I think men can learn a lot from Tiger today.
Dr. Wendy Walsh: I'm weeping as I type this. I am a chick after all. Having just watched Tiger Woods emotional apology to his friends, family, employees, business partners, and foundation beneficiaries, I am simply moved. I am also confused. I am wondering why an athlete in Florida whom I have never met nor seen in public can cause me, a single mother in Los Angeles, to have such a blubbering event.
And the answer is simple. There are few women in America who do not long to hear such words of contrition and kindness from a man, and Tiger is as likely a surrogate for healing as anyone. At some point in their lives, most women have been deeply injured by some man's selfishness -- whether it was infidelity, or violence, or stingy child support. And here is a man finally doing the right thing. My own waterworks started with his tribute to his wife, Elin, using words like grace and poise to describe her. There are a couple of men in my past who would do well by me if they could form any similar words.
And I hope men listened closely, too. This is the kind of role model so many men need ... one who stops the buck at his desk and takes full responsibility for his actions. Through Tiger, men can hear firsthand how infidelity is not only a betrayal of trust but an action that reverberates through many relationships. Is one (or sixteen) moments of sexual pleasure really worth the destruction of so much? I truly hope that men who claim to have trouble controlling themselves can learn something from Tiger's blown-up version of their story.
Because the tides of relationship rules are changing. It used to be that women provided all the sexual boundaries in our culture. Women had far too much to lose by entering into a sexual relationship with a man who might abandon them, impregnate them, contaminate them or disgrace them. Not today. Thanks to feminism, women own their own orgasm and a box of Trojans. They are off to the races. And, as families fall apart -- 40% of American babies are born out of wedlock and the rest are vulnerable to a 50% divorce rate -- some men are stepping up to create their own sexual boundaries, if only to keep safe their genetic line. I spoke with one such man yesterday, Mark Verge, a happily married guy whose book "Access to the Boys Club" preaches techniques for fidelity for couples. Mark's message includes tips for wives to help keep their man satisfied.
Women's behavior is as much part of our culture-wide problem of unhealthy relationships. I've said it before, but let me reiterate: How can we blame our husbands for getting wet on their way home from work when IT'S RAINING WHORES? The shameless Tiger mistresses who have sought their fifteen minutes by kissing and telling on national television need a serious reality check. Or they need to become mothers so they can sympathize with Elin. (Actually, two of his alleged mistresses DID have kids, and they still didn't care!) But both women and men need to get some control on their sexual energy when families are at stake.
Finally, I want to close by applauding the unsung heros in our culture: Men and women who have been making the sacrifices associated with long-term monogamy because it is the right thing to do -- for your partner and for your children. We will all be beneficiaries of your dedication when your kids don't end up on the public coffers or spreading HIV to us. Thanks for making a commitment to love and family.
As for Tiger, he summed it all up with Elin's admonishment to him: "The real apology will not come in words. It will come in behavior." We're watching, Tiger. You're off to a good start toward healing.
|Dr. Wendy Walsh holds a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology, and her area of interest is Attachment Theory -- a psychological, evolutionary and ethological theory that provides a descriptive and explanatory framework for understanding interpersonal relationships between human beings. As a psychological assistant registered with the California Board of Psychology, Dr. Walsh has treated individuals, couples and families for a variety of mental-health concerns, including personality disorders, anger management, eating and substance disorders and depression. Connect with Dr. Walsh on Facebook.|