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Karma Cleanser 

Will it come back to bite you?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

While vacationing in the Caribbean, I had several crazy nights out in bars. I was partying with my friend Sandy, who lives on the island, and she knew all the hot spots. I had quite a few hookups with guys I hardly knew. I'm not like that when I'm home; being there just seemed to free something in myself that I'd never really tapped into before.

But as my grandmother used to say, if you play, you pay. A few weeks after I came home from vacation, I found out I had an STD. Nothing fatal, thank the gods, but something that's contagious and needs several treatments to be cured. I will never know exactly where I caught the STD, nor who I gave it to. Because these guys live in such an inaccessible place, I'm not sure I could ever get in touch with them to warn them about the disease.

I'm confessing this now in hopes that my already-screwed karma can somehow benefit. I feel completely guilty and regret ever going on the trip.

-- Clap Your Hands, Say No Thanks

The steamy island climate has turned many a sober sister into a swashbuckling bar wench. Your STD is an unfortunate side effect of this newfound liberation, and certainly a clue that all exploration must be tempered with moderation. Tell Sandy about your unhappy discovery and ask that she spread the news to the men you bagged down south.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I married a man who I knew I wasn't in love with. I think he knew how I felt, but he was good to me and good to my young daughter. A few years went by and I found myself dreaming of a different life for myself and my child, but I knew that I couldn't leave this man because he would be heartbroken and lost without me. We were comfortable in our arrangement and even started talking about having more kids.

This Christmas, my husband announced suddenly that he's moving back to his hometown in Maine. His mother is ill and he wants to be close to her. He presented this not as, "Will you go there with me," but more of "I'm leaving and this is the end of us." I didn't expect to feel so heartbroken and shocked.

Now, I miss him dearly. Is this just karma coming back at me for the way I entered into the marriage? If so, how can I get back the man I never thought I wanted?

-- Being Single in the Suburbs

Do you really miss him, or do you just miss having someone? Sounds to us like you've been more caught up in security rather than a search for your soul mate. Look at the timing of your husband's exit as a gift from the universe, a difficult but indispensable test to make you both realize where your bliss truly lies.

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