When ex is X-certificate

Rihanna and Chris Brown
Rihanna and Chris Brown
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Can you ever go back to an ex and make it work?

Really, it boils down to two things; whether the wronged party can truly forgive and forget – and not carp on about old grievances at every twist and turn. And whether the lying, cheating leopard can permanently change its spots.

Happier times: Cheryl and Ashley Cole

Happier times: Cheryl and Ashley Cole

Cheryl Cole was the WAG who we all applauded for having the strength to walk away from a scumbag soccer husband when so many don’t.

She seemed so much more dignified than Colleen, who chose to forgive (or keep taking the humiliation and Wayne’s pay cheque, depending on how you want to look at it).

Forgiveness might be divine, but most often, it’s so idiotic a thing to do to yourself, it’s akin to self-harming.

Take Stacey, the wife of Ryan Giggs, as example.

But now reports claim Cheryl and Ashley are canoodling again. That he contacted her with a shoulder to cry on when she got the boot from the U.S. X-Factor and a reconciliation could be on the cards. Her agent must want to take her by her teeny little shoulders and lead her off to a shrink. And not just to reduce the size of her lollypop head.

How on earth can she put all his sordid affairs behind her and trust that every time he plays away, there’s only one ball on his mind?

She’s no doubt being spoon-fed the line that their time apart, that very public divorce, has made Ashley mature enough to realise what an idiot he was. That he should have cherished his national sweetheart of a wife and his wedding vows.

And then there’s Rihanna, that so self-assured pop diva, getting tweet again with the boyfriend who beat her up. A few months ago, she had a restraining order on him axed.

Is this about weak little women with low self-esteem who can’t resist the perennial lure of the bad boy?

Or is it more about the capable, strong woman who got ripped apart, deciding she wants to replay the broken record her way? Maybe Cheryl and Rihanna, like so many non-famous women, want to get back into the relationships that nearly drove them insane (and the best friends who had to listen to every little detail a million times) on their own terms. Or finally feel in control as they keep the remorseful ex dangling on a string like a pining pup and bat him back and forth.

Whichever, it’s a dangerous game. Been there, done that and got the tear-stained pillowcase.

The thing about those leopard-spots is that usually they’re not just skin-deep. The inability to stay faithful, the ability to hit women, is in the psyche. It takes a lot of sessions on the couch to bleach the damned things out.

Resurrecting a love affair that deserved its cremation is like playing with fire.

For ex, we should think expired and extinct and excruciating pain. Not excitement. Not exhumation.