Men and women being friends without being romantic

In relationship advice, it is often pointed out that men and women are not able to be good friends, because romantic and/or sexual feelings always get in the way. What I’m wondering is – why not?

I mean, I know they can get in the way (and can become problematic if left unchecked) but does that need to limit having good, “just friends”, relationships with others?

I know of one particular male-female relationship where romantic/sexual feelings rarely (if ever) get in the way – those involving familial relationships. Not spouse (obviously), but those of parents and children or brothers and sisters. So how to get to this point with someone who isn’t an immediate relation?

This is one thing I worry about, so much that I tend to over communicate with my wife whenever I have any contacts with other women, not to mention various disclaimers I tend to stick in other (not in person) relationships. I’ll throw in caveats that I’m not looking for a second wife or any other kind of romantic relationship in a rambling way indicative of my uncomfortableness with the idea of it, and often have my wife read it before sending. In day-to-day interactions, to those who don’t know me very well, I tend to come across as flirting. When I first met my now wife, months before we started dating, her reaction was thinking that I was flirting with her roommate, then her. She has, since knowing me better, amended her original impression.

In a few months, after our ward goes to a more conducive meeting time for kidsí naps, I hope to start once again inviting couples and families over for dinner with us, to get to know our ward better, and I want to also include our singles in pairs. In pairs is important to me, since I don’t want the sisters to get the idea that we’re looking for another wife to join the marriage. I don’t know how it will go, but I do hope to become better friends with the members of our ward. I’ll probably write about it.

So, to get back from rambling (see?), what do we need to do to be able to have close relationships with others without falling into romance? On a related note (not that this is even close to a problem with me right now), how do we draw back from romantic feelings with someone who is “out of bounds”?

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