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Sandy and Elin: Divorce Your Husbands, Save the Kids

sandra_bullockcannesphotocallEven though it’s old news, I still find myself heartbroken for Sandra Bullock. How humiliating to have spent the past few months gushing about her marriage only to find out that her husband, Jesse James, didn’t have her back. Or maybe he did, but he also happened to have the backs of several other women.

Now I’m reading that it’s a “positive sign for her marriage” that Bullock is caring for James’ children while he’s in rehab. At the same time, according to Radaronline, a custody battle could be brewing as Tiger Woods complains about missing his kids while his wife, Elin, spends more time in her native Sweden.

First these guys cheat — and now their wives are being pressured into “doing what’s right for the children?” In Bullock’s case, that means making a sham marriage work, while in Woods’ it’s sacrificing her own happiness so her ex can have more access to his kids. Wouldn’t it be better for these women to move on with their lives, and use their husband’s bad behavior as a lesson for their children in character and consequences?

These cheaters also claim to be “sex addicts.” Sex addiction may be a popular celebrity diagnosis but it’s actually quite rare. The American Psychiatric Association doesn’t even include it in its diagnostic manual. And according to experts like psychiatrist Dr. Aviel Goodman, only 3 to 6% of the population actually suffers from sexual addiction. Most likely, addiction is an excuse for both men. “It becomes like a rationale,” Los Angeles psychoanalyst, Peter Wolson told me.

Just the kind of thing a kid should learn about mistakes — if you can make it look like an illness, all is forgiven. But infidelity is detrimental to children no matter what you call it. Wolson says that children’s anguish over infidelity often leads them to act out at school and to grow up with a devalued perception of women. According to some experts, there is no inherent value in keeping the family together. “If there is a lot of emotional turmoil and pain that can do more harm to the kids than a parent that breaks away and starts a new life,” Goodman said.

In other words, let these women go so they can heal. If Tiger figured out how to fly to Australia for sex, he can get to Sweden to be with his kids. What these children really need are strong mothers. And ditching their cheating husbands is a good first lesson: Stand up for yourself. — Diana Oliva Cave

Copyright © 2002 Rita Molnár

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