AJC, if you read this, just know you did the right thing. You really did. Morally, I just don't see how disclosing is optional.
I've noticed there's been a discussion on the negative fallout surrounding disclosing acting out with men while married. Of course it's a difficult situation and I feel for both involved in the marriage. But it's simply the right thing to do, for so many reasons, not least of which that the wives have the right to protect their basic physical health.
Even if acting out is a compulsion over which a person doesn't have control and so is in some significant way unfree due to overwhelming pain and anxiety, that person is still aware of the situation and so is able to take whatever precautions (or lack thereof) to protect their health. But a person (wife) who is simply unaware of the situation has no ability to make informed decisions about her physical health. And everyone has the basic human right to do so.
I'm really sorry that some men are in such turmoil that they feel unable to gain control over their actions -- I really am. But one area in which you CAN gain control is over actions in regard to those who are affected (and potentially affected in life-threatening ways) is giving them the information and thus opportunity to protect their health.
For those involved in the discussion, I'm not going to give advice about past behavior -- though I have very strong feelings in this regard -- but I even more strongly feel that a person in your situation needs to determine that from here on out either 1) no more acting out or 2) if that cannot be achieved, giving those who might be seriously affected the information required to make choices regarding their own life. As it is, you're making choices for others in a way that is very difficult for me to see any way of justifying -- even if you can't control the acting out behavior itself.
I'm not trying to beat up on anyone, but it seems to me that the empathy you feel towards your own situation of having your freedom torn away from you could be a source of making better (in my opinion) choices when it comes to robbing others of their freedom to choose.
This site is all about the horrible consequences of not respecting the humanity and freedom of others. Such disregard and violation of children is horrendous, and it's a wonderful thing that your here working on the consequences. Is the consequence of your wife getting cervical cancer due to HPV an acceptable consequence? In this day and age there is no "safe" sex. There's only more or less risky sex. And condoms do not protect against HPV.
I have no doubt that fears of rejection and abandonment by someone you love is driving your decision not to disclose. But the possibility of cancer would be a huge sacrifice for your wife to make in the name of love and security.
On the emotional side, this is the biggest hurdle for me: the idea that a person can "make love" with another human being while not caring if "making love" will seriously physically harm that person. And yes, for a lot of women (though not all) this realization is extremely traumatic. It sets up a situation in which making love is nothing more than a game of Russian Roulette. It's scary, traumatic and unbelievably sad. And frankly, is very difficult for me to understand: Why is it so important to keep a person in your life who you don't even like enough to care about their basic physical well-being?
While intellectually I can tell myself a story about this, emotionally it really doesn't matter. All I get is reasons why I'm not liked enough. It doesn't change the facts.
And if you feel a protest about the above, think deeply. Loving someone is more than a private feeling -- it's a relational virtue as well, and at least requires the bare minimum of not doing dire physical harm.
Everyone fucks up. And for those who accept the reality of what they're doing, past fuckups are forgivable. But rationalizing away the consequences to others, making decisions about another person's life without their consent, and deciding that setting the situation right would only cause "misunderstanding and strife" and so is not worth it, provides nothing to either forgive or not. It may not be worth it to you, but it's probably more than worth it to the person who is unaware that while they're making love with their husband, he's playing Russion Roulette.
These are very different realities, and loving someone entails attempting to create meaningful moments of shared reality. And believe me, for a whole bunch of women not having their freedom and humanity respected is a horrible realization to come to -- no matter the reasons or causes.
Just as it is for you, and is the reason you're here in the first place.
AJC, again -- you did the right thing. And eventually I hope you feel a sense of vitality knowing this and realize that just this in and of itself shows the extent to which the person who harmed you as a child has not stolen your humanity. Restoring one's sense of fairness is what healing one's soul is all about.
I'm sorry your wife is having a difficult time with this and has withdrawn from you. I hope you can empathize with her and understand that in many ways she's only doing what you've attempted -- trying to create a safe place to deal with your trauma.
Take care and best of luck to all,