The Tiger Conundrum: When Someone You Love Loves a Jerk

What to do when a friend or relative finds herself in Elin Nordegren's shoes

While most of the media coverage surrounding the Tiger Woods situation has focused on outing his string of mistresses, many women have watched the story unfold and thought of a friend, a sister or a mother who has been in the same place as Elin Nordegren. We either know firsthand what it's like to be betrayed, or have seen a woman we care about have her world rocked by infidelity. But what is the right reaction when your friend loves—or is married to—someone who treats her badly?

"The best thing you can do is be an emotional support," says Yvonne K. Fulbright, Ph.D., author of The Better Sex Guide to Extraordinary Lovemaking.

Although it's tempting to tell your friend what to do, you should only offer your opinion if she asks for it. Make sure your advice is coming from a place of friendship and is not colored by your own bad experiences. It can be tempting to lump all men together, but remember, your friend or relative's situation is complicated, and most likely different from your own in ways you can't fully understand.

As the friend of a woman going through the shame, hurt and humiliation of adultery, you may feel like your hands are tied. To some extent, this is true, but there are still a few important things you can do for her:

Be there. Don't underestimate the power of your presence. "Be prepared to listen," says Fulbright. Just as when someone dies, there are never any "right words" to say. But your friend will feel comfort just seeing that there is someone there for her who cares.

Connect with Us
Follow Our Pins

Yummy recipes, DIY projects, home decor, fashion and more curated by iVillage staffers.

Follow Our Tweets

The very dirty truth about fashion internships... DUN DUN @srslytheshow

On Instagram

Behind-the-scenes pics from iVillage.

Best of the Web