The surprising reason more women are testing their partners with viral TikTok challenges

A puzzling trend is taking over the platform in which women ask their partners to prove their competency.

If you’ve been on TikTok recently, you’ll have likely noticed an increasing amount of new trends relating to women "testing" their male partners. According to the creators of these trends, and the thousands of users providing their two cents in the comments section, it’s quite simple to test the adequacy of your partner’s affection and devotion.

Is he committed to you? Ask him to think of a female name, any female name, and hope that it’s yours that comes to mind first. Is he considerate and loving? Ask him to peel an orange for you. Is he competent in domesticity? Spill ketchup on the kitchen bench and ask him to clean it.

A man holds oranges (left), a woman squirts ketchup (centre) and a couple sit on a lounge (right).
Trends which test men's competency have taken over TikTok, but do they really give us the information we're craving? Source: TikTok

While seemingly all in the name of good fun – and views – the boyfriend-testing trends also speak to the weight women place on stranger’s opinions, particularly when it comes to relationships. But do these tests actually have any merit?

Videos with the hashtag #orangepeeltheory have racked up millions of views on TikTok, where the trend has creators asking their significant other to peel an orange for them. In short, the theory is designed to test your partner’s response – if they say yes, it’s supposedly a sign of unconditional love and care. If they say no, you’ll probably be left to defend your boyfriend or husband’s honour in the comments. Similarly, other TikTok trends have also seen women inviting viewers on the app to judge the competency of their partner.

First, there was the "name a woman" challenge. Now, the ketchup theory is the latest in these viral relationship tests, where women test their partner’s ability to … clean? If TikTok is anything to go by, the bar for heterosexual men has well and truly hit the floor

But why are these challenges so popular? Journalist Jareen Imam explained in a TikTok video with more than 8 million views that a desire to obtain social media popularity is partially to blame, as is the proclivity for assuredness and “certainty in an uncertain world”.

Clinical psychologist and MVS Psychology Group director Max Von Sabler echoed this sentiment, noting that this public testing of male partners may actually reflect a broader societal shift to seeking validation from online communities.

“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,” Von Sabler elaborated.


Women have been demanding 'loyalty tests' for years

While TikTok has increased the popularity of these kinds of public investigations, the concept is also not new. Since the dawn of the digital age women have turned to internet strangers to assess their relationships – think of YouTubers and women in Facebook groups who have been performing "loyalty tests" on their partners and those of others for years.

Von Sabler highlighted that these theories and tests could also be classified as basic association tasks, which psychologically speaking can have wildly varying results, reducing their credibility. “Unless you’re a trained psychoanalyst in interpreting the unconscious mind, I would hold off making life choices around these,” he said.

“Public-facing challenges can also undermine authenticity and privacy which are often essential for the health and function of a relationship, not to mention that they shift the focus from internal communication and something geared around trust-building, to an external validation test.”

That being said, it’s probably in the best interest for our private relationships to keep them, well, private. Relationship testing theories are fun on a basic level, but let’s leave the analysis and judgement to the experts.

Subscribe to our new MAFS newsletter and follow us on Facebook, Instagram and TikTok. Got a story tip? Email us at