Married to a Monster
4 min readApr 27, 2022

I feel guilty even when I did nothing wrong.

I was working out this morning, it was leg day, my absolute favorite (get outta here if you like abs, we have nothing to talk about, ha!). We were gearing up for the last part of boot camp, a 75-second squat hold, and my watch starts buzzing. Crap. A rush of anxiety floods over my body when I see it is my husband calling. Crap crap crap. My schedule changed unexpectedly today, and I didn’t let him know ahead of time. He hates when he doesn’t know what’s going on every second of my life. When I don’t “communicate effectively” as he calls it, I can expect to be ignored for the rest of the day…and maybe tomorrow.

His silence is louder than most people shouting.

I ignore the buzzing, telling myself I will call him back after the 75 seconds, when I am safely back in the car and the blaring music will not give my location away. A second buzz.

Great.

Now he’s left a voicemail. Gah. I start to feel the hair on the backside of my neck stand up, tiny pinpoint prickles that let me know I’m close to danger. I sigh and start walking across the gym floor, ignoring the trainer who questions me leaving early. BUZZ BUZZ. Oh good Lord, he’s calling a second time. A double punch. I break into a run and grab my keys running out the door to my car, desperate to answer before the buzzing stops this time.

I rip the car door open and throw myself in, bracing myself against the heat that is waiting for me inside. I count to five, holding my breath and trying to slow down my breathing so I don’t sound out of breath, a tell-tale sign to give me away.

My hands shaking, it takes two tries to draw my unlock pattern and I press the call back button. His contact picture flashes onto the screen, a picture of him sweetly kissing my face. A picture I no doubt asked him to pose so I could capture. A picture I use to remind myself that at one time he loved me, even if all the evidence I’m shown lately points to the opposite.

It rings, I blow my breath out slowly, willing my heart to decelerate. Maybe he won’t ask why I didn’t answer.

“Hey, where are you?” the first words out of his mouth. Craaaaap.

“The gym…I know I was supposed to go earlier today but I ended up stuck on a long phone call and didn’t make it in, so I tried to catch the noon camp.” I hate myself for defending absolutely normal behavior, but here we are. My codependency fills the hot car, matching the stagnancy of the hot air making it even harder to breathe.

“A law firm just called me, asking for you. I just wanted you to know,” he stated, in a tone that was slightly less than accusing.

“What? Who was it? What did they want?” I honestly have no idea what he is talking about, but feel the dread hanging above me start to settle in my chest.

“They wouldn’t talk to me, didn’t give a number, I thought it was spam until they asked for you.” He continued, pausing for my reply.

“I have no idea, I’m sorry.” Always apologizing, shame fills my voice for actions that aren’t even mine.

So many questions. Who called me? Why did they have to mess up my first day out of the house in several weeks? Why do I feel guilty even though I didn’t do anything wrong?

“Again, I just wanted to let you know. Bye,” he hangs up with the abruptness that I have become well acquainted with over the last couple of years.

The call ends, and I see the sweet couple fade to black on my phone. I remind myself to breathe, all the endorphins from lifting heavy immediately leaving my body.

Fixated on his displeasure, my mind starts to spiral.

Should I go home? Does he believe me?

What the heck are lawyers doing calling my husband for me?

I exhale.

I feel the anxiety, I feel the dread.

I count to four, holding my breath.

I hate this. He probably thinks I’m talking to lawyers about a divorce.

I breathe in.

I can’t fix this. I can’t change what he believes. Stupid lawyers.

I count to four holding my breath.

God, you know…please help me. Please help him. Help us.

He doesn’t need to know what I am doing every second of every day. I am my own person. I have boundaries. (Or, at least, I’m trying to.)

I breathe out, counting to four again.

Breathe in, count.

The Lord is my Light and my Salvation, whom shall I fear?

Exhale, count.

Pushing the button to start the car, the air conditioner kicks in, breathing its cool over my whole body, refreshing me.

I tuck the phone back into my bag and put the car into drive.

* * *

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Married to a Monster

Freelance Writer & Editor • Lifter of Heavy Things • Toddler Wrangler • Relationship Analyst • 95% Authentic • 5% Filtered • 100% Joy