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

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

Apollo Black, thank you for your very detailed response. I am sorry that it has taken me so long to write back as I have been re-reading your response over and over again. I sought treatment for myself once I had my son, I wasnt coping at all and needed to pull myself together as much as I could to get through the days of raising my child on my own. The medication and counselling sessions helped tremendously as well as having my family and friends be a great support system also. As mentioned earlier, I have come a long way in the last 10 months and now that I am healing/healed mostly, I am now trying to put my energy and focus on my husband and marriage again.

The house we lived in, my husband and I built it together. We built it so that once we were married we could have our children and raise them in it. We moved into the house 2 months after we were married and then 4 months later we fell pregnant with our son. (this is why none of this makes sense because everything my husband and I created together including our son was all planned). I just cant make sense as to why he would go from wanting all of this to all of a sudden treating me like ive done something horrible other than carry his child. I am very confused. My husband does pay child support, this was something i arranged the moment I stepped out of our marital house. I have also sought legal advice but I do not want to take the neccessary steps in taking action in case there is still something with my husband and it tarnishes what is left.

An ultimatum is something I have always considered but I am unsure how I bring it up with him. Every time I have spoken to him about the possibility of us reconciling and working on our marriage, my husband always says that he feels pressured into making a decision. But then I am left sitting around wondering where I stand. Do you have any suggestions as to how I can put the ultimatum to him without making him feel pressured? March this year will mark our 12 month separation date - the date a divorce can be filed. This is defintely something I dont want to do 😞 Although your response has definitely got me wondering, maybe he is just stringing me along and maybe im blindsighted by what I think is love.

hello Erica or Maria suits you best, it must be very disappointing that you can't seem to get to first base with your husband, because he is in extreme denial and sometimes when a person leaves a marriage and moves out may shock the other person into getting help, but it hasn't motivated him to continue seeing his doctor or by taking his medication, because he is determined that he knows best.
You can only try initially to give him all the support you can, plus any encouragement to continue, but if he says no, then you can't do much more, however rather mentioning anhedonia to him, just emphasize depression, because this particular word you want to talk about certainly occurs in having depression, such as no interest in sex, which was what happened with me.
I just think that it should be kept simple, although depression is nothing that is considered to be easy to deal with.
When someone is in denial then talking about depression is so difficult to talk with them, simply because they are in denial and refuse to even accept that this is what they have, they don't want to admit it, because they then feel as though they are then weak, and for a man to feel this way is against his pride.
You marry someone because you love them, which means that this love continues through thick and thin until it comes to the stage where you are being left out and all the effort you put into trying to keep this love is knocked on the head then a decision has to be made. Geoff. x

Hi Erica

I'm not trying to sway you either way - it's just that limbo is obviously causing you some grief and at some point something has to happen. I'm all for saving marriages and keeping families together, but sometimes they can't be saved and it's better that way. From my perspective, I believe that if you have done everything humanly possible to save the marriage, then you can at least say you tried your best before you actually pull the plug. So as long as things are relatively stable, then time can be taken to put everything in place. I would make sure I'm looking after myself, eating well, getting enough sleep, exercise and ensuring a good support network is in place.

Once again I'm no expert on depression, and I'm not privvy to the exact circumstances etc surrounding the events of your initial separation, however that was a pretty full on move by your husband. Regardless of his mental state, you've got to question his suitability and reliability as a husband and father moving forward.

The thing is, from what you're saying he continues to skirt around the issue. He doesn't want to seek professional help, he's open about not loving you nor wanting an intimate relationship & feels pressured making descisions. He effectively cut you off at a critical point in your lives. To many this is inexcusable regardless of mental illness. I'm sorry but a) he's married to you b) he is a new father c) he's an adult = d) he has adult responsibilities. Responsibilities include seeking professional medical and psycholocial help if he's citing depression as the cause of this. In terms of ultimatums, that's the point - they exert pressure because everything else you've tried hasn't worked. There is no other way of doing it. And back to you - I get it. You don't want to reach that point. Not many do, but essentially that's what has to happen sometimes to move forward. For it to work - you have to be absolutely resolved to whatever he choses in an ultimatum. If he choses option a) - great, he seeks medical help and you try and fix your marriage. If he choses b) - then you have to be prepared to move forward with divorce and accepting that he doesn't want to be with you.

Like I said, there's no rush. It's just that I can't see your husband doing anything to progress this. I have to ask this, but are you sure he's not seeing someone else? Don't forget - I'm just an internet person. I recommend talking this through with a trusted friend, family member or professional