he’s not like other men
Something was different about my hubby and it took years to find out what
Abbie Jones, 34, Chichester
As my friend Lauren dragged me to the local pool hall, I let out a groan.
‘Come on,’ she chimed. ‘You’ve got to see this lad – he’s fit!’
‘OK,’ I sighed, giving up the fight.
We were just 17, full of hormones and teen angst.
But when I clapped eyes on Daniel, I didn’t mind any more.
He was six years older than me, gorgeous, a kind smile…
As we came to a stop next to him, he barely looked up. ‘Hiya!’ Lauren trilled. Daniel looked at us blankly, before turning his attention to his cue.
Lauren rolled her eyes. She’d already lost interest.
But something about Daniel intrigued me.
Conversation didn’t exactly flow, but still I carried on asking questions. Found out that Daniel worked with troubled kids, had his own place.
A few days later, Lauren called with gossip.
‘I hear Daniel fancies you,’ she laughed. ‘Really?’ I replied, smiling. Lauren encouraged me to see him again.
On our first date, I took Daniel to a karaoke bar with my friends. Reckoned it would be a right laugh.
While I chatted happily to our group, Daniel struggled to join in.
Tensing as the crowd grew, I could tell he wasn’t comfortable.
He’s not having fun,
So, for our second date, we took a picnic to Bognor beach.
Just the two of us. Peaceful, quiet…
And Daniel was much happier.
‘I had a great time,’ I smiled. He smiled, nodded. I hoped he felt the same as me.
Over the next few months, I got to know Daniel better.
He wasn’t like the cocky lads in town.
Clever and fascinated by nature and science, Daniel chatted easily about those subjects for hours.
And his passion was infectious.
If he wasn’t researching, he had his head in a book, one of dozens piled neatly around his home.
After reading one about hypnotherapy, he said, ‘I’m going to give it a go.’
‘Why?’ I quizzed him, intrigued.
Daniel admitted he struggled in social situations.
Not wrong there,
I thought. I hoped that hypnotherapy would help. And it certainly did! Daniel learned how to engage with people by copying their actions. Blinking more, holding eye contact and smiling back.
The hypnotherapy seemed to be working.
But when I introduced him to new people, this confidence seemed to just evaporate.
He was shy, sometimes to the point of rudeness.
‘Is he OK?’ friends asked.
‘Oh, he’s just a bit quiet,’ I said, brushing them off.
Deep down, though, I knew something wasn’t quite right.
But Daniel made me happy, so what did it matter?
As things became more
I knew something wasn’t quite right. But he made me happy
serious, I felt an emotion I hadn’t experienced before.
One I’d only read about in books and magazines. One day, I blurted it out. ‘I love you,’ I said, hopeful. Daniel looked up from his book and smiled.
I waited for him to open his mouth and say it back.
Instead, he just carried on reading. I was crushed. Maybe he didn’t feel the same way after all…
But, days later, I found a little note in Daniel’s neat handwriting.
I love you.
That was the moment I knew he loved me as much as I loved him. Just had to let him show it the way he needed to. In time, we set up home together. Living every single day in each other’s pockets, I discovered a lot. Found that Daniel needed things in a certain way. Piles of books in certain places, even the way clothes were hung in the wardrobe. I took it as being one of his quirks… In June 2014, we married in the local village hall. Intimate, quiet, with only our closest friends and family there.
After the ceremony, Daniel stood up to give his groom’s speech. The room fell silent. We all knew he’d be terrified, speaking in public. ‘Abbie, I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you,’ he said. I welled up. And so did all our guests. And then I noticed… For the first time ever, Daniel had tears in his eyes, too.
It was one of the only times I’d ever seen him become emotional.
We cherished calling each other husband and wife.
Only, outside of our happy little bubble, Daniel began having problems at work.
He’d enjoyed working in a small corner of the office, where it was tidy, organised and quiet.
But then he had to move into the middle – loud, busy and surrounded by people.
Daniel became stressed and upset.
‘I’m finding it really difficult,’ he confided in me one night.
‘What do you mean?’ I said, confused.
It was then he told me he wanted a diagnosis for the way he was. A label. Daniel explained that, when he was younger, there had been talk about autism, but he hadn’t been assessed.
Without a diagnosis, his family had let it go.
‘If I can tell my boss I’ve got a condition, I’m sure I’d find it easier at work,’ he said.
For years, I’d reckoned that there must be some underlying cause, a reason for Daniel’s quirks.
In 2015, he finally met with a psychologist – and he returned happy.
From the moment Daniel walked through the door, the doctor had known…
Daniel has Asperger syndrome.
Everything, from our disastrous first date to his often odd behaviour…it all made sense now.
In the end, Daniel quit his job and embraced his diagnosis.
Now he’s written more than 30 books on Asperger’s, psychology and hypnosis.
Daniel credits hypnotherapy for being able to express affection towards me.
Something all women need in a relationship.
And he’s now so much better at being sympathetic and empathetic.
With or without a label, Daniel’s still the same quirky, shy boy I met when I was 17.
And I’ll love him forever, just the way he is.
He told me he wanted a diagnosis for the way he was. A label