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3 Reasons Women Go After Taken Men

James Yap isn't the only coupled-up dude with a trail of single women pining for him. Find out what it is about unavailable guys that makes girls want them more.

On January 15, news broke out that TV personality Kris Aquino reportedly confronted a woman, rumored to be hubby James Yap’s girlfriend, right at her doorstep in Valle Verde, Pasig City. The TV host claims she merely talked politely to the other woman and her mother, explaining that she and James were trying to fix their marriage, and any woman trying to enter the picture was not helping their reconciliation at all.

This story has several versions, but whichever is true, one thing consistent among all of them is how the woman, identified as Mayen Austria, 35, had been calling and texting James, a married man of over four years, and this alarmed his wife Kris. We know, too, that this is not the first time this married man has been linked to another woman. In a recent development, Kris took her two children and moved out of the home she shares with the basketball player.

Let's face it: At some point, almost every girl on the planet secretly gets hung up on a guy who’s in a relationship. And no doubt, each one asks herself why she’s gone gaga for a coupled-up man, knowing it’s an exasperatingly futile fantasy.

“Virtually all women fall for a claimed man somewhere along the line because our brains are wired to covet things that are hard to get,” says Thomas Lewis, MD, co-author of A General Theory of Love. And while this crush is generally harmless (if you don’t act on your desire), it can disrupt your emotional well-being a bit. Cosmo gets to the root of unavailable guys’ appeal and how to deal with your inconvenient interest.

1. The Chase Is A Thrill

Ever wanted a sold-out handbag so bad, you drove to three different malls looking for it? That same desperate strain of desire is what afflicts you when a guy with a GF catches your eye. “It’s called frustration attraction: The more difficult something is to attain, the more we long for it,” says Helen Fisher, PhD, author of Why We Love. “And the fact that he’s forbidden only amplifies lust.”

Here’s how it works: Every time you have a craving, your brain releases dopamine into your body, which invigorates you to go after the goal. When a barrier (his having a girlfriend) prevents you from getting the target, your brain pumps out extra dopamine, making you super-focused on the hunt.

To tame your flame, “remind yourself that it may be just the challenge that’s firing you up rather than the actual guy,” says Arthur Aron, PhD, professor of psychology at Stony Brook University. “If he were single, you might not want him so intensely.”

2. He’s In High Demand

Tights, iPhones, gladiator heels—these trends spread like wildfire because humans have a natural impulse to seek out hot commodities. This is true with guys, too: If another woman (especially one you respect) digs him, in your mind he registers as quality goods.

But keep it in perspective—the guy only seems flawless because you’re at a distance. “You don’t know what he’s like behind closed doors,” says Dr. Lewis. In other words, you’re not there to witness his back hair, belches, and bad moods.

3. He Takes Zero Effort

When you have limited time to put yourself out there, it can be hard to weed through the C-listers to meet a grade-A guy. That’s why you may be obsessing about The Chosen One—it allows you to avoid the singles scene. Ask yourself, do you just have a thing for this guy because it’s less taxing in the short run than looking for a man of your own?

To shift your energy toward a gettable guy, pinpoint what you admire in your crush (he’s loyal, funny, adventurous). “This will guide you toward what you want in a man,” says Dr. Lewis. Then put your fantasies on pause and start meeting available guys who potentially possess those key traits. Before long, you’ll have the man other chicks are coveting.

With additional reporting by Cheekie Albay

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