Peeling Back the Layers: Beyond the ‘Orange Peel Theory’


You might have noticed this theory popping up on your social media- ‘predominantly Tik Tok – feeds in recent months. Known as the ‘orange peel theory’. Based on the idea that your partner is willing to peel an orange for you is a good way to gauge their appreciation and love. It’s rooted in the idea that of course you could peel it yourself but it’s sticky, it’s messy and so your partner peeling it without hesitation it’s a demonstration of how much they care. 

You could also be an indication of how they might respond to further requests: for example if they refuse to peel you an orange because you’re capable they might refuse to do you a bigger favor in the future. But when we hear this we have to ask ourselves a critical question does dismantling a fruit really indicate love?

ogrange peel
Image Courtesy of Pinterest.

The truth is, a complex romantic relationship cannot be summed up to how your partner responds to request to peel an orange. Any sort of pressure to question the authenticity of relationship because of this is not necessary either. And so, even though this Orange Peel Trend doesn’t necessarily help us gauge the strength and capacity of someone’s love,  what people hope to gain from it (i.e understanding of our fears and securities and desires) is still valid. 

It’s not to say that it’s entirely useless. We can often agree that love is blind and if we tend to ignore or minimize issues in our relationships, and even in our dynamic test like these can help us recognize issues, attitudes and behaviours in the relationship that might not be good for us and the sign of a love that is not there. 

However it cannot be understated that tests like these aren’t really fair. The fact of the matter is these moment clips that we see online and even just a test done between two people doesn’t account for a person’s mood in the  situation ,their personality, their love language, their intentions, and more. We are complex beings and tests like these boil that down and reduce us. 

communication jpeg
Image Courtesy of Pinterest.

There’s something interesting to be said here about communication because that’s what it is about at the end of the day.  We don’t really care about the orange, we want to know that they would do anything for us – big or small. This test is mostly done by  women in straight relationships – there could be additional dialogue about how women are socialised to be of service to others and it can be very challenging for a woman to recognize and even request for what she needs. So, in this male female combination, women can sometimes desire for a partner to be able to just know what they want intuitively to therefore bypass the discomfort of having to ask directly for what one needs.

And so when we peel back the skin the question being asked here is what is your capacity or desire to take care of me, are you here for me. You have to ask yourself what people are genuinely seeking to understand when doing this test. 

orange peel theory
Image Courtesy of the Time.

But the ultimate truth is it’s much better to directly talk to your partner about your needs and their needs rather than setting up a test. It’s nice as it is to imagine we can always expect our partners to read our minds and just know what we want and so, often, the better thing to do is say: “Hey, it would mean so much to me if you got me an orange, peeled it, and put it aside for me” – try ask for what you need.

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