I had a little bit to say about a similar experience over here:
http://www.step12.com/forums/viewtopic. ... c&start=15
But first let me say that the lady and me were "involved" before she asked me to sponsor her. The other thing was that she asked me - I didn't appraoach a newcomer and ask her if she needed a sponsor, then get involved in a relationship. Well, might as well mention the last thing. Sponsoring her didn't work for either of us. She fired me as a sponsor, which was probably best. The relationship worked out fine once sponsorship was out of the picture.
I know a few men that sponsor women, and women that are sponsored by men. Those that worked are still together. One comes to mind where the male sponsor is about 70-years-old, and the female protege' is in her late 20's. There is no attraction from one to the other. The guy is a widower, and the girl is married with children. Both have decent sobriety and are very active in sponsoring same sex protege's.
What you described with this fella sounds like sponsorship isn't the only motivation. It seems like there is attraction perhaps on both your parts. What can happen from this can become complicated, which can be less than helpful for a new woman (or man if the roles were reversed). Also, like Dallas said, the first year of sobriety can be one of major change where the person is completely different than they were when they started.
What I suggest to anyone I sponsor is to first develop the 2 most important relationships before attempting a romantic/intimate relationship - that is if the protege' doesn't already have a "significant other".
1. Develop a relationship with your sobriety. Sobriety is spiritual to me, so it's more than an "event" or "something that happens". Sobriety is a "spirit" to me - something that is active and alive - something that grows and florishes if I put "work into the relationship".
2. Develop a relationship with a God of your understanding. I was taught that a personal daily working relationship with a Higher Power is the most important relationship I'll ever have. The book says this is a Great Fact. "See to it that your relationship with Him is right, and great events will come to pass for you and countless others."
Regarding the attraction between you and the fella in question here, this is how I would go about it, so this is not even a "general rule", and it's not relationship advice either. I'm just switching places with the guy. I can be a (platonic) friend before getting romantically involved. More importantly, I continually "inventory" myself to be sure that I'm not carrying baggage. The last thing, I'd want to do is anchor a potential companion with my unresolved male/female conflicts.
Any relationship involves work to manage "expectations". I've also found that relationships tend to arouse passionate or strong "feelings". Unless both companions can "master" their feelings, it's too easy for one or the other to become a "slave" to their feelings. If that happens, then the relationship can become unhealthy pretty fast.
Like you said, "becoming the best me I can be" is something I would want to see happen if I were attracted to you. It's something I'd gladly wait for as your friend before we get into "dating" or companionship. In other words, I don't need to hurry anything along. I don't need to "push the river" when it flows fine on it's own.
Regarding sponsorship, I don't have to be a "friend" to be a sponsor or protege'. I pretty much use Dallas's "2 personal rules" in the same way. It's just easier to sponsor or be sponsored when there aren't certain personal "expectations" that tend to be distracting.
For me, a sponsor's first and foremost responsibility is to be a mentor that lives out the spiritual principles in their lives. In other words, I need to learn how the 12 steps and spiritual principles are APPLIED to life. The only way I can stay sober and content is through taking constructive actions which is the application
of spiritual principles to every aspect of my life. In early sobriety, I need to rely on a sponsor to show me how to do just that.