contrary to the harry met sally dialogue, i think that it is possible to be friends with women.
harry's reasoning was that the sex part gets in the way, but i am not clear why it has to.
the first exception harry talks about (if i remember correctly) is a person you aren't attracted to. he then changes his mind and says, you pretty much want to nail them too. i disagree.
i must say that i don't know that this applies to everyone, but i have been friends with lots of women. the one's who i am not attracted to pose no problem because i don't have any romantic or sexual feelings for them, so there is nothing to worry about on my part. i don't send signals and so far as i know and have experienced so far, they don't misinterpret my intentions.
the ones that i do find moderately attractive aren't really a problem for me either. just because on some purely animal level i find a woman attractive doesn't mean i have any real need or desire to act on it. why throw away a friendship or jeopardize my marriage for someone who i don't care about as much as my partner? there is no compelling need. even when i wasn't married though, there wasn't a reason to act on it. once someone was a good friend and i knew that there weren't truly powerful feelings, there was no reason to risk the friendship for nothing.
the real threat is being close friends with someone you find very attractive on deep and intimate levels. this is a bad relationship to pursue if either of you are involved with someone else because the goal of the relationship on someone's part is dishonorable. getting to know someone better and pursuing a friendship in this case is problematic. you aren't being a good friend to the person because your pretense is false. you are creating a friendship that is built on deception and hidden motivations. even if these motivations are mutual, they are taken under a false pretense of friendship. if the feeling is mutual, either be brave and end your own relationships before you pursue a new one, or avoid getting close to this other person. putting yourself in this situation is risky, selfish, and ill-conceived.
i have friends who i am mildly attracted to, but this is very different. i have no intentions of pursuing them and i will be careful not to do anything inappropriate. ultimately, i know that i am not going after them nor would i. so, i guess the rule for me is that i should only be friends with people who my attraction to is significantly less than to my current romantic partner.
but, then what about if they are attracted to you? if you know they are, you should consider whether the friendship is wise. if one or both of you is involved with someone else, it wouldn't seem wise. if neither of you is involved, i would want to be very careful not to send any romantic signals and i would probably limit my time with them in order to minimize letting them get wrong ideas.
so the girls i find the most attractive on many levels are not my good friends. i keep them as more casual acquaintances. this doesn't mean that i don't have beautiful and attractive friends, it just means that my friends are ones who i wouldn't risk my current relationship to be with.
when you aren't in a relationship, it is more okay to be friends with the people you are super attracted to. but, as i said, you shouldn't have a friendship based on false pretenses, so i would make sure only to pursue a friendship if that goal in itself is an acceptable outcome. if it isn't, then you should be brave and pursue them romantically.
also, if opposite sex friends are involved with other people, they should definitely make an effort to include their significant others in their activities. not necessarily all of the time, but enough that their partners can get to know the other people and see for themselves that they aren't threatening.
still harry's issue of the significant other wondering why their partner needs something from outside the relationship may come up.
it seems wise if before pursuing friends of the opposite sex when one is in a committed relationship that a conversation is had that sets some of the boundaries and what each person is comfortable with having their partner pursue.