Is Testing Your Partner Ever A Good Dating Strategy? Not Really, And Here's Why

Some tests are worth using in a relationship, like an STD test before getting frisky or a gut check to gauge how you truly feel about your partner. But a quick search on Google or TikTok yields countless other relationship tests, from compatibility assessments to complicated loyalty checks. Some sneaky tests have even gone viral, like the used water bottle test or the friend DM test, both of which are meant to see if a partner is capable of cheating.


At first glance, tests that reveal whether a partner is truly committed can seem harmless and even necessary. After all, red flags are sometimes hard to see, and not everyone can be trusted (not to make you nervous, but a survey by Superdrug Online Doctor revealed that over 73% of people admit to lying to their S.O.).

Still, even if testing a partner seems like a good way to get to know them better, secret setups are more likely to harm your relationship than help it. Here's why these tests are a bad idea and what you should try instead.

Testing your S.O. can ruin your relationship

Trust takes time to build in a relationship, and setting up your partner — such as by giving an ultimatum or asking a friend to flirt with them to see if they cave — might seem like a speedy way to see if they're truly as loyal and loving as they seem. Unfortunately, testing a partner may only expedite a breakup. "People feel tempted to test their partners because, for whatever reasons, they are questioning whether or not they can trust them," Dr. Gary Brown, a licensed marriage and family therapist, told Self. "These tests often backfire and actually can have the unintended consequence of doing damage to a relationship." When a partner realizes you're creating relationship booby traps, they may sense that you don't have faith in them and might even feel manipulated.


Loyalty checks and other tests can also reflect deeper issues. As psychotherapist Tina Gilbertson wrote in Psychology Today, people who test their partners are typically looking for confirmation that they're cared for. But rather than doing this in a healthy, direct way, they set up passive-aggressive traps to conceal their real insecurities and low self-esteem. Keeping these issues under wraps makes it nearly impossible to ever get to the root of the problem, and over time, these inner doubts can start to sour the entire relationship.

An alternative to manipulative relationship tests

If you've ever tested your partner (or thought about it), don't beat yourself up — relationship insecurities, especially when damaged trust is at play, can bring out the worst in anyone. However, it's crucial to find other ways of coping with your insecurities. Kelley Kitley, a therapist who works with couples, told Cosmopolitan that self-awareness is the key to breaking the cycle. "Check your motive and assess what you're really looking for and ask for that. Use a direct approach and it will strengthen your bond." Dr. Gary Brown echoes this, telling Self, "The very best way to build trust is to gather up the courage to talk about things that you might normally avoid ... Couples who display courage typically have much better relationships and don't feel the need to test one another to begin with."


Part of the process is coming to terms with your own needs. You may require a little extra reassurance from your partner sometimes, or perhaps you need them to check in more often when you're apart. Accepting — and communicating — your needs can be difficult, especially if they weren't always respected in past relationships. However, it's the surest way to get the "proof" you need that your partner cares without relying on toxic tests.

If you're still having doubts, consider talking to a therapist or couples counselor to work through any insecurities or past betrayals that may still be sabotaging your love life.