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Exploring Links Between Online Infidelity, Mate Poaching Intentions, and the Likelihood of Meeting Offline
Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking  (IF4.157),  Pub Date : 2021-07-15, DOI: 10.1089/cyber.2020.0563
Liesel L. Sharabi, Maximiliane Uhlich, Cassandra Alexopoulos, Elisabeth Timmermans

This study examines digitally enabled mate poaching on Ashley Madison, an online dating platform for extradyadic affairs. To explore mate poaching as a potential explanation for what drives users of Ashley Madison to transition their online relationships to offline encounters, we conducted a multinational survey of 1,676 users (88.5 percent male, Mage = 50.98). Participants provided open-ended data about their mate poaching objectives, which ranged from short-term sexual encounters to long-term sexual and emotional affairs and new exclusive relationships. Structural equation modeling showed that participants' attitudes toward online infidelity predicted whether they would consider meeting someone from the website in person. Mate poaching intentions also mediated the effect of attitudes toward online infidelity on the likelihood of meeting another user face to face in the future. The results extend evolutionary theories of mate poaching to the digital dating environment and demonstrate the value of these perspectives for explaining relationship initiation practices on infidelity websites.