1. Sex addiction. Like many child stars, this child athlete was objectified, becoming a commodity for his handlers. It follows that he now sees other people in the same light, as objects to satisfy his needs.
2. The evolutionary explanation is that man’s biological need is to spread his seed and thus ensure the survival of the human race. Culturally, this plays out in our environment and we accept double standards. (Boys will be boys, right?)
3. Why did Tiger cheat? Forget the word cheat. After 20 years of mediating divorces, I know that infidelity is often just an attempt to satisfy unmet needs. Money, fame, and endorsement deals can make life easier, but they can’t fill the emptiness inside.
4. Marriage is difficult and every marriage has challenges. In Tiger’s case, there were significant cultural differences and celebrity-related stress. Additionally, this couple faced the typical pitfalls couples face when the focus shifts from “us” to the kids, and work-related travel and normal life stresses get in the way.
5. Culturally we do not provide marriage preparation. When hormones are high, nobody wants it. How can young people learn about what it takes to make a marriage work when all they have is the romantic fantasy that the media provides? Society should mandate marital education that includes both extensive premarital screening/profiling and follow-up in the early years of marriage.
6. There is a Universal Law that says that no one gets a free ride. High highs bring low lows. You know, the bigger they are, the harder they fall. Now is your time to feel the pain of humiliation. And, after all that glory, it’s going to be big. We may have only seen the tip of the iceberg.
7. He didn’t think we’d care. After all, he is not a minister, politician, or other advocate of high morals. When a hypocritical holy-roller is caught cheating, it is his hypocrisy, rather than his human failings, that does it. Tiger is just an athlete, not a conservative pundit or evangelical minister. He has the right to make mistakes, after all he never told us how to live.
8. Others got away with it. Kobe, Letterman, Hugh Grant, Woody Allen, Bill Clinton, Ted Kennedy and others have been able to carry on after their mischievous headlines. Sex scandals come in degrees. Within reason, we’re happy to give most men a little slack.
9. The Shadow. This is Carl Jung’s term for the repressed and denied aspects of the self. We project the opposite of what we identify with. The repressed is expressed. So it’s only natural that Woods’ wholesome personality would have an unconscious and indecent shadow aspect.
10. Like all of us, Tiger’s greatest strength is also his greatest weakness. And, like the rest of us, the best of him is also the worst of him. Tiger’s uncanny ability to block out other thoughts and focus on the moment and his game has made him the most successful golfer in the world. But, this same ability to focus and be in the moment may have allowed her to block out the consequences of his actions and take his marriage out of his peripheral vision. Is Tiger a one trick pony? (A success in golf and a failure in life.) I don’t know. Stay tuned and we’ll find out.
(Special thanks to my friend and colleague Dr. Renae Lapin, LMFT, who once again proves that two heads are better than one. Renae’s comments sparked the magic of brainstorming and allowed me to finish this article.)