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Can’t get him to the doctor?

Here’s what to do

“Hey, honey, have you called the doctor yet?” 

No. No he hasn’t. Unless he has severed a limb and is actively bleeding, your significant other has not made that medical appointment. Despite your many weeks of harassment, he’s had more important things to do — like watching new episodes of “Tiger King” on Netflix or “fixing” a not-broken part on the car. In fact, a reported 72 percent of men said they would rather do household chores than go to the doctor. 

That’s right — he’d rather scrub a toilet, or clean that unidentifiable goo from the bottom of the fridge, than say “ahh” for your general practitioner (resist the urge to exploit this knowledge). 

So, you join the legions of other women pulling out their hair and screaming futilely to the sky. What gives!? Why is getting a guy in front of a physician mission impossible? 

Men have offered numerous reasons for their resistance. According to a Cleveland Clinic survey, these included embarrassment or discomfort with discussing certain issues, not wanting to be told that they should change their diet or lifestyle, not being ready to face a troubling diagnosis and not wanting to be judged (one-quarter of men say they’ve “felt judged” by their doctors). Other excuses you’ve likely heard are that he’s simply “too busy” or “doesn’t need to go.” 

While this stubbornness may seem silly, it can have profound consequences. Regular checkups and screenings can reveal the early signs of serious conditions, like heart disease or prostate cancer. Plus, the more of a rapport a man develops with a doctor through routine visits, the more comfortable he will feel returning and divulging information in the future. 

You may despair that your good-natured pleas (aka: nagging) will never penetrate his hard outer shell (aka: thick skull), but take heart. Research has shown that spouses or significant others can play a big role in helping men get a handle on their health.


  1. Reframe the request. Let’s face it — if hounding him hasn’t worked so far, it’s time to change your approach. Be sincere, and let him know that keeping him healthy is a top priority for you and your family. And make sure to stick to the facts — like catching a condition early often makes it easier, and ultimately less expensive, to treat. 
  2. Help him prepare: Even if it’s just a matter of filling out a few forms, he may see the prep for a medical appointment as an ordeal. Offer to lend a hand helping him get ready, which includes composing a list of questions or concerns for the doctor. If he goes over these with you in advance, it likely won’t be as intimidating to share them with the doctor. 
  3. Try telehealth: After the pandemic, he can no longer use the “but-I-don’t-have-time-to-drive-there” excuse. Telehealth has exploded, and patients now can talk to their doctors from the comfort of their own homes. It’ll barely cut into his ESPN time! Statistics show that roughly 44 percent of men prefer an appointment online or by phone, so telehealth may be the perfect solution for a reluctant patient. 
  4. Be patient: You have asked him 5,831 times to go to the doctor, and if he refuses one more time, you’re ready to send him to the ER with a head wound. Before you ensure he REALLY needs medical attention, pause and consider that it may take time for him to overcome his hang-ups. With your understanding and support, he’ll eventually come around. 

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