What’s Wrong With My Husband?

By Kristina Randle, Ph.D., LCSW

Q. Avoidant Solitary Personality? or what? Over the years, my husband has become more and more reserved. He doesn’t like to talk personal, even with me. He becomes irritated when I ask questions in an attempt to get him to talk. Evidentially, he sees these as attempts to pick on him.

So often, he doesn’t bother to tell me things, and as a result of our lack of communication, efforts or doubled or connections are missed. He prefers spending time alone, enjoying reading, watching history shows, and being very intelligent, thinking of innovative ways to make money or do business. He will however spend time with our young children. Oftentimes, he will go thru phases of anger and thinking negatively. At times, however, such as at church, he will cling to me. As my shadow, he will speak but not really branch out to others. He no longer likes to get together with friends and hardly even drinks anymore.

Can you point me toward the direction of what he might have or be? Is he “avoidant” or “solitary” or maybe depressed? I wouldn’t think he’s terribly depressed, as despite having a father who was once very depressed, he is definitely able to function as well as always. I HOPE you answer my question!

A. It is difficult to know what your husband is suffering from. He does meet many of the diagnostic criteria for depression. Even people who function well occupationally can still suffer from depression.

It is unlikely that your husband recently developed avoidant personality disorder because in most cases the disorder or at least some avoidant traits tend to be evident throughout a person’s entire life. It is possible that he has always had a borderline case of avoidant personality disorder and recently it has become more evident but you did not mention this in his history. The truth of the matter is that only a trained professional who had met with him in person, could confirm any psychiatric diagnosis.

Did anything happen recently that could account for his depression-like symptoms? Try to think back to what could have led to his recent behavior. Depression generally does not occur in a vacuum so it is instructive to try to pinpoint anything that may have led to his recent change in behavior.

You should also encourage your husband to seek treatment. He is unwilling or may not be able to open up to you. He may be willing to speak to a therapist regarding this problem. Maybe he would consider coupling counseling in which the two of you could work together to resolve this issue. Take care.

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Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 13 Apr 2008

APA Reference
Randle, K. (2008). What’s Wrong With My Husband?. Psych Central. Retrieved on October 23, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2008/04/13/whats-wrong-with-my-husband/