“little-girl” routine

Her “little-girl” routine gets her what she wants

Q. I’ve been dating my new girlfriend for almost two months and I’ve noticed that she puts on this “little girl routine” whenever she doesn’t get her way. I’ve seen little examples of her doing it with her parents and even a couple of her friends, and now it’s creeping over to me. I like this chick, but I have no clue how to put up with ‘the princess’ without it blowing up in my face.

A. She’s sugar and spice and everything nice, but only as long as she gets her way. If you buy into the childish behavior that allows her to get away with virtually anything she wants, you’ll only have yourself to blame in the end.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out how such spoiled, self-indulgent brats get to be the way they are; in fact, it’s actually quite simple. As children and teenagers, we learn to push boundaries to see how much what we can and can’t get away with. Those of us who honed this method well figure out how to wear down practically anybody we wanted something from – be it parents, friends, or boyfriends. Every time these naive or exhausted individuals caved to the little darling’s demands, they sealed their own fates by teaching them that whining, goading and ‘baby-talk’ are the easiest ways to get things done.

It may seem like quite the task to turn over a spoiled girlfriend, but if there’s any hope of you sticking it out in this relationship without losing your mind, you need a game plan. The rules that apply to a tantruming toddler are very applicable to your little princess:

1. Ignore her bad behavior and only reward the positive – a woman who’s got her little girl routine down to a tee knows that one of the keys to success is to tirelessly wear down the opposition, even if it takes days or even weeks. Aside from the fact that you’re probably nuts if this is your idea of what a girlfriend is supposed to be, your strategy should be the same as hers; stick to your goals and don’t give in to the opposition, even if you have to take some flak for a while.

2. Set boundaries – just because your needy girl had a bad day and really, really wants you to come over doesn’t mean you have to go running, especially when she knows darn well that Wednesday nights are always poker nights – and you looove poker night. Of course there are times when exceptions can be made, but she has to be grown up enough to get through some of life’s little humps on her own. You can debrief over the phone or stop by for a quick visit, but don’t sacrifice the extracurricular activities that are important to you just for the sake of appease her little girl act.

3. Don’t fall for her act … even if she cries – crying is an inconsolable girlfriend’s ultimate weapon. Unfortunately, she won’t get anywhere in the real world by shedding tears, and you buying into it only reinforces her misguided beliefs. If it feels like she’s being unreasonable in her demands but you don’t have the patience to explain why you’re not going along with them, take a timeout and remove yourself from the situation. Use a line like, “I don’t feel comfortable discussing this issue until both of us are calmed down”.

Ultimately though, it is hard for people to change – even if they want to! If she has always got what she wants this way, then she may not be willing or able to alter. If that’s the case you have an uphill, if not impossible, task. Talk to her about all this – and if she is willing to try, then give her some time and patience (but stick to your guns). If all this still fails to change her act, then (frankly) it is time to look elsewhere! 

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