Marvelous Girl Has Moved!

Single women prefer to date attached men

Posted on: August 13, 2009

mate poachingPsychology studies have shown that some women may try to lure a man away from his current partner, a phenomenon known as “mate poaching.”  But a new study shows that most single women actually prefer men who are already in a committed relationship.

About The Study:  Men and women were asked to describe their ideal romantic partner and were told they would be computer-matched with a like-minded student.  Researchers told half of the participants that the person with whom they were matched was single. They told the other participants that their “match” was currently in a romantic relationship.  Participants then answered a series of questions on how interested they would be in pursuing a relationship with their match.

Surprisingly, single women were much more interested in pursuing a relationship with a committed man than with a single man.

Specifically, when researchers described the man as single, 59 percent of single women were interested in pursuing him.  However, when they described the exact same man as being in a committed relationship, 90 percent of the women were interested.

Men did not show this preference, and neither did women who were already in a relationship.

“This finding indicates that single women are considerably more interested in pursuing a man who is less available to them,” said Dr. Burkley. “This may be because a man who is attached has already shown his ability to commit and, in a sense, has been pre-screened by another woman.”

Although the practice of mate poaching is commonly depicted in movies, television shows and tabloids, this study provides the first empirical confirmation that most single women actually do engage in mate poaching.

The mate poaching study conducted by social psychologists Melissa Burkley, Ph.D., and Jessica Parker, M.A., both from Oklahoma State University, is published in the current issue of Journal of Experimental Social Psychology.

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