By Maria Rainier

No matter how miserable he is, my husband refuses to go to a doctor. He also refuses to take Tylenol when he’s sick and generally likes to be left alone in his misery.  At 25 years old, he’s still relatively safe from life threatening conditions. Twenty or thirty years from now, his reluctance to go to yearly checkups and to have his medical conditions treated might shorten his life.

Longevity and Gender

It’s no secret that women live longer than men.  Sure, estrogen plays a key role in protecting women from heart attacks, but that doesn’t completely explain the difference in longevity.  Studies show that married and cohabiting men are much more likely to go to the doctor than unmarried or single men.  Men who are perpetually single are also more likely to die of cancer following a diagnosis.

Why Men Refuse To Seek Help

So why do married and cohabiting men fare better than their single counterparts when it comes to cancer and other silent killers? The answer is, “They go to the doctor”.  Understandably, men hate going to the doctor for anything.  Going to the doctor costs in terms of time and money.  It’s often uncomfortable and, worse, some might believe it undermines their masculine image.  Doctors will tell you to lose that extra 20 pounds, will nag you about having your yearly physical, and will generally try to run your life for you.

The Case For Medical Care

As unpleasant as all that sounds, going to the doctor when necessary and for yearly physicals is an important aspect of maintaining your good health well into old age.  Cancer, the second most common killer of men over 40, can often be cured if caught early enough.  A month, or even a week, can mean the difference between life and death.  Other chronic conditions, like diabetes or hypertension, require constant monitoring to achieve the best therapeutic results.  Medical and drug technology advances. Some drugs have serious side effects when taken over the long-term and need to be switched for more effective treatment options.  A doctor’s job is to help you manage your existent medical conditions and to prevent them from becoming worse.

Unintended Consequences

My father-in-law had what he thought was a chronic cough for six months before my mother-in-law convinced him to seek medical attention.  After a chest x-ray, it was determined that he had a rare form of cancer in his chest and that it had progressed too far for him to be cured.  Had he gone in three months sooner, he would still be alive today.

What You Can Do

Instead of waiting for your loved one to tell you to seek medical help, consider making it a priority on your own.  Taking the necessary steps to remain healthy is a gift that everyone should give themselves.


Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education and performs research surrounding online schools.  In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.

Editor’s note:  I want to thank my fellow freelance writer, Maria Rainier, for providing a woman’s perspective on stubborn guys!  Please visit Maria at