I Don’t Know Why Elin Stayed, But I Get it

by Carolyn on April 7, 2010

I can hear the collective exasperated sigh, “Why, Elin?”

He cheated on you. And not just with one woman, but with…what’s the count at now? Oh yeah, thirteen. Thirteen women. You were betrayed by him, played for a fool by him, and publicly humiliated by him. Then, he got to hide out at a rehabilitation clinic while you had to stay put, man the fort, care for your children and remain under the media’s microscope.

You could walk away, you know. Walk away with the world’s blessing and a boat load of his money.

So then why, Elin? Surely you can’t feel affection for him anymore. Surely you can’t trust him anymore. And really, without love and trust, what is there left in a marriage worth staying for?

I was thinking all of these things one night and then I read that Elin is a fellow child of divorce, who always felt somewhat alienated from her father as a result.

Suddenly, I got it.

I thought, maybe she’s staying because one of her biggest priorities as a mother is to not relegate her children to the same ‘child of divorce’ status that she grew up with. Maybe she wants them to have the experience growing up that she didn’t; having both parents together and an equal part of their lives. Maybe she would be willing to pay any emotional price in order to give them that gift.

Maybe she’s staying because she wants nothing more than to know that she didn’t walk in her parent’s footsteps. To know that she did better. To know that she took her vows and didn’t negate them. That she was able to succeed where they had failed.

Maybe she’s staying because as a child of divorce, the phrase ‘sanctity of marriage’ isn’t just a collection of words but a truth that she feels to her core. And so for her, as long as he is willing to try, willing to work and willing to change, she will be too. Then no matter the outcome, she will always be able to say to herself and her family that she stood strong when others would have crumbled. That when it came to her marriage, she was ‘all in’, and in the end left all her blood sweat and tears and anything else she had to give in the ring.

Maybe, despite everything Tiger Woods has done, she still loves him. Maybe she remembers the best times in their relationship and still finds herself smiling at them. Maybe she wants to have the opportunity to create more of those memories.

The truth is, I don’t know why Elin stayed. We all know he doesn’t deserve her. But chances are that her decision had very little to do with him or his wants, and very much to do with her, her history and what she wants for both herself and her children.

I may not know the ‘why’ but the ‘why’ isn’t necessary to understand.  As a child of divorce, I get it.

And I wish her all the best.

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{ 34 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Urchin April 8, 2010 at 1:11 am

I don’t get it. I don’t know that I ever will. I didn’t get it when Hillary stayed with Bill. I didn’t get it when anyone who’s been pushed through a situation to that extent stays. I didn’t get it when _I_ did it.

I’ve since changed. I’m in a type of relationship that most people wouldn’t get, but at the same time I’m pretty sure that Elin and Tiger aren’t of the same understanding.

Maybe I’m different because I _want_ my parents to get divorced. I _want_ my mother to be free from the obligation she feels towards a man who’s done nothing for her but cause her grief and pain. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve seen him make her laugh. There may be more, I don’t know, but I doubt it. I really do doubt it.

I hope Elin doesn’t get burned. (Again) I really do.

He doesn’t deserve her. He never will. And the kids don’t deserve a father who’s willing to do that to his wife, because that tells me that they’re just as “forgettable”.

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2 cheri April 8, 2010 at 4:14 am

i ask the same question to every wife who decides to stay despite the faults of her husband. i am not a child of divorce (we do not have divorce laws in the philippines), but sometimes i wonder if i would have been better off than hear all those fighting.

shuttling in from SITS :)
.-= cheri´s last blog ..cracks (not the dirty one) =-.

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3 Danielle April 8, 2010 at 11:22 am

I hope that eventually she gets the courage to leave. While a broken home, or divorced family may not be ideal, living in a home with two parents who do not trust each other, fight, or overall do not have a healthy relationship can impact a child in the long run also.
It is just a sucky situation all around for Elin and the Children. I exclude Tiger because he is the one who created it, and his feelings should not longer matter after his actions. I have no sympathy for cheaters, male or female.

Anywho, great post!
Stoppin’ by from SITS!
.-= Danielle´s last blog ..Just Good Enough Society =-.

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4 WhiteSockGirl aka The Fabulous Bitch April 8, 2010 at 11:55 am

Never married. Don’t have children. Had my humongous share of failed relationships from which I walked away without blinking an eye at just the mere whisper of infidelity. Told myself that I am the most important person in my life, and that it is my job to value and respect myself the way I deserve to be valued and respected. But then I do not have children and I am selfish.

At the same time, as a child’s activist, in my bitchy opinion, if you have a child, then the child automatically is the most important person in your life. And that it is a parent’s job is to protect his/her child and the child’s happiness and wellbeing at all cost.

For me, it always had been clear that Elin stayed because of her children, to protect her children. I have endless respect for Elin because of how she has been conducting herself in the face of this media spectacle. She stayed strong for her children and she is putting them first. Elin, in my opinion, deserves the award for the 2010 Excellence Award for Parenthood. She is one damn fabulous strong woman.

I know of many women who fell apart at lesser horrors and left their children suffering while they are reclaiming their independence and learn how to survive the betrayal. At the expense of the children.

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5 Adriana April 8, 2010 at 3:10 pm

I dont get it either. But I think you nailed it on the head. I am a product of divorce as well and while I am lucky and very in love with my hubby, I totally get staying in an unhappy marriage just so my own wouldn’t have to go through the same thing.
I would do anything for my baby…staying with a man I wasn’t toally in love with would be an easy feat compared to what I would go through for him.

(stopping by from SITS)

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6 Life with Kaishon April 8, 2010 at 3:32 pm

I was astounded myself. Astounded. I don’t know how someone can do that to someone else. Just devastating. This post was very well written. Excellent points!
.-= Life with Kaishon´s last blog ..my little actor =-.

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7 Christa April 8, 2010 at 7:50 pm

Too bad the phrase ‘sanctity of marriage’ doesn’t mean a thing to Tiger… which tells me that it won’t be much of a loving home for children, even if it contains two parents. See, I don’t believe in “sex addiction,” so I don’t see a troubled, sick man who needs to work through an illness, but rather a man who was willing to sacrifice his family for bedroom funtimes with more than a dozen random women.
.-= Christa´s last blog ..Sick Day =-.

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8 Christa April 8, 2010 at 7:51 pm

(I wrote my comment as a child of divorce, by the way. My parents hit each other, and had they stayed together, I would likely have grown up in a home with parents for whom physical violence is a valid form of conflict resolution. Am I better off because my parents divorced? I think so.)
.-= Christa´s last blog ..Sick Day =-.

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9 jules April 8, 2010 at 8:46 pm

I completely get it! I would do anything to keep my family together for the sake of my children & I feel i did everything that I could. But my husband couldn’t. I wish her the best & her children too. Hopefully they don’t teach their children that a man can have as many affairs as he wants & a woman has to just accept it. I know I don’t want my daughters treated that way by their husbands.

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10 Holly Ann April 8, 2010 at 11:31 pm

I don’t get any of it… i find it hard to believe, as a woman and a wife, that he could have had 13 mistresses and she didn’t know… HOW COULD SHE NOT HAVE KNOWN… you can maybe hide one… but THIRTEEN…??? Really, how did she not know??? I think she has a few issues of her own…

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11 a girl in a gorilla suit April 9, 2010 at 12:49 am

i dont understand it all. i feel so bad for her!

stopping by from SITS!

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12 BJ_Mama April 9, 2010 at 3:35 am

WOW! What a relivant post. And, you know what, I get it too. Both my husband and myslef are children of divorce, and although we haven’t had trials as hard as Tiger/Elin, in our 4 short years of marriage, we have outlasted some of our friends’ marriages. Children of divorce, especially bad/drawn-out/horrible-child-custody-battled divorce, have a much different perspective.
Thank you for sharing, sitsta!

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13 Shayna April 9, 2010 at 11:55 am

I agree – despite our impulse to judge others’ decisions, it would be wrong to assume that she made a decision regarding her children or herself hastily or without reasons – And what I would do may not be what would work for another.
.-= Shayna´s last blog ..White House Recommends Working Flex Hours To Make More Money =-.

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14 twincerely,Olga April 9, 2010 at 1:11 pm

great blog and post!!!I dont understand either because I would be Loong Gone!!I wish her much happiness!!she most certainly deserves it!stop by
.-= twincerely,Olga´s last blog ..AlohA FridaY!!!YeaY!!!! =-.

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15 Stesha April 9, 2010 at 2:11 pm

Sometimes I wonder if she even knows why she’s staying. Maybe she’s just confused and needs more time. This is a big and hard pill to swallow…and I would not want to be in her shoes.

Hugs and Mocha,
Stesha

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16 David April 9, 2010 at 4:29 pm

I’m going to get slammed for this answer since I’m the only man attempting to answer here.
First off they live a life we (most of us) cannot comprehend. Money, travel, assistants, nannies etc…
Also please allow me to quantify by re-affriming that Elin surely is the victim here. However I’m astonished as to the lack of compassion for a man none of us know. We don’t know Tiger (personnaly) so how can we be so quick to dismiss. Theoren Fleury (hockey player) wrote a book about his “sex abuse/addiction” and the downward spiral his life took. Keeping in mind his pay was 1/200th of Tigers and his fame was 1/10,000th of Tigers I can’t imagine the temptations and power. I’m glad I’m not walking in their shoes before or after the scandals.
My grandparents celebrated 54 years of marriage this week and while talking it over with him we looked back at it like a marathon. Peaks, Valleys, Energetic, Exhastion, Joy, Sadness.

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17 Michelle April 9, 2010 at 4:34 pm

Stopping by from SITS :)

I am a child of divorce and I don’t get it. I got divorced a couple of years ago and it was the best decision. he was a cheater and a liar – and I didn’t want my kids to grow up thinking it was ok for a man to treat a woman that way. I’d rather them have mommy and daddy in separate homes and happy, then have us in one home and miserable.
.-= Michelle´s last blog ..?Easter was Fabulous :) =-.

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18 Robyn Hardy April 9, 2010 at 5:30 pm

Wow, he really did betray her but to stay with him and try to make it work would show enormous strength on her part! She could just leave and live comfortably on her own and never decide to remarry. But would Tiger? He might just marry again and then it puts another burden on her children to deal with a stepmother/stepfamily. I can totally get where she would stay and try to work on this marriage just on that reason alone. For her children’s sake. To not burden her children with a divorce and all that it brings!

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19 Robyn Hardy April 9, 2010 at 6:26 pm

Carolyn: Your words flow so easily when you write. You seem to pick the right words/phrases when you write your blogs! You should be a writer or write a book!
:)

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20 Amber April 9, 2010 at 7:53 pm

I also get it.

I really hope it works out for them.
.-= Amber´s last blog ..Care To Dye? =-.

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21 Christy April 9, 2010 at 11:23 pm

this is a very thoughtful post…
i have been thinking a lot about this myself…and all i can come up with is that Elin must have her reasons…
and I hope they are a noble as you surmise…and i hope the children never have to know what their father did….
i stopped by from sits and now i am intrigued and will stay a while to poke about.
.-= Christy´s last blog ..Tuesday Night Supper Club–Chicken Enchiladas =-.

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22 Urchin April 10, 2010 at 4:41 pm

I have no sympathy for Tiger because he made a conscious decision. Many times over. Maybe it is an addiction, I don’t know, but I have friends who have addictions as well, and they fight it. They don’t cave every time (insert vice here) comes along. And if they do, they don’t lie about it to the people it affects.

I see how hard it is for them on a daily basis, this struggle.

The difference is, this is in the mainstream. This has been plastered everywhere and the children WILL hear about it. The internet has a very long memory.

My personal feelings, in regards to the children, are that they don’t need to be in a house filled with that kind of tension all the time (presuming there will continue to be tension). I’ve always hated the excuse “Staying for the children”, but this comes from watching my parents fight, and knowing how it’s affected me.

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23 Shayna April 10, 2010 at 7:40 pm

I left you something at Life: Forward — http://LifeForward.onsugar.com – Happy Saturday!
.-= Shayna´s last blog ..Do You Haul-ler About Your Purchases? =-.

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24 Carolyn April 15, 2010 at 12:57 am

Thank you, Shayna!

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25 Carolyn April 15, 2010 at 1:10 am

I love the conversation that has happened here. It’s fascinating how different out point of views can be and how they are so very much influenced by our own experiences and environments. This is a subject that people feel strongly about.

I understand very well the people who have brought up the point that if Elin stays she is teaching her children that she isn’t worth more and that if there is tension in the household then that’s not healthy for the children either. I understand completely if anyone says that they would certainly never be able to find it in themselves to stay.

But I can’t help but argue the other side for a minute. It isn’t a given that there will be tension in the house forever because of this. Everyone has their own threshold of forgiveness. And although of course boundaries need to be established, what if he says he’s never going to do it again – and he *means* that; and he says he’s willing to do whatever it takes to earn Elin’s trust back – and he *means* that; and he says he’s going to reprioritize and put his family right on top – and he *means* that, and she’s able to work through her feelings of betrayal? What would that teach their children about marriage, love, commitment, forgiveness, family and life?

I agree with Urchin that his children will inevitably find out about all of this. And Tiger will have to face their judgements at some point. I’m sure Elin, whatever her decision, will face their judgements too.

I’m not saying I think Elin should feel pressured to stay and make this work because that’s what’s best for her children. If she can’t do it, she can’t do it. No one on this green earth would blame her. And if Tiger is not sincere in his remorse, then she *should* leave. I’m just saying that her staying isn’t automatically going to hurt her children, create a negative environment or teach them negative life lessons.

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26 Urchin April 15, 2010 at 1:52 am

Carolyn, you’re right. Elin staying doesn’t mean that it’s going to automatically teach their children negative life lessons. I am harsh because of what I’ve been through, and I know that. I see the world through shattered lenses, where most everyone (men in particular) are just barely human and humane.

I have to remind myself that it’s not always like that. Not every man represents the ones who’ve affected me. It’s difficult, but being in a working, healthy relationship tends to force one to re-evaluate.

Here’s to hoping that Tiger makes the gestures of making Elin and the children number one on his priority list. I do. I want to believe that he will, but let’s face it; I’m too suspicious of a person.

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27 Carolyn April 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm

And in his case, being suspicious is very justified. Our past always colors how we see things. We’re all like that, I think.

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28 Sassy Chica April 15, 2010 at 12:28 pm

What a powerful post…so raw and honest!

Smooches,
Sassy Chica

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29 Carolyn April 25, 2010 at 6:56 pm

Thanks, Chica.

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30 Robyn Hardy April 15, 2010 at 11:16 pm

It looks like shes leading towards divorce…..thinking on it, How could you forgive a man whose cheated on you with strippers and other women? He clearly doesn’t value marriage much so its probably a good thing. I wish her and her children all the luck to pull through!!

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31 Carolyn April 25, 2010 at 6:58 pm

It will certainly be interesting to see how it all plays out. It’s almost unfortunate that with golf season fast approaching and him playing, they will have very limited time to work on things (maybe that’s telling). I can’t help but think that she in particular deserves some privacy. And I think we all wish them all the luck.

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32 Dominique April 17, 2010 at 2:14 am

I am not a child of divorce. My parents were never married. But we do have some things in common. I can also get it. Stopping by from sits.

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33 Carolyn April 25, 2010 at 7:00 pm

Interesting. Thank you for your comment, Dominique. I always find it fascinating to see how those with different backgrounds relate easily to the same issues. I have a couple of adopted readers too. I hope you’ll come back sometime!

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34 Mimi May 1, 2010 at 8:28 am

I, too, am a child of divorce and just don’t get it. I never understood why my mother ever felt the need to remarry, to put herself through so much grief. While there have been a MULTITUDE of times in my life I felt as though I was missing out by not having my father being an integral part of my life, my mother was happier and stronger and better without him. I never felt like she should have stayed with him. I never felt it was ok. Odd. I am sure, however, that my little sister may view this differently.

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