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Hello, I'm just looking for a little advice or maybe some suggestions on how to deal with my in-law's disintegrating relationship. First a little background - my in-laws have had a rocky relationship for years, but somehow they managed to stay married for 37 years and raise 3 kids. My FIL lost his dad at a very young age and claimed to be treated as inferior to his younger sister for years by his mom. So he had a pretty rough childhood. His mom ended up being diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease and passed away several years ago. Fast forward to 2005 when he was diagnosed with a failing heart valve and had to undergo open heart surgery to replace the valve. The surgery went fine but the recovery took a lot longer than they expected. Turns out he ended up having an air embolism (air bubble in his bloodstream) that became lodged in his brain. He slowly recovered out of the "stroke-like" trance he was in and eventually came back to a somewhat normal state of cognition. At that time we noticed that he lost quite a bit of mobility on his right side. It definitely appeared to the common observer that he may very well have suffered a stroke from the air embolism. After several weeks of therapy and rehabilitation, he regained the use of his right arm and leg and seemed pretty much back to normal. Or at least we thought.

Not long after he came back home, we noticed that he seemed a bit detached from everyone. He just kind of wanted to do his own thing instead of getting together with family members. He really didn't interact much at all with his 2 grandchildren. We chalked it up to his energy level not being what it used to be and him still dealing with a lot of exhaustion. After another year or so, the anger towards my MIL really began to take hold. Not only that, he would also argue with other family members, over stupid things. Then he began spending money left and right on very large purchases. His attitude towards things that would have sent him over the edge before the surgery became a lot more flippant/flaky. It eventually morphed into an "I just don't care about it" kind of mentally. Again, we chalked it up to stress at work and stress between other family members.

This is where it gets interesting. One day, totally out of the blue, he informs my MIL that he has met another woman, in another country, and will be flying out to meet her and stay with her for 3 weeks. Now THAT we did not see coming. He said he hadn't been happy for years (and that was evident to the majority of us anyway) and that it was time for him to start doing stuff that he wanted to do. It suddenly became "all about him." He expected my MIL to accept this "trial-run" with this other woman and when he gets back, he'll decide whether he wants to stay with is wife, or run off with this other woman. They started counseling. And he lied to everyone about being on fence over whether or not to go. He lied or outright concealed the fact that he bought numerous high-priced items (iPod Touch, new digital camera, new laptop, etc.) Even after all the counseling, he was still determined to go meet this other woman, so in April he left. At the end of the month he came back, and is now determined to marry this woman in November. He has already purchased his one-way ticket to get back there. He claimed he can't wait to start his new life and leave everything else behind. He hasn't contacted us in over a month.

Now I've had several friends who have broken up due to affairs, but does this sound like a normal affair to you? He purposely sought out to meet other women. And hid it all until it was pretty much too late. The family is starting to think that he may not be right mentally. There is no way he would consent to getting checked out, but all that we can think of at this time is that he has suffered from some sort of brain damage after his experiencing that air embolism. It just took a few years for it to really show up? And could he be genetically predisposed to alzheimer's since his mom had the disease? He is in his early sixties and his mom was diagnosed in her late sixties. Could his most recent behavior indicate the possibility of an early on-set of alzheimer's disease?

Just wondering if anyone has ever known anything like this to happen or has witnessed a family member go through some sort of mental degredation? Thanks for reading!


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