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My Boyfriend Is a Hypochondriac

"My Boyfriend Is a Hypochondriac"

This question is from a Group Therapy post in our TrèsSugar Community. Add your advice in the comments!

I'm at a loss. My boyfriend is a hypochondriac, and I just don't know what to do. In the past two months, he has been convinced that he has lymphoma, skin cancer, rectal cancer, etc. He has been to the doctor seven times. After being assured that he does not have any of these ailments — by several doctors — he refused to believe they are correct. He believed they were not actually looking and they had missed something and that he is smarter than them. After a month or so, he has been doing a lot better. He was no longer afraid and finally accepted my help and the doctor's help. This lasted for three weeks.

This morning, he told me that he's sure he has cancer on his back. My heart dropped into my stomach. Here we go again! I said the same things I always say. Over and over again. It seems to never help. I've asked him to see a therapist about it, and he did, but he told me today that they didn't even touch on the subject. I'm beginning to get angry. I want to yell at him, but I can't. I want to cry, but I need to be strong for him. Does anyone else struggle with this? If so, I'd appreciate some support.

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Bubbles12 Bubbles12 3 years
He needs to go to a psychiatrist or a nurse psych practitioner or a psychologist (not a regular GP) to be evaluated to see what is going on with him mentally. He may not be officially ill, or he might be, but only they could be sure. That too is actually physical and he can be helped with drugs and therapy if that is really his problem. He's lucky to have you around! But you shouldn't try to figure this out, he needs to get help so he can manage this. If he refuses to, pay attention to that in your evaluation of him as a potential mate. That is not a good sign. Your mate needs to be able and willing to care for themselves.
eugovogue eugovogue 3 years
So I AM a hypochondriac, or I at least have a real health anxiety mixed with panic attacks. I went to the cardiologist because I thought I had heart failure (at 21, yeah right). They found a benign murmur. Even though the doc assured me nothing was wrong, whenever I got a weird palpitation or pain anywhere near my chest (or arms), I got really panicked despite by best interest. I also checked myself in the hospital because I thought something was up with my stomach. It had been hurting for weeks and it turns out nothing was wrong. My nervous energy was what was making it hurt. While these visits gave me some peace of mind, they also loaded my mom up with fees to pay which made me feel bad. In the past year I've thought I had ovarian cancer, lung cancer, lupus, bone cancer, deep vein thrombosis...I mean YOU NAME IT! It is only my connection with my spirituality and some rational talk from my mom now and then that I am able to get through it all. My mom can probably relate to you. The whole "here we go again" thing. First of all, that type of energy is damaging. It makes it seem as if you are belittling his anxiety, and hyochondria is nothing to laugh at or take lightly. It is a mental disorder and it SUCKS. So approach him in a caring way. Ask him what symptoms he's having, why he thinks it's cancer, and then proceed to calmly let him know that he's most likely fine but that you support him if he wants to make sure. In the same vein, when he freaks out and says "I think I have cancer" don't freak out with him! His worry will marry your worry and then become this huge worry and it'll exacerbate things. I want you to know that struggling with hypochondria is really distressing. We dont WANT to think we have cancer much in the way that a bulimic doesn't WANT to throw up. please be compassionate. Getting angry at him is the WORST thing you can do, honestly. It shows that you're not empathetic at all, and if you truly cannot handle this assignment you've been given (because all relationships are assignments), please set him free to someone who will care about him more. Things you can do are to stop him from Googling his symptoms. That's the worst. When he has an episode, don't get all annoyed and frustrated, sit through it with him. When my mom cracks jokes about it I feel a little better. But most of all, validate him, and validate his feelings because they are real. Don't tell him he's crazy, just let him know that he's whole, perfect, and healthy and that you're there for him. If it's really starting to take a financial toll, I would have a serious conversation with him. Tell him how much it's costing. When my mom told me the fee for the cardiologist and the EKG and the hospital bills, I felt bad and it made me not want to have to go to the hospital or see a specialist unless I REALLLLLLLLY need to. I also saw a therapist. My health anxiety was triggered by a violent experience abroad, and being a hypochondriac was my body's way of dealing with PTSD. There is always something behind it. I would encourage you to help me figure out what it is.
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