The psychological reason why you are attracted to your best mate's partner
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If you've felt an instant attraction after meeting your pal's new girlfriend or boyfriend, you're certainly not alone.
It's a feeling you really don't want to be experiencing, especially when it's your best mate and you can see they are happy.
But while you may feel pretty bad about the way you are feeling, fear not, as there's actually a scientific reason why you feel this attraction.
The psychological phenomenon has it's own name - yep, that's right.
It's known as 'mimetic desire' - a term coined by the French philosopher and literary theorist René Girard - who came up with it due his own experiences. We've all been there, brother.
But in all seriousness, the theory is based on his own experience of 'desire according to another', inspired by philosophers that came before him.
Girard penned in a Standford essay that those who emulate the desires of others - so in this case fancying your best mate's partner - are 'ensuring for themselves lives of perpetual strife and rivalry with those whom they simultaneously hate and admire'.
But once a person becomes the enemy, yep, strong words, then the third stage of 'mimetic rivalry' commences, when you and your friend are competing over the same thing.
Mimetic desire doesn't always involve romantic relationships, though there are certainly some famous examples of the theory coming into play when it comes to those feelings.
Some have even been documented in famous songs such as Eric Clapton's 'Layla' track, which delved deep into his obsession with his best friend and Beatle George Harrison’s wife Pattie Boyd.
Pattie did actually leave George for Eric - a prime example of mimetic desire coming to fruition.
In TV and film, the desire was mentioned in the HBO series The White Lotus, as Ethan accused his best pal Cameron of flirting with wife Harper as he 'always wanted what he had'.
While it may sound like pretty dangerous territory to enter into, mimetic desire appears to be a rather important social tool.
Speaking to IFLScience, Barbara Burt, Psy.D., clinical psychologist and program chair at the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at the University of Phoenix in Arizona, said: "Mimetic desire exists because we are social beings who are constantly building and creating our identity.
"It is often hard for people to resist the lure of mimetic desire and it can even be insatiable because it is hardwired in our biology to have a sense of belonging."
Psychologist Nicole Monteiro added that fancying your mate's partner is actually quite common and will naturally fade with time.
She told the same publication: "If a person desires their best friend's partner, they don’t have to think they’re a bad person. As long as the person doesn’t act in the desire."
So there you have it, no need to worry about those feelings towards a pal's partner. It's perfectly normal...