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The Tiger Woods Affair: Why Nice Guys Cheat

03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated Nov 17, 2011
  • Lisa Daily bestselling author & DAYTIME TV show Relationships Editor

By now you've probably heard the sordid details of Tiger Woods' alleged affairs with cocktail waitress Jamiee Grubbs, New York City nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, and Las Vegas party planner Kalika Moquin.

The scandal comes as a bit of a surprise to his many fans, especially considering his squeaky-clean image.

Here are the details so far, in case you missed anything:

On November 27, Tiger crashed his Cadillac Escalade outside his Florida home. There have been a number of reports that Tiger and his wife Elin were arguing over a text message. There has also been some speculation as to whether Elin bashed out Tiger's car window with a golf club to "rescue" him from his car as has been claimed, or was, er, bashing his window with a golf club for some other reason.

Swedish golfer Jesper Parnevik introduced Tiger Woods to his wife Elin Nordegren in 2001, while she was working for Parnevik's family as an au pair, "We probably thought he was a better guy than he is. I probably would have to apologize to her and hope she uses a driver next time rather than a three-iron, I would say."

Why do (seemingly) nice guys cheat?

Cheaters usually fall into two categories: Those who are always looking for opportunities to cheat (serial cheaters) and those who find themselves with an opportunity to cheat and make a bad decision (unintended cheaters.)

Serial cheaters usually use sex as a sort of emotional band-aid to make themselves feel better about insecurities, growing older, depression, and for thrill-seeking, among other things. Serial cheaters seek out opportunities for sex - think ESPN's Steve Phillips.

Unintended cheaters generally make a bad decision when presented with an opportunity to cheat, but don't seek out the opportunity. This is the kind of person who sleeps with a coworker after an out of town conference following a rough month, or a difficult life change.

And once that horse is out of the starting gate, all bets are off.

So what does that make Tiger?

At this point, it's hard to tell. On the "Unintentional Cheater" side of the argument, Tiger had a lot of things on his plate back in early 2007 when Grubbs claims they began their affair:

First, he'd lived for a couple of decades under the intense pressure of perfection. Despite the fact that he has been in the media spotlight for a very long time, he's never really had a screw-up. And he is, after all, a human being. None of us can sustain perfection indefinitely.

Second, Tiger's father, by many accounts his north star, died in 2006 after a bout with cancer.

Finally, Tiger's wife Elin was very pregnant with their first child Sam when the alleged affair began. Sleazy? Yes. But is it unheard of for a guy to freak out when his wife gets pregnant, whether at the prospect of a permanent relationship, or terror of the responsibility of becoming a father? Nope. In fact, it happens with astounding frequency.

On the "Serial Cheater" side of the argument, if in fact Woods did have relationships with the three women, Jamiee Grubbs, New York city nightclub hostess Rachel Uchitel, and Las Vegas party planner Kalika Moquin, or more -- it wouldn't be a shock to learn there are even more women who have not yet come forward.

Once might be an accident. Three times is usually a habit.

A voicemail obtained by US MAGAZINE has been circulating the Internet:

"Hey, it's Tiger. I need you to do me a huge favor. Can you please take your name off your phone? My wife went through my phone and may be calling you. So if you can, please take your name off that. Just have it as a number on the voicemail. You got to do this for me. Huge. Quickly. Bye."

Can a couple move forward after one of them has an affair?

Only time will tell. The details of these alleged relationships are still coming to light, and it's pretty obvious that Tiger and Elin will have a lot of challenges in putting their relationship back together if that's what they choose to do. There are a couple of good signs early on -- first, Tiger chose to protect his wife, instead of himself, when rumors were swirling around about the golf club/Escalade fiasco. Second, Yahoo Sports reports that the couple is now seeing a therapist several times a day and that Elin not only received an immediate $5 million dollar payout, she also gained somewhere in the neighborhood of $55 million dollars in a pre-nup revision. In exchange, she has to stick around for a couple more years and keep mum about her story.

Why stick around?

Maybe, just maybe, Elin wants to keep her family together. And maybe, just maybe, Tiger has had a wake-up call, and realizes all he's been risking.

And if nothing else, $55 million and two young children is a pretty good incentive to give couples therapy a try.

For many people, cheating is a deal breaker. And the truth is, if they have any chance of getting through this, Tiger is going to have to own up to what he's done with his wife and take responsibility for all of her hurt and anger around it.

And judging from his history, he might want to steer clear of nightclubs.