Ask Wendy

My Boyfriend’s Heath Problems Are Alarming – Can I Get Him To Change?

Friday, November 3, 2017
my boyfriend's health problems
I met my boyfriend online. He is a great boyfriend and is very attentive. My only concern about him is his health. He drinks a lot with his friends once or twice a week, has high blood pressure, and currently has ED.

His high blood pressure is genetic. He is thin. I’m just frustrated that he is not going to see his doctor to get everything figured out and make whatever changes are needed. I’ve read that drinking alcohol alone can cause ED. His first response was to quit taking his anxiety and high blood pressure medication for a week to see what was causing his ED. I encouraged him to see my wellness doctor and his best friend encouraged him to also see a doctor and not go cold turkey from his medicine.

He also said he would go to yoga with me and would start eating better. He is eating better. I’ll invite him to join me for yoga on Sunday. I’m guessing he has low testosterone and that the alcohol and possibly his blood pressure med are factors. He is 47. My ex-boyfriend also had some ED issues and didn’t take good care of himself until after we broke up. I don’t want to go through all that again, and I don’t want to be a nag or his mother.

EE – Dallas

Hiya EE,

What I see here is a common theme amongst the sisterhood. We say, “yes” to a relationship with the cute catch standing in front of us without saying “yes” to the whole package as-is. We say “yes” to a relationship, but what we really mean is, “Yes, I want to be with you…right after I get done fixing you.” This doesn’t go over well with men, and as you’ve seen from your past, trying to change a man often doesn’t turn out well.

So, you’ve got a man who doesn’t seem all that interested in consulting a doctor, he drinks, has high blood pressure, ED, and anxiety—that’s the package. Can you live with him, love him, support him, and not try and change him as he is right now?

If the answer is “no,” then before you walk away, let him know your boundaries and needs. It might look something like this: “Love, I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you this much sooner, but it’s very important to me that my partner has a high level of accountability when it comes to minding his health. Frankly, your health doesn’t seem that important to you. I can’t do this for you, I can’t change you, and I don’t want to be a nag. So, will you let me know if you’re interested in becoming that man so that I can stay? Or should we go our separate ways?” A bit brutal? Maybe, but honesty is essential when it comes to your deal-breakers.

You also have to tell him what staying would look like, specifically; as in seeing the doctor annually, what to do when problems come up, actively and timely resolving health issues through habit changes, medication, etc. Saying “I need accountability” without getting into the nitty-gritty details of what that accountability means isn’t fair to him.

I went on 121 first dates to meet my partner, and the biggest reason it took me so damned long to meet him was because I was unwilling to partner with someone I had to change. He had to show up as the package I could get behind and support as-is. I recommend this for all daters. Figure out what you’re looking for and what your dealbreakers are. Then only say “yes” to the one you’re not looking to change. Fixer-uppers are fabulous when they’re houses, not when they’re humans.

Good luck!

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