Where once you had to unearth your partner’s infidelity via reality shows like Cheaters or Maury, TikTok sleuths are now here to do it for you. And instead of hiring a camera crew and doing days-long detective work, all these TikTok creators have to do is DM the suspected cheat. But, unlike in Cheaters, where the partner is usually caught in the act of cheating, TikTokers conduct what they call “loyalty tests” — or, as the phenomenon is more traditionally known, set honey traps.
These videos typically follow the same structure: A person requests a loyalty test on their partner, the honey trapper then DMs the suspect, flirts with them and asks them if they have a partner. Usually the test ends after their response to this question (whether they tell the truth or lie), but occasionally, the trapper arranges to meet the suspect and sends the scorned partner instead to confront them. These tests have become so popular — amassing nearly 900 million views on TikTok — that many creators now get paid to do them. Some popular TikTokers even do sponsored loyalty test videos, like @aye_its_emilyy, who collaborated with male grooming company Manscaped to give away a free ball trimmer. Dystopian!
In one of Emily’s videos, a girl reached out to her with concerns that her boyfriend was cheating. She said he recently changed his phone password and started saying it would be an “invasion of privacy” if his girlfriend were to go on his phone. Before this, she added, they were always “allowed” to look at each other’s phones. “I’m really worried that he’s hiding something,” she wrote to Emily. “Please help.”
So, Emily DM’d the boyfriend, opening with a message complimenting his tattoos. After the boyfriend thanked her, the pair discussed their locations, tattoos and then exchanged flirty messages. “I just wanna make sure you don’t have a girlfriend or anything cause I don’t want any drama,” Emily wrote, to which the boyfriend replied, “No I don’t, don’t worry,” adding that the girl in the photos on his Instagram — who was his girlfriend — was his “sister.”
Most other loyalty-test creators’ videos are similar, but each scenario can be wildly different. In one clip shared by regular tester @danibosey, a girlfriend requested a test on her boyfriend, despite saying she doesn’t think he would cheat. However, when Dani went to DM him, she found that he’d been replying to her stories for over a year — sending fire emojis, complimenting her and asking if she’s single. It’s not just girlfriends testing their boyfriends, either. Many men are also paying for TikTokers to honey trap their partners, with @iceyxavier and @lawrenceobioma being among the most popular choices.
Not all of the videos are bad, though — some partners pass their loyalty tests with flying colors. In a video posted by @monaemooree, the suspect boyfriend accepted the tester’s DM but immediately sent a screenshot of it to his girlfriend, telling her: “Babe, I accepted a request from a girl but only ‘cause I couldn’t see her message request.” In a particularly unusual technique in one of Emily’s clips, a suspected cheating boyfriend replied to Emily’s DM telling her to text his number as he’s “not on Insta a lot,” but sent her his girlfriend’s number instead of his own.
There’s several flaws with these so-called “loyalty tests.” First of all, if those doing them gain too much of a following, they’ll be too recognizable to get away with honey trapping — evidenced by the fact that there’s already videos on TikTok of guys catching testers. Secondly, just because your partner doesn’t arrange to cheat with a stranger on Instagram, it doesn’t mean they’re not cheating with someone else. Them talking to a stranger also doesn’t mean they’ll actually go through with meeting them — sometimes, people just like to flirt and fuck around, that that’s the facts.
But, most importantly, doing this is depressing! Not only will it worsen your trust issues if you already have them (or give you them if you don’t), but the people doing it are profiting off your misery and contributing to a weird, growing culture of distrust, jealousy and pettiness.
Want my opinion? Just catch your partner cheating in the regular way: by making them do a lie detector on daytime TV. Whatever happened to tradition?