DEAR ABBY: I’ve had an 18-year-old girlfriend for six months (I’m 24). She’s a sweet girl who’s caring, thoughtful and respectful. Every day typically goes well, and we never argue about anything — except for when it comes to her health.
She is terrified of dentists and doctors. I used to be as well. But I have tried repeatedly to make her understand that, though those situations can be scary, it would be worse if she has to go to these places when it’s nearly too late. She refuses to go to a doctor or dentist’s office with me to watch what I experience. She says she’ll receive vaccinations “when it’s time” — except for the flu shot and other “nonessential” shots. She says she’ll go to the dentist when her teeth start to hurt. Her logic is, “I’m doing fine without this stuff now, so I’m OK.”
I am trying to be as patient as I can with her. I have tried to explain that her logic sounds like, “I won’t wear a seat belt because I haven’t gotten into a car accident yet.” I’m afraid I will soon grow so impatient with her ignorance that I break up with her. I don’t want to be with someone who can’t take her own health seriously. What can I do to get her to come around, face her fears and acknowledge that her health is incredibly important? — TAKING CARE IN NEW HAMPSHIRE
DEAR TAKING CARE: Your concerns about this girl are valid. There is help for people who are phobic about doctors and dentists, but only if they are willing to acknowledge there is a problem, which your girlfriend is not. If you were ever to decide to start a family together, you certainly wouldn’t want this behavior passed on to your children.
In my opinion, you should end it now because it’s a deal-breaker.
DEAR ABBY: My boyfriend’s mother died by suicide two weeks ago. The whole family is having a hard time, and they are dealing with things in their own ways. My boyfriend has decided to move us in with his dad and sister because he wants to be near his father. I would prefer to stay living in our house since we only live about three miles away from them.
I do not want to be difficult, but I really don’t want to move. He made this decision a few days ago without consulting me. He said to come with him, or we will go our separate ways. His family and I have not always gotten along, and I’m pretty sure that moving in will make it worse. Shouldn’t I have any say in this, or must I do what makes him happy? — IN LIMBO IN OHIO
DEAR IN LIMBO: People in the throes of grief do not always make the wisest decisions. They also are not their best selves in emotionally fraught situations. You should not have been given an ultimatum.
Is this move supposed to be permanent or temporary? Because you are a couple, you should have been consulted before your boyfriend made this decision. Since your relationship with his family hasn’t been the best, the transition could be a bumpy one. If you can afford to live independently, it might be a good idea to explore that option for now.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.