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why does it seem like he doesnt want things to get better?

By September 28, 2010 - 11:11am
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so me and my live in boyfriend have been together for about two years now. like every couple we have our ups and downs. but ive been getting really irritated with him lately because its been almost a month since we've had sex. hes been complaining for a while now about bad lower back pain and hes kinda limited on how he moves. hes always in pain, not so much to where he cant work but it hurts him. ive told him over and over again to go to the doctors but hes always saying no that he doesnt think they will help. but i hear him complain on the pain daily and it makes me angry. he doesnt ever go to the doctor no matter whats wrong with him, even when everyone tells him he should go. we havent had sex because of this and the only person it seems to bother is me. he tells me all the time lately that he wants me but that hes hurting. he says he probably could get in the mood but he doesnt want to hurt himself cuz the pain would be the only thing on his mind. when we lay together i feel him rubbing against me and i can tell he gets excited but always fights it. i dont pressure him into anything but he sees that it kinda upsets me. and he just chuckles and says that its not that big of a deal and he doesnt understand why it upsets me. but to me i take it kind of personally...its like why wouldnt he want to get better?hes had back pain before but never like this. and it always goes away eventually. to me not having sex with your live in boyfriend for almost a month is not normal and i dont know what to do anymore. hes making it seem like im a bad person for wanting him. help....

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EmpowHER Guest

Maybe you could sit down and talk to him ? You could make him a nice meal and tell him how it's effecting you and your confidence, Give him a few weeks, see if he comes around if not tell him to sort it or your leaving. You really don't seem happy, So if he can't do one small thing for you ( go to the doctors to get himself better ) What else might he not be willing to do ? good luck and best wishes xx

September 28, 2010 - 12:41pm

Thanks for your question. This is such a common fear that many people have (going to the doctor for fear of tests, poor outcome, diagnosis, etc) and it can be disabling. You are, unfortunately, living through this irrational fear with him, as it is interfering with your relationship and many of his daily functions. That is when you know you are dealing with an irrational fear: it is causing harm to relationships and lessening a person's quality of life. For what...just the fear of the unknown. It is frustrating to be the person on the other side that just says, "just GO to the doctor already!!". Unfortunately, someone with an extreme fear is not able to just say, "OK, you're right!" and turn off the fear.

A few suggestions:
1. Take sex off the table right now as a topic. Until he seeks treatment for his chronic pain, this is something that does not sound feasible. It is continuing to upset you, and perhaps your goal can be for "physical intimacy" instead...this would include anything that brings you two closer together as a couple, does not cause him pain, does not put pressure on him to perform, and provides you both with the physical closeness to enhance your relationship.
2. Be curious. Ask him questions, and really listen. What is he most fearful of? Talking with a doctor who may not understand? Talking about his symptoms and feeling weak? Painful tests? A possible scary diagnosis? Costs of doctors and tests? Taking time off work? Endless treatment that is unsuccessful and he still has pain? No cure? When people of irrational fears, they usually have a difficult time really explaining what they are afraid of, as it is more a factor of the "unknown". Listen to his fears, empathize, sympathize. Ask him what his "Best Case Scenario" would be if he went to the doctor, and focus on the positive after he feels "heard" and "understood" by you regarding his fears of doctors/tests/diagnosis/treatments/no cure. You can help him by providing information or resources that counteract his fears (once he's ready), and talk about what his quality of life is like now living with KNOWN pain versus UNKNOWN treatment. You can begin telling him his chronic pain has caused some damage in his relationship with you, his mental well-being, and other areas (that you observe). This step will take some time, but it's well worth it.
3. Be understanding and patient...to a point. Once you two are on the same page as far as understanding his viewpoint, understanding his back pain, you can help provide information about types of pain and help him feel empowered in talking with a doctor. You can offer to go with him, offer to drive him or make the appointment. Ask him what reward he would like for going to the doctor, and be encouraging in this way. I say "to a point", because there does come a time when you can no longer be patient and coax him to go to the doctor when it begins effecting your relationship and your quality of life.

What are your thoughts?

September 28, 2010 - 12:25pm
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