Psychologists from Regent’s University London and Oakland University in the US have found successful “mate poaching” depends on the wealth & perceived attractiveness of a potential new love-interest.
“Mate poaching”, as the name suggests, is the process of trying to attract someone despite knowing they are already in a relationship with someone else.
And an upcoming paper in the Personality and Individual Differences journal entitled “Don’t you wish your partner was hot like me?” has found that the level of commitment in the current relationship affects how attractive and wealthy the poacher would need to be to successfully win over the other person.
As part of the study, 125 men and 90 women answered a questionnaire that asked them to imagine being in the following relationships: dating, long-term relationship, living with a partner but not married (cohabiting) and married.
Participants were then asked to state how much more attractive and wealthy someone would need to be compared to their current partner for them to be “successfully poached”.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the results showed a positive correlation between the level of commitment and how attractive and wealthy the new potential partner is.
However, there was almost no difference between these factors for those in a long-term relationship and cohabiting.
Dr Alastair Davies, Lecturer in Psychology at Regent’s University London said: “Our study indicates that poachers who are sufficiently wealthier and more attractive than the partner of the person being poached can successfully entice people into one-night stands, sexual affairs, or even new monogamous relationships.
“However, to achieve this, the extent to which poachers need to be wealthier and more attractive than the partner of the person being poached has to steadily increase in line with the commitment in an existing relationship – ranging from ‘just dating’ up to being married.
“Our research also suggests that individuals with a mate-value higher than their partners are less likely to be satisfied with their existing relationship, making them more likely to succumb to the advances of a poacher.
“However, if partners in a couple have similar mate-values, they are less open to being infiltrated.
“This is because they are more likely to be satisfied with their existing relationship, and so less tempted by poachers, even those with a higher mate-value than either of them.”
To read more, please see the research paper which will be published in February 2017.