The Tiger Woods Effect

The torrid details just keep coming in the Tiger Woods infidelity scandal. With each new piece of the heartbreaking puzzle comes a collective wave of anger and frustration among women of all ages. As the drama plays out on an international stage, have Tiger's actions resulted in a heightened awareness to cheating? If so, how far is too far when monitoring your man? Read on, then take our poll on the right!

Woman watching boyfriend on phone

Dr. Neil Cannon, a certified sex therapist and couples counselor in Denver, Colorado, provides his professional insight on this hot-button issue:


"I hope the lying, cheating bastard burns in hell."


That's pretty much the gist of the comments Dr Cannon is hearing in his office from women in the wake of Tiger Woods admitting his "transgressions." Cannon sees firsthand the impact of Tiger's actions on patients already struggling with infidelity and trust issues. The attention given to the Woods situation tears open fresh wounds and causes many women to backtrack on whatever progress they've achieved in therapy. "The women I see in my office are in pain and they're angry, but they're also in the midst of attempting to heal," says Cannon. "The mention of Tiger really triggers their fury, especially because they are highly sensitive to infidelity issues right now."


Suspicion Sets In

One of the most painful topics seems to be Tiger's apparently perfect life, including a gorgeous wife and kids and cushy lifestyle. "Women look at this situation and immediately compare their own lives with his," according to Cannon. "This leads to the inevitable question, 'If his life is so perfect and he still cheated, what is my husband up to?'"


Tiger's actions have spurred women into vigilance, especially those who were already suspicious of their husbands. But, obsessive vigilance can create fear, which leads to paranoia, which can completely alter the way a woman views her marriage, husband and entire life. What may once have been casual observation of a husband's whereabouts, expenses, phone records and trips can turn into a full-blown undercover operation. "Paranoia tears families apart and is a huge roadblock to healing," says Cannon.


A Balancing Act

To have a happy and healthy relationship, both parties must have complete access. "This means no secrets, no private emails, no 'bat phones'," says Cannon. "It's a balancing act for the woman who has been cheated on. She has a right to be vigilant, but he needs to be on board as well by granting her access."


If you are following your husband (or having him followed), timing how long it takes him to get from point A to point B, or checking his email/phone/bank accounts without him knowing, you are probably going too far. In addition, you're operating from a place of secrecy, which rarely results in a favorable outcome for either party. Whether or not previous transgressions have occurred, immediate and complete transparency is the best course if you're concerned about your husband's faithfulness. But suspicion and jealousy can blur the line between monitoring and open communication. "Monitoring denotes a sort of covert mission, wherein the man doesn't know he is being observed," according to Cannon. "Making a decision to eliminate secrets and agreeing to be held accountable is a different thing, and a much healthier option."


A Silver Lining

Can any good come of the intense publicity surrounding Tiger's indiscretions? Perhaps the silver lining is the potential for men (and women) who are either cheating or on the verge to question their actions before they are completely buried in lies. "It's surely possible that men will see Tiger's fall from grace as an opportunity to check in with themselves and question their own actions before it's too late," says Cannon.


Conventional wisdom says this situation won't end well, but time will tell. "Tiger certainly has access to the best therapists available. If he and his wife are both willing, they can pull through this," says Cannon. "If they do overcome this situation, their relationship will be a shining star to which struggling couples can latch on."


Whatever the outcome, the constant barrage of media attention is sure to make women and men at least consider what they would do in a similar situation. The challenge comes when that voice inside prompts us to take action rather than just ponder. If you are finding yourself becoming more observant these days (or if you've succumbed to downright spying), open up about your suspicions and eliminate the communication roadblocks immediately. This may be the only way to give your relationship a fighting chance.


Do you agree? Scroll up and take our poll on the right!

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Comments on "Has Tiger Woods made women more suspicious?"

Dorothy February 09, 2010 | 6:19 AM

No,It depends on the person who cheats or not.The shame today is we've created this mess. We have allowed the men to get away with so much that they think it's normal!!Disrespect,rudeness,Lyding Cheating is the norm..They get it from Tv. What they see IS what they do!!

atrain February 03, 2010 | 2:44 PM

Tiger has never had a normal life. It's not realistic to compare it to your own...unless you were a star at age 5. He is one of his own...and one of the most recognizable athletes in the world. I'm not justifying it, but he is in a different place/situation than most of us.

Jaz February 03, 2010 | 1:41 PM

I don't see why so many women are freaking out! He is famous... and rich! Of course women are going to throw themselves at him! But lets be honest, most women out there aren't married to men that look like Tiger Woods, or as famous as him. So ladies, you have NOTHING to worry about. If you didnt wonder before.. keep trusting him because you are totally going to make yourself believe these crazy accusations.

Lucy February 03, 2010 | 12:00 PM

I think women are more suspicious because there are so many more avenues for men to use to talk to other women (FB, email, texting) but it goes both ways. I think women need to check themselves first because a lot of times, they're straying, too and that makes them more suspicious of their man.

Anouk February 03, 2010 | 9:24 AM

I think it's ridiculous that women are more suspicious of their man since the Tiger Woods "incident". If you are in a relationship where you feel the need to spy on your man "just in case" than you had a problem way before Tiger's mistresses started popping up all over the globe... Like the expert in the article mentioned, it's all about been open to one another and communicating. I'm always amazed at the lack of communications present in some of my girlfriend's marriages... If you suspect him, tell him! and if he can't provide an answer that is satisfactory... dump him!

azyeti February 03, 2010 | 9:22 AM

I think Tiger is in a league of his own. If you trust your man, don't let one ridiculously rich and probably arrogant famous man ruin what you have. Plus, the good-guy image was just that, an IMAGE! Get over it girls, he didn't cheat on YOU.

Rita February 03, 2010 | 9:21 AM

Women are really shocked that Tiger would cheat despite his lush lifestyle? His lifestyle has nothing to do with it! He was born a lying, cheating jerk!

Kelsey February 03, 2010 | 9:02 AM

Great article! I know a few people who have reported watching their boyfriends and husbands like CRAZY since the Tiger scandal broke out. Like, full-on going through their emails and hacking into their Facebook accounts. I, personally, trust my man, but I must say... I do check his FB a bit more...

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