You basically stay in a loveless

I found that living with Mr. Orange for a year or so before we got married was the healthiest preparation for marriage I could have had. We had a lot to negotiate about living together- we're both of us strong, stubborn people who have our own ways of doing things, and figuring out how to live in a cooperative, productive harmony wasn't always a piece of cake.

I adore him, and I'm certain it's mutual; but that doesn't mean that there weren't times when, during a particularly difficult hurdle, I looked at the door and thought "we're not married- if I chose to leave, I could, no legal strings." Rather than making me feel fatalistic and negative about the relationship, that open possibility always encouraged me to work harder at understanding him and getting him to understand me, because I knew I was staying because I wanted to, not because I had to.

There are probably people out there with the same story. Of course the idea of a woman being free to leave and exercise her own judgements is a horrifying tale to the tools of the patriarchy.