Q: I’m a hypochondriac. I am currently waiting on the biopsy results for a mole I had removed. Right now I’m worried and miserable. I feel guilty for what I’m putting my husband through. I want to get therapy, but doing that feels like admitting I’m too weak to handle my problems myself. My husband thinks he’s a bad husband because he can’t help me.
This isn’t the first time I have worked myself up over a medical condition I may or may not have, and it won’t be the last. How can I deal with my fear of dying from something horrible without damaging my relationship with my husband? Can hypochondria be cured? It’s starting to take over my life. — Hypochondriac in the South
A: It’s a wise person who seeks help for a problem that’s ruining the quality of his or her life. You should definitely discuss your fear of dying with a licensed mental health professional. To do that isn’t “weak” — it’s the opposite.
Q: My son is getting married in the fall, and we’re all looking forward to the celebration. There’s just one problem. My daughter will be in the wedding, and the bridesmaids’ dresses are strapless. She will look beautiful in the dress, but she adopted a “hippie lifestyle” a year ago and stopped shaving her armpits.
The bride-to-be asked me how to approach her to request that she remove her armpit hair on the day of the wedding. Is there a tactful way to approach this without offending my daughter and possibly causing bad feelings between her and the bride? — Unsure in New Jersey
A: I would discourage you from doing that. Although every bride wants her wedding to be “perfect,” there’s a point at which she must realize there are some things she can’t control. An example of where that boundary should be drawn would be at her bridesmaids’ armpits. During a formal wedding ceremony, bridesmaids usually keep their arms down, so unless your daughter’s “pit hair” is so long she can braid it, it should not distract attention from the bride.
P.S. If hairy armpits in the wedding pictures concern her, they can be Photoshopped off.
Q: My parents built a two-bedroom apartment onto their house for my brother and his wife when they were struggling financially. They decided to move out of state, so my single sister is now in the apartment.
It has been a year, and my brother and his wife are now expecting. They have moved back to the area because they want to raise the baby near family, and they want the apartment back. Of course, my sister doesn’t want to give it back. I feel she shouldn’t have to.
I agree with my sister that my brother gave it up. But my brother feels my single sister doesn’t need a two-bedroom apartment. On that point I agree with him. My husband, my parents and I are in the middle. What do you think should be done? — Squabbling Siblings
A: Get out of the middle by stepping away. The apartment belongs to your parents, and it is up to them to decide who gets to use it. The rule of etiquette in a situation like this is: Mouth shut! (The more you involve yourself, the more one of your siblings is sure to resent you.)
Write Dear Abby at DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.