updated 10/10/2012 AT 3:00 PM ET
•originally published 10/11/2012 AT 4:00 PM ET
Love and relationship expert Patti Stanger is a best-selling author and the star of Bravo’s Millionaire Matchmaker. She’ll be blogging regularly for PEOPLE.com about celebrity relationships. Get Patti’s advice on all things love, sex, relationships, astrology, fashion, beauty, recipes and more on PattiKnows.com.
While the official word is that Chris Brown and Rihanna are just friends, some would say that paparazzi pictures point to a more-than-friends situation.
Are the two singers baby-stepping their way back together? It’s not clear. But if they are headed for relationship round two, my advice is to keep things as private as possible.
Though most women would tell Rihanna to run for the hills, her heart may be pulling her in the other direction – and that’s a powerful organ to ignore.
We have all loved a guy we know has issues. Despite popular opinions, until we give it a final try, the relationship will always be in the “what if” stage. In order to get that out of her system, Rihanna can take Chris back in stride – but watch it closely with her circle of friends and family. Together they can see if Chris has, in fact, changed.
Also, a great family therapist who can monitor the couple’s progress needs to be seen at least once a week.
Showing affection and grand romantic gestures are not enough. In order to feel safe with her ex, Rihanna needs to see how Chris handles pressure, jealousy and anxiety. Spending at least six months seeing each other on a steady basis, doing normal things out of the spotlight will reveal if this couple can make it.
A word to the wise, Rihanna: Listen to your gut. If it feels right, do it. If it doesn’t, then you know you gave it a try and you can let it go in order to leave the door open for true love.
Head over to PattiKnows for more advice.