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What to Do When Your Spouse Won't See a Doctor

How to Deal With a Stubborn Spouse


When you can see that your spouse isn't feeling well or has obvious medical or emotional problems, it is natural to worry. That worry increases when your spouse won't see a doctor or therapist.

Here's what you can do and what you shouldn't do when your spouse refuses to get medical or psychological help.

Reasons People Won't See a Doctor or Seek Help

  • Rationalization that the problem will go away.

  • Fear of what the doctor will say.

  • Belief that this is not the right time to be sick.

  • Dislike for the whole doctor experience including the expense of medical care, having to spend time in the waiting room to be seen, embarrassment about the illness or medical condition, concern about being seen as weak, fear of medical procedures.

What You Should Say and Do

  • Tell your spouse that you are worried.

  • Accept your role as spouse and not as your spouse's mom. Your spouse is an adult and capable of making personal medical decisions.

  • Tell your spouse that you want him/her to see a doctor because of your love.

  • Ask if you can set up an appointment for your spouse to see a doctor.

  • If your spouse still refuses to see a doctor, there isn't much more you can do other than to share your feelings of concern, fear, and love.

  • If you believe your spouse's refusal to seek medical or psychological care is life threatening, then you need to get professional help in getting your spouse the help that is needed.

  • Consider seeing a counselor on your own to help deal with your mixture of feelings. It is important that you take care of yourself and accept your own feelings of frustration, anger, etc.

What You Should Not Say or Do

  • Don't nag.

  • Don't set up an appointment with a doctor without your spouse's okay.

  • Don't have arguments about this issue.

For more on dealing with health issues in your marriage, visit the Health Concerns and Healthy Living section of this site.

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