FAQ

Find answers to some of the more frequently asked questions on the Forums.

Forums guidelines

Our guidelines keep the Forums a safe place for people to share and learn information.

Announcement Icon
You can win one of three $200 gift cards. Complete our survey by 5pm, 30 June 2024 AEST to enter the draw. Your response will be anonymous so you can't be identified.

My husband has anhedonia - what do I do

ericamaria90
Community Member
My husband and I have been separated for 10 months now, he left me just a few weeks before our first child was born. After months and months of trying to work things out with him I have just found out that he has been clinically depressed and has anhedonia. This makes so much sense to me now considering one minute we were together for 5 years, got married after 4 years and were happily (or so I thought) married for 6 months before we fell pregnant after trying to conceive and then all of a sudden he says he doesn't love me anymore and doesn't think the marriage is going to work and when I asked him at the time of our separation why and where this came from considering our baby was almost due he said he couldn't give me an answer because he just felt nothing and felt dead inside and has no feelings for anything including me. Fast forward 10 months later, I have tried and tried to reconcile with my husband but I just get nowhere. I have made steps in moving on with my life with our child but I just feel like my husband is still in there somewhere and I don't want to move on without him because I know that despite him saying he has no feelings for me anymore I know he does because the person who he currently is isn't the type of person my husband is normally.

We had a talk the other night about getting back together again and he says that he just isn't sure if it'll work because doesn't feel anything and he has no interest in me or even sex with me and he doesn't want to hurt me especially because he knows how much he has hurt me already by walking out on me. I asked if he finds me unattractive and he says that I am still beautiful in his eyes but he just doesn't want sex anymore. I told him sex isn't everything and that I am willing to try to rebuild that emotional connection with him again which is still there BUT I just don't know what I can do to do that with someone who is so closed off from their emotions and feelings. I just want some guidance as to what I can do to be there for my husband to show him I'm not giving up on him and the marriage or our little family.

Has anyone been in my position before or currently in my position. Or know someone who has dealt with someone who suffers with anhedonia? I'm at my wits end. I feel so defeated that depression has stolen my husband and robbed him and I from having the family we both planned together :((((((( please help
12 Replies 12

geoff
Champion Alumni
Champion Alumni
hello Maria, thank you so much for contacting us in this very sad situation which unfortunately happens when someone is struggling with depression, which is how you can explain his anhedonia, where there is nothing he can find pleasure in, not even the thought of intimacy, and that's the sad part which this illness will totally dominate anybody.
Maybe if I can explain, if a spouse or partner living in the same house becomes depressed then their first instinct is that they have to leave the house for a couple of reasons, they don't want their other half to become depressed, and they don't feel as though they should get involved, probably because they believe they won't understand.
The hard part is that they still love you and you love them, but there is a chance that he may still be in denial thinking that he can overcme all of this by himself, but he won't, and if he says he feels better at any time, then he's just pretending for your sake, but he doesn't seem to be close to this, which means that he certainly needs to visit his doctor.
If at some stage you can get him to do the K-10 test then he will be able to show his doctor what his result is, you could do it for him, by asking him the questions, not all at once because he may get annoyed if you do.
He definitely needs the help that is available so then the both of you can live as a family. Geoff. x

1113
Community Member

Peaceful welcome ericamaria90,

Anhedonia is very common with depression.

Does you patner have any help from specialist?

I think that depression has robbedd your loves life from him.

If you look at it from that angel then its less stressful for you.

If you could reseach yourself up about his issues and support help back to health with understanding then your love for each other would only benefit in the long run.I am happy to philosophize this with you.

If you have any cultural and religious beliefs that you feel necessary expressed please do so and this will make any further communication more suitable and comfortable. I hate offending others. Its my worst fear.

Peace to you

Matt.

Hi Geoff, thank you so much for your reply.

I have tried talking to my husband about his depression but every time I do so he gets all defensive and shuts me out and when we do make progress in communicating and breaking the depression barriers he goes back into his shell and refuses to speak to me for days sometimes weeks 😞 I discovered he had depression after I moved out of the house 10 months ago, he hid it so well from me. I didn't realise how severe it really was until he told me the other day he suffers from clinical depression and then that's when I realised that he had anhedonia as mentioned in my previous post about the lack of interest in everything including me, the marriage and sex, so much made sense when I realised. I want to bring it up with him that he has it as he hasn't been technically diagnosed with it by a doctor just the depression side but I am not sure how to bring it up with him that he is suffering from anhedonia as well as his depression. I want to show him that what he is suffering from isn't something that can scare me or make me not love him or hurt me because that's what he thinks.

he was taking medication when he first got diagnosed with the depression 10 months ago but he stopped taking the mess after a month and refuses to get counselling because he said it doesn't work.

i just feel like I'm going in circles with him and I'm doing my best to give him space but I'm afraid that if I stop contact with him then I will lose him forever.

As you can see I'm very confused myself and just trying to figure out what I can do to save my husband who doesn't want to help himself

Hi Matt, thank you for your reply.

my husband saw a doctor 10 months ago after we separated and he was diagnosed with depression and giving medication. His doctor also wanted him to attend counselling however that is something my husband refused to do and still refuses to do as he feels it does not change anything or help.

ive been reading about clinical depression and trying to read more on anhedonia since I've realised that's what he has. I've also been trying to apply what it says to do but I just feel like it's not helping and when I do raise the depression topic he just shuts me out and doesn't let me in. He usually becomes short and frustrated then will leave my house to go home (I moved out of our marital home when our son was a week old).

i just want to show him that I am here for him and that I am trying to understand what he is going through and suffering from so that he can see he isn't going to hurt me like he thinks he will. I just feel so lost because I know how lost he must be within in his own mind 😞

May I ask, what is your husband's involvement/interest/etc in your son??

Peaceful hello erica,

I have read your post and I will need to think this over for a while. It is an absolute big problem and you are very strong and loving to do what you are doing for your husband. I only have respect for you and completely understand of your situation.

I will do some research for you and see what I can come up with.

My first impression is that he needs some immediate help.

This is obviously difficult as he needs to accept that.

My thoughts are with you

Will think it over and see what I can come up with..

Peace

Matt.

He sees him weekly every Sunday for an hour or two. Doesn't really make any more effort than that although he may come over sometimes for half hour after he finishes work but that's only happened a few times.

Thanks for that Erica. Your situation is very common unfortunately, however it's also very intricate and complex - and there's only so much support you can get from the internet. My concerns are naturally for you as a mother getting all the support you need for you and your son. It must have been a massive thing having your husband drop a bombshell just before having your son. You've tried to move on but it is only natural to want to keep your family together for everyone's sake, particularly when a treatable condition such as clinical depression has been cited as a potential reason for him wanting to break up the marriage. You've tried so hard but you've received very little in return. I think there comes a time where you have to decide when enough is enough. Saying that, he's always going to be the father of your son and that relationship needs to be available to him (and encouraged).

Ultimately, depression or not, your husband needs to be responsible for his own treatment and direction in life. I fully admit I've never suffered from clinical depression (but I have suffered from reactive and seasonal depression). I do understand it can be debilitating and have a massively variable impact on relationships. Personally when I have been depressed I fully crave the support of others (particularly a partner). I struggle to understand why some people push their partners away. So therefore I'm probably somewhat compromised in my opinions. Regardless, depression or not, your husband has made his feelings known about you on several occasions. He has separated from you, right when you needed him the most. Despite this critical moment of abandonment, you are still willing to give him the opportunity to recover your marriage. You are willing to compromise your right to an intimate relationship. He is still giving you nothing. It sounds like he is refusing treatment and counselling. What does this man have to offer you as a husband and a father, regardless of any mental illness??

Is your husband working? You say YOU moved out of the family home prior to the birth of your son? Did you own it together? Is he contribuiting financially to the uprbringing of your son? As hard as it sounds, somehow you need to make a decision to save you from many more months and years of pain and doubt about this man.

I would strongly consider an ultimatum. Now many here might think this is a bad idea, but please remember this is the internet and does not substitue professional advice. It just seems to me that things are getting nowehere. He comes and goes as he pleases whilst you deal with the reality of bringing up your son by yourself. For the benefit of your own health and that of your child, you need positive movement forwards.

Your husband doesn't need to be ejected from your life, I think he needs to understand that you need commitment from him. There are consequences for his actions. ie: He gets proper medical treatment and commits to repairing the marriage (including counselling), OR, you start proceedings for a divorce (which includes drawing up terms of a custody arrangement/property division/child support/etc). Regardless I would also seek legal advice regrding your situation. I hope you've had the chance to talk about this with a professional, at least your GP. What's your family support like? What do your family/friends think of all of this???