Mate Poaching is the new recreational sport among single, unmarried, not-quite-so-young women.
You know who we are. We’re the women who’ve never found the right man, the ones with unresolved daddy issues, those of us who want to change our struggling economic status and our biological clocks are ticking so loudly, all we can hear are the sounds of our own needs.
Forget big game hunters, they’ve got nothing on us. Imagine the Facebook/Twitter shaming for mate poachers given the outrage that animal poachers have recently encountered. Mate poachers are far wilier than the average big-game hunter. We’ve scoped out the lay of the land and positioned ourselves in the perfect hunting grounds to meet wealthy, married men.
We’re everywhere—a yoga instructor, a trainer, a spiritual guide, a paralegal, a secretary, a life coach, a realtor, an administrative assistant, a nurse, a co-worker or a colleague. Instead of camouflage, we wear provocative clothing. We don’t need shot guns and raw meat. We’ve got push-up bras, alcohol and taboo sex to lure our prey. And once we have his attention, (and the benefit of his wallet), we sow seeds of discontent in the guise of offering life advice or providing moral support. “You deserve more,” we whisper between seductive yoga poses. “I can make you happy,” we promise as we fawn over him at dinner.
The truth is, our goal is to get our prey to take care of us and to give us children. It’s our right. Right? And once he’s in our crosshairs, we don’t let anything get in our way.
Married men have already proven to be capable and successful with their wives, so we figure—why not do that for us instead! We aren’t concerned with the unethical or immoral actions of seducing a married man. We believe that we’re entitled to happiness, no matter whom we have to trample and what we have to do to make that happen.
Here are just some of the delusional things I told myself, when I was on a mate-poaching mission and had become involved with a married man:
1. “I have a magic vagina.”
It turns out that opening one’s legs or mouth or whatever in the hope of seducing a man away from his wife and family is many things, just not magical. I learned the hard way that if a man has been married to a woman for decades, he probably loves her vagina—far more than he enjoys an occasional dip in the mate-poaching pool.
2. “Our true love justifies our affair.”
This is a perfect example of my ability to live in deep denial. As it turns out, his true love (the woman he thinks about and wants to make happy), is the woman he actually proposed to, married, and with whom he’s made a life—a real life filled with love and connection and shared experiences that were older than I was; not a fantasy life of secret encounters. Affair partners don’t perceive we mate poachers as potential mates. We’re just a bump on their marital road, and in the aftermath of an affair, their sex lives actually improve. Go figure!
3. “He’s going to leave his wife for me and we’re going to live happily ever after.”
I call this the Cinderella Syndrome—clearly a result of watching Disney movies far too many times. Men use public rest rooms and don’t mistake them for home. They jerk off in empty Coke bottles but don’t propose to them. Men aren’t particular about with whom and where they perform their bodily functions. Not to mention that there’s an almost zero percent rate of men marrying their affair partner.
The problem with being a mate poacher is that a man doesn’t respect a woman who’s willing to sleep with a married man. What’s more, as a mate poacher and severely lacking in self esteem, my inability to see myself and the adulterous relationship for what it actually was worked out nicely for the length of the affair, since I was willing to settle for scraps of attention instead of an actual relationship—but, apparently, my mate-poaching approach made me undesirable as someone with whom any man would consider building a life or marriage.
4. “He would never lie, deceive, or cheat on me with his wife or another woman.”
I actually believed this, too. Even though he was willing to betray his wife of umpteen years, I was sure he wouldn’t betray me—someone he’s known for less than a minute. What I learned was that he was not only having sex with his wife and me simultaneously, our relationship was not the first (and probably wouldn’t be the last) extra-marital entanglement in which this man engaged.
5. “The fact that he’s married is no big deal.”
Unresolved daddy issues, lack of self esteem and self respect—these are the big deal. Whether a mate poacher believes that Daddy loves her more than he loves Mommy, or she just wishes he did, clearly a therapist is what we should be seeking, instead of acting out with someone else’s husband just to scratch a daddy-fantasy itch.
6. “When I see (think: stalk) him and his wife on social media, on vacation, or as a couple around town, I think he looks unhappy, complacent, fearful and trapped. I know he’s just biding his time till he can be with me.”
This was as delusional as I’ve ever been. If a man takes vacations and goes out with his wife, he’s happy and having a good time—with her. Not out of fear. Out of love. Not out of complacency. Out of lust and attraction. After all, he’s been married to his wife for a long time. Their connection to each other runs deeper than any other. Their shared experiences were older than I am.
And in all likelihood, whatever was happening in his marriage that made him vulnerable to me, (perhaps the wife was ill or injured, perhaps they’d just gotten too busy to connect), has passed. No one can truly understand what goes on in a marriage (or between the sheets)—but I confess that as a mate poacher who has never been married, I have no real concept of marriage, obviously, otherwise I wouldn’t be interested in poaching someone else’s mate. I’d have spent my time, energy and efforts on seeking an unattached mate of my own.
7. “Even though he’s told me he doesn’t love me, doesn’t want to see me, and has blocked my cell phone, blocked and unsubscribed from my emails, and hasn’t contacted or called me in months, I know he still really wants me, so I’ll just keep sending endless emails about my feelings, invitations to get together, and I’ll send him lengthy essays disguised as ‘spiritual healing’ blogs to persuade him to leave his wife, until he finally comes to his senses and comes back to me.”
This kind of thinking is what gives mate poachers a Fatal Attraction image. Having sex with someone else’s husband doesn’t give anyone the right of perpetual access. If there’s no response on the man’s part, he’s no longer mate-poacher prey. Game over.
8. “I’ll put sexually suggestive videos and blogs on the Internet so he can see what he’s missing, so I can hope that he sees them and comes back to me.”
This was just a last-ditch act of desperation. To a man, sexually suggestive videos and blogs merely confirms his belief that a mate poacher has no self respect, and that she believes seduction and acting like a cat in heat is the only way to a man’s “heart.” This sometimes works with elderly men who figure, why not? But a middle-aged man with an attractive, vibrant, intelligent wife usually won’t be interested.
As a former mate poacher, I was only able to evolve after I’d taken a good, hard look at my life and values system.
It became clear that if I wanted a “real” relationship, a loving marriage, a “real” life, that I should use what’s left of my time on this planet to find an unmarried man of my own who I could trust and with whom I could form a deep connection; not someone with another woman on his mind and in his life.
I learned that mate poaching almost always ends the same way. Either the man goes back to his wife, or he leaves the mate poacher and starts seeing someone else whom he can respect.
Mate poaching as an economic and romantic strategy is, at its core, flawed. I advise all mate poachers to seek professional therapeutic assistance to help them evolve, emotionally and socially, to develop the relationship skills that are so sorely lacking.
Author: Ellen Allen
Editor: Catherine Monkman
Photos: Son of Groucho/Flickr