Mate poacher (n.): a woman who purposely seeks out people in committed relationships. See: b*tch.
Most women would probably admit to being attracted to someone who is already married at some point in their lives. But, they would never think of trying to do anything to lure the man away from his wife.
However, some women only seek out married and committed men to have a relationship with. "Mate poaching" is a term coined by David Buss in his book Evolution of Desire. It describes the behavior of men and women who purposely seek out people in committed relationships.
A study published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology found that of the single women in the study who learned their "match" was currently in a romantic relationship, 90 percent said they would pursue the man knowing he was not single.
So, why do women mate poach?
There are several perceived benefits including an affair excitement factor, the feeling of being "chosen" over someone else, being lavished with expensive gifts and the feelings of power and control because there is no commitment on the part of the "poacher."
Although some of these women say they don't need a man, most desire a committed relationship. There are three reasons that may contribute to someone choosing the status of "The Other Woman":
1. Low self-esteem.
Women with low self-esteem have a belief that they are not good enough for "the wife" title. Sometimes, they have undergone abuse or mistreatment in a relationship. Therefore, their defense mechanism against being hurt again is to seek uncommitted relationships.
The woman may also relate her self worth to her appearance, so she will feel good about herself when she can successfully "catch" a married man.
2. Sex addiction.
For women who are sex addicts, mate poaching is a behavior they want to stop doing. However, they are unable to stop without help through therapy.
There are several factors that contribute to a women becoming a sex addict, including childhood sexual abuse. Sex addicts may feel guilty and ashamed, but will continue mate poaching even after suffering bad consequences.
3. Power and control.
Some women will say they mate poach because they like being the "one in control" of the relationship. They can "leave it anytime they want" and there are no "strings attached." The truth is that when a person must feel like they are in control of a relationship, it is usually because they have a fear of abandonment or commitment.
These women may have a need to feel safe because they have experienced abuse or hurt in the past. They think if they "control" a man, they feel safe.
In reality, the desires of the married man control the woman engaging in mate poaching. He is the one who chooses when to see her, if he will leave his wife and is usually the one who ends the affair.
Regardless of the reason, mate poaching can lead to emotional, physical, mental and spiritual pain for all parties engaging in the behavior.