The Real Reason Why Women Love Testing Their Husbands On TikTok

It seems there’s always a new “test” for husbands going around on TikTok. Why is that?

By Keelia Clarkson5 min read
Pexels/Pelageia Zelenina

On TikTok, new trends are invented on the daily. Sometimes, it’s a fun, mesmerizing dance to a catchy tune. Other times, it involves stitching an insane yet true story to another user’s video about not liking store-bought pesto. And other other times, it’s all about the newest way to “test” your husband – not on his knowledge of a particular subject, but instead how he reacts to something you do, say, or ask him to do.

The women of TikTok are constantly finding new tests to try out on their men. For a while, it was the ketchup test, where a woman would pour ketchup onto a counter and ask her man how he would clean it up. Then, there was the David Beckham dancing test. Then, there was the orange peel test. Then, there was the “name a woman – any woman” test. Then, there was the “calling my boyfriend my husband to see how he reacts” test. And by tomorrow, this list will be out of date, lacking the latest test to take over many a woman’s For You Page.

Some tests are relatively surface-level, silly, and meaningless, and capturing a candid response that will make the viewers laugh is the ultimate objective. But other times, the purpose of the test is to ascertain whether or not he’s a good guy, or if he’s faithful, or if he truly loves you. On tests like these in which the husband “fails” or doesn’t give what has already been deemed to be the correct response, the comments go something like this: “Girl that hurt MY feelings and he isn’t even mine,” and “Red flags everywhere,” and “Get rid of the man,” and “Girl, run. This man is not for you,” and so on and so forth.

One of the most interesting things? The “testing” trend typically only goes one way – women are the ones putting men to the test. While there are girlfriend and wife “reaction” videos, the relationship tests that take over the app for a week at a time aren’t normally geared toward men or instituted by men. You don’t see guys starting a “calling my girlfriend my wife to see how she reacts” trend at the same rate as the reverse. This brings us to an intriguing question: Why is it that women specifically seem to have a penchant for testing their partner? Why do countless women take part in these trends while there isn’t really an equivalent for guys? What is it about testing our men that is so enticing to us?

Why Women Are Always Testing Their Men

To begin with, some of the tests are pure fun. TikTok is all about entertainment, and it’s certainly entertaining to see how your husband will uniquely react to being asked to clean the ketchup off the counter. Some husbands use a paper towel, while others opt to lick it up. Knowing your husband’s method is like discovering which model you got.

But further than that, it points to our tendency as women to question the security of our relationships. The National Survey of Women reported that 82% of women expressed frequently feeling insecure about their husband’s love for them. We need to know that he’s in it for the long haul, that he won’t change his mind about us tomorrow, and that he really meant it when he said he loved us. And so, when we ask him to peel an orange for us and he won’t… Well, did he ever love us, or have the past few years been a lie?

Insecure people are characterized by a profound fear of rejection, and they resort to manipulative strategies to test their partner’s love.

“Insecure people (those with an anxious or avoidant attachment style) are characterized by a profound fear of rejection, and are therefore on the constant lookout for early signs of rejection, and they resort to manipulative strategies to test their partner’s love and care,” says Dr. Limor Gottlieb, a relationship psychologist.

To speak into this insecurity, many turn to TikTok, where they can ask their fellow woman’s opinion as to whether or not their man truly loves them. “I would consider that there may be an underlying insecurity for some and a desire for external validation – and that this actually showcases the significant impact that social media can have on personal relationships,” says Max Von Sabler, clinical psychologist and MVS Psychology Group director.

Whereas, a few decades ago, a woman might have turned to her friends or family for an outsider’s perspective on her relationship, today, it’s much easier to post a video online for the entire world to see and offer their opinions.

Is It a Good Idea To Test Him?

Everyone else is testing to see if their husbands will randomly dance along with them (which supposedly measures his affection for you), but should you? It looks fun – plus, you might get a viral video out of it. While some of these love tests are more innocuous than others, you might want to think twice before jumping on the trend train.

First, these relationship tests elicit strong opinions from random strangers on the internet – meaning, from people who have zero context for the relationship, you, and your husband’s life. And while you might think this could help them see something you don’t see, what’s actually more likely is that they’re projecting their own experiences onto yours. They’re making sense of your life using their grid of understanding, which may not be at all applicable to your circumstances. If they’ve dated bad guys in the past, they will more readily see any guy’s behavior as suspect – which they learned as a means of protecting themselves from making the same mistake again, but might not be relevant to your own experience with men.

Along with this, some of these tests are fun, but they don’t typically have much relevance to your boyfriend’s inner world, thoughts, or motivations. His reaction in the moment to his girlfriend calling him her husband isn’t necessarily the peek into his psyche that you might think it is. Sara Nasserzadeh, author of Love by Design and social psychologist told USA Today: “If you really think of it based on common sense, like psychological common sense, if I come out of context and say something to you that you didn’t expect me to say, you will be startled. … You will say, ‘Oh no, this is not true.’” 

Not dancing along with you doesn’t mean he’s plotting to break up; he might enjoy watching you jive more than he would enjoy joining in. Not peeling an orange doesn’t mean he wouldn’t care if you got hit by a bus tomorrow; there are likely endless ways he shows you love everyday that you’ve gotten used to. Testing him and expecting a very specific outcome or answer that’s based on how other guys on TikTok reacted is essentially inviting dissatisfaction into your relationship.

How These Tests Can Affect Him and the Relationship

We’ve covered how putting him through these love tests can affect you, but what about him? And what about the relationship as a whole? How can these trending TikTok tests impact the relationship moving forward?

Love tests can cause him to constantly wonder if he’s being tested again, making him second guess every little action.

For one, it can cause him to constantly wonder if he’s being tested again, to live with the knowledge that you could be recording his behavior (whether on your phone or just in your mind) and grading it or comparing it to someone else’s behavior. This can not only hurt him, but make him second guess every little action.

And as for the relationship? It’s possible that it could create emotional distance and even resentment between you two, especially when thousands of comments are calling him “trash” for what wasn’t so much evidence of his lack of love for you but his innocent reaction to something that confused him.

How To Feel More Secure without Testing Him

Putting your husband or boyfriend through TikTok tests isn’t always the best idea, but you still have that hankering to get him to prove his love to you. You still wonder if he really intends to stick around. You still want to make sure he’s as committed as you are. So what should you do?

First, you can challenge this need to have him prove his affection for you by peeling an orange and instead take note of all the ways he already shows it to you. Maybe it looks like always filling up the gas tank so you don’t have to, or it looks like listening to you vent about an issue at work and attempting to help you figure out a solution, or it looks like taking every opportunity to brag about you to whomever will listen.

Another idea? Dr. Gottlieb suggests talking to him. “Instead, try open and honest communication by admitting to your partner that you may have to be reassured at times. … Vulnerability creates deeper bonding. You’re trying to find more security in your relationship, and there’s nothing wrong with that if you go about it in a healthy way.”

Closing Thoughts

If your goal in asking your husband to clean up ketchup is to have a laugh, there’s no real issue. But if your goal is to put him through a test that he can fail, it might be a better idea to consider why it is you want to test him in the first place.

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