How and Why Women Test Men
And why they fail.
In essence, a woman will test men to find out if they have the traits she values the most in a partner. Very often, she’s interested in evaluating how much he’s paying attention to her and her needs, if he’s selfless, attentive and invested.
Women test for a partner’s ability to notice they need him without having to ask, and that’s where the “she wants me to read her mind” complaints usually come from.
Please notice: I’m not talking about the female plea for men to step up and pick up their share of the emotional labor involved in maintaining a household and a family as a couple.
Doing the dishes unprompted and taking up some of the childcare is not reading your female partner’s mind, it’s simply being an adult who actively contributes to running a healthy life as a couple.
I’m talking about those moments when she’s mad at you and you don’t know why.
She won’t tell you, because you’re supposed to know, but if she did, it would be something like, “I said I was cold and you didn’t offer me your jacket,” or “you saw me stretching to reach a can on the top shelf and you did nothing to help me,” or even “I stormed off in the middle of a discussion and you didn’t chase after me.”
These and other female frustrations arise when women test their men — and their men fail.
Men are often confused by women’s tests. They think:
“I was cold too. She knew it would be chilly at night, why didn’t she bring her own jacket?”
“She can reach the top shelf if she steps on the kitchen chair. It’s not hard.”
“How am I supposed to guess I should go after her? I thought the best thing to do was to give her some space.”
What they don’t see it’s what’s behind this confusing female attitude.
Translated, it would look something like this:
“I might be cold, but I’m ultimately interested in seeing if you can sacrifice some of your comfort for my well-being, and how much are you invested in protecting me and keeping me safe. In other words, can you be selfless?”
“I can drag the kitchen chair and pick up what I want myself, but I need to know if you can: a) be observant enough to notice I’m struggling; b) be proactive enough to take action and help me.”
“I can stay and finish our argument, but I’m anxious for us to make up and move on, and I need to see if you’re willing to put your ego aside and fight for me. I need to know how much you need me in your life.”
The mismatch between what women do, say and want, and how men react are the source of much misunderstanding and frustration, especially when men don’t “pass” the tests.
The worst part is that most women don’t even realize that what they’re doing our tests. They still do it, still expect a response, still get frustrated when their partners fail, but they often don’t even know why they feel that way.
Are these tests, then, silly and unnecessary?
Yes and no.
Testing men in that way seems hardwired in the female brain. Is it the manifestation of some ancient gene, trying to screen for attentive, selfless, invested men? That I can’t say. All I know is I have noticed myself unconsciously doing it, and immediately decided to pay more attention to my actions.
Immediately after I explained the concept of testing to my boyfriend, I noticed that not only was I testing him a lot, but also that many of my actions could be perceived as tests, but weren’t. Me trying to reach for something on the top shelf when he was around was obviously a test; getting lost as we drove both of us to a restaurant could be seen as a test (of his patience), but it absolutely wasn’t.
In hindsight, most of these tests are indeed quite silly, and once you’re aware of them, you tend not to use them as much. They are, however, still quite useful as far as measuring your partner’s responses goes, especially in the early stages of a relationship.
A girl can ask, “are you willing to be selfish, attentive and invested?” And any men can say, “yes.” But as we know, actions speak louder than words. That’s why women’s tests can’t simply be dismissed as “silly.”
Not to mention that men have their own ways of testing women.
In every human relationship, there’s a spoken and an unspoken language. Tests are part of that unspoken language.
There’s a reason why we test, often unaware of what we’re even doing in the first place: we each need particular reassurances, and we have our own tactics to obtain them. If it’s silly or not, it depends on what end of the test you’re on.
Women, remember: testing has its limits
While I don’t advocate becoming hyper-vigilant over your actions, I believe it’s reasonable to be aware of the moments in which you test your partner. Notice what kinds of tests you tend to lean on, and how often you do them.
If you have been feeling the need (even subconsciously) to test your partner too often, it might either be because he has been failing a lot, which makes you insecure about the relationship and wanting to test it even further; or, in case your partner consistently passes every test, continuing to test him might mean that you have deep insecurities and fear of abandonment that you should perhaps talk to a therapist about.
Testing is part of the unspoken language of a relationship (remember, men, do it too!), but these tests can’t tell you everything you need to know about your partner. It’s healthy to understand their limitations, understand what you’re doing and why, and ask yourself how much of it is reasonable. Sometimes, you can catch yourself in the act and cut your partner some slack.
Men, be aware: not everything is a test
If you act as if everything is a test, you’re guaranteed to fail.
Yes, women will test you, but not everything is a test. That’s not how women operate. If you’re always on your guard, expecting a test at every corner, you’ll not only become unnecessarily stressed out, but you’ll definitely fail.
Also, don’t worry about being anything other than yourself to “pass” any kind of test. When women test, they do it to look for traits they want in a partner. Pretending to have those traits is not only a disservice to her, but to yourself as well, as it will land you in a relationship that works in the short term, but that’s unsustainable in the long run.