Hi! I believe I can be of help with this issue.
First, let me say I can imagine how frustrating this situation must be for you. On the one hand you feel uncomfortable with what he's doing. But on the other hand he justifies it.
And this is actually the key to my answer to you that you need to consider and think about. The premise the two of you are using to decide this problem is not the correct premise in a marriage. So I would like you to print out my answer and take your husband to a quiet coffee shop or pub or some other neutral site and read together my answer and discuss it.
A marriage is a union. That means that you are devoted to the relationship as the primary relationship in your life. Each of you. All other relationships are subordinate to this marriage relationships and come second to it. This is what it means "marriage". This is the agreement you each made. Discuss this.
Next, there is a behavior by one of you that makes the other uncomfortable. So far, the two of you have treated it as a question of definitions: is the husband "flirting" with other women which is out of bound by definition? Or, is the husband "socializing" with other women, which by definition is acceptable behavior?
But that is not the REAL problem here. The real problem is that whatever we call what the husband is doing in these social situations, they make the wife uncomfortable. She feels that it is a lessening of the specialness of the closeness between the two of you for the husband to do these things with women other than her. Everyone see this? It is not a question whether these things are technically flirting or not. It is a question of that one partner is feeling as though her specialness in the marriage is being lessened by certain behaviors. Discuss this.
Discuss what specific actions are uncomfortable to the wife? Discuss what actions the husband might want to replace them with so that he can affirm the specialness of the marriage relationship and feel natural in social situations.
The idea here is that there is a hierarchy of relationships. Discuss the need to continually reaffirm the special status of the marriage relationship as the highest point in the hierarchy for both. Are there ways the husband needs to have the wife act to make him feel special? In the bedroom, perhaps? When coming home from work, perhaps?
This is the orientation I would recommend you two take. I wish you the very best!
Please remember to click the green accept button. Feel free to continue the discussion; my goal is to get you the best answers possible. Bonuses are always appreciated! If I can be of further help with any issue, just put "for Dr. Mark" in the front of your new question, and I'll be the one to answer it. All the best, XXXXX XXXXX