One of my girlfriends brought up a topic very near and dear to my heart recently – poaching. Now, I’m not talking about elephants or baby seals or eagles. The poaching we talked about tonight referred to the art of breaking up a relationship and taking your share of the spoils. And I didn’t just make that term up – this stuff is scientifically proven. And it’s also proven to be a really bad idea.
I am ethically opposed to poaching. I think it’s selfish and I can’t think of any verse, vow or bumper sticker that says, “Love is, first of all, selfish.” Still, I’ve seen poachers at work, someone tried to poach me once, and ultimately, I was in a relationship that fell victim to a poacher, so, I do have some insights into poaching.
The way I see it, here’s how you do it:
1) Hook. Establish a secure connection. Find Common Ground. Enter as a friend. Foster intimacy through discussion of deeper human emotions and needs. Become a confidant.
2) Line. Passively criticize the relationship. Phrases like, “You always seem so unhappy after you talk to her,” “Long distance is so hard, I don’t see how it’s even worth it sometimes,” and, “I’m concerned about you” tend to work well, but use your imagination – that’s why poaching is an art form!
3) Sinker. Give poisonous relationship advice, “If you are feeling this way, it’s really not fair to her that you’re together.” Give a shoulder to cry on, “I’m always here for you, no matter what.” Be hopeful, “You are such a great guy, any girl would be lucky to have you!” And, ultimately, ENABLE, ENABLE, ENABLE, “You’re doing the right thing, believe me, it will be better for both of you in the long run.”
Unfortunately, what do you get if you are successful – a guy who dumps his girlfriend for you. It’s a pretty sad consolation prize, actually. According to this article in Ladies Home Journal, he’ll probably end up either cheating on you or getting poached later done the road. Yikes!
Another Erin poached my Ex from me. Really, I don’t know much about her, but it did take me almost a year before I stopped resenting all other girls named “Erin.” I prefer for her to remain somewhat of a mystery to me. It helps me forget she exists and stalking just isn’t my thing anyway. I’ve systematically de-friended Facebook friends that she, my ex and I have in common to prevent our social networks from colliding as much as possible. When I found out she had started following me on Twitter one day, I blocked her. It was just a little too weird for me to think of my tweets in her feed, ya know?
Still, I assume she may check out my blog now and then. I don’t blame her, it’s a great blog, right? Anyway, I wrote a letter to her awhile ago that I’d like to share here. Really, I harbor no hard feelings, she’s almost like a little sister to me – heck, if she had just held off poaching for another 8 months, we could have ended up being sister wives instead.
Dear Other Erin,
I’m writing about someone who used to belong to me – well, as much as one person can belong to another – he did tattoo my name on his chest, you know. I guess it’s your name too – how, um, convenient. Still, it’s kinda awkward because even though our names are the same, I’ll always be the Erin on his chest. I’m sure it’s a little difficult for you to see him with another woman’s name over his heart, so we don’t have to talk about it anymore. Rest assured, it is my name, but he’s in your arms – he’s all yours now. You won – sorta.
I used to know this guy so intimately, I could have written you an owner’s manual. Eh, things change and honestly, I wouldn’t know the first thing to tell you about him now.
Still, some history might be good for you, just in case things happen, complex adult relationship things, and you are need help figuring them out.
He used to smoke and dip – maybe he picked it up again? Either way, he quit after we started dating, specifically on our first road trip from Astoria, Oregon to Colorado Springs. Having made up his mind, he committed to his decision, and quit – cold turkey – that was a fun trip. When he quits things, that’s how he does it – out of the blue, quick, final. Having been on both sides of him quitting things, I’d say it’s like a blessing and a curse.
I introduced him to sushi and wine. The first time he ate sushi was at a world-renowned restaurant in Malibu. He hated it. I made him try sushi that was a little less authentic – lower quality fish, but more exciting ingredients and he loved it. Malibu is also where he discovered his affinity for red wine. We shared quite a few bottles of Pinot Noir back in Oregon. If he is still into wine, I recommend 7 Deadly Zins. It’s my new favorite.
I taught him it was ok – fun even – to spend his money. If he needs a refresher in this, I recommend you have him spend his money on taking you on a cruise. You’ll make memories that will last a lifetime. Don’t go that first week in December though, the weather is a little too unpredictable and the water will be too cold to go snorkeling off of Key West.
When he was with me, he learned how to listen, really listen, and how to communicate with women…He didn’t pass with flying colors; actually, I’d give him a B- but still, he figured it out. He got an “A for effort” since he read both The Female Brain and Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus in their entirety and listened attentively to select excerpts from The 5 Love Languages. If you read, you might want to check those books out.
He’s a great big spoon because I am such a violent sleeper that he would have to wrap both his arms and legs around me to keep me from thrashing about and kicking him all night. It didn’t take long before his signature big spoon move almost resembled a full nelson. He used to get so mad at me for radiating too much heat, but he’d never let me go – either out of stubbornness, love, or the animalistic instinct for self-preservation.
That awesome thing he does with his tongue – Just know I taught him that. And you’re welcome. *wink*
You owe me a lot. But I owe more, which is why I custom designed this card for you.
The Original Erin
If you think you are in the market for a Hallmark-quality card for the “other woman” in your life, feel free to check out my card on Zazzle.
Or, make your own! Here are a few submissions I got from some of my friends for potential “Other Woman Thank You Cards”:
1. Dear Sloppy Seconds, Hope you enjoy his kankles as much as I did.
2. To the one who stole my man’s heart… Wait till you hear how much he farts.
3. Homewreckers are like housekeepers… leave some spare change around and they seize the opportunity.
4. How’s my __________ taste, __________?
Honestly, relationship poaching is something so many of us have dealt with – in one form or another. I’m not going to pretend that I’ve never been tempted to engage in a little recreational poaching myself – justify my deeds by telling myself that he’s my soul mate, my Mr. Right and he’s just with Ms. Right Now and the timing is unfortunate, but who am I to stand in the way of the proverbial freight train of love!?
Then, I think….Karma. I think of how bad I felt when it happened to me and how long it really took me to gain perspective and be grateful that I didn’t end up married to the wrong person. Divorce is so freaking expensive.
When I go out on the hunt, I respect what’s already been claimed. It’s the only way to coexist.