Karma Cleanser 

Long-distance love affairs and Southern belles in hell

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I have been in a long-distance relationship for five months. I've put in a lot of time (and money) traveling to see him. I've tried to hold the relationship down by making the distance not seem so distant.

Three months ago he quit his job and hasn't had any luck finding another one. Hence, his lack of money has caused a major strain on this long-distance affair.

I've stepped back only to not spoil his "manhood." In the meantime, I have been running into long-lost and former loves – men whose grass is a little greener.

What kind of karma is it when you're in a situation that you don't really care for, and more appealing opportunities magically present themselves? I don't want to leave him out to dry, but I'm feeling a little dry, too, if you know what I mean?

– A Loyal Capricorn

You're only five months into this thing with a man who's broke and depressed in another state, and yet you wonder why past lovers are popping up just now? They're the universe's way of reminding you of the person you used to be, someone who, from the sound of it, was happier, more secure and quite a bit more rational. We're not saying you should dump Mr. Distant Deadbeat – surely there are reasons you've endured the obstacles. But for the sake of your own relationship karma, now's the time for some hard choices. You either want to be with him or you don't, and once you decide which, you'll see that the grass is actually the same shade all over.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

Do you care to hear another sad story? I recently moved back to the South after a couple of years in Mexico. I thought things would be different this time around. I left my hometown because of the pain certain family members inflicted on me. Those people are no longer in my life but I still hold onto the bad memories, which keep from me being happy now that I'm home.

I have tried to make peace with karma and start over. I just can't move on. Every day I wake up and wish I were back in Mexico. To tell the truth, when I was there, I woke up every day and wished to be back in my hometown. Is there a way to break this cycle?

– Southern Belle in Hell

Sad stories pay our cable bill, so we always want to hear another one. Your own sad story has become the central motif of your life, which is why your cycle is never going to stop until you cozy up with the misery. It's true. Burying the past never works. Dig up those bones and set an extra place at the table. No matter where you go, you'll always take your story with you, so why not be friends with it? After you do, your karma concerns will evaporate.

Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.

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