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Research by the International Sexuality Description Project suggests that up to 20% of long-term relationships start when one partner (or both) is dating, even married to, someone else. Why do women like attached men?
Johannesburg-based psychologist Asiphe Ndlela says human beings seem to take to things when someone else likes them too. She says women, like all female members of the animal kingdom, engage in "mate copying". Just hearing that other women want to date a man stimulates their interest.
Ndlela says it is usually not the man himself who is attractive so much as what others think of him. She adds that in general women want what other women have. Women are more sensitive to the choices made by other women.
"Taken men can seem safe to get close to at first and they are used to a woman's ways and then the woman slowly falls for him. They are confident and don't give any needy or desperate vibes," she says.
Some women figure married men have been pre-approved by another woman so they figure they can't be that bad and being in a relationship also promotes a man's likeability.
Women want somebody whom their friends are going to be envious of.
No woman wants a man that no other woman wants. To women the simple fact that a guy is someone's makes him worth a try. For many women, when a man is in a relationship, it is confirmation that he has been tested and approved as boyfriend material and women see taken men as having desirable qualities."
She says being with another woman represents so much to the female gender because it shows you have the ability to be in a relationship, which is important when you are a woman looking for a man.
"Taken people are usually hard to get, and those who go for them find pleasure in running after what seems to be difficult or sometimes impossible.
But once they get what they want, that person becomes just another person. It's like a dare game to win what seems to be inaccessible or not easy to get."
Ndlela adds that interestingly, poachers tend to rank low on ambition because they like the quick-fix challenge of landing a relationship, not the challenge of keeping one. She says if they had real ambition, they would find their own relationship.
Marriage counsellor Zwelam Ndunge says from an evolutionary standpoint women need someone who is a provider, stable and committed. Men in relationships give off this vibe, even if they don't necessarily possess these qualities.
"When women look at the single guy they wonder why he is single or believe that he is not material for a long-term mate. Someone in a relationship has taken a step to be with one person." he says.
Ndunge says many women feel that attached men with a lot of experience are a better catch than a bachelor.
For some a taken man is someone with whom they can indulge in their fantasies and who could provide a great time.
Most women want to be in relationships and will get in to one by any means even if it means stealing someone else's man. Ndunge adds that women like a challenge.
Getting a taken man signifies a triumph of one woman over another. What makes him the ultimate catch to her could be his experience, confidence and authority. - email@example.com