The question on everyone’s lips is “Why?” Why did someone like Tiger Woods, who had so much to lose, do what he did?
Because he could? Because he didn’t care?
We’ll never really know until the Oprah interview. (You know it’s coming.)
In the meantime, here is an observation about the whole debacle.
Tiger Woods did not just have a series of one-night-stands with these women. He had extended “relationships” with several of them.
What is really interesting from an evolutionary point of view is the actual length of these affairs.
Most of them lasted 2 to 3 years.
This roughly corresponds to the average length of the intense romantic phase of human sexual relationships.
According to anthropologist Helen Fisher, the average length of the romantic phase of human sexual relationships is between 18 months and 3 years.
The romantic phase, is the period when you fall head over heels in love with someone. This is the stage in a relationship when you cannot keep your hands off each other. This is the stage when thoughts of the beloved dominate all other thoughts.
The brain of a human being in love, according to Fisher, is in a heightened state of focused attention. The brain’s reward systems are highly active during this time, as are its motivational systems. Evolution has wired our brains to make us focus on an individual as our only goal and our ultimate reward.
Fisher suggests that, there is a point past which the brain can no longer sustain this highly focused and alert state. And slowly the romance begins to fade somewhere between 18 months to 3 years after you first started seeing you beloved regularly.
In a healthy relationship, as the biological machinery of romantic love winds down, the biological machinery of long term bonding take over.
Was Tiger Woods chasing the elation and energy of romantic love moving from one woman to another as the romance faded?
Again, we’ll just have to wait for the Oprah interview.
The Anatomy of Love: The Nature of Monogamy, Adultery and Divorce by Helen Fisher
Why we Love: The Nature and Chemistry of Romantic Love by Helen Fisher