In those moments I have to remind myself that no one has forced him to live his life with me by his side.
For example, one time early in our relationship, Brandon and I went to a party in the garage of one of his coworkers.
Now, I knew Tinder was not the most likely place to find love, let alone love with another sober person. After the way things ended with my ex, I knew I'd always be on edge if I dated someone sober.
It's known for breeding more hookups than relationships, but I was hell-bent on giving it a shot. That night, we went to a 12-step meeting together, and I was convinced I'd found The One. Everything was going exactly as I'd imagined it: I'd met someone sober who understood the struggles and triumphs of recovery, and who understood and accepted me. I'd be overly anxious, almost waiting for them to relapse.
I knew of sober dating apps, but none of them had reached areas in rural Minnesota at that point.
I feel guilty that his life has been altered because of my presence.
So instead of continuing to try, I sat down and pet the dog while Brandon made his rounds.
When he returned, tears welled up in my eyes as I continued to pet the dog.
Because it was the home of someone he worked with, I knew no one there, which made an uncomfortable sober situation even more awkward.
I told Brandon to go socialize, and persisted that yes, I would be fine alone for a few minutes. Without alcohol, I didn't have the confidence or patience to shout over the din of the band and attempt to make small talk.
It has now been nearly two years since my last first date.