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Sure, You're Dating Him... But Can You Trust Him?
Millennials are hiring people to conduct “cheating tests” on their partners. Do such tests really assuage relationship worries? Or do they reveal how little trust the partners had to begin with—and even constitute entrapment?
Do you trust your partner? If you hesitated before answering, worry no more. There is a new way to test his or her devotion. For $50-$100, Loyalty-Test users can hire “testers” to flirt with their partners on Instagram. The hired seducer will send screenshots of the target's replies. According to the company, 44% of women and 67% of men flirt back.
These “cheating tests” started on social media, especially TikTok. People will pay influencers to flirt with their partners and film the reaction. The videos rack up millions of views. Loyalty-Test sees these schemes as a money-making opportunity. The company is less than a year old and, so far, has 32 “testers” and 1K paying customers.
This new market opportunity takes advantage of Millennials’ aversion to personal risk taking in a world in which they fear, far more than older generations, that “most people can’t be trusted.” Young adults yearn for close and permanent relationships, while also dreading the prospect of betrayal and loss. Some way of testing or “insuring” a relationship before marriage would naturally appeal to them. This fear of failure is also driving the rising share of young adults who now avoid dating apps (see “Users Grow Cold on Dating Apps”) and who sign prenuptial agreements. (See “Millennials Turn to Prenups.”)
One problem, unfortunately, is that distrust fosters distrust—just as surely as trust fosters trust. Think of it this way. If you so distrust your partner that you need to put him or her to the test, is that not a sign that your relationship may be weak to begin with? Or, to put it a somewhat darker way, might it not indicate that neither of you knows what it is to trust someone—and possibly even that distrust explains why the two of you are attracted to each other?
This leads me to a related thought. In law, entrapment is a viable defense when the criminal conduct (and here I’ll quote the Virginia Supreme Court in Johnson v. Commonwealth, 1971) “was the product of a 'creative activity' that implants in the mind of an otherwise innocent person the disposition to commit an offense." The basic idea, incorporated into the Lord’s Prayer (“lead us not into temptation”), is that—weak as we are—we should not do to others what we pray that God will not do to us.
Here’s where I get stuck on the fundamental ethics of Loyalty-Test. If hiring attractive people to hit on your significant other doesn’t constitute a “creative activity,” I’m not sure what does.
Did You Know?
Who’s Getting Inked? According to a new Pew survey, 32% of Americans have a tattoo. But rates differ significantly by demographic category. By gender, women are more likely than men to have a tattoo (38% vs. 27%). By race, blacks are the most likely to be inked (39%), followed by Hispanics (35%), whites (32%), and Asians (14%). By education, those with a high school degree or less are almost 2X more likely to be tatted than those with a postgraduate degree (39% vs. 21%). And by age, 30- to 49-year-olds (late-wave Xers and first-wave Millennials) are the most likely to have a tattoo (46%), followed by those in their 20s (41%). Unsurprisingly, these shares drop off among older age brackets. All in all, 80% of Americans believe society has become more accepting of tattoos over the last 20 years.
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