I sometimes joke that my husband and I had an arranged marriage … arranged by the universe. That’s a flowery way to look at the situation for what it was: Getting knocked up accidentally and then marrying the baby daddy.
Of course, we didn’t have to get married, but I loved my boyfriend very much (still do) and we wanted to be a proper family forever. We wanted to make this sh*t work for the long-haul, come hell or high water. No one forced us into our nuptials with a cocked-and-loaded gun — not a person, and not the universe.
But in some strange way, it does feel a bit orchestrated. If certain events didn't happen — our birth control didn't fail, I went and got the morning-after pill, I decided to terminate the pregnancy — I may not be married right now.
I was only 22 at the time. Without a family to keep together, without the higher stakes of a marriage commitment, without a reason to say "I do," I may not have. I may have bounced when times got hard, and no one would've faulted me for it.
I didn't leave, though.
Not when money was tight, or when doubt crept into my mind, or even when my partner's self-destructive habits started to chip away at my own life. Without realising it at the time, those legal documents entangled my life with a man who was just about to spiral into the true depths of human suffering — a near-fatal drug addiction — and I was along for the ride.