ASK ABDI: HOW CAN I TAKE CARE OF MY PARTNER?

QUESTION: How can I get my boyfriend (four year relationship) to go to the same psychologist with me? He confessed he has manic depression after four years, but I have a feeling he is more bi-polar, and he shuts me out of his life from time to time. I love him so much and his condition is okay with me and is not affecting my life. But I'd like to be able to live with him and take care of him and me. But he is so fearful of living with any woman! I do not know what to do to help him and me in order to be on the same path. I'd like for us to have more understanding of each other. I will very much appreciate your feedback and your help, if you would.

ANSWER: I feel your pain and your helplessness as well as your desperation. I am sure you already know the answer: that you can not make anyone do anything they are not ready to do. The most you can do in these types of situations is to focus on yourself and do your own work. Which, in fact, is much harder than it sounds when we are so certain that our partner is the issue. Everything you have written is about him, where are your issues in this relationship? Why are you with a man who “is so fearful of living with any woman”? Where is your fear of intimacy and how are you dealing with it? And your control issues?

I know these are not pleasant words to digest, but I find them to be true. True relationship is difficult even when both partners are willing and present. To be trying to drag someone along points to deep issues within the person doing the dragging, as much as, the person being dragged. Keep examining yourself and your motivations. That, in itself, can give your partner some breathing room where he can reflect on his fears instead of using his energy resisting you.