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WARNING: Your Best Friend Will Poach Your Partner!

Uploaded 11/11/2022, approx. 18 minute read

If you have a friend, a best friend, don't trust him with your wife. If you have a great friend, a childhood friend, don't trust him with your husband. Sorry. Actually, don't trust him with your husband as well.

So, thank you for listening.

I'm just kidding. Would I give up an opportunity to listen to my voice? Are you kidding me? Are you for real? Are you serious? You are here to listen to Sam Vaknin, the author of Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited, and a professor of psychology, today to discuss with you mate poaching. Sounds like a recipe for eggs, but actually it's a recipe for disaster and calamity in romantic relationships. And we're going to compare it to another phenomenon, which is becoming more and more widespread, friends with benefits.

You're here in the right place to discuss contemporary sexuality with the sexiest professor of psychology alive or dead.

Okay, Shoshanim, let's get right to business, having fish for compliments as much as I could in a single video.

We're going to discuss today, as I told you, mate poaching.

But before we go to this lapidary, look it up online. Before we go to this lapidary lecture, three announcements of note.

One, if you work for Air Canada, or if you know someone who knows someone who works for Air Canada, please contact me. I need your help.

Second thing, many fascinating new videos and interviews on my other channel, Vaknin Musings. One word, another channel.

And finally, my very dear friend, someone who has been collaborating with me and working with me for more than 25 years, the mother of the field, I could say, of borderline narcissistic relationships. One of the main contributors to literature on personality disorders, my dear, dear friend, Joanne Lachkar, has passed away. You can watch a video I made with her, a video I did with her, an interview, actually, about two, three, four months ago. And you will see this vivacious, sagacious, amazing personality in action. I am saddened and heartbroken to not note her passing. She was a very important person in my life, and my main inspiration when I started with her amazing book, Narcissistic Borderline Couples.

Okay, on to Make Poaching.

You know Rick Springfield? Not personally, I assume, but you've all heard of him. And he has a song called Jesse's Girl. I'm going to quote from the song. Jesse is a friend. Yeah, I know he's been a good friend of mine, but lately, something's changed. And it's hard to define. Jesse got himself a girl, and I want to make her mine. Rick Springfield is at the heels of a very long tradition of poaching your best friend's spouse, or intimate partner, or boyfriend, or girlfriend, just taking him or her away. Kama Sutra, Vatsayana Kamasutra teaches you how to seduce other men's wives. It's a very practical advice. Run to the nearest bookstore and buy a copy of Kamasutra, because you all have friends with attractive wives. And if you just plow through this tome, this classical book, you will end up learning how to seduce them.

Kamasutra suggests to send them presents and to indicate affection to the women's, to the woman's children and other techniques of seduction.

Make poaching indeed is a form of seduction. Schmidt and Bass define mate poaching in 2001 this way, behaving in a way as to try to romantically attract someone who is currently in a relationship with someone else for the purpose of either a brief affair or a long-term relationship. So, mate poaching is a seduction technique, but it's also a mating strategy. As the name implies, it's about mating, mate poaching. It's about finding an intimate partner.

Many poaching affairs start off as one-night stands or casual sex or a brief fling, and they end up being very, very long-term. They even end up in marriages.

So, it's a mating strategy. Mate poaching is most common in societies or in periods in history where there is a gender imbalance, more men than women or more women than available men.

In these cases, women, for example, when there's a shortage of men, women would try to poach the husbands of other women away. When there's a shortage of women, men would do the same. They would try to seduce the wives or the girlfriends of other men.

Similarly, when there is an asymmetryin eligibility criteria in mate selection.

Now, in the monosphere, they call it hypergamy and also these kind of things, but actually we are talking about situations where eligibility criteria such as age, income, health, and so on and so forth are asymmetrical between genders.

For example, women become less attractive with age. Yes, I know it's not politically correct to say this, but it's a fact. Men become actually more and more attractive up to a certain point with age.

So, this is an example of an asymmetry. Asymmetry in eligibility criteria.

Similarly, income is such an asymmetry. When there is such asymmetries, poaching becomes more common.

But what is poaching? How does it look and smell and taste and feel? How can we identify poaching?

Well, if someone is flirting actively with your husband, she is trying to poach him. If your husband is courting someone actively, he is trying to poach her. Sexting and calming cybersex are very good starting points for poaching.

Trying to stop a couple from spending time together by being intrusive and constantly present is another strategy of poaching. Pointing out the negative qualities of a romantic rival, a typical female strategy, if I may add.

All these are mate poaching strategies.


And so, studies have shown that, for example, humorous men, men with a sense of humor, they have an advantage when they try to poach mates. Generous people, people who give compliments, men actually. Among men, these are the three main determinants. A sense of humor, generosity, especially pecuniary generosity. In short, money.

And giving compliments. Do you hear that? All your sugar babes. That's how to seduce your sugar daddies. All gold diggers to the flag.

And when it comes to women poaching men, easy sexual access, overtly mentioning that you're seeking or replacing a mate, denigrating your romantic rival, as I've mentioned. All these techniques and strategies are detailed, believe it or not, in an academic study by Schmidt and Schackelford as early as 2003.

What have you been waiting for all this time?

So how many of us engage in mate poaching?

Many women would tell you, I would never date a married man. And of course, many married men would tell you, I would never date a married woman.

But it's total nonsense. Actually, 64% of men. Yes, you heard me correctly. 64% of men and a whopping 49% of women have actively tried to poach someone in the previous year, someone who was in a relationship or in a marriage.

This is a study by Schmidt and Bass dated 2001. The situation had become much worse since then.

And I believe nowadays, the majority of men and women, I would even say vast majority of men and women do engage in poaching behaviors. So numerous studies have confirmed the prevalence of mate poaching.

Anything between 30 to 50% of people engage in this behavior on at least one occasion in any given year. That's a study by David Schackelford and Haas in 2007.

Some other studies show that 60% of men and 40% of women reported pursuing someone else already in a relationship. And of those having been pursued, 60% of men and 50% of women have succumbed.

That's the famous saying, chase me until I catch you.

So when they have been poached, 60% of men had an affair and 50% of women, they succumbed to their hunters and pursuers. Poor they.

This is a study by Schmidt and the International Sexuality Description Project 2004. I keep reminding you the situation had become much worse since then.

The more mate poaching someone experiences, the less committed they tend to become to their current relationship partner over time.

I repeat this, the more you are poached, the more you tend to cheat. The more you're exposed to poaching by others, the less committed, the less invested, the less loyal, the less faithful you're likely to be to your current partner.

It's like an opinion poll. If your attractivity and irresistibility are supported by evidence, the evidence of being poached, then why would you remain faithful to your current partner?

There are so many other potentials out there.

This is a study published in the journal, Social Psychological and Personality Science, and the researchers were Edward Paul Lemay and Noah Wolf.

When people are in a highly committed relationship, a successful poacher must be markedly more attractive and more wealthy than their current partner, but if they are, they're going to be successful.

In other words, everyone either is cheating or will cheat. It totally depends on opportunities.

Given a sufficiently attractive or wealthy or both poacher, poaching will take place and cheating will occur.

This is a study by Alistair Davis and Todd Shackelford.

And so when there is a huge mismatch in terms of wealth or in terms of attractiveness or in terms of intelligence between you and someone who is trying to poach your wife, your toast, they will cheat.

If there is a similar symmetry between you, you are not young anymore, you're not attractive anymore, you're not wealthy, you're not hyper intelligent, you're not something, you're not excellent in bed, and the poacher is, say goodbye to your husband, he's going to cheat on you.

It's as simple as that. It's deterministic. It's not probability.

When we're talking about 60% of people who admit to poaching and to having been poached in studies, you can batch up. The real number is 100% because people lie. People lie a lot in these studies.

And what is the best predictor of poaching? What is the single red alert, the single warning sign, a friend? Friendship is the most realistic relationship invasion and relationship infiltration tactic.

You become friends with the wife or the husband and then you move on, you move on to seducing them, you move on to poaching them.

Actually, judging by the numbers, in the majority of cases, when someone tries to become a friend, a male friend, so to speak, with your wife, he's just trying to seduce her.

And when someone is trying to become a female supportive coworker with your husband, she's trying to become his work wife. She's trying to seduce him.

Friendship is another name for seducing away your partner from you. Friendship is a synonym to mate poaching when we're talking about opposite genders.

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I don't believe in the nonsense called male friend. There is no such thing. He's like a brother to me. I would never think of sleeping with him. Nonsense. Utter unmitigated nonsense.

And the same when the husband says, she means nothing to me. She's just my secretary or I don't know my personal assistant. Yes, sure she is. And she wants to assist you personally more and more and more and more personally, you get the picture.

Friendship is by far the best predictor of cheating. When you expose your wife to male friends and when you allow your husband to have female friends, you're setting them up for failure. They're going to cheat. Probability of cheating is much higher.

We will not talk about a study which is about to be published. It will be published next year by Justin Mughilsky and Joel Wade.

And this study investigated the role of friendship as a tactic in mate poaching.

By the way, all these studies are in the description.

For my index finger, down, down, your eyes are becoming heavier. No, that's hypnosis. I'm sorry. It's the other video. Description.

Okay. Justin Mughilsky and Joel Wade, 2003, next year, a study about friendship as a way to seduce your wife. Friendship as a way to seduce your husband.

It seems that a poacher would be judged as more likely to be successful if they are close friends with the target of the poaching attempt. And rightly so, because most poaching attempts are carried out by close friends, male friends, female friends, friends of the family, friends of the couple. Most attempts at seduction, cheating and poaching emanate from this close circle of friends.

You are stabbed in the back by a friend, not by an enemy.

And so the further the poacher and target are, the less favorably they're judged by others. And if they're friends, actually, the entire affair is judged pretty favorably.

Now, that's a shocking thing. It seems that people approve of affairs, of cheating, which involve, which involve friends.

So if you cheat with a good close friend, it's forgivable. It's excusable.

But if you cheat with a stranger or just an acquaintance, you're a hoe, or, you know, a male hoe.

So this yielded a prediction. And the prediction is that poachers who were friends with their poaching target would be seen by others as motivated by efforts to sustain a long-term relationship. And poachers who were mere acquaintances would be perceived as just trying to get in your pants, just interested in a one-light stand, or at most a brief link.

So this study, Mogilski's and Wade's study, about to be published next year, this study is about friendship as a predictor of seduction, poaching, and cheating.

And the answer is yes, it is.

And how people outside the couple, extra dyadic people, perceive the poaching, the affair, or the cheating.

And again, to summarize.

So now we move on to a study about to be published next year. It was authored by Justin Mogilski and Joel Wade, and it investigated the role of friendship as a tactic in mate poaching.

And here are the conclusions of the study.

A poacher would be judged as more likely to be successful if they were close friends with the target of the poaching attempt. And further, that the poacher and target would be judged more favorably by others if they were friends as opposed to being acquaintances.

This has to do with the widespread practice of friends with benefit, which had conditioned all of us to associate friendship with sex.

Furthermore, the authors predicted that poachers who were friends with their poaching target would be seen as motivated by efforts to sustain a long-term relationship than poachers who were mere acquaintances.

Friendship is an indication of future investment in a relationship.

There's a multitude of previous studies that show that friendship is a significant prerequisite and antecedent and conditioned for initiating relationship and for maintaining and sustaining them long-term.

So friends with benefits can and do evolve into long-term happy romantic relationships. It's actually far preferable to casual sex or to sex on a first date. It's a more viable mating strategy because friendship leads to investment and commitment in any subsequent relationship.

Statistically also, the majority of one-night stands, for example, do not result in long-term relationships. The same goes for dating.

But friends with benefits have a higher likelihood of evolving into something beautiful and long-lasting.

The authors say that the poacher's likelihood of being successful, of suffering any future cause from their poaching attempt, the future success of any potential relationship between the poacher and the poached, and approval for any future relationship between them, all these are closely correlated with previous friendship between poached and poached.

People tend to approve of the poaching attempt when it's done between friends.

And so what type of relationship people think the poaching attempt will evolve into also depends on whether they are friendship or not.

Poaching attempts that evolved from friendship or between friends are considered to be more long-term.

There's a belief that the poacher intends to pursue a longer-term relationship or affair with a friend than with an acquaintance. Acquaintance would look for a one-night stand or a short-term affair or a fling.

People rate the poacher and poached in terms of intelligence, physical attractiveness, sexual attractiveness, warmth, dominance, friendliness, masculinity or femininity, nurturance, social skills, and whether they would be a good partner or mate.

So the authors, the researchers, ask people to rate poachers and poached by these criteria.

Interestingly, when the poacher was portrayed as an acquaintance as opposed to a friend, they were rated as more intelligent, more friendly, more warm and more nurtured. Poachers who were friends may have been judged more negatively on these characteristics because ordinarily friends should not attempt to poach a target for their own ends.

If you have a good friend, he is not supposed to poach your wife. She is not supposed to seduce your husband.

And so they are judged negatively. There were no differences observed between the characteristics of the target of the poaching attempt for warmth, nurturance, friendliness or intelligence, between the friendship poaching or the acquaintance poaching conditions.

The target of the attempt was perceived as passive. So her qualities remained stable.

The attitude, the beliefs about her traits were neutral. Never mind if she succumbed to an acquaintance or a stranger, or if she succumbed to a friend, she was always perceived as a passive target.

In terms of gender differences, when the poacher was described as a man attempting to poach a woman, he was rated as more sexually attractive and intelligent. When the poacher was portrayed as a female attempting to poach a male, it was the opposite.

Another study by Belo and Sullivan is titled Once a Poacher, Always a Poacher: Mating in History in its Association with Relationship Quality. It was published two years ago in the Journal of Sex.

And here is the abstract of the study.

Successful mate poaching is a form of infidelity that occurs when one partner knowingly attracts the mate of another with the intention of starting a sexual and or romantic relationship with the individual.

Relationships formed from poaching tend to be of lower quality than their non-poached counterparts.

A history of poaching might reflect social sexuality that propels seeking new partnerships without regard for exclusivity.

It is unknown whether social poaching for relationship formation is linked to more permissive or unrestricted social sexual orientation.

And so adults in a romantic relationship completed online surveys assessing mate poaching, poaching history, social sexuality and relationship quality like commitment, satisfaction, trust and jealousy.

Those in a poached relationship at the time of the study had a more extensive history of poached relationships and a more permissive and restricted social sexuality.

Participants who reported a more extensive history of mate poaching reported poorer quality relationships.

The link between poaching history and relationship quality was partially accounted for by social sexuality.

This research adds to our understanding of difficulties that may be associated with the relationships of individuals who use poaching as a relationship initiation strategy and the challenges of permissive unrestricted social sexuality may present for maintaining long-term relationships.

Two things stand out. The changing role of friendship in society.

Friendship used to be non-sexual. Today, like everything else, friendship is sexualized in friends with benefits relationship. Friends are becoming commoditized in effect.

So poaching is on the rise because most poaching is carried out by friends, so-called male friends and so-called female friends.

And the minute you become friends with someone, it's normal to be with sex, hence poaching.

And so this is the first phenomenon that we should observe.

The second phenomenon is the rise of the social sexually unrestricted individual.

It's not so much the rise, it's the dominance. Social sexually unrestricted people control, dominate the agenda, for example, of gender studies, sex positivity. Only 20% of men and women are social sexually unrestricted. Social sexually permissive people feel comfortable to have sex with strangers, to not have exclusivity, and to poach other people's mates.

They are, by almost all studies, subclinical psychopaths.

And yet these people determine the agenda. They tell us what is healthy sex and what is not. They create the values on which the young operate. They have had a detrimental and deleterious and destructive effect on gender relations.

The legitimizing of social sexually unrestricted behaviors has led to multiple deleterious effects on relationships, on sexuality, on psychology, on gender relations.

And what, frankly, what happens to men and women, children, and so on.

So this is the second observation. All the references and all the studies are down, follow my index finger, down in the description field. Enjoy your time and try to poach only eggs, not other people's partners. You have been warned.

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