Bad Habits » Karma Cleanser

Karma Cleanser

Dear Karma Cleanser:

I don't know how to tell my girlfriend this, but I have become slightly addicted to chatting with women online. It started out pretty innocently and has grown into something I do at least once every day now. Usually, I wait until my girlfriend goes to bed, then I fire up the computer and begin looking for girls. She thinks I'm just talking to my buddy out West and hasn't yet complained about the excessive time I spend online. However, she has been complaining that I seem distracted lately. Usually the chatting stays innocent, but it's getting more and more suggestive. I don't want to feel like I'm "cheating" here because honestly, I would never hook up with any of these women. It's just talking dirty and trading a few pictures. But I'm starting to think that what I'm doing is a bad thing and that I should lay off for a while. Is it still cheating if nothing really happens?-- Sticky Keyboard

Perhaps by the strictest definition what you're doing here probably isn't cheating per se, but it's certainly short-changing the relationship. Your newfound hobby apparently gets in the way of cuddle time (or more) with your oblivious other half, and is obviously something you feel guilty about. If your gut tells you to cancel the cable modem and swear off dirty typing for a while, you should probably listen.

Dear Karma Cleanser:

My upstairs neighbor proposed that we work together on the patch of dirt behind our building. She basically wanted me to dig up the back yard and help her landscape it. I agreed and we worked on the project for two or three weekends, just starting to get things going. But then the work started getting to be more than I wanted to commit to, and I got distracted with other projects. Meanwhile, my neighbor has continued to tend to the new plantings and has started to make bitchy comments to me about it every time I see her. I don't want her to hate me, but I've really lost interest in the whole thing. On the other hand, her behavior makes me regret ever getting involved in the first place. Am I in the wrong for just bowing out of this? -- Never Promised Her a Rose Garden

You've planted some serious seeds of mistrust now due to your broken agreement, and if you really don't want a bitter harvest with Ms. Mary Contrary, you need to nip the tension in the bud. Politely apologize for bowing out of the project, but applaud her efforts to keep the garden growing.

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