Clive Caines CaribDirect

Clive Caines Cultural Contributor

Much as I love a serious newspaper I will admit to being occasionally distracted by celebrity gossip dressed up as news. Time and again I’m struck by a celebrities failure to deal well with the aftermath of a failed relationship; like Harry Styles and Taylor Swift feeling the need to diss each other in public now they’re not an item.

Now I’ve had plenty of experience of getting it wrong myself but I’ve come to realise that dealing with your ex is a test of how much you’ve evolved and not an opportunity to get even.

If you are not convinced then let me offer some examples from the world of the celebrity.

When ‘Shape’ magazine compiled a list of the 10 best examples of celebrities who have remained friends long after their relationships failed Bruce Willis and Demi Moor came out tops.

Among the reasons given for the Moore and Willis’ ranking were: there were children involved so they had motivation to keep things amicable; Bruce Willis was willing to provide Demi Moore with a shoulder to cry on when her relationship with Ashton Kutcher hit the buffers.

However the two reasons that I find most remarkable are: Willis and Moore are on such good terms that even manage to live next door to one another and just to show that the peace and harmony is for real they even have holidays together.

Harry Styles and Taylor Swift

Harry Styles and Taylor Swift in the good days. Photo courtesy

The flipside to the remaining friends option is the revenge of the ex response; in celebrity land this could be anything from the classic kiss and tell to the Monica Lewinski style hanging on to damning evidence until the moment that maximum damage can be done.

But even that sort of behaviour is nothing when set against the act of putting sex tapes into the public arena. As a slight aside I love it when plans for revenge rebound on the revenge seeker. TakeN-Dubz singer and X Factor judge Tulisa Contostavlos reactions to Justin Edwards releasing tapes of their intimate moments, which makes it clear why it is a good idea to think things through if you are so obsessed with your ex that revenge seems like a good idea.

Constavlos took Edwards to court and won meaning that he not only had to issue a public apology but by agreeing to a settlement he has no doubt been left a little lighter in the pocket.

Without falling into the trap of believing that we need celebrities to provide us with lessons on how to behave, the aforementioned celebrity couples make it clear that emotions play a big part in our responses to exes.

Little wonder that the statement ‘ as long as I live I hope to never see you… ever again’ is often heard following a break up.  However unless you want to spend the rest of your life living under a rock there is no absolute guarantee that you will not bump into you ex, so the issue becomes how do I behave should I bump into my ex.

Bruce Willis, Demi Moore and Ashton Kutcher

It is said that two’s company, three’s a crowd. That could be particularly true when you’re sharing one end of a small boat. But for Bruce Willis, his ex-wife Demi Moore and her young husband Ashton Kutcher, it proved no problem at all. Photo courtesy

For me the success of dealing with bumping into an ex comes down to how much time and effort you’ve invested in understanding human beings.

Denise Richards, who appears at number two in the ‘Shape’ list thanks to her post relationship friendship with Charlie Sheen. Not only has Richard’s appeared in public with Sheen after the break up of his third marriage she also offered to care for the children from that marriage.

But it is not Denise’s parenting instinct that reveals her tolerance of human frailty it is her willingness to compartmentalize Sheen’s drugs and sex addiction, which if you pay attention to her explanation it is clear she believes they were responsible for changing the person that she knew: “The man I fell in love with is very compassionate, humble, has a wonderful heart,” … The behavior that a lot of us saw in the last six months is not the person that I met and fell in love with.”

Now I’m not saying it is easy to handle yourself well if your emotions are driving your behaviour when being phlegmatic is what’s called for.

Ideally what you need to handle bumping into an ex is the passing of time but this isn’t always going to be the case if you live in a small town or have a small social circle. Factor in the sods law angle of when you run into your ex you can guarantee that he or she will have a new partner in tow and it is understandable why bumping into the ex for some maybe difficult.

I’m no relationship expert but for me the best thing for this situation is to think beyond yourself and recognize that you can’t ask someone to be miserable for the rest of their life because your ego can’t take them leaving you. What’s more having exes is a sign of having life experience.