This can take a lot of forms from acting like a bossy little girl, to being suddenly cute and saccharine, to being whiny. In any case, it comes down to making requests of you that will put you out to meet them. From “hold my purse”, to “Baby would you get me some water pleeeease?”, to “I am soo exhausted, and the couch is soo comfy, I want a glass of wine soo bad, could you help me out?” they are all manipulation.
When a woman makes an unreasonable request of you, she is trying to see who is wearing the pants. If she can use sex, whining, or just plain rudeness to get what she wants, it isn’t you. And the ironic thing is, she really hopes it is you, because she is feeling pretty insecure when she is making these requests.
Now, this is not the same as a polite request for you to do something that would be perfectly reasonable given the circumstances. Asking you to hold her purse while she is going to the change room, or needs to pick your toddler up is not the same as thrusting it into your chest so she can look at the knicknacks on the shelves a little more easily. Do a quick reality check before you decide whether this is a reasonable or an unreasonable request.
If it is unreasonable, find an appropriate way to so “No.” Telling her to do what she is asking for herself is showing her that you are not easily led and manipulated. That means that while she can’t boss, whine, or seduce you into doing something for her, neither can your boss, your kids, or the hot new secretary at work. That makes her feel a lot safer.
This is also a good chance to be funny as you handle her. Saying “No.” with a light touch and a sense of humor invites her to play, which will make the generalized insecurity she is feeling fade.
The absolute best guide on how to handle unreasonable requests can be found in Athol Kay’s video series”The Married Guy’s Guide to Wife Part 1″.
Down-Talking in front of Friends
Occasionally a woman forgets that she isn’t in junior high school anymore and starts using cutting remarks to make herself look better by making you look worse. Sarcasm, snark, jokes at your expense to her girlfriends, or worse yet, in front of yours can cause major damage to a relationship.
This is something most girls learn to do around eleven or twelve years old when they are trying to establish their status within a group. Not every girl plays this game, and many don’t play it well, but it is a powerful part of teen girl culture in general, and when a girl who does know how to play the game feels like she is out of place, being ignored, or is not getting respect from the group she is in, it is an old strategy that can resurface.
When you are dealing with anyone else doing it, the best response is to give as good as you get, but not to instigate those kinds of games yourself. This puts you in a high-status position, and discourages people from trying to manipulate or abuse you, while still showing that you are mature. Doing the dozens with a good sense of humor is best, so that you don’t accidentally make enemies.
But when your woman does it, giving as good as you get can backfire on you: you can end up publicly humiliating her, and causing a rift in your relationship. If you are confident that you can do so in a way that will make her laugh with everyone else, you can try, but if you are not a master of comedic retorts, you may want to play it safe.
The alternative is then to refuse to play, either by acting aloof and above her games, or to call her on it gently, so that she knows she’s out of line and playing with fire.
Acting aloof keeps her from getting any satisfaction from her cutting remarks, and if done well, makes her feel foolish for having tried to engage you. The person who doesn’t care what others say has far more status than those who do care. Interestingly that will also help banish her insecurity, because having a man who has high status gives her high status as well.
calling it on her is a variation on the assertive tools we have already been using, but you have to use a light hand here to avoid costing her even more status by humiliating her, which will only feed even more insecurity and lead to nagging, IFYK,IWTY, or some other form of emotional game playing. Some examples are:
- “We’re a team dear, no team killing.”
- “I don’t think you want me to start playing this game.”
- “Be nice, you have to live with me.”
- “You don’t win points making your husband look like an idiot, then people ask what kind of idiot married him.”