Want The Most Unreliable Boyfriend Ever? Poach Him, Says Science

primping in the mirror

When I met, oh, let's call him Walter (à la Walter White for fun), he was married. At the time, that was fine with me, because I was still hung up on my ex and could not have been even less interested in him even if I tried. But the problem with working with someone and being around them eight, often10 hours a day, things change and people grow closer; too close sometimes.

Walter was unhappily married. From what I gathered, he had married too young (25), and things weren't going as planned. It also didn't help that he lived in a city where temptation was all around him, a temptation that he had given in to more than a few times long before he had even met me. It was when his marriage life became so unbearable, at least by his standards, that I, his friend at the time (although that was quickly evolving), became his biggest supporter in him leaving her. Selflessly, I wanted him to be happy, but selfishly, I wanted him for all for myself.

The same week he ended things with her, he moved in with me. And what followed was four years of, for lack of a better word, madness. Let's just stay that Walter and I, probably because we were too similar in too many ways and I loved him far more than he could ever love me, were just a disaster; an often fun disaster, but still a disaster that when it finally all came to an end, I was a shadow of the person I was before I had met him.

I don't want to say that I "poached" him, because I honestly believe he would have left her at some point with or without me being in his life, but I do admit that my support of the demise of his relationship was very clear. I mean, the day he left her, he and I went out and celebrated, while we excitedly talked about how my apartment was finally going to have a great speaker system, because he’d be moving in with them in tow.

According to new studies, the ultimate failure of whatever it was I had with Walter was inevitable.

"Individuals who were poached by their current romantic partners were less committed, less satisfied, and less invested in their relationships. They also paid more attention to romantic alternatives, perceived their alternatives to be of higher quality, and engaged in higher rates of infidelity," explains University of South Alabama psychologist Joshua Foster, the lead researcher on the team. It would have been super awesome if I had access to this information five years ago, but I digress.

The situation Walter and I had isn’t that uncommon. Of the participants in the study, 10 to 30 percent admitted that their current relationship began because of this "poaching" business. As one study discovered, everything was all great and good in the beginning, but as the questionnaires that were distributed over the nine-week period found, things fell apart fast, with a major end result, in most cases, being that levels of commitment were on the low side for both parties. Which makes perfect sense: someone is leaving someone else for you.

Another study found that those who had been poached were usually "socially passive, not particularly nice to others, careless and irresponsible, and narcissistic." I can attest that Walter did and does have these qualities! Yeah, science!

What this brings us all back to is, "once a cheater, always a cheater." It should come as no surprise that a relationship built on the broken pieces of another one just can’t make it. You can try and try, but the reality is how can you possibly trust someone whom you could so easily "poach" from another committed relationship? Be honest with yourself: if you're expecting a long-lasting commitment, the last place you go looking for love is in someone else’s house. Keep that as a life motto, and you'll be all set.

You don't want to date a Walter. No matter how cute Walter was, he really did a number on me, and I wouldn't wish that heartache on anyone.