It would take two years before John and I started dating one another on a regular basis.
One day in September of 2015, while I was visiting John’s classroom, he confided with me that he had entered into a twelve step program. I was genuinely happy for him and commended him for his bravery. I’m not sure why, but after he broke the news he appeared more attractive in the months that followed. I believe it was his confidence from his new way life that caused his inner light to shine brightly.
In December of 2015 after we watched the new Star Wars movie, I asked John if he was dating anyone. He hesitated a bit as if he were unsure of how to respond. I felt it was a good time to ask since we were both in different places in our lives. So many things had changed between the two of us since we last dated. An essay I had written was going to be published in an international book by a well known author and John was on his way to a healthier lifestyle. A new year was about to begin and I felt like it was a good time to start a new relationship.
As gay men, John and I had a lot of similarities: we were both teachers, in our mid forties, and loved to “cocoon” on the weekends. The teaching profession, especially middle school, can be very draining, which is why both of us agreed that we didn’t need to be around each other 24/7. We enjoyed hanging out one day a week and one day on the weekend…the rest was spent doing our own thing. Our cocoon time.
The times we were together were wonderful. John loved to spoon in bed…man was he a great cuddler. I remember fondly one afternoon after a long nap, John pulled me closer to his body and held me tightly. I reciprocated by turning myself around so that I could face him. As his arms widened to let me in, he stretched his body in anticipation of what was to come next.
There was also a dark side to him as well.
What I didn’t know about recovery people was that they’re not supposed to get romantically involved with anyone until a full year of sobriety. We started dating six months after he entered the program. He never showed signs of struggle when it came to alcohol but he did struggle with mood swings. During the weekday, we’d happily plan our weekend together but by the time Saturday came around, he was tired and moody. I wasn’t prepared to handle the psychosis that came with sobriety so most of the time I took his mood swings personal.
That’s when things started to unravel.