Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mate poaching

Mate poaching.  Something I never understood, as least on the surface level, but something I now know is also something innate within us to be attracted to someone who has been "pre-approved" by someone else.  I generally feel that I have always been capable of shutting down sexual attraction to someone if I found out they were in a relationship.  It's a shifting in the dynamic, from a flirtatious encounter to a friends-only one, but something I have never found hard simply because I would become immediately disinterested.  It has always been a turnoff to me when a person in a relationship disregards their partner and makes advances towards me or someone else.  But it does seem like there's more to it than men just being dogs and women being heartless.  Dr. Valerie Goldman explains possible reasons for mate poaching in her article "Why Women want Married Men".  She states it could be anything from the pre-approval process aforementioned, to the self-esteem boost some women get from taking part in a affair with a married man.  As far as tactics are concerned Goldman describes a few in relation to mate poaching.  Some do a bait and switch approach, initially appearing as a no strings attached fling, while later expecting love and marriage.  Mate poachers can also play down the current partners qaulities and play up more desirable qaulities of their own.  And they often put down the current partner in order to make themselves appear better.

In this article, Goldman also says that a large study found that 90% of women were attracted to a man when she thought he was taken, while only 59% of them were attracted to him with the knowledge of him being single.  I wonder, is it possible we are attracted to someone who appears as "safe"?  Women are constantly approached and hit on, so maybe there is some level of attraction to someone who you think will not make you feel uncomfortable.  I'm not sure.  What I do know is this: in the casino bar I work at, a single male bartender will always wear a fake wedding ring.  He puts it simply: he gets bigger, better tips from women when they think he is married.  

Here's Dr. Goldman's full article for anyone interested:


  1. I think the article you posted was a very interesting read. In addition to your thoughts on a potential mate being "pre-approved" there is also the concept of one wanting what one cannot have - by making something unavailable or unattainable, it immediately becomes an object of intense desire. The idea that a single male bartender will wear a fake wedding ring to increase the amount of tips plays on the competitive nature of female patrons (which is a very business-savvy move on the part of the bartender!). This concept can often be observed at various stages in development. An amusing example was presented by my two very young nieces just a few weeks ago: my elder niece (Sophie, 20 months) was sitting in my father's lap before dinner. Upon food being set down at her seat, she immediately wanted nothing to do with my father and indicated that she was ready to sit and eat. She was placed in her seat and happily began to eat her dinner; and my father then took a moment to hold my younger niece (Jamie, 8 months). After a few moments, Sophie realizes that Jamie is in my father's lap and slaps her sister hard on the leg and essentially demands to re-take her coveted place on "pop-pop's" lap.