Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Stealing" people's significant others

I read a story, recently, in which a female character, Sue, told her long-time male friend, Ben, to stop being a coward and FIGHT for the woman he loves, Alicia.

Now, as Sue was fully aware of the fact that Ben and Sue were not only broken up (or, depending on who you listen to, they were NEVER a couple), but in addition to that, she knew that Alicia was in a committed relationship with a really good guy.

Basically, Sue was suggesting that Ben "steal" Alicia away from her current boyfriend.

That kinda struck me. On the one hand, I've heard plenty of people talking about "fighting" (figuratively speaking) for their man or woman. On the other hand, though, I've heard just as many people talking about how messed-up it is to try to break up an existing relationship.

So I'm wondering what some of you think:

As a general rule, is it okay to "steal" someone's man/woman?



My take.
I'm sure some folks will say, "If she cheats on him with you... or leaves him FOR you, she'll do you the same way!"

I kinda feel you on that, but, perhaps due to arrogance, I tend to think that women who sleep with me on the first date or leave some other guy to be with me... aren't habitual in this behavior. In other words, I tend to feel that there was something special about *our* interaction that lead her down that path.

However, even if that's not true, if she's that kind of person, it's for the best that she DOES leave.

I've had some long-term relationships in my time. I was pretty heart-broken over the ones that ended, but it was always TRULY for the best. We weren't right for each other - in the short-term or in the long-term.

So, that leads me to my long-winded answer to the rather short-winded question:

Steal away. If you can do it (without lying, breaking any laws, or anything like that), then it was probably for the best.
I'll admit, though, that I wouldn't want a significant other wondering what might've happened if she'd stayed with the guy I "stole" her from.

It really comes down to the circumstances, to be honest. So, I guess I should put an asterisk by my answer.

"Steal away*"

So, let's just say I wouldn't completely rule it out.





* - but only in certain circumstances. Not all circumstances are created equal. Do not steal the girlfriend if her man is a friend of yours. Do not steal the boyfriend if his girlfriend is pregnant. Ideally, the "stealing" would take place over time, so that you both know it's something real and can prioritize, as needed. Stealing needn't include cheating. Sex may be reserved for the post-stealing period. If sexual compatibility is a big deal for you, though, stealing may require cheating, first (depending). Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

14 comments:

chele said...

I don't think it's ever okay to steal away. Stealing defined as influencing someone in a relationship to leave that relationship in order to be with you. The word "influence" can cover a multitude of things.

If the relationship is going to end than just let it end on its own. That's just bad karma. I'm not that arrogant to believe that if I stole Sally's man that someone wouldn't come along and steal him from me.

Son of Blog-El said...

I gotta agree with Chele.

Its kinda one of those "do unto others" things in my book.

I have met plenty of women that I thought, "Hmm, maybe I should..." Then I stopped and thought it through. The old saying of "How you get 'em is how you lose 'em" is not entirely wrong.

Something else that years back was that people in relationship are attractive to other people because they're in relationships. Its almost a justification to feel strongly attracted to them because someone else already is. It makes you look closely at what makes them so attractive whereas a single person you might not be prone to go deeper than a few levels initially.

West said...

re: chele's "I'm not that arrogant to believe that if I stole Sally's man that someone wouldn't come along and steal him from me."

Have you never done something with someone - something that you wouldn't normally do?

I have.

Maybe it's arrogant to think that I can do something unusual, due to unusual circumstances, but anyone else who does it must have done so out of habit.

"Stealing" may or may not involve influencing the person to do anything. It could simply be feeling what you feel and, maybe, expressing it.

What the other person chooses to do is on them... in my opinion, anyway.


re: Son of Blog-El's "Its kinda one of those "do unto others" things in my book."

Someone pushing up on my lady isn't disrespectful, in and of itself. Doing it in FRONT of me is an added level of disrespect, but ultimately, I don't judge other people for wanting someone that I want.

I judge my significant other's response to them.

Raiden said...

I've always felt like if you are not legally married then there is not reason why you can't leave for something better. May sound harsh but you are not tuly committed until you put it on paper, thus you are available.

West said...

re: "I've always felt like if you are not legally married then there is not reason why you can't leave for something better. May sound harsh but you are not tuly committed until you put it on paper, thus you are available."

On some level, I feel similarly. However, I'd go one further:

See, I believe in divorce. I believe that it's okay, though regrettable, to end a marriage.

So, the way I see it, there's an added level of commitment associated with marriage, but that doesn't mean that people have to let that stop them from finding what they're looking for.

Hopefully, what they're looking for isn't something frivolous, but even if it is... that speaks to character.

And it's the significant other's character that matters the most in this scenario. If he or she is so "weak" that some ho or pimp can get'em to act out-of-character, then that's an issue, in and of itself.

Eudaimo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Eudaimo said...

When two people are dating, there is an understanding that neither party is "on the prowl." Besides that, the pact does not usually mean that neither party can leave the relationship for someone they prefer. If it did, we wouldn't call it dating, we'd call it marriage.

When two people are married, there is an agreement that each person has found "the best." In marriage, there IS a paact that neither party will leave the relationship, barring circumstances outside the scope of this comment.

A third party has made no pact in either case. Third parties must only follow the normal morals and pacts that come with participation in society. A third party is entirely free to say "I think I'm better than your significant other (or even spouse). You should end your relationship/break your pact and try one with me."

There are exceptions to that rule. For instnace, it is obviously immoral for a third-party to court a friend's significant other. That's because it breaks the pacts of friendship.

It is also often wrong to court a friend in a marriage/committed relationship because it selfishly puts the friend in a tough position. We call this "pulling a Rachel" after an episode of Friends where Rachel, having previously rejected Ross, told him (on his Wedding day) that she loved him. That broke Rachel's pact of friendship to Ross because Rachel was selfishly interfering with her friend's happiness

West said...

Welcome Eudaimo.

I have to say, though, I don't think it was selfish of Rachel to tell Ross she loved him. While it might've helped if she'd done it sooner, it was better than if she'd done it any later.

Also, I wonder why the whole "fighting for the wo/man" thing hasn't come up much in the commentary.

Is that no longer considered to be a good thing? Like Eudaimo said, the third party has few-to-no loyalties in this situation.

Son of Blog-El said...

Also, I wonder why the whole "fighting for the wo/man" thing hasn't come up much in the commentary.

Prolly 'cause everyone's afraid of being labelled an obsesive stalker.

So, the way I see it, there's an added level of commitment associated with marriage, but that doesn't mean that people have to let that stop them from finding what they're looking for.

If that's the case, why get married? From your comment, it sounds like you would always be looking for something "better." I'm not saying that a person should settle, but that if you are in a relationship, don't keep looking to "trade up."

As far as "stealing" someone out of a non-marriage relationship, I think you're right that it would have to be on a case by case basis.

Since I'm married this is an academic debate for me, but its nothing I ever tried to do outside of high school. Not that it worked well for me then...

West said...

re: "Also, I wonder why the whole "fighting for the wo/man" thing hasn't come up much in the commentary

Prolly 'cause everyone's afraid of being labelled an obsesive stalker."


Ha!
Well, there IS a thin line. It's one of those "The ends justifies the means" kind of things, I think: If the person responds well to your advances (and, maybe you get married), then you're a hero. If they get a court order, you're a zero. Congratulations, Mr. Stalker.

re: "So, the way I see it, there's an added level of commitment associated with marriage, but that doesn't mean that people have to let that stop them from finding what they're looking for.

If that's the case, why get married?"

"that doesn't mean people have to let that stop them from finding what they're looking for" wasn't necessarily referring to the married person.

As far as why one would get married... like I said, we've assigned an added layer of value to it. Marriage is as valuable or useless as we make it.

Also, there's the societal and personal pragmatism of an institution like marriage, but that's just gonna make people wanna choke me even more than they already do.

re: "From your comment, it sounds like you would always be looking for something "better.""

Well, as I say, I wasn't talking about the married people, but still... People may have been "looking for" or, less actively, "desiring" a certain type of person. Marriage doesn't necessarily eliminate that desire.

So, no, I'm not talking about always looking for something better. Sorry I wasn't more clear. *kicks keyboard*

re: "I'm not saying that a person should settle, but that if you are in a relationship, don't keep looking to "trade up."

As far as "stealing" someone out of a non-marriage relationship, I think you're right that it would have to be on a case by case basis.

Since I'm married this is an academic debate for me, but its nothing I ever tried to do outside of high school. Not that it worked well for me then..."

I just don't think it's all as binary as stealing being okay, if the couple's unmarried, but stealing being bad, if the couple IS married.

There are degrees of commitment. Similarly, there may be degrees of reluctance BASED on how much one values the commitment or institution.


In case that sounds like double-talk, simply put: I'd hesitate in either case, but I'd hesitate more if the person were married.

Son of Blog-El said...

It doesn't sound like double speak. I actually respect your opinion. I'm glad you clarified a couple of things. I didn't think you would advocate stealing someone away at the altar (Speaks now or forever holds your peace.)

Its funny that you brought up that Friends episode with Rachel and Ross. I thought the whole thing was f'd up by him and her. To me, that was a prime example of settling and rebound.

In reference to your blog; I likes it here. I think I'll take a trip back in time and read some of your archives. See you in 2005! Maybe I can catch the new season of '24'...

West said...

Glad to have you, SoB-E.

Michael May said...

"...if she's that kind of person, it's for the best that she DOES leave."

That describes perfectly why I'm not morally opposed to "fighting for" someone or "stealing" them or whatever we choose to call it.

People should be happy in their relationships. That's not at all saying that problems never arise that need working through, but if the relationship is characterized by unhappiness or discontentment, then one or both people will be on the look-out for something else. If it's a healthy, mutually pleasing relationship, no amount of outside coaxing is going to woo either party away from it.

Having said that, I've never been one to pursue someone who was already in a relationship. That's more due to my own insecurity and fear of rejection than a moral decision though.

DivineLavender said...

No one is stealen unless they want to get "took", period end.