Karma Cleanser 

Will it come back to bite me?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I broke up with a long-term girlfriend (an artist) because she did not want to get married or even live together. I began dating a new lady, also an artist. My relationship with the new lady did not work out. After a few months, I broke up with her.

Now it looks like my previous girlfriend is willing to share a home with me, so we may get back together. My problem: While with the new lady, she painted an amazing portrait of me. I am nervous about showing this painting to my previous girlfriend. My previous girlfriend hates my new "ex" because I broke up with her to be with the new one.

My question: What should I do with this painting that I really want to keep and hang on the wall, but I worry it may create problems?

--To Hang Or Not To Hang

When is a portrait not a portrait? Easy: When it's a symbol. The artwork doesn't just give a visual representation of you, but also translates onto canvas a whole world of possibilities -- the unknown life you could have had with the woman who created it. Your new/old lover will view the work as a slap in her face if you try to hang it now, so soon after the transgression. Maybe 10 years from now, if the two of you are still together, you can pull it out and display it. By then it will be a memento of the flood your love crested. Not so now, when the wounds and the paint are still fresh.


Dear Karma Cleanser:

Do you not ever get letters from anyone who has won the lottery and then given that money to charity? Saved a dog from the pound? Adopted a foreign baby? Is there no good in the world? After reading you, I think that everyone everywhere is unhappy.

-- A Dark Spot on the Sun

Yes, we've seen a few letters about the universe rewarding random acts of kindness, but tragedy makes for a more compelling read. How about this: We'll ask our readers to send us positive tales. Any letters that we actually print will get a super-special karma prize from KC Headquarters.


Been bad? Karmacleanser@gmail.com

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