Now, less than four years later, with her health back, Michaels has risen from the depths of emotional despair brought on by the blow of an unexpected divorce, regained primary custody of her children, bought a house of her own, and begun a web site exclusively for women over 40 going through divorce.

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Months later, a sudden and unexpected medical problem found Michaels close to death.

Unable to take care of her children while she was hospitalized, she risked losing custody of them permanently.

Stay busy in a constructive way," suggests Patricia Covalt, Ph D, a Denver-based licensed marriage therapist. Taking ownership of the garden also served as a productive hobby, in which Wood grew not only seasonal vegetables and fruits but also stronger friendships with other community members.

Exploring untapped interests can be both a place to positively let go of the grief brought on by divorce and a way to redefine yourself. While coping with divorce, pain is inevitable -- but soon-to-be ex-spouses have the power to minimize the pain their children feel by keeping things as amicable as possible.

Mental health experts say the pain it causes rivals grieving the death of a loved one.

But as Michaels' story illustrates, surviving divorce is possible.Wood, devastated by not seeing his children on a daily basis, threw himself into starting and cultivating a community garden. "You're dealing with a lot of grief and personal feelings.But always avoid criticizing the other parent in front of the children," says Jennipher Cole, LPC-S, a marriage and family therapist with the De Pelchin Children's Center in Houston.While many men are drawn to Leila’s beauty and sexuality, is their infatuation only in fantasy form?Or would they actually be drawn to women like that in real life?Since Leila is engaged, she’s obviously found a man who likes her mixture of strength and sensuality. And as more women have made our way on our own, either through divorce, widowhood, or life-long singledom, we’ve had to be strong to survive.