The Home of Steven Barnes
Author, Teacher, Screenwriter

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Jim Carrey said Tiger Woods' wife must have suspected something, and was therefore not totally "innocent." While in NO WAY absolving Woods of guilt, does Carrey have a point? Do spouses of serial cheaters look the other way until forced to react?


Cathy Doyle said...

So the guy travels all the time and she's home raising the kids--what's she supposed to do--hire someone to follow him all the time to make sure that he keeps it zipped?

LaVeda H. Mason said...

Sometimes, yes, the spouse can be in denial about what is going on, however, adults are responsible for what they do.

If Mr. Woods was doing things that he wasn't supposed to, it is not his wife's job to 'police' his behavior. If she trusts him, she trusts him, and if/when she chooses to deal with the situation is up to her; only she knows when the relationship is no longer worth the work or denial.

My mother told me a long time ago that you don't have to follow a man around; if he's cheating, it will come out, and you won't have to waste your time playing detective. It also allows you to keep your dignity... no snooping, no histrionics.

Anonymous said...

Even if she did suspect, I wonder what Mr. Carrey thinks she should have done? Follow him, spy on him, go after him with a golf club, perhaps?

He's a grown man. He alone is responsible for where he parks his equipment. His wife should not have to be the zipper police. I wonder if Mr. Woods would have been blamed if his wife had been the one doing the cheating. I suspect there would have been lots of sympathy for the poor lovely man who was damaged by the betrayal of a no-good tramp.

My husband's response when he heard the news was, "What a fool. What kind of dummy would risk his family like that?" There was no mention of one adult being held responsible for the other adult's foolishness. I love my husband. He might leave his socks on the floor, but he's totally cool.

technomom said...

What on earth could the woman possibly be "guilty" of? It sounds to me as if Jim Carrey has something he's personally uncomfortable about and he's showing how much class he lacks.

I was looking for your site in order to create a link for a blog post, though, and happened to see this post. The idea of blaming Mrs. Woods for anything is so outrageous that I felt compelled to respond, even though I haven't paid a great deal of attention to the Woods media circus. I don't pay attention to any sports or celebrities for any reason, and sex scandals are even less interesting than the rest of the blather.

I know that in the dark ages (1950s, 60s, etc.) some people would blame a woman when her husband was unfaithful, claiming that he must not be getting enough sex (or good enough sex) at home, so he was "driven" to another woman's arms--but really, aren't we past that kind of thinking? Carrey's statement sounds like a variation on that kind of thinking.

If the Woods had a "don't ask, don't tell" agreement, which isn't all that uncommon in some couples wherein one member travels extensively, it is always understand as part of such agreements that any extramarital activities will be extremely discreet.
The fact that even I have heard some sordid details, when I actively avoid media exposure (no cable TV, I don't listen to commercial radio, don't subscribe to the newspaper or popular magazines, don't visit gosspity web sites, etc.) says that Mr. Woods was far from discreet.

The man seems to have had a poor understanding of discretion, permitting one lover to take nude photographs of him, "sexting" with several women, etc.

I have to wonder if he was deliberately being self-destructive?

If Mr. Carrey thinks that Mrs. Woods could have controlled her husband's behavior, or that any person can control another adult's behavior, he is delusional. Maybe he was sending a message to his own wife (if he's married, I don't know), hinting that she needs to check on his behavior?

Mrs. Woods had very few choices, as far as I could tell. She could give her husband useless ultimatums. She could make a big public scene (tacky and possibly harmful to their children). She could give up on their marriage, take their children, and walk out (again, harmful to their children). Or she could do what she seems to have done, dealt with this problem with her husband privately, asking for changes that might salvage their marriage and permit them to stay together for their childrens' sake. To me, she seems to be the more trustworthy person in that family.

Steven Barnes said...

By FAR the husband has more blame here. In terms of his behavior, ALL the blame. In terms of the marriage, most. I do think both partners have some responsibility for what goes on, and that people tend to "delete" information they don't want to hear. But suggesting the cheated-upon spouse has equal responsibility is blaming the victim.

Steve Perry said...

Contrast this with the more recent Jesse James/Sandra Bullock ugliness in the news. While Tiger's wife might not have been paying attention, and trusting her husband, Bullock knew she was getting a bad boy when she married him. Because when they hooked up, he was, as I recall, married, and his then-wife pregnant.

If a man is willing to cheat on his wife with you, mightn't that offer some kind of clue to his basic nature?

And if you are willing to do it with him, doesn't that say something about you?

Poor Sandra, people say. But she knew he was a snake when she picked him up, didn't she?

Men and women might have many differences; however, I think they are probably alike in that they tend to hear what they want to hear and disregard the rest.

And thank you, Paul Simon ...

Anonymous said...

"...Mrs. Woods had very few choices, as far as I could tell. She could give her husband useless ultimatums. She could make a big public scene (tacky and possibly harmful to their children). She could give up on their marriage, take their children, and walk out (again, harmful to their children)...."

Also, *not* walking out could have been harmful to their second child, if Tiger and Elin had their second child via unprotected sex instead of adoption and if Tiger cheated via unprotected sex instead of protected sex at least some of the time he was cheating before that child's conception. Those would have increased the odds of Elin's second child being born with an STI Tiger brought home from cheating.

This can even apply when the woman instead of the man in a hetero couple cheats! If she brings home an STI from cheating and he conceives his next child with her (instead of leaving her and conceiving his next child with someone else, or instead of adopting his next child) then the odds of his next child having her STI increase.

BTW, this is also why customs that pressure someone to depend on a sex partner as a breadwinner - to depend on a sex partner for money to buy food, goods to barter for food, and/or land to grow food - are so dangerous even if they do boost the breadwinner's ego.

There's more pressure to have sex no matter how unsafe you feel about it (instead of choosing and negotiating when and how in order to reduce your risks) if you depend on your sex partner for a living. Meanwhile, it's easier to take your sex partner and her or his health for granted (instead of making an effort to not put her or him at risk) if she or he depends on you staying sexually attracted to her or him.

Anonymous said...

"Contrast this with the more recent Jesse James/Sandra Bullock ugliness in the news. While Tiger's wife might not have been paying attention, and trusting her husband, Bullock knew she was getting a bad boy when she married him. Because when they hooked up, he was, as I recall, married, and his then-wife pregnant..."

There's a racism side to *that* case too:

"...What I have done is call attention to the following points:

"When you are married to someone who, at the very least, thinks posing for a picture like that is funny, it may be unreasonable for people to presume you share his views, but it is perfectly reasonable for those who are interested in your life to ask you things like, 'Um, do you think it's funny too? And were you aware that he did? Hypothetically speaking, if your husband were shown to be an aficionado of Nazi culture, would you consider that a dealbreaker, y/n?'...

"...That, of course, is what some people get so upset about. Heaven forbid we jump to the conclusion that someone captured on film doing a 'humorous' Hitler impression perhaps has some problematic views about race. We'd better wait until we have the whole story before we go off half-cocked and say things we might regret! I mean, for all we know, he might have just been…

"What? What would make that picture okay?

"Hint: Nothing.

"For fuck's sake, what does a white person have to do around here before a critical mass of other white people are willing to say, “Yep, that's some racist bullshit”? More than use Nazi imagery for laffs, apparently..."

Travis said...

I saw the phrase "useless ultimatums" in comments here a couple of times.

If you actually DO as you say then it isn't useless. If you don't then it's not really an ultimatum is it?

technomom said...

I've heard much less about the James/Bullock thing than about the Woods case. My family of origin are into golf in a big way, so that has probably led me to some unavoidable exposure to things-Tiger-related. I went to look up something on the James-Bullock case so that I would be able to make a comparison and ewwww! Just knowing what I do now about Jesse James causes me to wish that brain bleach existed. That is one vile excuse for a human. Posing as Hitler, killing his own pet dogs by forcing them to fight, sexually harassing/assaulting his employees, and oh, by the way, he can't keep it in his pants either?

If it is true that James was married when Bullock met him, then I would agree with Steve Perry that she knew he was unfaithful to that wife and therefore had absolutely no reason to expect that he'd be faithful to her, either. And obviously, he knew that she was willing to get involved with a married man, so why would he trust her to be any better? Not a great situation. Did she know about the rest? Those legal problems weren't hard for journalists to find, and Bullock definitely has the resources to have found them if she wanted to bother with a background check. If she had much sense, she would have done one. The Hitler photo was supposedly taken while they were dating, so while she might not have known about that, the fact that he collected Nazi memorabilia was reportedly well-known, and that would be enough to squick me (and I'm guessing any publicist would have told her it wouldn't play well in the press).

technomom said...

Travis, I used the phrase "useless ultimatums." Apparently I should have expressed myself better.

When people make statements like, "If you don't do (this) right now I'll do (that) tomorrow!" I consider that an ultimatum. And yes, I consider such statements to be useless in relationships you want to keep. In my family of origin, issuing ultimatums is like issuing a dare, guaranteeing that (this) happens immediately. It's rare that anybody takes them seriously, and if they do, they get angry because the issuer is being manipulative instead of negotiating.

So there's anger, and somebody loses his or her temper, and instead of having a discussion things everybody is going to regret are said and the whole situation ratchets up another notch and that doesn't do anybody a bit of good, does it?

On the other hand, let's say, hypothetically, that I found out that my partner was meeting some woman I've never heard of a couple of times a week for sex and games when I thought he was doing something completely different.

By the time he got home, I would already have made a start on moving me and my daughter elsewhere and kicking him out of my life. As soon as he saw me or heard my voice again, he'd know that our relationship was in serious jeopardy. The only thing to be discussed would be whether or not there might be any hope of saving anything between us, and that would be entirely up to him.

(Is my way manipulative? I don't happen think so, as I would just be acting for myself, instead of trying to make him do or change anything about his behavior. If he chose to have an affair, I would leave, allowing him to continue the other relationship unhampered by me. Simple.)

Does that make any more sense?

Travis said...

Oh, I understood what you meant. It's a common thing in relationships and life. My point is just that people shouldn't pretend that bluffs are ultimatums.

If someone isn't prepared to pull the trigger they shouldn't show the gun.

Which in my roundabout cynical way is also my way of supporting people and encouraging them TO do what they say.