Study says people are willing to pursue a taken person romantically

Why we’re all tempted by an affair with a married lover: People who feel like they are dealing with slim pickings romantically are more likely to pursue someone who’s in a relationship

  • Even saintly among us could be tempted if situation was right, a study suggests 
  • People more likely to go for a taken person if partners are hard to come 
  • It shows that someone’s propensity to steal a partner is also influenced by environmental factors 

Many believe they would never pursue somebody who was already in a relationship.

But even the most saintly among us could be tempted if the situation was right, a study suggests.

Researchers found that people were more likely to approach someone who was taken if they believed high-quality partners were hard to come by, compared with if they thought there were plenty of fish in the sea. 

Many believe they would never pursue somebody who was already in a relationship. But even the most saintly among us could be tempted if the situation was right, a study suggests

Previous studies have focused only on the individual characteristics that make a person more likely to ‘mate poach’, the academics said.

But this research shows that someone’s propensity to steal a partner is also influenced by environmental factors.

The study explained that those who believed there was a lack of suitable spouses started feeling more worried about being single. 

They then began feeling greater rivalry towards members of their own sex, which consequently made them more open to the idea of stealing someone’s partner, found the study published in the Journal of Sex Research.

The researchers, from Nipissing University in Canada, said the results ‘suggest that humans adjust to ecological conditions to maximise their reproductive success, such that when mates are perceived as being scarce, they are more willing to adopt poaching as a mate tactic’.

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