The 5 Rules of Making a Move on Someone Who’s Taken

photo by pasakaru

So you’ve met that perfect someone, the man or woman you suspect could be the illustrious “One” — but they’re inconveniently dating someone else. How do you plead your case?

  1. First, are you absolutely convinced this person is your soul mate? Because if you’re just in it for the sex, then stealing them away from a perfectly good relationship is just plain sleazy.
  2. It’s okay to be honest with the object of your affection, but no ultimatums. Confess your feelings, but try to avoid saying, “If I can’t have you, no one will [maniacal laugh],” or, “I’m going to eat my goldfish if you don’t go out with me.”
  3. Once the ball is in their court, give them the time and space to decide whether to return the serve — or hit the net. And here’s the thing: You must let them make the decision alone. If you encourage them in any way to leave, lie to, or cheat on their current lover, you are an asshat of the highest order who deserves to roam the deserted streets of Solitude for the rest of your days.
  4. If your “true love” eventually takes pity on you and decides to give you a second glance, you’ve got to give them a little more than twenty-four hours to acclimate to life without their recently axed ex. How can I possibly wait, you cry! We recommend taking the time to teach yourself chess. If they really are the One, they will be worth the wait. And if not, a well-honed chess game is always a handy thing.
  5. A final word to the wise: In some cases, what keeps two people apart is what draws them together. The obstacle allows you to fantasize how perfect the union would be, if only the obstacle weren’t there — like Romeo and Juliet (sans the double suicide). Once that obstacle is removed, the reality may turn out to be rather, well, blah. Remember, readers, be careful what you wish for.

This column also appeared in print in Metro


  1. What if you don’t know the person has a significant other. And you fall for them. Then, you can’t really be at fault for falling for someone who is attached.

  2. I’m with the don’t crowd on this. It’s just a shitty thing to do to go after someone who’s in a relationship, and it will probably create way more drama than you really need in your life. Just wait. If you travel in the same social circles, and it’s “meant to be,” if you believe in that kind of thing, you’ll both find yourselves single at the same time eventually.

  3. I’m with Dannie. Most people break up one way or another eventually, and if they don’t, then you and him/her weren’t meant to be anyway. Coming on to someone who’s taken is sleazy and never okay. And if they’re willing to cheat with you, they may very well cheat ON you.

  4. Taken???? Whatever happened to “I can do whatever I want, with whomever I want, and whenever I want; and you have no say in the matter(s)”!

  5. this happened to me once. dude promised me the world. left current relationship to be with him. all fireworks and passion for a couple months. then incompatibility, fighting, and demise.
    he turned out to be a jerk, and i felt like a sleaze for leaving my last relationship in such a manner without giving my ex the respect he deserved and myself the space and clarity i needed. i learned many lessons from this– mostly involving trying to be a better person.
    in my opinion, most people who engage in such risky or whimsical behavior are usually unfamiliar with ‘boring’ concepts integral to lasting romance such as security, trust, and respect.

  6. How about this one: Don’t do it. If you truly think that you’re the best one for that person, then their relationship with their partner will ultimately fail on its own and you two will come together. If you honestly think it’s true love, MALE or FEMALE (and yes, guys can be just as convinced of soul-mate destiny as women), then you have to believe it’ll happen on its own. Otherwise…do you really want to go out with someone who can be convinced away from their partner?

  7. The most common rationale for women being shitty enough to go after a taken man is, “but we had an amazing connection and I thought he could be the one!”

    BULL! If you’re still together in a long time, I’ll back-date it as an acceptable excuse. But unless that happens – which it almost never does – this is really no better than the most common male rationale for being shitty, which is, “I thought I’d get away with it!”

    If a feeling of fervent ardor in your heart is a fair-game excuse for going after someone taken, then so are my corresponding feelings, which happen to take place in my loins.

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