Why Women Ignore Their Husbands' Infidelity

tiger and elin

While the world was stunned over Tiger Woods' admitted "transgressions" in his marriage, some say Elin Nordegren Woods may have been the least shocked of all.

"The more and more women that come forward, the more likely it is that she knew. ... It would seem to me the only way he could have done all that was with his wife's blessing," Jess, a commenter on the web site thehollywoodgossip.com, wrote.

Sound familiar? It should. Every time there's a major celebrity sex scandal, this theory gets passed around with the same smug certitude. We bet you have a friend who insists that Hillary Clinton "totally knew" about Bill Clinton's peccadilloes, or that Silda Spitzer "looked the other way" while former New York Governor Eliot Spitzer dallied with a prostitute. Read: My Boyfriend Cheated On Me With Hookers

But how often is this actually true?

"I often hear of women knowing and putting up with it, or suspecting and not investigating or confronting their husbands," says Tina B. Tessina, a California-based psychotherapist and author of Money, Sex and Kids: Stop Fighting about the Three Things That Can Ruin Your Marriage

"Many women decide there are larger considerations, understand that their husbands are players, and don't take the cheating personally. Others suffer silently. Some also have affairs. I also work with polyamorous couples, who are committed and openly non-monogamous. None of these things is easy." Discuss: Can Elin & Tiger's Marriage Be Saved?

On the other hand, Rona Subotnik, a California-based marriage and family therapist and author of the upcoming Why Does He Cheat on Me? said she doesn't encounter a lot of women willing to tolerate infidelity. 

"Not too many. The majority are furious and want to get to the bottom of it," she says.

But are women more likely to overlook affairs if their husband is famous or wealthy, or is this just a tired cliché? 

"I think that's a total cliché," says Peggy Vaughan, an infidelity expert who wrote The Monogamy Myth and hosts the Web site dearpeggy.com. "[Elin] doesn't have to stay to get money. In fact, women who are poor are even more likely to stay because they can't make it on their own or they can't support their children."

Why Women Ignore Affairs
When they do bite the bullet, Subotnik says, it's usually because of children. Tiger and Elin have two kids, a two-year-old daughter Sam and a 10-month-old son Charlie.

"Looking the other way is something that women do because they're trying to keep the family together," she says.

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