Um, we can all relate.

By Lynn Saladino, PsyD
Updated February 14, 2019

My partner is dealing with some health issues, and I wish he were more proactive about getting the right care. How can I nudge him without becoming a nag?

There are few things more frustrating than wanting the best for your partner and watching him drag his feet on important health issues. But your success in moving things along without becoming a nag very much depends on your approach.

Try not to give advice before getting permission to do so. If you allow the conversation to unfold on his terms, it’s less likely to trigger a defensive reaction. You might start by asking how you can best support him and if he’s open to suggestions.

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I know what you’re thinking right about now: “If I ask him that, he will just brush me off. I have to make suggestions, and then keep reminding him about them!” Resist the urge to believe your prediction so you can give this collaborative approach a real chance.

If you encounter some resistance from your partner, zero in on what’s holding him back and how you could assist with that particular hurdle. For example, you can say, “I know researching doctors is a pain. Is there something you’re getting stuck on that I can help with?” Questions like that will open up the conversation and keep you on the same team. Plus, working together is more effective than nagging—and a lot more pleasant for both of you.

Lynn Saladino, PsyD, is a clinical psychologist in New York City specializing in weight management, relationships, and life transitions.

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