AKA determine how insecure you actually are.
No matter how long you’ve been with someone, the temptation to administer relationship “tests” can be so real. You know, those times you say or do something you don’t actually mean, just to see how the person you’re with will respond.
If their reaction is what you hoped it would be, you feel reassured and secure in your relationship, at least until something else comes to mind that deserves a test of its own. But if they don‘t respond in the right way?! Welp, at least then you know how they really feel, right?
With that in mind, here are 12 tests that will help you determine just how much your partner truly loves you.
1. Tell them you’re quitting your job and moving to Paris. Tomorrow.
The only appropriate reaction is, “Très bien, what time’s our flight?!” If they balk in any way, question why you would do something so huge without asking them, or otherwise show that you don’t have their 100 percent support, frankly you deserve better.
2. Delete all of their Facebook friends of whichever sex they’re attracted to.
What, like you’re going to give them a free pass to potentially look at anyone else they might want to sleep with? HA. Don’t even think about letting them do it—they should hand their laptop over so you make sure it’s handled properly. Really, it’s better that way.
3. Institute a new texting rule.
As in, you get to approve every text they send out. It’s actually adorable, because then you get to help them craft messages for everyone from their friends to their grandma! #SoBlessed #BestGirlfriendEver #Goals
4. Call them a bunch of times in the middle of the night, then don’t respond when they call back.
Scaring the sh*t out of someone is one of the easiest ways to see whether they really adore you. Even better if you can pick up, sound panicked and terrified, then hang up mid-sentence. If an army of emergency vehicles doesn’t show up at your place post-haste, that is literally your partner saying they don’t care if you die.
5. Buy a pet they’re allergic to.
Obviously not to the level of sending them into shock or anything! That would be uncalled for. But if their nose runs like a faucet any time they’re around a cat, come home with a surprise kitten one day! If they act annoyed, start crying about how you’re only trying to give a helpless animal a forever home, and they’re standing in the way of that, and you don’t know if you can be with someone so heartless. Problem solved.
6. Full-on make out with someone else when you’re out together.
Keep this one in your back pocket if whenever you flirt with someone your partner’s like, “It’s OK babe, I know you love me and just because you’re human doesn’t mean your attraction to other people goes away.” In what world???
7. Ask whether they’d rather save you or their mom from a burning building.
The response of “you, of course,” should be as swift as a certain crop-top wearing pop star who, as it happens, sings quite often about relationships.
8. Say you’ll be extremely upset if they get you anything for your birthday because you two are trying to save money.
Then have a meltdown if they don’t look through your internet history to see the earrings you’ve been checking on every ten minutes for a week, pick up a side job for extra cash, and surprise you with it. Slacker.
9. Occasionally stand them up on dates.
But hide out nearby so you can see how long they wait before bailing. If they leave sooner and sooner each time…well, let’s just say that’s not good.
10. Don’t quit fake a pregnancy.
But if you use condoms, almost do it. Tell them the condom got lost inside of you, and you need their help fishing it out. Ideally, you do this during some sort of natural disaster so you two physically cannot leave to go to the ob/gyn and have them do it for you, and then also you can send your partner out for Plan B to see how committed they are to your ownership of your body.
11. Stay up all night asking them deep, meaningful relationship questions when they have a huge work event the next morning.
12. “Break your arm” (lol, not really), and see how much they cater to you.
All you need to do is Google “how to fake an arm cast,” and you’re ready to experience the depths of their love.
OK, let’s be real.
Each one of the above ideas is inadvisable, ranging from mean-spirited to straight up dangerous. Even though relationship tests usually aren’t that extreme in real life, they’re generally still not the best way to figure out how someone feels about you.
“People feel tempted to test their partners because, for whatever reasons, they are questioning whether or not they can trust them,” Gary Brown, Ph.D, a licensed marriage and family therapist in Los Angeles, tells SELF. “These tests often backfire and actually can have the unintended consequence of doing damage to a relationship.”
That’s because testing someone brings about distrust in various ways. Maybe they find out and are upset that you don’t have faith in them, or maybe you don’t get the reaction you want, so you’re unsure of where you two stand.
That’s not to say some tiny tests aren’t OK!
In fact, something like resisting saying “I love you” first can be an adorable part of dating, especially when you’re nervous about opening up. And things like not calling or texting them (within reason) in an effort to see how often they reach out can be totally normal, and it can also help you see whether you’re on the same page.
But relationship tests that you feel sneaky about or that can hurt someone either physically or emotionally? Different story.
“Coming from a place of vulnerability is usually safer for both and more authentic than testing the other,” says Brown.
There are two main ways to get a better idea of how someone feels about you.
First, pay attention to how they treat you day-to-day when you’re not slinging unexpected relationship exams their way. Instead of looking at the grand gestures and speeches tests can prompt, pay attention to the little things they do, like walking the dog because even though neither of you will ever verbally acknowledge it, you’re still a little afraid of the dark.
The other tactic requires a bit more fearlessness on your part, but it can be well worth it.
“The very best way to build trust is to gather up the courage to talk about things that you might normally avoid,” says Brown. Yes, it’s easier said than done, but you should be with someone you feel comfortable airing these feelings with. “Couples who display courage typically have much better relationships and don’t feel the need to test one another to begin with,” says Brown.
While the way you bring it up will obviously vary based on your relationship, Brown suggests saying something like, “I need to talk to you about something that’s uncomfortable for me, and I’m feeling a little nervous. Can you help me out, here?” If your partner’s supportive, they’ll be all ears and let you know it’s safe to share your uncertainties. It’s scary, but you might get a stronger relationship as a reward.
This article was originally published at Self. Reprinted with permission from the author.