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Karma Cleanser 

Dear Karma Cleanser:

Every so often, my partner and I have a confession hour when we can tell each other anything bad we've done and not get in trouble for it. We did this early on in the relationship and it worked fine. I learned a lot about what the boundaries of the relationship are and the communication was positive.

This is no longer true today. During our most recent confession hour, I intentionally held back telling one or two things, because I've learned what will and will not set my partner off, even though that's not supposed to happen. Not that I've done anything bad -- just some drunken flirtations at a party or two, and a couple of financial things that we haven't talked about, but nothing big enough to break anyone's trust. It bothers me that our confession time has stopped being so free. After a year together, though, I now think I know what can and can't be said. Is that so wrong?



-- Telling, Not Smelling

The problem isn't in what you're not revealing, it's with your partner breaking the rules of "confession hour." Sounds like the precedent was supposed to be that anything revealed during that time wouldn't be held against you, but this obviously isn't the case now. Next time the opportunity arises, stop the conversation and revisit your fundamental agreements on the consequences of disclosure. Kudos, though, for communicating in the first place. What a novel idea!

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I take mass transit to and from work each day. I recycle, and urge my friends and family to do the same. Last year I volunteered for a local tree-planting organization, though left once I saw that it was more of a social group than a real force for change.

There's a lot of talk going on right now about climate change and global warming. I feel vindicated that the things I've been saying for six or seven years are finally showing up on the evening news. One friend remarked to me the other day that she realized now that I was right all along. Another person was less complimentary. She said I should have been doing more all this time to get other people to change their patterns of energy consumption. This offended me greatly, as you can imagine. Is there a karma reward for saving Mother Earth? If so, when do I get it?



-- The World is Enough

What's this, a greedy greeny? Don't get caught up in taking credit for your past actions, but keep plugging away at your overall initiative to save energy. That includes not wasting your own energy by listening to needlessly accusatory friends who just feel guilty for not following your advice sooner.

Been bad? karmacleanser@gmail.com.

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