunion revealed they had a painful breakup.

In the reunion, the toxic communication style that previously plagued their relationship had returned. They talked over each other, Mildred would rarely let Tiff get a word in, and through the tension it was at times difficult to figure out which story was true.

The catalyst for their breakup came when Mildred was arrested for throwing household furniture at Tiff in their shared home. Tiff struggled to defend themselves during the reunion fight, ultimately deciding to leave the stage and not come back.

Yoly and Mal in 'The Ultimatum: Queer Love' finale
Courtesy of Netflix

Yoly & Mal

Broken Up

Mal left the first trial marriage ready to recommit to Yoly. Yoly, as explained, had a change of heart. The Xander issue became a big point of contention for Yoly and Mal, though notably not for Yoly and Xander, who kept easily kept their interactions respectful and mindful.

However, Mal tried to show Yoly that Xander wasn’t as committed to her as they were. At the cocktail hour, Mal asked Xander if they were choosing Yoly over Vanessa (Vanessa and Yoly were both brought into this conversation). Xander said they were choosing themselves at that moment by declining to answer, noting that it was not the decision day that Mal respected.

Yoly struggled with Mal showing a change in behaviors (in physical labor around the shared household and other upkeep things) during the experiment, but not earlier in their relationship (although, did she not bring Mal onto the show in hopes of engendering those changes?). Xander, Yoly said, was already doing all of those things. Mal justifiably questioned how their three years together could compare to Yoly and Xander’s three weeks.

In a tense meet up with Mal’s friend, Alicia (whom viewers previously saw meet Lexi), Yoly revealed details about her relationship with Xander she previously kept secret. Yoly wanted children, and she wanted them soon. Mal knew this before going on the show, but Yoly never revealed that she and Xander had begun financial planning for their potential family together outside the experiment.

Mal had started saving for family planning but hadn’t put as much aside as Xander had, which inexplicably made Yoly judge Mal’s financial status. She claimed she wasn’t judging Mal’s finances, but she clearly also saw Xander as a more fitting parent because of their increased savings. It takes you back to Mal’s original concern: Does Yoly want to marry Mal for Mal, or does Yoly want to get married to whomever is the most ready for marriage and kids? It seems that Yoly may want someone who wants what she wants and wants it right now, whereas, with Mal, it would take a few more years to be financially ready for IVF.

Despite it all, Mal still chose Yoly. Episode 8 ended with Mal proposing, and Episode 9 revealed that Yoly said yes. But in her meetup with Xander afterwards, Yoly admitted that it wasn’t a dream scenario, saying that walking away from Xander felt like walking away from her real “love.”

The reunion revealed that Yoly and Mal broke up not long after getting engaged after old patterns resurfaced. After watching the episodes, Mal said she learned things that Yoly didn’t disclose, saying that Yoly exhibited a history of lying in the episodes. She said Yoly is still family to her, but that she feels like a “dangerous stranger” because of the unexpected reveals from watching the season. Yoly apologized for things withheld, but more things would be revealed later in the episode (see the Yoly and Xander slide below for more).

Vanessa and Xander in 'The Ultimatum: Queer Love' finale
Courtesy of Netflix

Vanessa & Xander

Broken Up

Xander seemed genuine in their attempts to reconnect with Vanessa in the trial marriage, but that desire only came out after Vanessa poured her heart out on a hot air balloon ride. Xander promised not to talk to/flirt with Yoly anymore during their trial marriage, but that promise went out the window during the Episode 7 cocktail party.

Vanessa’s trial marriage with Rae made her realize that she didn’t want to lose Xander, which changed her perception and timeline of marriage. She was now willing to give it a shot with Xander, but this desire was questioned by her own father in an Episode 8 meetup that Vanessa said broke her heart.

Xander and Vanessa updated Vanessa’s dad on the trial marriages and their struggles within them. But Vanessa’s dad wasn’t convinced she really wanted to marry Xander. Rather, he felt her ego was kicking in and making her act in uncharacteristic ways in order to avoid being rejected by her partner of four years. Speaking from personal experience, he said he once stayed with a partner longer than he should have because (and he didn’t realize it at the time) he didn’t want to be rejected by that person. That fear trumped his actual feelings, which told him he wasn’t really in love with that person. He saw that experience reflected in his daughter’s trial marriage.

Through all of this, Xander didn’t tell Vanessa that they practically asked Yoly to marry them during the Episode 7 cocktail hour. Unsurprisingly, Xander and Vanessa broke up on decision day, but it wasn’t easy for either of them.

During the reunion, Vanessa and Xander revealed they hadn’t spoken since their breakup, but that they missed having each other as friends and hoped to rekindle that friendship.

Vanessa did force Yoly and Xander to disclose their post-filming meetup that Mal didn’t know about. Vanessa painted it out as if Xander and Yoly seriously dated after filming wrapped, but in reality they met up once at Coachella and continued to talk after. Yoly was also cagey about the half-baked plans they had made for Yoly to visit Xander in Hawai’i, where both they and Vanessa lived before and after filming.

Yoly and Xander in 'The Ultimatum: Queer Love' reunion
Elisabeth Caren/Netflix

Yoly and Xander

Broken Up

One of Mal’s holdups, when it came to marrying Yoly, was that Yoly falls in love easily. Mal felt that Yoly didn’t show how their relationship was different from her others. Yoly’s trial marriage with Xander supported Mal’s argument. The two quickly fell in love, supported by being in the same emotional places in their lives (something they both felt they lacked in their other relationships).

They were the only trial marriage couple to truly fall for each other, which is fascinating when you factor in the fact that they’re both ultimatum issuers. Their closeness remained a consistent issue when Yoly moved back in with Mal and Xander with Vanessa.

In the second trial marriages, Yoly struggled to make space for her feelings for both Mal and Xander, and it led to a return to romance and intimacy for her and her original partner. Mal was exceedingly patient and understanding of Yoly’s love for Xander and notably (and impressively) was not threatened by Xander’s reciprocated feelings.

While Xander was trying to make it work with Vanessa, they were concealing how much they missed Yoly. At the cast cocktail hour in Episode 7, Xander and Yoly confessed they were still in love with each other and considered leaving the experiment not only together but engaged.

Come decision day, Yoly left with Mal and Xander left solo. They both struggled with this, and at one point it seemed as if Yoly was going to go back on her decision to marry Mal and leave with Xander instead.

I think picking myself would be picking you, and I’m so conflicted in that,” Yoly said to Xander on decision day.

In the reunion, Xander seemed happy to have left on their own in hindsight, because it forced them to grow. As for Yoly, she feared her window for carrying children was soon closing, but that she was evolving her personal definition of what motherhood looked like.