Cheating & Infidelity Marriage

Mate Poaching: Why She WANTS to Steal YOUR Man

Heads up women. Mate Poaching is a thing. And you need to know about it, so you can protect yourself and your relationship…

Is she trying to steal your man? Here’s what you need to know…

It would be easy to just say a man can’t be “stolen” unless he wants to be. And that’s absolutely true. But there’s a LOT more going on than just that.

“For the past 2 years I’ve been reading your newsletter and and you give good, honest, sensible advice in an increasingly complicated relationship world. So keep rocking, Claire.

And I just read your article on having affairs which has motivated me to write to you for the first time. If you don’t mind me saying, I think you missed a couple of important points which are critical to the conversation.

There are a LOT of women who don’t really want the commitment of a full-time man. They don’t want to deal with the 24/7 reality of a man in the house, socks on the floor, toilet seat up/down, etc.

Then there’s a darker side: women who ENJOY taking something away from other women. They love waging war against other women and are enabled by the rest of us not talking about it.

If we’re calling out the men about their lies shouldn’t we also be equally honest about the women who like having affairs just because they can OR because they enjoy ‘taking’ something away from other women?” – Mia

Wow, Mia, I am SO glad you took the time to write. You are 100% correct; we really need to be talking about this! Because it’s not just a story that happens to “someone else,” it’s an actual scientifically-shown phenomenon that we need to be aware of, both in ourselves and in other women.

What exactly is “Mate poaching”?

“Mate poaching” – where single women specifically look for a man who is already partnered up – is real. Not only that, it’s fairly common.

Single, female participants in an Oklahoma State University study were all shown the same photograph of a man they were told matched their personal preferences in a partner. Half the group was told he was single, and the other half was told he was already involved with another woman.

While 59% of the women said they were interested in the single guy, an overwhelming 90% of women said they’d pursue the man who was already involved.

That’s mate poaching, and it’s an issue we need to think and talk about. It’s not something guys are doing “to us,” this particular enemy is inside ourselves.

So why do women (that’s us) engage in mate poaching?

There are a lot more reasons than you might think. In my article about breaking free from your married boyfriend, I listed the lies married men tell their mistresses. Now it’s time to say why we women are motivated to steal someone else’s man…

Don’t let this make you feel defensive (“That may be true for other women, but *I* would NEVER do such a thing…”)…

Instead, let it make you look inside your own heart and soul so that you can build your boundaries according to what’s best and healthiest for you, rather than being driven by any of these motivations…

Are these mate poaching motivations inappropriate? Of course. Are they real? Yes.

8 reasons a woman might specifically try to steal someone else’s man

  1. It feels exciting or exotic to be “the other woman.”
  2. It makes her feel powerful to be able to take what someone else has.
  3. She would much rather be the “hurter” rather than the one hurt.
  4. A taken man seems more attractive because other women want him.
  5. If he’s someone’s boyfriend she already knows he’s “boyfriend material.”
  6. She might feel it’s less work, responsibility, and commitment.
  7. She craves the feeling of being “chosen” over someone else.
  8. She fears the deep exposure of real intimacy; and would rather keep some distance between herself and the man she is involved with.

What do you do if your best girlfriend is guilty of  mate poaching?

It’s bad enough if some random woman you’ve never met or barely know tries to steal your man. But sometimes it’s darker than that. Sometimes it’s a woman you thought you knew very well; perhaps even loved like a sister.

Sometimes women “wander” into mate poaching, and don’t realize what they’re doing. If she’s really your bff, you could try to talk with her about it.

If you meet with nothing but resistance and denials, you may have to reconsider her “best friend” status; it’s just not good to keep toxic or emotionally unhealthy people in your inner circle.

What do you do if your man is being poached?

The main reason another woman is ABLE TO steal your man is because

  • He’s willing to be “stolen” — That could mean the two of you aren’t actually exclusive, or it could mean that he thinks he could have HIS cake and eat it too…
  • He doesn’t realize what’s happening — Most guys will be flabbergasted when you tell them what’s happening, and will say something like “No way, we’re just friends!” But if he cares about you, he will cut off contact with the other woman.

You can’t do much about the first reason (except avoid or let go of those guys), but you CAN do something about the second.

Open, heartfelt communication is key. Explain what you see happening (without heavy drama) and describe for him what YOU envision for the two of you.

And in the end, stick with what your heart feels is healthiest and best for you, and let go of friends or lovers who don’t share your beliefs and won’t respect your boundaries.

Easy to say, hard to do, I know. But worthwhile.
xoxo Claire

7 comments on “Mate Poaching: Why She WANTS to Steal YOUR Man

  1. Would a man test the waters before leaving a relationship he’s not happy in by flirting and buying Valentine’s gifts and cards for another woman? I’m not sure how to respond, I’ve always liked him in that way but not shown him any interest as he’s always had a girlfriend but he is actively pursuing me and amps up his efforts if he thinks he’s lost my attention. My friends seem to think he’s not willing to rock the boat unless I give him the green light but I’m not comfortable with being the reason they broke up, I know he’s a good catch and I wouldn’t want to let him go if I was her. They’ve been together a couple of years, they don’t live together, not engaged but he doesn’t talk about her much either

    • Claire Casey

      Hi, PolarHax

      You can’t assume he’s unhappy in his relationship just because he flirts with you AND his “girlfriend.”

      He might be

      1. …casually dating this other woman, and open to casually dating you, too. This is not unusual, and casual dating is a good way to “test the waters” with multiple people before things get serious.

      2. …in an EXCLUSIVE (serious, committed) relationship with this other woman. It’s a bad idea to go after a man who is exclusive with another woman. And if he IS “committed” to this other woman, it’s a bad sign that he’s been actively pursuing you.

      What you need to know is whether he’s committed or still casually dating. It may not be appropriate to ask him point blank, but it shouldn’t be too complicated to ask someone close to him.

      Thanks for taking the time to read and comment.


      • Thank you for the reply Claire. Being work colleagues I do know he is in a committed relationship of sorts, others have advised him to break it off and be on his own for a while, apparently he’s always liked me but swore he’d never get involved with anyone at work and he’s got a girlfriend. She has a key to his apartment but he refuses to let her move in with him and doesn’t seem to be progressing the relationship. I’m confused as to why he would do nice things for me, he’s not afraid to make suggestive comments in front of others even though some know his girlfriend? Its been too busy at work to have a proper conversation about the Valentine’s gift he left for me, it was so romantic and linked to a number of conversations we had, he’d gone to a lot of effort hence me being so freaked out!

        • Claire Casey

          If he’s in a committed relationship, he has no business flirting with, or giving another woman romantic gifts. (Btw, if he does this with her, he’ll do it with you.)

          It doesn’t matter what others have advised him to do, or whether he likes you, or what he’s “sworn” he’d never do. Let him be a man (or not) and deal with his relationship appropriately.

          Return his romantic gift, and let him know you only accept gifts like that from single, available guys. (“Come see me when you’re single” is a good way to put it.) And yes, you have to work together, but don’t be available to him; keep things professional ONLY. Don’t return his flirts. Start dating other men, and get him off your mind.

          You deserve better than that sort of treatment. (So does his girlfriend.)

          My very best to you, beautiful!

  2. How do you get your man back after he’s recently (3 months ago) been poached?

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