Didn't we just see this story? Celeb hubby cheats. A lot. Celeb hubby gets caught. Celeb hubby checks in for sex rehab. Jesse James. Tiger Woods. Tomato, tomahtoe.

The stories of Elin Woods and Sandra Bullock seem to have a lot in common, from the daily reveal of a new skanky hook-up (represented by Gloria Allred) to the obvious PR stunts of their shamed husbands. What's different, at least so far, are the portraits of the wives involved. First, there's Elin, who despite early rumors and skits about her alleged hubby-clubbing, has settled into a role as the reluctant Good Wife. She's standing by her man, by proxy. It's, ‘I won't divorce you, but I'm leaving the country for your big return to golf because I'm mad at you.' So there.

Elin's role has been cast as a bit of a defiant victim, putting up with Tiger's b.s. for the sake of family. Addiction expert Dr. Drew recently said Elin should stick it out, for the kids. "They have two children together, a family, and many, many experiences together, and many reasons to try and make their marriage work," he told radaronline.com.

At the same time, part of the story for Elin is subtle resignation to her fate. Elin is no dummy, but, folks say, what did she really expect marrying this young, good-looking, mega-superstar athlete? Didn't she know he was friends with (known scoundrels) Michael Jordan and Charles Barkley?!

With Sandra, we expect her to divorce him. Public opinion is that she is and was always the alpha in the relationship. She seems to have married for love, not status or money. She's a working woman. She runs her own production company. She's too smart for this. She just won an Oscar, dammit!  T-shirts blaring "Team Sandra" rally the cry of savvy, self-respecting women everywhere. Can't a woman just have it all?

It's the catch-22 too many modern women face. Have the big career, worry he'll leave you. Don't have the big career, worry what else you've got besides him. They're choices, but not without their consequences. From the coverage of Elizabeth Edwards to Jenny Sanford on back to Hilary, it seems we see it as less acceptable for a smart, career-type woman to endure a cheating mate. But does that mean if you're a former nanny turned trophy wife, it's okay to stay?

It's been reported that Sandra has taken steps toward divorce, and of course the tale's not over yet. But if she does divorce him, it may be the only satisfying end to the tragic story. Even if you can't have it all at the same time, you can always have your dignity.

About the Author

Debra Shigley JD

Debra Shigley, J.D., is a journalist based in Atlanta.

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