OK, BS here...
You titled this post "Just talking" To be honest that sounds as hollow to me as saying "we're just friends"
From what I'm reading, the problem isn't the alcohol:
1. There's what seems to be a lack of respect for your wife's pain/wishes. You drank knowing she finds it uncomfortable when you drink. You talked socially, probably (?) flirtateously with not just one, but two women and you did this in front of your wife, in front of everyone. I wonder how humiliated she felt? Yes, she may well question what you're like when she's not there, if that's how you behave in front of her. My WH did something similar to me, before DDay. The memory of it will never leave me. You did these things with part of you knowing it would pain your wife, but you did them anyway. Why?
2. The way you write it, seems as if you felt you had little choice in it all, especially when you found your seat was taken.. You had plenty of choice, lots of small choices. For example, you could have grabbed a chair from another table, or just stood next to your wife until the other person got the message, or said (with a smile) excuse me, I'd like sit down"...and probably a whole lot of other options. Why, when you saw your wife talking to someone else, was your first reaction to go and talk to a lone woman?
3. The whole asking the woman to taste the whisky screams 'flirting' to me. Flirting isn't always about sexual attraction, often it can be about validation. But that flirty need for validation is dangerous. I'm sure most of the WS on here would tell you that. It's playing with fire. But you deny flirting?
4. In fact, a lot of your post seems to be a kind of denial of intent. Do you have a problem admitting to yourself that you are the person who cheats? That you are the person who flirts with someone else in front of your wife? Do you find it difficult to have people think badly of you...and do you find it difficult to even admit your stuff ups to yourself? Maybe something to explore in IC?
5. You say your wife is scared to talk to you about this stuff? Why? Is she scared you will leave? Or explode at her? Something else? Not being able to talk to you and call you on your behaviour is a huge issue, not just her issue, yours too. Well, it is if you really want to R and work on the M together,rather than rugsweeping.
I'm sorry if that all seems a bit harsh. I don't want to put your back up, but I would say that if you feel yourself reacting strongly to something, it's a good idea to dig deep and work out why.
I wish you well
[This message edited by Softcentre at 12:57 AM, December 18th (Wednesday)]
Finally reached indifference & looking forward to my new beginning