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Why the TikTok Loyalty Trend is Unhealthy

Why the TikTok Loyalty Trend is Unhealthy

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One Love Heart Blue

[vc_column_text]Written by Writer’s Corps member Sydney

As one of the biggest social media platforms of the past decade, TikTok has brought some generation-defining trends related to food, dancing, and pranks. Recently, the “relationship” side of the app brought us the “Loyalty Check” challenge for couples to knowingly (or unknowingly) participate in. But what is the “Loyalty Check” challenge?

“Loyalty Check”: The TLDR

A “loyalty check” is an act of manipulation that a person does to see whether their partner is “loyal”, i.e. not, open to infidelity or cheating. On TikTok, this test manifests through users asking other individuals on the platform to direct message their partner and strike up a conversation. Unbeknownst to Partner B, Partner A is enlisting people to flirt with their partner in order to gauge their reaction. While the defined success of a loyalty check depends on the person, the consensus of a “passed” loyalty check is having your partner display no interest in direct messages from strangers. 

If Partner B prolongs a conversation or goes about interacting with these other users in real life, they presumably lack loyalty and dedication to their current partner. Therefore, they “fail” the loyalty check, and the results are often posted to Partner A’s account. At worst, a “loyalty check” gone wrong can lead to the end of the relationship. However, even at best, this trend is an unhealthy alternative to addressing existing feelings of insecurity.

What is a “Loyalty Check” Actually Doing?

Outside of the Internet zeitgeist, “loyalty checks” are a toxic means of addressing one-sided feelings of jealousy that exist in a relationship. However, these scenarios create an unhealthy environment where instead of addressing their issues head-on, one partner manipulates the other behind their back. This attempt to catch their partner cheating could create feelings of betrayal. While the partner initiating the loyalty check wants to evaluate the trust in their relationship, the very concept of a loyalty check displays a lack of trust. Jealousy is perfectly normal to feel in a relationship and anyone can feel this way in their relationship.

However, how you address those feelings is important and the difference between you falling into unhealthy relationship behaviors. Through loyalty checks, participants are putting more trust into strangers on the Internet to intentionally strain their relationship rather than trusting their partner enough to communicate their feelings. Additionally, loyalty checks could lead to misunderstandings because people may have different interpretations of what “cheating” is. To one person, a violation of loyalty may be explicit flirting, the exchange of intimate pictures, or stated intentions to meet up in the real world. To another person, a loyalty check could be failed by simply accepting a message request rather than outright deleting it. 

How Do I Approach my Relationship Insecurity?

Yet, everyone can feel insecure in their relationship even if their partner is displaying healthy relationship signs. Mistrust can evolve into feelings of doubt, uncertainty, suspicion, and anxiety that can manifest in the worst way. So what are some ways to address insecurity other than a “loyalty check”?

  • Take stock of your own feelings of mistrust. Look at the reasons that you are feeling mistrust, how these feelings are manifesting in your relationship, and whether you feel comfortable being vulnerable enough to address them.
  • Assume the best of your partner! People make mistakes, but it is possible to accept something as a mistake without questioning intentions right off the bat.
  • Be open and honest with your partner by talking about your insecurities. Try to communicate why you are struggling with trust and how you can build trust in your relationship. Regularly checking in or reflecting on your relationship can go a long way!
  • Try talking about the consequences that come with carrying out a “loyalty check,” such as the possibility of their partner getting upset, wanting to end things, or also the pain/hurt that they’ll feel if the loyalty check doesn’t work.
  • If there are specific problems in the relationship that developed feelings of insecurity/jealousy and the need for a “loyalty check”, make sure to address them in your relationship so they don’t “snowball” into other problems.
  • Trust your gut, and have confidence in your perceptions of possible red flags. If something feels off about your relationships, don’t let that sit and ask those questions and don’t 
  • If you have access to therapy (and feel comfortable enough to share), use that as an outlet to voice any past traumas, unhappiness, or problems that could be hindering the healthiness of your relationship.