I’m reminded of a story presented to me as true, years ago — a village in Africa where a large portion of the men had died, idk, in war or by disease or something. So there were all these women with no hope of marrying, and the culture was such that they couldn’t get full rights as adults until they were married. So every tenth woman was declared married to her doormat. She was given a home, just like any newlywed couple, to live in with her doormat on the front step, and she had all the rights of a married woman. And was expected to take very good care of her doormat.
Clearly not Erika’s situation, yet seemed strangely relevant.