DEAR HARRIETTE: My mother is getting remarried in a few weeks, and she has turned into a total bridezilla! My sister has been at her wit's end with her while I just try to maintain some peace in the family. I have been feeling myself burning out and have been constantly sick. My mother is asking way too much of us as she plans this fairy-tale wedding. I want her to be happy, but it's wearing on me. Should I sacrifice my health right now to keep the wedding flowing smoothly? -- Health Vs. Happiness, Milwaukee
DEAR HEALTH VS. HAPPINESS: Do not compromise your health. Speak up. Schedule a meeting with your mother, and ask her to focus. Let her know how much you want her to be happy as she plans to usher in this marriage. Make it clear, though, that you are overextended.
Tell her about the various illnesses that you have been battling. Explain that you no longer have time to take care of your responsibilities and, at the same time, respond to her requests. Draw the line. Give her a maximum number of hours that you can work on her wedding per week. Then actually stop working after that time is up. You can also recommend that she hire a wedding planner to help with the final details. She may get mad, but if you really do stop when you need to stop, she will have to figure out another plan.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I have been speaking to a man through a dating website. We have our first date scheduled, but I am nervous because I used slightly outdated photos of myself for my profile. Should I break this to him through the online messenger, or just show up and hope he accepts me for who I am? I heard that everyone lies on the dating websites, so I figured he is a tad older than his photos as well. -- Online to Real World, Chicago
DEAR ONLINE TO REAL WORLD: Here's the question: How different are you from your photo? I ask because often people have photos that are 10 to 15 years old, when they felt at their prime. If you look significantly different, confess now.
I know someone who did not tell the truth and met a man on a cruise. She recognized him as she walked toward him. He did not recognize her. She was probably about 100 pounds bigger than the high school photo she had sent. He felt duped and didn't talk to her for the entire cruise. She was devastated. While the man's behavior was extreme, her omission was also dramatic.
The best thing you can do is to give this man a better idea of how you look, either verbally or by sending along a photo. You should also ask him if his photo is updated. It's an effective way of breaking the ice and leading to a human interaction. If he shies away after seeing you, consider it your gain. You will have disconnected from him before getting too close.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to email@example.com or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)