Midlife crisis, bipolar, drug reaction, or something else?
Eighteen months ago, my husband abruptly moved out of our home with no warning, telling me he had wanted to leave me for years. He went in a span of six weeks from being apparently loving to erratic, hostile, and angry, alternatively treating me either like an enemy or a buddy, spending money irresponsibly, and acting tuned out to the trauma and impact on those around him.
He immediately took up with a woman I later learned had connections to a possible tantric prostitution ring and a background as a stripper. I was shocked when I really learned her identity. I found out later that he had openly socialized with her even before I knew he was leaving me. He expressed no shame and no empathy, even though we share a young son. He blamed me for the affair.
It took me several months before I realized that his behavior had not just changed toward me. He lost interest in our dog and all of our mutual friends. His eyes had an odd appearance and he appeared to age rapidly. People we both knew commented that he looked weird or like he was on drugs and reported odd encounters with him.
Six months prior to the onset of this radical change, he began taking an SSRI, in addition to a benzodiazepine. I begged him to see a psychiatrist to have his medications checked but he refused, often lashing out on me when I did.
His behavior became worse and worse, but the lawyer I hired said he has not done anything that can help me gain more than 50-50 custody. This has been extremely traumatic to my son and me, as I must now coparenting with someone who appears to have the opposite personality of the person I married.
He now has an unplanned child with the girlfriend, conceived eight months into the relationship and while they had broken up. His decisions are erratic and we are in a stalled mediation because he changes the proposal every time. He currently divides his time between two furnished rentals he shares with the girlfriend and the girlfriend and a roommate (who works for same suspected prostitution ring).
I know this in some ways sounds like a "midlife crisis," but a doctor I talked to said this sounds like bipolar. Others have asked me if he is on drugs. Another doctor told me that a person can become addicted to an affair in the same way they might a drug. His sister, father, grandfather, and great grandfather all suddenly abandoned the family around the same age.
Particularly devastating is that I now must share custody with him. Our son goes to a great school, which has helped him stay emotionally grounded, but the loss is prodound. I have had to stay low contact and keep communications in writing due to level of harassments, including long rants and accusations and overt cruelty. He recently took up an interest in hunting meaning he is keeping firearms in the house.
I wonder almost daily if I was married to a sociopath and didn't know it, or if he is sick. And if he does have a mental health issue, am I doing enough to protect our son? Despite the guns, sex worker connections, erratic behavior, and personality change my attorney said there is nothing we can do. My therapist takes the stance that unless he lost his job we can't assume he is mentally ill, although a doctor I talked to said this is not the case. We have a coparenting counselor who my attorney said ideally will make the recommendation himself.
Has anyone had a similar experience? Was there a diagnosis?