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.