What Black Women Can Learn From Elin

After nine months without so much as a public sneeze Tiger Woods’ now ex -wife, Elin Nordegren sat down with People magazine for an in-depth, tell all interview. During the 19 hour tête-à-tête Elin told her side of the story regarding the tabloid frenzy surrounding Tiger’s affairs and how all the drama affected her and her family. While she may not have said anything particularly earth shattering, her behavior during the past nine months and the subsequent People interview make an interesting case study in the tome of women scorned and though white women are generally regarded as “Black Men’s Kryptonite” in this particular case, Elin may need to be hailed as a Black Woman’s role model.

Now before you go throwing me the side eye, give me a minute to share several observations I made about how Elin handled herself and what sistas can take away from her example.

4. She did not sell herself short. We’ve heard the stories about celebrity wives who are publicly humiliated by their husbands’ elicit affairs only to be placated with diamonds, vacations and other lavish gifts. Then we sit around and say something like, “Well the way he embarrassed her she deserved a rock that big but she knows better to leave him, as much as that man’s worth!” Well, Elin said that she is not the one and felt her dignity was worth far more than anything that Tiger could buy. When all was said and done, she refused trade her self-respect for some bling and a farce of marriage.

3. If you can’t trust your man, you can’t be with him. “We tried to work it out, we really did,” Elin is quoted as saying. “But without trust and love,” it just couldn’t work. While this would seem fundamental, too many sistas are willing to stay in a relationship that has no trust. I don’t know if we’re all spooked by the never ending parade of news stories about the shortage of black men and declining number of black marriages, but we’ve got to stop compromising our peace of mind and giving these men pass after pass just so that we can say we’re in a relationship. If you feel like you’ve got to watch his odometer and look through his phone, he’s not worth it. I promise.

2. Silence is the Golden Rule. For months Elin remained silent as rumors spread and speculation circulated. Even as details of Tiger’s philandering emerged and the late-night jokes started, Elin stayed mum. She wasn’t by his side at nary a press conference nor was she answering questions as the paparazzi hounded her at gas stations and grocery stores. She didn’t bemoan to anyone who would listen about how hurt she was and she didn’t try to exact revenge by scouring Tiger’s name. As a result, I’m guessing, she was able to come away from her divorce with more than enough in her bank account to keep herself and her children comfortable ‘til the end of days. What’s more, she was able to control her story and image by opening up to the public on her terms when the time was right.

1. Don’t use your children as pawns. Based on a scene described where Tiger unexpectedly arrives to drop the kids off and Elin reminds her children to kiss their father goodbye, it’s evident that she is determined to ensure that her children have a healthy relationship with their dad. She isn’t pitting them against him or bad mouthing him within ear shot. That demonstrated level of maturity will serve her children well in the long run and help them grow into well adjusted people. I know it can be hard when a relationship goes bad and you’re left with raw emotions but to use your children as pawns to exact revenge on your ex is only going to hurt them in the long run and do more to damage the black family.

So ladies, regardless of what you think about Elin’s intentions and how her marriage played out, you have to admit that in some ways she has set a standard for how to leave an unhealthy relationship with your dignity intact, your children happy and healthy and a lesson in love that can only serve you well the next time around.

- Kaela Harmon

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