I’ve been mulling over this post for the past week. Writing and rewriting it in my head as more and more information about Tiger Woods’ “transgressions” have unfolded. I mean given my history which I’ve been pretty open about on this blog it seems this is a topic ripe for my snarky two cents. Sure, we hear about celebrities and politicians cheating on their spouses all the time but for some reason Tiger and his den of trixies really has me mesmerized.
Tiger and his wife seemed to be living a fairy tale life. The problem with fairy tales, I’ve learned, is they end at the beginning. Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty… there is a reason these fairy tales ended as soon as the prince and princess said “I do”. There’s no possible way the prince can keep up with the pressure of maintaining the perfect mythical romance. Those men who fall into the role of the love struck I’ll-move-mountains-or-die-for-you-trying prince right out of the gate tend to be perfectionists, narcissistic, overly self critical and all around emotionally unavailable fuckwads. Often they put so much pressure on themselves to be the perfect prince they break and then they act out. They self destruct.
My guess is that this string of affairs is a symptom of a larger life issue, or personality disorder. One thing for sure is that I don’t believe he is sincerely sorry. I do believe he wanted to be caught. Most, not all, men who are having an affair want to be caught. Ultimately they are cowards who in all other areas of their life have a high level of self control. This is a human being cracking under the pressure of everything in his life. This is about much more than sex. Don’t get me wrong though, he is 100% pure grade A asshole.
The common misconception about affairs is that an affair is an affair and all affairs and cheaters are the same. This couldn’t be farther from the truth. There are several different types of cheaters, the following are just a few types. There’s the oops-I-got-drunk-stupid-or-temporarily-insane one time incident. The I’m-bored-but-still-a-big-asshole-so-I’m-sleeping-with-the-office-bar-neighbors-wife-whore-but-don’t-want-to-lose-my-family affair. The I-know-I’m-an-asshole-but-I’ve-fallen-in-love-with-someone-else-and-I’m-leaving affair. Then there’s the I’m-a-douchetastic-womanizer-and-bed-as-many-women-on-the-side-as-I-can-for-as-long-as-I-can affair. Each type of affair has different outcomes and potential for marriage repair. This is all discussed in a wonderful book that I highly recommend called Private Lies: Infidelity and the Betrayal of Intimacy by psychologist Frank Pittman, who in my ever so humble opinion is a genius on this subject matter. If you or someone you know is dealing with an affair I highly recommend this book. The author spent years researching a large group of couples at every stage of marriage and resulting outcome. This was the best book I read during my divorce.
I think our boy Tiger falls into the womanizer category unfortunately. Question is why is this such a shock? I’ve realized it’s because we expect to hear stories like this from rock stars, bad boy movie actors and hypocritical politicians but not clean cut Tiger Woods. We watched him grow up. He seems in many ways like an everyday guy. For me, it wasn’t that shocking when Brad Pitt, Mel Gibson or (insert multiple politicians names here) cheated and that’s what I’ve been trying to figure out. Why this one bothers me.
Then it hit me. When his wife Elin chased him with a golf club, it was for me also having been in that surreal emotional place before, a reminder of the pain that makes you go ape shit crazy. The heat of the moment when the truth hits home is a powerful moment. It’s like time stands still, you can’t breathe and raw emotion takes over. It is the heartbreak, anger and self preservation all rolled into one that struck me and when I read about her reaction it brought it all back to me. The feeling you have in your gut when you figure out what your spouse has been doing is a moment you never forget and it’s a place you never want to visit again. Someone made the comment to me that she shouldn’t have gone after him with a golf club, she should have just left and taken half his money. My response was when you react like that your marriage is not based on money, it’s based on love. That is the reaction of a woman who loved her husband, as odd as that may sound. And he is a douchebag who is sad for being caught, not sad for what he did to his family and if I were a betting woman I’d put my money on the fact that she knew that.
I wish them both the best of luck. Unfortunately I don’t think this will end well in the long run but I don’t know them obviously so I’m just whistling Dixie here. Ultimately a womanizer is emotionally unavailable. It’s their personality and it’s not going to change. I have no doubts however that Elin can hold her own and I’m happy to see a woman have this reaction as opposed to denial or self blame. Good for her. I’m not saying violence is the answer, it never is, but she sure the hell showed that passenger side window who was boss. And my guess is that she had that pent up anger for a while. When something like this is going on you know it in your gut before you know it. If you’ve been there, you know what I mean.
I would be remiss if I didn’t confess that with all the press surrounding this story, and knowing what a huge Tiger fan my own cheating shit head of an ex-husband was, if he stops to think about his own affair and has any guilt. If the comments that people are making about what an asshole he is might make him stop and think about what an asshole he was too. Elin got one thing I never got and that was an apology. Mine will never come and I’ve made peace with that. So maybe there is a small part of me that hopes that my ex is marinating in all of this as I’m sure it’s been the topic de jour for the past week on all the sports radio stations and that’s all he listens to in the car. A small part of me hopes this story is quietly torturing and annoying the hell out of him. Since it’s probably not I’m glad I stuck his toothbrush in the toilet before I moved out. Don’t judge me… I didn’t have a golf club.