familycaregiver, I am so sorry to hear of your situation. I am a BP spouse as well. I am 16+ years married. No...it is not easy. I know it all seems so unfair for you, and IT IS. But, the part that we get to be responsible for in the mix is that we chose to stay...all those years ago when we learned of the illness – all throughout the ups and downs….We keep putting them first. If we took as good care of ourselves I often wonder if we would stay the way we do. Now, in my case, I have young kids and I owe it to my “family” to keep them a part of every decision I make until they are grown. But I am lonely a lot. Not at the moment so much because he is screaming or yelling…that for the moment seems to have stabilized. But there is NO affection of ANY kind between us. No hand holding, hugs, cuddles...NOTHING. So you already know the lovemaking is out too. Okay, so I am not young anymore, but I am hardly old either, I’m still attractive (even if I have a few pounds on me), I am still quite attractive, and I feel like I am dying on the vine. BUT...I choose to stay for my family. I wish things were different. I wish there wasn't so much in the way to make this better. I wish I had help from him. But I don't and that is just the way it is. And if things go way south at some point…I will have to own the conscious choices I am making. Makes sense? I could leave, I choose not to, I justify it because he is a mild BP (a fact that doesn’t change how hard this all is), because I have young kids who need their family together, because I do still love him, because I do still have the hope it will improve, because I made a commitment, etc.
I have no doubt that you had moments like this in your 37 years together where you made the choice to stay. Especially after your kid(s) were grown, and you still opted to stay. The fact is, it is tragic what has happened to you. But what there is for you to learn about it all is that you didn't put you first; you didn't even take as good care of yourself as you did of her. Now you feel lost because you don't know how to put you first. It is time to learn my friend. I know to have stayed and loved her for 37 years, must now feel like you are trying to go on without your own limbs. But in a way you are experiencing a death of the life you knew. A death of the woman you loved. Like any other person experiencing this sudden loss, there are support groups at ANY local hospital about grief and dying. Go to a few groups until you find one that feels right. You will be amongst people grieving just like you and it will help...a lot. Many are feeling that same devastation, just with different stories attached to it.
As to the court thing - Seek help from your ex-wife's psychiatrist. There is documented evidence of her mental condition, and documented evidence to show classic out of control BP behavior. This should fully exonerate you - unless you too DO have a problem as well, which only you know the truth about, or they have solid evidence against you with DNA proof to back it up. Without that, cleaning this up should seem like a technicality.
BP or not, your wife is still responsible for her own condition and behavior. She chose to not take her meds...the BP did not. There are plenty of people on the board that view their responsibility to their condition as their number one priority, because only then can they love responsibly the way the want, or lead the life they want, or be the person they want. And when things go off...they immediately take action to resolve it responsibly. They talk to their support network, they see their doctors, they enter the hospital if need be. That is taking ownership of their condition. They don't hide it, they don't play games with it, and they don't blame others. I am sorry that your ex was not one of these people.
Good luck to you moving forward. It is time to put you first. Take care of you. You are still a young man and you will immerge from this in the end okay if you take as good of care of yourself now, as you did of her for all those years. Never loose site of the fact that YOU matter TOO! LFW