About five years ago, I had a relationship with this guy that had a horrible ending. He broke up with me and it was very traumatic. He knew how upset I was and did not even call me to ask if I was OK. Now I am tempted to hire a private detective to track him down and find out everything about him so I can find a way to get back at him. I know this is a bad thing but I am very tempted. Can you advise?
-- Still upset
Let's pretend for a moment that this "horrible ending" involved, say, your ex-hairdresser instead of your ex-boyfriend. An ill-advised dye-and-curl led to a traumatic break-up and had lasting implications on your social life. Don't laugh -- it happens. But honestly, would you still hold a grudge after five years? Well, probably, but would you actually consider wasting time and money to track down the stylist and enact some revenge? Doubtful. Consider your problem at hand in similar terms. So your ex is a big fat jerk. It happens.
Dear Karma Cleanser:
My life (if you want to call it that) has spiraled down into a boring and just about unbearable series of unhappy people (mostly co-workers), unhappy relationships (alcoholic guitar players met in bars) and unhappy situations (no explanation needed). I worry that my friend Minerva is right in telling me that this "rut" is the result of some really bad stuff I did in high school and the first two years of college (which I never finished, due to aforementioned bad stuff). I tell her that I've made amends for those mistakes. But the B.S. I'm going through right now keeps getting deeper and deeper. I need to know what I can do to finally tie up all those monsters from my past and lock 'em in a closet somewhere so that they can never find me again.
-- S.O.S. in Dullsville
For once, we suggest you ignore your friend's opinion -- even if she is the goddess of wisdom -- and take a long, hard look at the present instead of your monstrous past. Tired of dating alcoholic guitar players? Stop hanging out in bars! Through with your unhappy co-workers? Get a new job! It's easy to wallow in a dumpster of self-doubt, whether your past put you there or not. If you're really waist deep in B.S., now's the time to start shoveling.
Been bad? Get right with the universe at firstname.lastname@example.org. *