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Karma Cleanser

Will it come back to bite you?


Dear Karma Cleanser:

In response to "Hate Bait," the man who did not want to go home with his wife for the holidays: I can relate. I think my situation is even worse, though, and I don't agree with the answer you gave him.

My story starts back in high school. I dated a cute cheerleader named Nell. She was the first girl I ever had sex with, the proverbial "young love." We split when we both went to college.

Cut ahead 10 years. I'm back living close to my old hometown, and I started to date Nell's younger sister. One thing leads to another, and now we are engaged. This was months ago. I haven't seen Nell since I started dating her sister. My fianceé wants me to go home with her for Christmas -- their family has since relocated to another state -- but I don't want to go for fear of seeing Nell and having those old feelings again.

You told "Hate Bait" to go on the trip and face the music. I think sometimes it's better to keep yourself out of a situation you know is just going to explode.

-- Keep It in the Family

You're a fool to think you can avoid Nell for the rest of your life, especially if you're married to her sister. We stand by our Hate Bait answer, and give you the same advice: Go on the family trip. If there are feelings lingering, best to face them soon before you're having to explain to the kids why their aunt is their new mommy.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

My mother is protecting a family of illegal immigrants. It started with her cleaning lady, who had worked in my mother's house for a couple of years. The two of them became close and my mother began to learn more of this lady's sob story. She had two children back in Mexico and a sick grandmother taking care of them.

With money that my mother gave (or "loaned") her, the cleaning lady was able to get both kids and her own mother into the States. Now all of them, five people total, live in a one-bedroom apartment above my mother's garage.

I don't want to be the brat child who comes home as an adult and tries to run the house. I also don't approve of giving anything to these people who are illegal when there are proper channels for them to get citizenship. I've tried talking to my mother about it, but she shuts down when the topic comes up. She's 68 years old and stubborn, and hasn't been herself since my father passed away. Help?

-- If You Feed Them, They Never Leave

We're confused: Who is the fifth person? Anyway, your letter reads like a chilly indictment of the anti-amnesty movement. Sure, the family should seek to become legal residents, but how do you explain that to two hungry children? No matter where you stand on the whole Christmas scale, this is the time of the year when you should be thinking of donations, not deportation.

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