Will You Not Marry Me?
Written by Joe von Hutch
Art by Nico
I don’t know how to be a good boyfriend. I don’t know how to be a boyfriend, good or otherwise, because it doesn’t come naturally to me. It’s not just that my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents all divorced each other, my great-great-grandmother took the extra steps of leaving her husband in the Midwest, moving to New York, pretending he was dead, and taking the secret to her grave.
Staying together isn’t in my family genes.
Breaking up is. In my family, when things go wrong you don’t stick around to make it work. You run away as far as you can. A few years ago I kept the family tradition alive by leaving New York for London, and when London became too small to share with two exes, on to Berlin.
The best thing about moving is that you almost never run into your ex again, and there’s no better way to say “new phone, who’s this” than texting everyone in your contacts to delete your old number.
This may sound commitment-phobic, but I’ve somehow had ten boyfriends. I’m not anti-relationship. I’m just bad at them. My longest relationships have lasted about a year, including the one I’m in now, so it’s a daily shock that we haven’t broken up already.
The problem is, the longer we stay together, the more family and friends expect us to get married. I may say we are because we live in Prenzlauer Berg, but in reality neither of us is the marrying kind. I know because I already asked him to marry me.
I didn’t propose because I wanted to, and I didn’t really propose. I’m an American living in Germany and Germany just passed gay marriage. If he marries me, all of my visa and insurance and bureaucracy problems disappear. Never having to go back to the Ausländerbehörde is almost worth it, but only if we can keep it a secret and pretend like it never happened.
Getting married (for the rights and convenience) sounds like something I can get down with, but being married? Hard pass. My family has been there, done that, and I’m not falling for it. After five generations of divorce it’s time to stop, and I don’t really want to move again.
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