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Mate Poaching:
It Can Come Back to Bite You

By Claire Aldrich

Unfortunately, there are certain women and men who go after already attached lovers. Sometimes they do it for a hookup, and sometimes they do it because theyíre looking for a long-term relationship.

Either way, itís called mate poaching. And itís not a pretty practice.

Losing Face
When you steal another guyís girl or another girlís guy, you get labeled a lot of nasty names. And your mated friends donít want to hang out with you so much anymore. Theyíre afraid youíll set your sights on their partner. Youíve become untrustworthy.

But what about when the target of your affection is a free agent? How can it be called poaching if your would-be lover isnít attached? Nothing illegal in that scenario, is there? Yet itís still a form of poaching if youíre flirting with a good friendís ex or even your palís deeply desired crush.

Extra Tricky
Itís painful but true. You have to view those unattached prospects as off limits if you value your friendship and your self-respect. How would you feel if your friend took up with your ex? Betrayed, right? Even though thereís technically nothing keeping them from dating, your feelings should put a halt to this happening. If your friend respects you, your ex is out of bounds. And vice versa.

A crush is a bit more nebulous. If the hookup never happened, and never will happen, you might be able to get away with this lighter form of poaching. You could tell your friend you wish he or she would give up on the dream because youíre interested too. You could call attention to the blatant flirting coming your way. You could ask your friendís permission to pursue this liaison. But the best bet is to ask yourself how youíd feel if the roles were reversed. Again, ďbetrayedĒ is probably the best way to describe your emotions.

Do you like having friends? Then be loyal to that friendship and donít poach!

Find your own great catch and reel in your prize. Then you can be proud of your expedition and how you hooked your hot new lover.

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