In my humble opinion you could not be more off base. Her failure was not about self-esteem nor self-image. It is poor boundaries and no plan to protect them.
Thank you for the advice, JL. I disagree slightly with this comment, because unfortunately self-esteem and self-image play a large roll in situations like this. Non-boundaries on our part do play a part, but I'm confident that I could have lunch with any one of her friends, or even one of my co-workers, and I would never EVER think about going behind my wife's back to see them again. Even if one of them showd an interest in me, my self-esteem doesn't require that to make me happy. I'm perfectly happy with myself. She isn't necessarily happy with herself.
I think that in your special circumstances of having to travel so much, it was definitely necessary for you to create some hard boundaries in order to maintian trust. In my situation, even though NOW I know we should've had them, there's never been any reason to EVER think that I would need them. I mean, we have dinner at the table every night, sleep in the same bed every night, call eachother throughout the day. I mean, you SHOULD be able to trust your wife to have lunch with a friend of yours when it's offered. You SHOULD be able to trust your friend to have lunch with your wife and not have it turn into anything else. But, I guess I've learned the hard way that you can't always trust your spouse to do that.
So, now I realize that boundaries are VERY important. Still waiting for her to come up with her own and lay them on the table so that it's more meaningful than coming from me.
BTW, since I'm still in the "Surviving" forum. . . . does anyone else have this problem? I'm sitting at work, doing my business, and then negativity starts to infiltrate my thoughts. I start thinking about the TIMELINE. Even though I've already done this 1000 times, I start to think about where I was on the days she was cheating on me, what my mood was, what her mood was, what we were doing that day, e-mails she sent, texts she sent, what signs I might've seen, whether we made love on that day or not. . . . . my heart starts to race, my head and hands get hot, I can barely see straight, and the pain starts to rush back as if it had just happened.
Does that happen to anyone? I hate it. I know those moments will start to go away, eventually.