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Will it come back to bite you?

Dear Karma Cleanser:

About six months ago, I ended an almost five-year relationship with my girlfriend. It was for the best, and we've both moved on and remained friends.

I made a lot of mistakes in the relationship, but I've been to therapy and worked hard on fixing the bad habits that caused them. A couple weeks ago, I met a girl (a complete stranger) online and began talking to her. Things were going well until I found out that she had a friend who knew a good friend of my ex. Once this fact was established, the girl chose to use this connection to find out information about my past relationship, mostly consisting of all the bad things I allegedly did.

We had plans to meet for coffee, but I called them off when she wouldn't stop asking me questions about the past. My question is: Why did this freak occurrence happen? In a city with millions of people, I got unlucky enough to meet someone tied to my ex. I keep feeling that the universe was somehow trying to tell me that I wasn't ready to date again, or maybe it's trying to pay me back for past mistakes. Thoughts?

-- Single and Skeptical

You know we often tell people that there are no coincidences, and synchronicity has been a hot topic of late. Your chance meeting with someone three degrees removed from your past says there's still unfinished business from the failed relationship. Let her questions help you dig deeper into the problem, like rooting out loose change from the couch cushions -- "change" being an operative word here.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I decided after having a lonely year last year that I was going to get out and make new friends. A neighbor mentioned that she was going to start a book club, so I gladly joined up. I went to the first meeting and I had a really good time with it. But when I went to the second meeting I was surprised to see a person who I knew. Michelle was a friend of my old roommate's. I could tell she wasn't happy to see me. Her tone with me has varied between artificially cordial and passively unfriendly. I called my old roommate and she said she had the same experience with Michelle, which is why they don't talk anymore. I just find it strange that my one effort to meet new people ends up with me meeting old people.

-- Change of Heart

Is it a coincidence that Michelle joined the book club, or a message from the universe about your past friendships? There are a million ways to meet people other than discussing the latest Jodi Picoult page turner with a room full of strangers. Cast your net wider.

Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.

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