Your partner's decisions about their health aren't technically any of your business. Still, when you love someone, you feel compelled to help them live their best life, especially if all the signs are there that they need to take better care of themselves. You have a stake in their continued existence, you know? So if you're concerned, it's OK to say something, as long as you do it the right way.
The key to addressing this kind of situation is to avoid shaming, blaming, or anger. Oh, and to back off if your partner isn't comfortable with the way the conversation is going down. Couples always complained that their partners didn't take good enough care of themselves during our sessions when I worked as a Domestic Violence Victim Advocate and Planned Parenthood Certified Responsible Sexuality Educator. And I get it. In some ways, it feels personal, like a slap in the face, when your partner doesn't take care of themselves, because they're causing you worry and pain, too. It feels selfish.
Still, all you can do is gently communicate your concerns. You can't force someone to take better care of themselves. But, you also don't have to be with someone who isn't taking their health seriously. Check out these signs your partner needs to slow down and focus on their health before big problems arise that affect you, too.
1. They Drink Way, Way Too Much
The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA) defines problem drinking as more than three drinks in one day and more then seven drinks in one week. Any more than that puts a person at risk for developing alcohol addiction. Drinking too much has a severe impact on a person's health, according to NIAAA. It weakens the immune system, plus increases the chances of liver disease, heart disease, and certain cancers, just to name a few. It's absolutely OK to express to your partner how their drinking affects you.
2. Their Diet Is Making Them Sick
Does your partner's diet consist of wine, popcorn, coffee, and the occasional handful of almonds, because they read that almonds were healthy? You're so not alone. I think the last time my wife ate a fruit or vegetable, she was in preschool. Eating nutrients and vitamins consistently is essential to a good life and a good immune system, though. The World Health Organization recommends at least 400 grams (14 ounces) of fruits and vegetables daily to help prevent diseases and nutritional deficiencies. Help your partner, if they're into it, to start small, by adding some more fruits and vegetables to what they already eat instead of trying to change their whole diet all at once.
3. They're Losing Stamina In The Bedroom
When sexual dysfunction peeks into your bedroom, it usually has a physical cause. An unhealthy lifestyle that results in high blood pressure, diabetes, sleep problems, high cholesterol and a whole host of other factors can cause sexual problems, according to The Mayo Clinic. Smoking and using drugs or alcohol can also put a damper on your partner's sexual performance. And since you're the one there between the sheets with your partner, it's more than appropriate for you to discuss the links between health and sex.
4. They're Always Tired
If you and your partner used to always go out to dinner, take a walk, meet up with some friends for drink, then hit the sack for some smoking love time, but now it's all you can do to keep them awake through a Netflix video, self-neglect could be the problem. Lack of exercise and depression are two common culprits, according to the Mayo Clinic, but poor sleep, poor diet, drinking, and disease can also be the cause.
5. They're Snappy & Cranky
We all cop an attitude once in a while, but then we eat or sleep, and we're better. If your partner is short with you on the regular lately, or has a sudden loss of patience, it could be a sign that they're not taking care of themselves. Irritability is a symptom of anything from fatigue to infection, according to Healthline, and it's one of the many ways your body is trying to tell you that something is wrong. If your partner is heavy on the cranky and light on the nice, they probably need to address their health.
6. They're Always Sick
When you don't take care of yourself, your immune system is the first thing to go. Common ways we regularly sabotage our own immune systems include poor diet, dehydration, poor sleep, and stress, according to Healthline. Does that sound like your partner? If so, it might be time for a little chat about proper self-care. Especially if they're always passing their sickness on to you.
7. They Never Take Days Off
Hey, kudos to your partner for trying to get ahead, or to stack those bills. Hard work isn't anything to be ashamed of. Overwork, however, is a big problem. When you overwork, it takes a toll on your body. You increase stress, lose sleep, and increase anxiety, just to name a few things, according to Spark People. Your body needs downtime to heal. Not to mention, it takes at least a little bit of free time to have a successful relationship.
8. They Don't Do The Things They Love Anymore
Is your partner a shell of the person they one were? Do they no longer attend to their hobbies, hang out with friends and family, or have fun? Do they sleep more (or less), cry more, and eat more (or less)? If so, these are tell-tale signs of depression according to Everyday Health. When depression isn't dealt with, the consequences can be deadly. If you think your partner is not taking care of their depression, it's important that you talk to them about getting some help.
9. They Sit All Day & All Night
You can't just sit around all the time, and your partner probably already knows that. Most people know that they should be exercising. But knowing you should be exercising and actually exercising are two very different things. If you don't exercise, though, you're basically a sitting duck for heart disease, according to Johns Hopkins. Not only that, but you're more likely to get cancer,, and suffer from anxiety and depression. Even if it's just the occasional stretch and short walk, you have to make sure your partner understands the consequences of not doing it.
Of course, remember, all you can do is state your concerns. It's up to your partner to make the healthy changes.
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