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During discussions on relationships, the subject of homewreckers stealing or attempting to steal one’s significant other comes up a lot. We’ve seen women who are warry about some floozy coming to steal their man. And we’ve seen the way men act when it comes to their wives or girlfriends being in the streets and dressed in a less than modest way—a thing that can only be attributed to a fear that someone is going to come along and take sweep their sweetie-pies off their feet. (Also, there’s the patriarchal nonsense about a woman’s place, but I digress.)

We’ve also seen these scenarios play out in movies and TV shows for decades—but have you ever wondered what kind of people would even try to steal someone else’s partner? Well, apparently, there’s a study for that.

From Psy Post:

A study published in the Journal of Sex Research explores the personality traits that are associated with mate poaching.

Mate poaching is a term used to describe when an individual tries to pursue someone who is already in a committed, monogamous relationship. This is a common trope throughout TV and movies, but it plays out frequently in real life as well, with around 70% of both men and women reporting that someone had tried to poach them before.

“Mate poaching” sounds like something that occurs between rabbit season and duck season, as well as something one needs a license for, but OK, this sounds interestingdespite the fact that white people in Croatia were the only demographic included in the study.

More from the Post:

For their study, Igor Kardum and colleagues utilized 187 Caucasian, heterosexual couples from Croatia to serve as their sample. All couples were married, living together, or dating exclusively and relationship length ranged from 6 months to 18 years. Participants were administered paper-and-pencil questionnaires inside their own homes by research assistants. They completed measures on personality traits, including the Big Five and the dark triad, for both themselves and their partners. Participants also completed a short-term poaching survey.

The study found that men attempt to steal or “poach” the girlfriends of other men due to “low conscientiousness and high Machiavellianism,” the latter being a trait usually carried by “individuals (who) are manipulative and self-interested.”

Women who said they had successfully stolen someone’s man “displayed high levels of extraversion, openness, and psychopathy, while men showed high rates of psychopathy and low levels of agreeableness.” (In other words, even women who are out here homewrecking are a little more admirable than men who do the same. We literally can’t win, fellas.)

“Higher psychopathy and Machiavellianism, especially in men, proved to be the most important predictors of poaching experiences in both men and women. Contrary to our expectation, from the personality traits analyzed, narcissism did not demonstrate any consistent actor or partner effect on mate poaching experiences,” the researchers said.

Anyway, stop partner poaching, people. It’s weird.

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