Tiger and Elin Woods Divorce—Was It Inevitable?
I stepped right up to the junky newsstand in the airport and plopped down my five dollar bill (oh, really, could it possibly be worth that?) for the latest People magazine. Elin Woods’s exclusive interview was on the cover, and I was sure I could find some illustrations of common relationships mistakes in her story. So much for me knowing it all, even in an area of my own expertise! She swears she was totally blind sided, that she had no suspicion that her famous hunky honey was screwing around. If she wanted to get clear on what really happened, she could ask herself the question, “What did I know that I pretended not to know, or denied that I knew?” And you could argue that she set herself up a bit, by her determination to “believe in the good in people.” However heartwarming this sounds, it can be a one-way ticket to disappointment if that belief is so strong that it blocks out all awareness of when people are either “not good” or not acting as what you would expect to be “good.”
When we expect everyone to be good, that can be a form of refusing to see something that isn’t good. When we refuse to see something, anything, we are setting ourselves up to be blind-sided when that undesired trait shows up. Good by Elin’s definition obviously means faithful to her. Either Tiger doesn’t define himself as good, or his definition of good is somewhat different. The societal group-think values are obviously in agreement with hers, as why should she stay with him when he’s playing around?
In some ways this is a replay of Kate Winslett and Sam Mendes. As soon as Sam said out loud that being with one person for a lifetime was something he wasn’t into, the relationship was over. Indeed the same People magazine had a picture of her with the latest escort, a male model with whom she danced till 3 a.m. Her marriage was so yesterday! It ended in March. Sam Mendes said he didn’t wish to choose monogamy, in so many words. Tiger just acted on it. Otherwise the issues are the same. It matters less what is chosen than that both of you are on the same page. In these couples, they were not, and thus ended the marriage. But I have to say, all philosophical discussions aside, that what impressed me the most about Elin Wood, at least the People magazine version, was her healthy attitude towards raising her children with her ex. She calls it “a great thing” to be sharing custory of her children with him, she acknowledges his greatness as a golfer, and she says, “I want them to have regular and good contact with both of us.” Of course it would be better if all parents were in strong successful marriages so that children did not have to suffer divorce. In the absence of that happening, a divorce without venom, or even better one in which both partners are adult enough to allow the children to love both their parents, would go so far in the world to preventing divorce from damaging children.
Contrast this with another European ex-couple I know where the father of two young children is so devoted to punishing his ex that he uses his own children as weapons in this cause. When one of the children had a graduation ceremony from kindergarten, he manufactured a doctor’s note to keep them home, just to deprive his ex-wife and her family the pleasure of seeing the child participate. Sick, sick, sick! A great argument against joint custody, especially when one of the parents is infantile himself.
So congrats to Elin and Tiger for putting the welfare of their children above their own hurt and pettiness!