The Test

by Dr. Dennis W. Neder

Whew! The first date was tough. The second was easier - and more fun. The third found you in bed with her. Somehow after 3 more dates, you two are a couple. Now, something has come up that directly affects or might even prevent your relationship from moving forward - what do you do?

Why Can't a Woman Be More Like a Man?

From birth, women begin studying relationships. This continues the rest of their lives. Men on the other hand get very little relationship training before "hitting the field". When relationship issues come up, women expect men to handle them at a woman's level. Frankly, men just don't have the tools to do this. So, they end up making a bad situation worse, committing to more than they wanted to or worse yet, lying.

The Test

"The Test" is that unexpected, unexplained, quirky situation inflicted on a man by a woman right about this time in the new relationship. It can take many forms - from not calling when she promised, to "forgetting" a date, to pulling something so egregious that it knocks the man right off his chair.

Make no mistake about it - women learn to "test" their men from very early in their relationship training. Think not? My friend, then you're just the kind of guy that walks in front of the target! "The Test" is so pervasive in the dating world that it is even looked at with humor. In fact, it is so common that most people (men AND women) don't even realize that it happens! You've seen movies and television, read books and articles, etc. where it is dealt with as "that cute situation" a man is placed in order to win his woman.

Do men test women? Yes - it sometimes happens, but not very often. The reasons for this are: 1) Men don't really know how to test women; 2) The Test is designed to pre-qualify a love interest, and frankly, men aren't choosy in the same ways as women; 3) Men use other techniques to win their loves; and 4) Men often assume (incorrectly!) that women think the same way they do. When men DO test women, it is usually because of a low self-image or they don't really have an interest in the woman in the first place. Women test because of a desire to be with the "right" man (Mr. Right)!

Women want men that can pass their tests. This shows them that their man is strong and capable and worthy of their affection. Fail the test and you're either going to get more tests, or lose the woman altogether.

Recognizing the Test

How do you know when you're being tested? Frankly it can be difficult - unless you pay very close attention. I recommend that men ask themselves first, "does this event make sense in the context of the situation?" and second, "would my best friend do this same thing?" If your answer is "no" to these questions you're probably being tested.

Tests take many forms but they all have the same pattern. If you can begin to recognize the patterns, you will see the tests when they come. Here are the things to look for:

- Something that seems totally out of context for her based on previous behavior

- Something that seems totally out of context for the situation

- Your reaction (or lack of one) will likely lead to a critical relationship "event" or other drama

- You are being expected to "jump through a hoop" unnecessarily or for no apparent reason

- If you don't react, you're likely to loose respect by her, or by others that she includes in your test

There are far too many examples of tests to cover them all here. For specifics check my website at: Suffice it to say that, if an unexpected situation meets any or all of the above, you're probably getting The Test.

Passing the Test

Tests are not problems to be solved. They are situations created to determine how you will react. Thus, try to keep in mind the following:

- You're not in the relationship to cater to her whims

- You deserve respect and consideration in all of your dealings with her

- You can expect that she will support you and not cause you to look bad in front of your friends, family, co-workers, etc.

- If you get angry, or loose your head, you'll fail the test

- Your goal is to deal with it and put the impetus on HER - let her next action be the deciding one!

- Resolve up front to walk away if things aren't resolved satisfactorily.

Whoops! You Blew The Test!

I've talked to many men that have failed their tests miserably. What now? First, review what happened. Don't get angry - understand that she wants you to pass, but you're going to have to work harder. Next, decide that you're going to be the leader in your relationship - the "captain of your ship" as it were. Thus, you'll be in position to steer the test the next time it comes up. Finally, be ready! You're going to get tested again!

Good luck!

Got a love, relationship or man/woman question? I answer all letters. You can write to me at for answers. For more information about my book, "Being a Man in a Woman's World", visit: