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Background

My partner and I have been dating for 9 years. We have been living together for the last 2 years. Since we started dating, my partner has not gone to the doctors for simple checkups, physicals, etc. Even when my partner is very ill and should go to the doctors they refuse.

I'm not sure the real reason for them avoiding the doctor. However they've stated a few times "I've made it this far in my life without a doctor, I don't need one till I'm really old"

I was only able to successfully get my partner to go to the doctors once, which ended in disaster as my partner refused most of the test. As a result the doctors couldn't give any information. To make matters worse the bill was very expensive and they felt even more resentment.

Problem

My partner keeps getting sick. Each time they get sick I also get sick. They have an "I'd die for you attitude" when I am sick, and think that I also have that attitude when they are sick. (I don't). Every time they get sick I ask if they'd like to go to the doctors or even bluntly tell them they need to go, they always refuse.

It's gotten to the point where they will hide their symptoms if possible to prevent me from avoiding them or telling them to go to the doctors.

Question

How can I approach my partner and discuss the benefits of going to the doctor. I want them to feel comfortable going, and I want them to know that the doctors can help. I also think I'll need to explain that the last time they went isn't a normal scenario at a doctors office.

  • 1
    "Each time they get sick I also get sick." Since you want your partner to go to the doctor, I take it you go yourself when you get sick. Do you mention your partner being sick to the doctor? What is their opinion? – LVDV Apr 17 '18 at 15:11
  • @LVDV I've never asked my doctor, But that might be a good idea. – Hmm Apr 17 '18 at 15:19
  • Do you share finances/have a shared responsibility for medical bills? (Asking as it's a very different situation if you are persuading somebody to spend their money, than if it's shared money - which they already have no issue spending on your medical bills) – Bilkokuya Apr 17 '18 at 15:32
  • Have they never got an infection before? How do they cope with that? Leaving an infection untreated (without antibiotics) is not the greatest idea. Unless antibiotics are available without a prescription where you live? I am pretty healthy and usually end up at the doctor every couple of years with an infection of some kind. – user6818 Apr 17 '18 at 17:05
  • Last time, did you go to an ER? or to Urgent Care? This is a very broad question to answer. People have very different levers. Without knowing more details about this person, aside from their martyrdom mindset, age, gender, upbringing, profession/income level, science/math education, religious tendencies, political identity, personal anecdotes they have about doctors, favorite forums/channels, favorite toys, feelings about the flu vaccine, BMI levels, health habits, etc. Giving you an answer would be like shooting in the dark and it would bring you no closer to changing their mind. – Stephan Branczyk Apr 17 '18 at 23:35
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I think the biggest challenge here is to understand why your partner refuses to go seeing doctors ; it could be a good point to start with. Do you know why they refuse to see someone? I guess that if you're asking this it's precisely that you don't know, so you may be starting with:

Hi honey. About the last time you got sick, I would like you to know that I felt uncomfortable, for several reasons. I didn't know how to take care of you because I lack of medical background.

The main point is: make it about them, and their health, but talk in "I" statements. Avoid sentences that would incriminate them. You expressed how you felt because you were concerned. This example of approach is based on nonviolent communication and could help begin a conversation about why your partney doesn't want to see doctors.

If they doesn't want to discuss their reason to avoid seeing specialists, then approach the fact that oftenly when they get sick, so do you. Once again, try to make it about you, expressing pure facts in a neutral way:

I noticed that when you get sick, I usually do too, and it makes me feel uncomfortable. I would like to get sick less often. How do you think we could avoid this?

You could tell me "well, who doesn't feel unconfortable of being sick?" Very few, I admit. But expressing how you feel is a crucial part of the process, because you don't incriminate them for what they do, but rather express how it makes you feel. You've been with your partner for 9 years. That's huge! I can therefore suppose you're in love with each other and that they wish you the best. Such sentence could help them understand that their uncomfort with doctors affects you.


Side note

It could also be that your partner doesn't have the same vision of "getting sick". Mine got home once with a huge sprain on his ankle, he could hardly lay his foot down. I immediately say: "go to the doctor tomorrow, you can't work with this". And so he did on the next day, except that his foot deflated during the night. After a while, he told me that he went to the doctor only to reassure me.

If they are in this situation, then you should talk to them about the fact that you also get sick when they do, and that you're not at ease as they seem to be with the disease.

4

Finding the actual reason for your partner's stance could be the key to convincing them to visit the doctor

Try saying this to your partner.

I understand that you don't want to visit the doctor. I'm sure that you have an important reason for that. And I'm okay with that. But, I would still like to understand the reason for that, if what you told me before isn't the actual reason. As your partner, you can always tell me anything, even if it's something embarrassing or painful. I would do the same as well.

However, if the reason given by your partner is actually true, then it would be best to disregard my advice.

1

You should really sit down and talk about why they don't like doctors. It can be anything from trauma/phobia/conspiracy theories to actually valid and logical reasons - maybe it was unnecessary to see a doctor since they have survived until now, but still check ups save lives. They may even haven't realised or don't want to admit it even to themselves. You could start with:

I want to talk about the reason you won't see a doctor. I think we have never really discussed thoroughly about it. I am very concerned because I worry that this attitude may lead to severe consequences in case you will refuse to get a check up when you really need it. I am worried about you.

If they still give you the usual answer you could insist:

This does not answer my question as to why you won't see a doctor. I have the right to know as your partner and the person who gets affected by your health issues more than anyone else.

I don't think they are not able to understand that people can get sick at any age or that medicine is really helpful. They probably hide the reason out of embarrasment or insecurity. Anyway, not wanting to know about possible health issues and inform your partner about them is not responsible, so you could suggest a quick and cheap check up once a year (e.g. a blood test). This way you are not 'offencing' them by implying that their immune system is not able to fight the illness by its own because it is just a check up - but again that may not be the problem.

0

If you have been trying to convince your partner for nine years to see a doctor, and they regularly refuse, then the message is fairly clear: They are not comfortable with going to doctors, for whatever reasons. Trying to force the issue is not going to work, and will just leave both of you feeling frustrated.

I do realize that every relationship is different, but after nine years, you would surely have some idea of why your partner doesn't like doctors? If you do, then you should use that information to come up with a plan which doesn't involve doctors, but still lets you address your partner's health issues.

One way of approaching this conversation with your partner, could be:

I know we don't have the same ideas on doctors, but I am concerned about your health. I have found an alternative medicine practitioner that appears to be very good at what they do. Would you be prepared to see them?

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My experience has been that some people don't see the need for routine medical treatment. In my life I have found that most illness requires no medical treatment. There is nothing a doctor can do to cure cold and flu virus!

I heard on the news that 42% of insured Americans failed to get lab tests, didn't get a prescription filled, and/or didn't go to the doctor, because of the copay cost.

My doctor shared with me that it's typically not until an individual requires pharmaceuticals on a continuous basis that (s)he begins regular doctor visits.

If your partner is spreading infections that require a doctor's care, that is cause for alarm!

I began getting routine check-ups because I was approached out of concern for my well-being; out of love!

You could approach it like this. "I don't want to lose you! I'm concerned that a concealed health condition could become serious before it is diagnosed! But if you received yearly check-ups, anything that might be hiding could be caught in time, while there 'is' still time.

"I don't know what I'd do without you! Please take reasonable steps to care for your long-term health. Regular medical check-ups are the least we can do for each other."

I've found that no one can control another person. You just have to put it out there and let the other person do with it what (s)he will. I hope your partner will agree.

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