Greetings, forum members. I have been reading and studying posts and replies for some time on the forums now, but I am just now finding the strength, nerve, and (for lack of a better term) courage to post here.
My story is a long one, with many details, and I am not sure where to begin - nor am I sure how much or little to share, so I am going to try and summarize as best as possible, while still getting out what needs to get out.
First and foremost: I admit and accept responsibility for all my actions. Whether driven by lust, alcohol, sex "deprivation" or anything else, my CHOICE to go outside my marriage was selfish, immature and mine alone. I say this so blatantly because I don't want any of the details below to be misconstrued as putting responsibility on anyone or anything else but myself. I do truly realize the hurt that I caused, the damage done and what could have been done, and what I risked losing.
Now, the facts:
Around our second child's second birthday, our lives, specifically our sex lives (as they do naturally after kids) were pretty much non-existant. My wife was doing nothing but sleeping (we're talking at like 6pm just after coming home from work), I was doing all cooking, cleaning, laundry, taking care of kids, working full-time job, etc. After reading many articles and magazines about "if men would give a hand in household chores women would have more energy for sex" I thought it would work. This had been the way it was since our child was born, so it wasn't like this was after 6 weeks - it had been like 2 years.
In any case, one Friday night, my wife said she was going to bed at 7:30 and the kids were already asleep. Frustrated, I decided to go to a Strip Club. I didn't tell my wife that, I just told her I was going out.
While there, things happened that were inappropriate. Not full intercourse, but enough that it was wrong. I can honestly say I left the house intending to go to the club, but I really didn't (at least consciously) have any intention of what happened, happening.
As soon as "it" was over, I was a wreck. I left the club, went home, and was distraught (no eating or sleeping for about 4 days). I also went to my doctor to be tested for everything under the sun. He said I was being ridiculous, but tested me anyway, and everything came out negative.
Within a day or two of the events I eventually confessed everything to my wife, although it happened in pieces. I tried to hide the gritty details at first, but then everything just flowed out.
Amazingly, she was "accepting" of what happened. She wasn't happy, and cried, etc., but it only took a day or two for us to talk everything through and come to an understanding. She acknowledged she wasn't meeting my needs (again, not placing ANY blame on her, just stating what she said), and although she hated that it happened, we agreed to work through it.
Here is where it gets complicated. We were doing well, and then one night, lying in bed, out of NOWHERE, my mind connected back to another event that happened 7+ years ago. This was back when we were dating, living together, etc. I went on a business trip, and made the horrible choice to meet up with my ex, coincidentally my first girlfriend and the girl I lost my virginity to. Eventually, of course, the worst happened. Because my mind made this random connection, it threw me into panic again, and of course my wife realized something was wrong. I told her about it, and again she forgave me.
The rest of the details are relatively insignificant, but suffice to say there were more of these "random" connections in my brain, even going back to things I did as a child (12 years old) that I deeply regret.
In short, I have been a really shitty person to my wife. There have been no more physical or emotional affairs, but there have been events, thoughts, etc., from both the past and recent present (all before the latest strip club thing, I have been totally straight and narrow since then) that I have felt compelled to "confess" to her. Through my IC, he has helped me realize that the confessions are now bordering on being selfish and self-serving rather than honesty, so I am trying my best to keep any other instances to myself. For example, the other day something popped into my head from just before the 7+ year ago affair, that I recall giving my hotel room and name to a Hooters waitress while on another business trip. Even these things that never ultimately came to anything more than stupidity cause me MASSIVE panic attacks.
God knows I probably don't deserve her, and for some reason she still loves me. She continues to understand (mostly) that the events of my childhood helped largely to lead me down this path. I have been "diagnosed" with OCD and PTSD, and and still in therapy for all that.
I am so unbelievably repentant for everything I have ever done wrong in my life. I have apologized to people I was mean to in High School through Facebook. I confessed all my transgressions from childhood to my sisters and parents, and it makes me physically ILL to tell even the smallest of white lies to ANYONE. I cannot be the person I was before, even if I wanted to. And although it's impossible to forecast the future, I can honestly say I KNOW nothing like this will ever happen again, because I will never allow myself to be put into a situation like that again. My wife and I have a newfound honesty, and when something is bothering us (work, kids, sexual frustration, etc.,) we can now TALK about it, which we never could before, and that feels great.
The other good news, is that this newfound sense of honesty and faithfulness makes me feel better and different than I ever have before. I finally feel like I am on a good path, and that my mind and body are finally in tune, and I can control myself and my impulses.
My therapist is working with me, but is very confused as to why I connect events such as the strip club or other affair to my childhood (I don't consider them related, but because all these sexual problems are now surfaced, my mind connects them like a chain whether I want them to or not). The other problem, is that these "confessions" are becoming selfish - I can't keep burdening my wife with things that she had nothing to do with, but I don't know any other way to purge the guilt from my soul (as I said, completely selfish, I understand - I would welcome ANY other ways to cope).
And as a result, my mind comes to completely illogical conclusions, like "Is my subconscious mind trying to sabotage my marriage", or "Is my mind telling me "I really don't love my wife anymore", even though we're happier than we've ever been.
It's these illogical conclusions that are now causing me stress and panic, and as a result, my mind keeps circling back to events and searching for anything else that may have happened.
I want to feel like I am at the end of my "confessions", but I don't know how to control this panic and get through the ridiculous assumptions my mind makes as a result of my past.
Has anyone else (particularly truly repentant waywards) ever gone through or felt this, and if so, how did you deal with it?
In closing: again, I realize this is all my fault, and although I certainly deserve to "suffer" for what I have done, I feel like at some point this stress and panic should leave and be replaced by true peace.
I am here for help, but simultaneously, no amount of defamatory comments can make me feel worse than I already do. I am not here to "confess" to strangers - I am here for advice from others who may have been through something similar.
I want my kids, I want my wife, I want my marriage, and I want all those to be in sync, but I also want peace from my past, now that I know I'm not bound to repeat it. I don't want to ever be the person I was before, and I will not allow myself to make these mistakes ever again.
Please, any advice is welcome, and I appreciate your time and thank you for your patience through the long post.
Sorry and Respectfully,
Truly Regretful Husband