TikTok loyalty trend: What is 'dangerous' test, and why experts think it may mean the end of your relationship

TikTok's loyalty test trend has been called "dangerous" by experts, who warn that it may also be "damaging" to your relationship. Stock image by Adobe Photos.TikTok's loyalty test trend has been called "dangerous" by experts, who warn that it may also be "damaging" to your relationship. Stock image by Adobe Photos.
TikTok's loyalty test trend has been called "dangerous" by experts, who warn that it may also be "damaging" to your relationship. Stock image by Adobe Photos. | JustLife - stock.adobe.com
Several experts have warned that taking part in TikTok's latest viral trend, the 'loyalty test' could be damaging for your relationship

Relationships are an integral part to all of our lives, and as a result the topic of relationships dominates our conversations. They are also central to many TikTok trends - and the latest is called the 'loyalty test'.

Other relationship-based social media trends include the ketchup theory, the orange peel theory, the invisible string trend theory, the moon phase soulmate trend and the mascara trend, to name just a few. The new 'loyalty test' now has a huge 3.7 billion views, as people use the trend to find out whether or not they're in a union that can stand the test of time.

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But, this doesn't appear to be one of the many fun and harmless TikTok trends, as experts have warned that it could be "dangerous" and "damaging" to your relationship - in the worst case scenario it could even spell the end of your partnership.

Serena Novelli, certified intimacy, love and relationship expert, told NationalWorld: "While it may seem like a lighthearted prank, it can actually sow seeds of doubt and erode trust in a relationship. After all, healthy relationships are built on trust, communication, and mutual respect, not on social media experiments." So, what exactly is the 'loyalty test' and what do experts think about it? Here's all you need to know.

What is the TikTok 'loyalty test'?

The 'loyalty test' is used in romantic relationships, where one person carries out an act to find out if their partner is actually loyal - and faithful - to them. On TikTok, this test manifests through users asking other individuals on the social media platform to send a direct message to their partner, begin a conversation with them and then start flirting with them.

The partner who is being subjected to the test, let's call them partner B, is oblivious that their other other half, let's call them partner A, is putting them to the test and has asked someone to flirt with them so that they can judge their reaction. While the apparent success of a loyalty check depends on partner B's reaction, the general consensus from the TikTok community is a person has passed the 'loyalty test' if they have in no way engaged with the flirty message they have received.

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If partner B does engage in the conversation, however, they are said to lack loyalty and dedication to their partner. Therefore, they fail the 'loyalty test', and partner A will often post a video about their beau's failure of the test to their account.

If we are feeling insecure or vulnerable in a relationship then we might seek concrete proof that these feelings are valid, counsellor Georgina Sturmer told NationalWorld. The challenge, she says, is that it’s difficult to prove that someone is loyal as what we are really looking for is proof that they are not cheating on us. That’s where the idea of the ‘loyalty test’ comes in.  It’s when we ask someone else to message our partner and attempt to entice them into disloyal behaviour.

Relationship psychologist Mairead Molloy told NationalWorld that she believes the 'loyalty test' trend raises questions about trust, relationships, and the psychological dynamics at play. Trust is a fundamental pillar in any relationship, and deliberately testing it for public validation can have "damaging" consequences, she warns.

Depending on the outcome, a 'loyalty test' could lead to the end of the relationship. This could be because partner B has supposedly failed the test, but it could also be because, even though they have passed it, they have found out about partner A's actions and are unhappy about this. They may believe that partner A has been deceptive in their behaviour and may feel this is unacceptable. Partner A may also end the relationship, regardless of the outcome of the test, because they feel too insecure to continue with the relationship.

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Why people are taking part in the TikTok 'loyalty test'

If someone feels the need to test their partner’s loyalty it could mean a couple of things, according to sex and relationship therapist Rhian Kivits. They are:

  • They are insecure and worry that they will be cheated on. This could be more about the person’s trust issues or low self-worth than about their partner’s loyalty. Maybe they have been cheated on before or they’ve witnessed infidelity and they are afraid it’s going to happen to them. Maybe they worry that they are not enough for their partner and believe it’s inevitable that they will stray.
  • That they have evidence of disloyalty or have seen red flags that suggest their partner could be a cheat. 

Kivits also warns people to remember that if you have inherent trust issues, simply catching a partner out isn’t going to heal you. In fact, she says, it could make things worse. So, she advises, it is important to work through your insecurities, pick your partners mindfully, look out for red flags and learn to talk. 

What do experts think about the TikTok 'loyalty test'?

TikTok's 'loyalty test is a "dangerous thing" according to match-making expert and dating agency owner Siobhan Copland, who was interviewed by thortful. She says: “The loyalty check test is a dangerous thing to get into. If you must play detective to find out if your partner is loyal then that is probably enough of a sign that your intuition is telling you this isn’t the person you are going to end up with.

"There’s a huge trust risk here too, if you get it wrong and you’ve relied on something like TikTok to try and find it out, your partner will feel completely let down. These matters should be discussed privately before using a tool to intervene. Ultimately your intuition tells you something is off, so instead of playing detective, it is always best to follow your intuition.”

TikTok's loyalty test trend has been called "dangerous" by experts, who warn that it may also be "damaging" to your relationship. Stock image by Adobe Photos.TikTok's loyalty test trend has been called "dangerous" by experts, who warn that it may also be "damaging" to your relationship. Stock image by Adobe Photos.
TikTok's loyalty test trend has been called "dangerous" by experts, who warn that it may also be "damaging" to your relationship. Stock image by Adobe Photos. | JustLife - stock.adobe.com

Sturmer says the ‘loyalty test’ is a flawed way of testing whether our partner is being loyal to you. "It feels like entrapment," she explains. "f you’re thinking about entering into this type of test, I’d suggest that you should be careful what you wish for.  Consider how you might cope if you discover that your partner has been tempted into disloyalty, and consider how they will react when they discover your intentions."

Molloy adds that the public nature of the 'loyalty test' adds another layer to the dynamics of it. She says: "The pressure to display loyalty on a platform like TikTok can distort genuine emotions, leading to individuals putting on a show or a distorted behaviour  rather than a real or authentic expressions of commitment in their relationship.  It becomes crucial to discern between genuine relationship concerns and the influence of social media performance. She continues: "As society explores the developing scene of online connections, grasping the effect of such trends on trust, connection, and mental prosperity becomes central."

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Novelli warns that the 'loyalty test' can have "profound psychological effects on individuals and their relationships". "Engaging in, or being subjected to, such tests can trigger feelings of insecurity, jealousy, and mistrust," she says. "For the person initiating the test, it may stem from underlying fears of abandonment or a desire for validation. Meanwhile, the recipient of the test may experience feelings of betrayal or resentment, leading to a breakdown in trust within the relationship."

In addition, she advies that the public nature of these tests can amplify feelings of humiliation and shame as personal matters are being broadcasted for public scrutiny. The trend therefore not only undermines the foundation of trust in relationships but also takes a toll on individuals' mental well-being, she says.

What should you do if you think your partner may be disloyal?

Sturmer says that if you are concerned about your partner’s loyalty then it's best to figure out what’s going on without the help of strangers on TikTok. There are two levels to explore, she advises. The first, is what’s happening with your own emotions.  Perhaps you’re feeling anxious or jealous or frightened. You should ask yourself if you are being triggered by something that’s going on with your relationship or if are they signs of deeper rooted issues that you need to consider.  

The second thing to consider is whether your suspicions are warranted. Ask yourself if you have noticed any ‘red flags’. If so, she suggests you can you find a way to calmly communicate with your partner so that you can give them an opportunity to discuss the situation honestly.  

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Novelli adds that the solution lies in "good old-fashioned communication"."Sit down with your partner, express your concerns openly, and listen to their perspective," she suggests. "Together, you can work through any issues and strengthen your bond."

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