Can someone explain to me why I'm in the friend zone?

I have an on-going, mind-f***ing issue that I could use some advice on. I have this guy friend, who I really like a lot. It's pretty safe to say I've never felt this strongly about anyone before, however we do have a bit of history.

We started as exclusive FWBs, but it wasn't the kind that involved messing around only. Yes we slept together but we also did regular friend stuff (go out places/movies/grab food/hang out)While we were together he kinda insisted that we were dating-I set the friends with benefits only zone due to the fact that he had unresolved feelings for an ex (this has gotten me burned in the past). Randomly one day he just stopped talking to me, started blowing me off, and being a jerk. I tried reaching out to keep just our friendship, but he didn't seem to care so we stopped talking for several months.

Around Halloween he randomly asked what my plans were/what's up. I told him I was going to a bar. He showed up, we hung out for pretty much the entire night. He apologized for being a d*** and that he missed hanging out with me.

From then till now we've actually made our friendship better and are closer than before. We get along great, talk about anything, joke around, and see each other almost every day.He does flirt a bit (though that is kinda part of his personality) and he does sometimes make some dirty innuendo-type jokes at times with me.

He met up with his ex not too long ago and they resolved the unfinished issues that had left him clinging to their past relationship-he told me that he has no interest in her.

He's gone out on many dates since we stopped being FWBs, but apparently hasn't had sex with anyone since me due to "lack of interest" in the girls he's gone out with.

Everyone who sees us assumes we're dating due to how effortlessly we can get long, and because we're always together.

On the flip side to all of this-every time we've gone out to a bar/party with friends he always tells me things like "You could get any guy you wanted here" or "So did you meet any guys/get numbers/get hit on a lot" then gets all baffled when I tell him no I didn't. (which is true I don't, and don't ask why cause I have no idea, its just always been like this when I go out). Also note that we don't hover around each other when we go out. Usually we each kinda do our own thing, hang out for a bit, then do our own thing again, etc.

He also knows that I still have some feels for him. One night when we went out there was a girl in particular that he kept raving about hot she was, I got sad and left for some air. It came up the next day where he then found out I was a bit jealous and he apologized for it, but didn't address the fact I still have feelings either-even though it was very obvious at that point. He tells our mutual friends that we're not dating because he doesn't want to "ruin our friendship" which he has never said to me. I mean if you get along so well with someone & don't find them completely unattractive, why wouldn't you be with them?
Can someone explain to me why I'm in the friend zone?
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