The reactions to the Elin Nordegren-Tiger Woods divorce settlement aren’t unexpected. It is in an incredible amount of money and the circumstances surrounding it are fraught with humiliation, scandal, and heartbreak.
When speaking of the settlement, people reside in two camps. Camp A as in “ARE you kidding me? What did she do to deserve it?” and Camp B as in “BASTARD! She deserved all of it and more!” Sadly, neither camp understands the whole scope of the issue, and frankly, I am not sure that I do. I wasn’t a participant in their marriage (or even an extra-curricular player) so to presume to know the ins and out is well, presumptuous. However, I do have a perspective on the settlement, Elin, Tiger and what infidelity and lack of trust does to erode a marriage or relationship.
I’ll start by responding to Camp “ARE you kidding me? What did she do to deserve the settlement?” Well, let me ask you a few things.
Have you ever looked up and found out that you were living a lie? Have you ever felt like you were simply watching yourself from a distance go though the motions of life? Have you ever had to continue on a melancholy path because two sets of eyes were watching your every movement, behavior, mood? It isn’t pleasant. It isn’t fun. However, it’s done by people every day not because of the hope of a reward but because they understand that someone has to put those little sets of eyes first at times.
So what did Elin do to deserve her settlement? Nothing. She simply lived the life that she thought she had until she was informed otherwise by everyone’s preferred method of heartbreak–TMZ. Awesome. Can you imagine if TMZ was informing you of your naivete? How swell would it be to find out that man who you pledged total loyalty to had been unfaithful? And then to find out with the general public?
No one gets married thinking, “Hey-if he screws up, I am going to be filthy rich!” (OK-that is my naivete speaking. So honestly, if you are reading this blog, and you have married like that or think you will marry like that, please stop reading my blog because I HATE you and your shallow self. And I don’t hate anyone.)
I don’t think Elin was looking for a payout. I think she was looking for healing. They attempted reconciliation, counseling, even a re-working of a pre-nup (I highly recommend these) as a last ditch effort by Tiger to prove his renewed allegiance. When everything failed, a settlement was reached. I can assure you it was a bitter “victory” for Elin.
Now it’s your turn, Camp “BASTARD! She deserves all of it and more!” Let’s chat for a minute because I think you have some issues.
First, let’s be clear that money can never make someone feel better. Money won’t fill the hollow part in Elin’s stomach that feels like it was scooped out with an ice cream scoop and throbs every time she sees her children’s innocent eyes stare up at her with such hope and love. It won’t keep her from feeling frustrated, confused, or angry at times. All the settlement will do is ensure that she and her children will not suffer for Tiger’s bad behavior any more than they have already.
I do get it, Camp B. You are furious with Tiger, disgusted by Tiger and filled with self righteous indignation. You thinks he deserves to be raked over the coals even more so than he has already. I am certainly not a fan of his behavior and “Tiger Woods Golf for Wii” is unlikely to make an appearance in my home in the near future, if ever. However, do I think Tiger Woods is a total piece of trash? Absolutely not.
Tiger married Elin with the best of intentions, but unfortunately, even the best intentions still pave the road to hell. I am a firm believer that if you can’t be faithful to someone in a relationship–the relationship is broken. In my opinion, once the Pandora’s box of infidelity has been opened, it can never be stuffed back in. There will always exist a tiny hairline crack that could one day expand.
But what about those stories of reconcillations and love resurrected? Honestly, those do happen, but they are the exceptions which is what makes them good stories and the things that Hollywood movies are made of. I would rather live in reality. The reality is that if you can cheat on someone and get away with it, you’re likely to do it again. It’s human nature.
I can actually visualize all my women readers (from both camps) nodding their heads saying, “Uh-huh that’s right! Once a cheater always a cheater!” I don’t think that’s true at all-even for Tiger. The “once a cheater” mantra is what angry women, people tell themselves to assuage themselves over failed relationships.
Look, I’ve suffered the pain of infidelity, failed relationships, and the slap of reality on my very tender cheek. Regardless, I sincerely want nothing more but happiness and fulfilled relationships for my former partners. How could I wish anything else for someone whom I once adored? If I didn’t feel that way, it would be from something lacking in me, not them. Let’s say that again. If you are bitter from a past relationship, “It’s YOU, not them.”
Here’s the deal: Infidelity isn’t what makes you stop loving a person. Rather it’s the realization that the person you loved isn’t the person you are in a relationship with. It’s the loss of trust. Elin gets it. She’s working toward forgiveness. If she can forgive him, Camp B, shouldn’t you?
Finally, to both Camps: Who wants to live life wishing the worst for someone-particularly a stranger? Quoting Ghandi and the Bible-“Get a life, people–get that log out of your own eye.” I swear those quotes are exact. I looked them up on Wikipedia.
In the end, it all comes down to compassion. I guess, I would rather have compassion for Elin’s pain and for Tiger’s struggles than dissect a matter that I never should have been privy to in the first place.