|Elin Nordegren seems to have made it out of her rocky marriage with Tiger Woods alive. (WENN.COM photo)
Elin Nordegren, thank you for taking it for the team.
Like Sandra Bullock before you, appearing on the cover of People this week looking calm, strong and gorgeous proves that the end of a marriage doesn't need to be the end of you. It almost wipes away the spoof images of you wielding a golf club at your cheating husband's car. That, by the way, was another thing for which women everywhere would like to thank you.
As 2010 breaks its way into the new decade, gone are the disconsolate images of women scorned and begging for their men back; instead, we have newly single Halle Berry gracing the cover of Vogue's September issue and Kate Winslet and soon-to-be ex-husband Sam Mendes fulfilling their parental duties without slinging mud at each other in the media.
"Life is about choices," says divorce consultant and educator Deborah Moscovitch. "You can stay a victim, you can stay and be miserable, or you can choose to pick up and move forward."
The author of The Smart Divorce, Moscovitch knows from experience how much a separation can sting.
"My file stayed open for seven years," she recalls. "When you're getting divorced, you make decisions based on emotions. People seek blame, they seek revenge, they try to take their anger out on their partners - and all they get is legal bills."
For these women in the spotlight, licking their wounds in private is not an option, so taking the reins of the public relations machine actually becomes the next best thing. Bullock's triumphant cover, complete with the revelation that she'd successfully adopted a baby boy, was released just two months after the tawdry details of her husband's infidelities were leaked. Naming Rihanna as one of the women of the year in Glamour last December - complete with stunning photographs - revealed a similar message: "I'm stronger and wiser."
Showing the world your happy face won't only keep the less sympathetic tabloids at bay, it could actually change your whole perspective.
"When you're mad and sad and angry and everything else, those are the people you bring into your life - toxic people," explains Moscovitch. "When you feel better, it's interesting how much the quality of people in your life improves."
If Nordegren's piercing gaze is any indication, things are already looking up.
Getting your groove back
Divorce consultant Deborah Moscovitch of thesmartdivorce.com recommends these steps for using divorce as an opportunity from which to learn and grow.
1. Do the internal work. Whether that means marriage counselling, as Bullock and Nordegren tried, or a therapist, make sure you know that this is the right decision for you. You want to make sure that as hard as things get, you don't look back with regret.
2. Don't jump into a relationship right away; develop a relationship with yourself. You have to be comfortable in your own skin.
3. Be a great role model for your children. They're always watching and they pick up all the cues.
4. Get yourself fixed up, whether it's with a man or a woman. Developing healthy new relationships, romantic or otherwise,
5. Get out of your comfort zone. "I went to parties alone. I went to movies on my own," Moscovitch says. "I forced myself into situations so that I could be the person I would be attracted to."