" I like you very much "

The fact is, you DO NOT "like" her at all.
Let alone, "very much".

You were being dishonest. Again.

Even a casual observer recognizes that you are still comfortable with dishonesty.

Honesty is not one honest act.
Honesty is also a quality as well as a personal value.

Dishonesty is not one dishonest act.
Dishonesty is also a quality as well as a personal value.

You STILL value dishonesty when you want to avoid something that is tough for you to do.

A person with the quality of, and who values honesty, will not (so effortlessly) lie to anyone.

You seem to focus on each misstep you make as if they were isolated events.
They are not.

You "get it" that this upset your wife.
What you fail to fully comprehend is that even small lies TO OTHER PEOPLE puts your character flaws in a bright spot light.

Let me ask you a question.
Were you ever dishonest making your medical reports?
Why or why not?

Let's pretend you did lie professionally.

Let's say you lied on a coroner report (not just an error) and got found out.
What do you think would have happened to your professional reputation?
Would you explain that you were just trying to spare someone's feelings by the lie?
Would you claim to have been "suckered" or "manipulated" by an outside influence to make a dishonest report?

it is extremely dangerous for me to fall for this kind of thing

You did not "fall".
You were dishonest, because that is what you do.

learned a lot about women and how they manipulate men

You were not "manipulated".
You lied.

I STRONGLY urge you to re-think these comments you made.
Can you see the ultimate purpose of your comments?

Both quoted comments were you excusing yourself for being dishonest.

Think about this.

If I see or hear my CURRENT husband (after 14.5 years of M recovery) being dishonest to ANYONE .... it is a redflag

I do not want a dishonest spouse.
I do not want a scapegoating spouse.
Neither does your wife.