Mental Health

TikTok’s Orange Peel Theory: Is It An Accurate Relationship Test?

Is the TikTok orange peel theory the right way to gauge the strength of your relationship? Keep reading to know whether you should stake your relationship on an orange, or how to grow from it.

By URLife Team
07 Feb 2024

We all feel grateful to our partners for the little things they do. Whether it’s bringing a glass of water at the end of a tiring day or saying ‘I love you’, bearing with your mood swings or giving you a good chumpy. And it’s these little actions that TikTok’s latest trend, the orange peel theory is all about.


But what’s with the orange peeling, and what does it signify? The trending TikTok experiment begins with asking your partner to peel an orange for you. If they do it with kindness and without hesitation, it's seen as an indicator of genuine love. Conversely, if they refuse, it's implied that their affection may be hollow and false. While this viral relationship test captured a lot of attention, many psychologists argue that summing up an entire intimate relationship based on orange peeling oversimplifies the complexities involved. Psychologists caution against seeing this as a definitive test of true love, emphasising that an entire relationship is more complex than actions with an orange.


Related Story: 5 Things A Psychologist Wants You To Prioritise In A Relationship


Instead, this experiment sheds light on certain aspects of a relationship, like our fears, insecurities, and desires. It's not about the orange itself but the emotions and reactions it triggers. How a partner responds might reveal deeper feelings, indicating areas of strength or potential challenges in the relationship. While it's not a foolproof love test, it does offer insights into the dynamics and emotional aspects of a connection.


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Is the Orange Peel Theory Legitimate?

All relationship dynamics differ, and your current relationship may not look like your last relationship either. So are the ways in which love and affection are expressed. It would be wrong to label a relationship ‘unhealthy’ if they refuse to peel an orange for you. They might believe that you are capable of doing it and should do it without any dependency.


The complexities of people's behaviours and the health of a relationship are influenced by various factors that can't be accurately captured through isolated acts. Relationships involve intricate dynamics that require consideration of communication, trust, understanding, shared values, and more.


Relying on online trends, such as the orange peel TikTok theory, to judge relationships can be detrimental. Assessing the strength of a relationship based on online fads may lead to misunderstandings and unnecessary doubts. Additionally, putting your partner to tests inspired by these trends can create unnecessary tension and might even under the foundation of trust and mutual respect.


Related Story: What are Healthy Boundaries and Why do we Need Them


5 Ways to Rekindle When You Feel Disconnected 

Our idea of passion or bringing back the missing spark in relationships or marriage is often distorted. Advertisements have ingrained the thinking that love is materialistic. These ads never fail to teach us that the perfect way of showing love is all about fancy getaways or pricey gifts, but that isn’t the case. Everyday moments matter the most.


Those little, seemingly meaningless moments? Like passing a cup of coffee, or just standing next to your partner when they’re preparing meals for you. They're the most meaningful of all.


Understand Each Other Love Maps

A love map as explained by Gottman, an American psychologist and professor at the University of Washington, is the mental representation we build of our partner's inner world, encompassing their dreams, hopes, fears, preferences, and any other details we can gather. The better we understand each other's love maps, the stronger our bonds will be. 


Understanding your partner isn't about mind-reading; it's creating a space for open sharing. Do you know their current worries, hopes, and aspirations? Their goals this year, and how have they evolved? Picture this:

  • Asking Questions: Instead of assuming, ask about their day. "How was your meeting?" or "What's been on your mind lately?"
  • Remembering Answers: Recall specifics, like their favourite book or the place they dream of visiting. It shows genuine interest.


Getting to know your partner is a lifelong activity; preferences change. For example, their favourite movie now might be a different genre from five years ago. Thoughtful questions deepen the emotional investment. Try asking, "If you could pursue any hobby this year, what would it be?"


Appreciate Micro-Moments

Words contain magic and can make your partner feel loved, appreciated and cared for. Imagine a scenario where you're on a double date with friends, and your wife begins sharing a story and you interrupt them saying “That’s a good story, but you always tell it wrong. Let me tell it for you .” Instead of dismissing their rendition, consider saying, "That's a good story, and you tell it uniquely. How about I add my perspective?" This way, you foster a sense of fondness and admiration, valuing her perspective while adding your own.


Instead of fixating on your partner's imperfections, embrace them. Take a moment to express appreciation for the little things they do right. It's about acknowledging these actions, like saying, “Thank you for doing the laundry; I noticed, and I truly appreciate it.”


With each acknowledgement, you're depositing emotional currency into your relationship's "Emotional Bank Account." Love thrives not just on grand gestures but also in those seemingly trivial moments of connection, where gratitude and recognition create lasting significance.


Respond Positively to Bids

Gottman describes bids as the fundamental building blocks of emotional communication. They come in various forms – big or small, spoken or unspoken – all seeking connection.


For instance, your partner might ask about your day at work, inquire about weekend plans, or simply request a water pass. They could express affection with a loving squeeze, a pat on the head, or a teasing wink.


Bids are often subtle because people fear vulnerability. Instead of saying, “Connect with me!” We ask questions, share stories, or extend a hand for connection, hoping for a reciprocal bond. It's a gentle way to seek connection without the direct plea of, "Connect with me, please!"

Responding positively to these bids is vital for nurturing emotional connection in a relationship. Acknowledging your partner's questions, stories, or gestures with genuine interest and engagement shows that you value their attempts to connect. Whether it's answering their inquiries about your day, reciprocating affection with a smile, or simply passing the water with attentiveness, these positive responses reinforce a sense of being heard and understood. 


Develop a Strong Spiritual Connection 

Strengthening your spiritual connection as a couple can significantly deepen your bond. Exploring spirituality together involves engaging in shared practices like meditation, mindfulness, or attending religious events. Acts of service can also enhance your connection. It's crucial to understand that spirituality doesn't necessarily imply adhering to a specific religion; it can encompass various beliefs. Respecting and supporting each other's spiritual journey is key. Encouraging open and honest discussions about your individual spiritual views fosters understanding and draws you closer, contributing to a more profound and lasting connection.


Enjoy Shared Activities

Discovering a shared activity can inject new energy into your relationship. Whether it's a hobby you both enjoy, trying out a cooking class, or embarking on a weekend hike, finding common ground fosters shared experiences. These activities not only create lasting memories but also provide a chance to learn more about each other's interests and preferences, strengthening your connection.


If distractions interfere with your quality time, it's essential to redirect focus to each other. Break out your favourite board game or indulge in a movie night – simple yet effective ways to rekindle the joy of being together.


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