The Tiger Woods affair is a trigger for many of us. We feel angry when someone we’ve idolized, or at least thought highly of, does something so unacceptable and morally wrong. The biggest disappointment has to do with the lack of character and integrity, claiming to be one man, but really living as another. And somehow we’re more disappointed when its Tiger Woods than when it’s our neighbor.
As a culture we need to become more educated about affairs. We need to understand ALL MARRIAGES ARE VULNERABLE TO AFFAIRS. No one is exempt, and the moment you think, “I could never have an affair” or “My husband/wife would never have an affair,” you just became more vulnerable, because now you’re being naïve.
One of the common denominators among couples that experience lifelong monogamy is that they understand their marriage is vulnerable and therefore put safeguards in place. They also learn how to be honest and real about attractions to the opposite sex, and how to talk about them.
If Tiger Woods, or any other man or woman on the planet, desires to experience a lifelong monogamous marriage, and thinks that it will happen because they will never be attracted to anyone else, they are living in a fairytale. Attractions will happen. There are a lot of beautiful people in the world, beautiful in many different ways, personality, kindness, talents, and yes, physical attractiveness. The question is not “Will you ever be attracted to anyone else?” but rather, “What will you do when you are attracted to someone else?”
It’s about time we stopped putting politicians, athletes, CEO’s, celebrities, ministers and other people of influence on pedestals. They are all just people. They struggle with all the same things as everybody else.
They often have more opportunity to cheat. Often their circle of influence adds to their vulnerability. Many circles have an “Everyone does it, just don’t get caught” mentality. If you respect someone for their achievements in business, sports or entertainment, and they’re doing it, slowly your own sense of what’s right and wrong can become grey.
The Tiger Woods affair illustrates how people in these idolized positions often have a sense of entitlement that increases the probability that they will one-day act on the opportunity for affairs.
Let’s understand that people like Tiger Woods are human like the rest of us. We shouldn’t be any more shocked or interested in the Tiger Woods affair than we are over that co-worker, neighbor or fellow church member.
Probably devastated! Her whole world is turned upside down. She likely can’t sleep, and doesn’t feel like eating. In Elin's situation it’s worse, because the whole world is watching, trying to find her, critiquing her, acting as if they are an authority on her situation, on Tiger’s situation, as if we, the public, were experts on their lives. The only one who is an expert on Elin’s life is Elin.
Imagine yourself on your worst day after finding out your spouse has been unfaithful. Then imagine the media following you around with camera’s trying to report on your devastation, when you don’t even want to talk with anyone.
What Elin deserves most right now is her privacy. I think the media should grant her that.
Yes, it can be saved, if they both want it, and are willing to do the work, and have the right guidance.
There is no human being who is a write-off. No matter what circumstances have led you to the place where you are today, no matter how devastating and impossible it seems - there is always hope. Anyone can make a choice to change, if they want to. After that it’s just a matter of getting the right help.
That said, I would never advise Elin (or any other betrayed spouse) she should stay in her marriage. Staying or going is Elin’s decision. When a betrayed spouse, seeks my help, I help them discover what THEY want, help them get clarity, and help them get the life they desire on the other side of the chaos and pain.
Whether Elin divorces Tiger (which seems to be the assumed plan of action), or whether she stays, either way she will have pain in her life. Divorce will not make her pain or her problem go away.
It must be incredibly painful for Elin to hear all these women coming forward and talking about their affairs with her husband, seeing them on TV. I can’t even begin to imagine how awful that would be. I would not have liked to hear my other woman talking about her affair with my husband on television. What kind of a voyeuristic society are we anyway … that we find entertainment in viewing such filth?
Healing from an affair is a roller coaster, and in the first 3 – 6 months the betrayed spouse usually suffers with some level of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. One day you’re in the marriage, the next day you’re out. Anything can happen. This is why one of the themes that runs throughout our book is “It ain’t over ‘til it’s over.”
So even though it seems like the marriage of Tiger & Elin Woods is over, it doesn’t have to be. That said, it’s up to them, and I think we should give them the privacy to calm things down and do what’s right for them, without having to worry about what media is going to say about them from day to day.
Number one: Take care of yourself. Make sure you get some sleep, and some nutrition into your body.
Then get support from someone who specializes in dealing with affairs. Do not suffer in isolation.
Be selfish right now. Spend time with anyone who makes you feel better and whom you find helpful to be with. Don’t spend time with anyone who makes you feel worse. You’re going through enough right now without having to deal with more than you have to.
Don’t make any big decisions for at least 3 months if not 6 months.
Educate yourself about affairs by reading good books on the topic.
Call me. I can help. We’ve worked with a number of high profile people, and you can be assured of a personalized approach and strict confidence. You can always call our office using a different name, and request a personal call back from Brian or Anne Bercht. Even our staff will not need to know you’ve contacted us. We custom design private healing intensives for high profile couples.
If Tiger wants to save his marriage he will need to:
End All Contact
Man Up – Take responsibility for your actions. Don’t blame Elin for what you did, and don’t look for excuses for your behavior. Rather look for the reasons ‘why’, that are found by looking at all the factors going on in your life.
Tell the Truth – Be honest about what really happened, don’t try to minimize or downplay what took place. Truth has a way of finding the surface and the only thing more devastating than the unfaithfulness one commits is the lying one does after they claim to be telling the whole truth. Come clean the first time and healing can take place.
Support Your Spouse – Be willing to answer all her questions (and this means more than once – emphasis on more). Don’t force her to heal, allow her to deal with all the emotions that infidelity creates, be patient with her, and allow her into your world by sharing with her what took place, if she wants to know. Remember things and don’t always forget.
Find Support for Yourself – Don’t try to work through this alone, find good support and helpful advice preferably from someone(s) that has been through this before. Be accountable not only to your wife, but to a few trustworthy male friends. Start to look for the explanations as to ‘why’ you did what you did, but start with yourself.
Let me just be clear: The affair in our marriage was the most devastating experience of my life, and initially it made our marriage worse, much worse. In fact it almost destroyed it.
For months I walked around wondering if it was even sane of me to hope I could ever know a single day of happiness again in my life. I never recommitted myself to my marriage until 2 years after the affair. Until that time, I was merely giving it a chance. I wanted to be sure that in the future I could live my life without being haunted by “What if’s?”
The pain from the affair caused me to dig deep within myself to survive. The pain triggered a journey of personal growth. It became a time to look at me, how baggage from my past, which had been buried below the surface, was affecting me negatively without me even realizing it.
I got rid of unhealthy patterns in my life. I began to treat myself as a woman of value, instead of putting everyone else’s needs first. I began to discover the unique talents and gifts inside of me. I stopped tolerating anybody not treating me with respect.
I implemented healthier relationship boundaries. I became strong and complete in myself.
I was like a caterpillar that entered a dark cocoon for months. People may have wondered if I would ever come out again, and then one day the butterfly emerged. I will never be the same again.
My life is no longer about pleasing other people or living up to anyone else’s expectations. I am free to be fully and completely myself. As I presented myself more whole into my marriage, it triggered the same personal growth in my husband.
When two people present themselves into a relationship, healed, emotionally healthy, and confident in who they are as individuals and add to their unique individuality a place for “we” it makes for a relationship beyond what most people even know is possible.
Since you’ll never be the same again, we believe allowing the affair to take you to this better place is the only sane choice. Healing a marriage is dependent on both people being willing to do the work, and the right things. But even if you’re healing alone, you can still heal completely and allow the pain to make you a better, stronger, more complete person.
Sure, anyone is free to, give up, quit, get a divorce, and start love over with a new person. But remember that until you deal with your crap, you will simply recreate the same problems and pain in your new relationship.
Lean into your pain, have the courage to face your own issues and do something about them, and therein lies your guarantee for happiness in your future.
“You can use most any measure when speaking of success.
You can measure it by a fancy car, expensive home or dress (or golf score)
But the measure of your real success is one you cannot spend
It’s the way your child describes you when speaking with a friend.”
- Author unknown
Live your life in a way that will earn you the respect of your children. Be your wife’s hero. Don’t let the past define you. There are plenty of successful men who are faithful to their wives for a lifetime, and those are our worlds’ genuine successes. You can choose to be a genuine success from this day forward.
©Copyright 2005 Anne and Brian Bercht. All rights reserved.