Okay, in my defense, he didn’t know it either. He thought he was normal and everyone else was strange. I guess when it comes down to it, we all kind of feel that way.
Looking back, there were clues.
I was absolutely certain of my feelings from day one, but he seemed to need some convincing. ‘He’s just cautious’, I thought. He wanted to see me all the time, but never made eye contact when we were together.
I felt like we had a strong physical connection. I could feel him shiver at my touch, but he never made a move. ‘He’s holding back’, I thought. My flirtations went ignored, seemingly unnoticed. ‘He’s just shy’, I thought.
We’d talk on the phone for hours, or rather. he’d talk for hours. He could spend an eternity chatting about books and politics and the movie Blade Runner. I liked his enthusiasm. ‘Who cares if I never got a word in edgewise? He’s just passionate’, I thought.
Then I began to notice he took even the slightest criticism to mean I hated him and we were over. ‘He’s just intense?’ I wondered. I figured things would change after we got married, once he had the security of knowing I wouldn’t leave like the last one, and the one before that.
But things didn’t change. He still didn’t look me in the eye, didn’t bother to buy gifts for my birthday or our anniversary, didn’t embrace me when my mother died.
And he didn’t seem to know how to act around other people; could never tell when they were clearly signaling their boredom or show appropriate concern when they were recounting sad stories. ‘He’s just… He’s…’ I was out of ideas.
Until he was diagnosed with Aspergers.
‘NOW it makes sense! That’s why he does this and doesn’t do that. That explains so much!’ I thought.
The diagnosis was a relief, but the lack of guidance that followed it was troubling.