Dating in Berlin: Relationships Gone Wrong

artworks: Karla Marie Bentzen

As if dating in Berlin wasn’t already hard enough, keeping a relationship – especially in a way that both parties are happy – is even more complicated. The struggles you might possibly face will sometimes make the single life seem like the better option. But as with many things in life one universal rule applies here as well: No pain, no gain. Relationships require a constant effort from both sides, otherwise they will go horribly wrong sooner than you expect. And the amount of pain and disappointment that you experience during a failed relationship will make you want to do things you didn’t think you were capable of.

The artist Karla Marie Bentzen has dedicated her new series Crimes of Passion to this topic. She selected some of the most shocking romantic tragedies of the past that have been subject to tabloid sensationalism including the O.J. Simpson case, the late Lisa “Left Eye” Lopez from TLC who burned a house down because of a conflict with her boyfriend, and the story of adult entertainer Amy Fisher. Karla turned these unbelievable stories into paintings that are tongue-in-cheek comments on modern day topics such as polyamory, violent relationships, and raw unbridled emotion.

As far as these tragic love stories seem away from Berlin, their essence still applies to the hardships of dating here. Observing the quirky paintings reminded me of some of the wild stories that I have heard and witnessed here in Berlin. Obviously the victims of the love tragedies here haven’t responded as violent as in the the artworks. But they sure all thought about and and felt the impulse of violence. I felt a inspired to list some of the most typical cases of failed relationships spiced with a little wishful vengeance… Enjoy the relationships gone wrong – Berlin-style.

1. The self-searching Artist Husband

You felt so lucky when you were the one who got the hot young successful artist boyfriend back in the day and even more so when he proposed to you on an impulse (much too early for your taste but you couldn’t really say no). Of course there was lots of wild and liberating sex which resulted in one child that you raised together happily in Prenzlauer Berg in the fancy Altbauwohnung that his parents bought him when he was still an art student. Over the years his artist career crumbled and he blamed that on the confines of marriage (read: you). To regain his creative senses he went out looking for himself. And on his way he found a few girls which he referred to as his muses. Need I say more?

What you want to do: Grad your child and your belongings and run him over with his damn vintage Mercedes-Benz car.

What you will probably end up doing: The slow roast of a German-style divorce, having to pay him alimony because you earn more money, re-entering the dating market in your late 30s as a single mom.

2. The “too open” Relationship

Your brain sent you a lot of warning signals, but you couldn’t resist the urges of your dick and so you entered into an open relation with your athletic and overly sexual lover because you couldn’t imagine giving up on him. Of course an open relationship is a piece of work and requires some strict rules to maintain the peace and emotional wellbeing of both partners. Never fuck someone else in your own house, never fuck a friend or someone your partner has a quarrel with, never fuck unprotected outside of the relationship, always be transparent and honest. These were just a few rules that you both agreed on. Well, that you agreed on and that he just nodded to but secretly already thought that he will do whatever the fuck he wants. And so he did. And you had to find out the painful way. It hurts the most when several rules are broken at the same time. And you never really wanted to share him anyway.

What you want to do: Strangle the bitch to relieve yourself from your addiction (and to spare the next fool from his heartbreak)!

What you will probably end up doing: Breaking up in anger, regretting the choice and getting back together, the cycle begins again.

3. The imaginary Relationship

Wow, you would have never thought you would meet someone so great on Tinder, especially after dating in Berlin has been such a disaster. You are super happy that things are going so well, and as we Germans see things after dating for a while and starting to have sex you automatically transition into relationship status. What you did not anticipate was the moment when he/she tells you that he/she can’t see you anymore because it got more serious with someone else. Wait, what?! So as it turns out, he/she had not only matched with you, but also someone else and had dated that other person in parallel to you. And as much as you thought things had been going great, they must have gone even greater with the other one. Fuck. Your. Life.

What you want to do: Shoot the other bitch’s face off so your date has to rethink his choice.

What you probably end up doing: Quickly reinstall the Tinder app that you had so happily deleted after quickly fully committing.

4. Only “a little bit” Raped

There was a time in the early stages of your relationship where you enjoyed the strong sexual urges of your partner and you though you would be one of those couples that would have lots of passionate sex. Well, of course after a while there comes a time when you don’t always feel like it and you’re facing the problem that your partner still wants to have sex. Do you feel obligated to still please your partner even though you don’t feel like it all the time? Do you keep doing it to keep your partner happy and to maintain the relationship? Does your partner still go for it even though you said no? It’s not really rape if it’s inside a marriage or relationship, or is it? It takes you a while to understand. But it’s actually quite easy, if you say no, and it still happens it’s rape.

What you want to do: Cut his dick off in his sleep!

What you end up doing (in the best case): End the relationship and send anonymous warning messages to all of his future partners.

5. Coming Home Early

Your girlfriend is really great! She is totally understanding when you have to leave town for a while on business and will happily handle your Airbnb bookings while you gone. But she is such a dummy when it comes to dates so when you finally come back home there is still a guest there. In your bed. With your girlfriend. “I thought you would come back tomorrow!”…

What you want to do: Stab them both to death on site!

What you probably end up doing: Handling your Airbnb bookings yourself.

6. The Selfish Partner

And you thought not being single anymore would mean “being together” with someone and “sharing a life”. Well, the reality of your relationship turned out to be different. While you want to plan vacations, choose wallpapers, talk about the meaning of life TOGETHER, your partner still wants to go to fucking Berghain every weekend with his friends, spends all his money on expensive clothes so you can never go on vacation together and bails on you every single time for dinner when your parents are in town. You realize after a while that you are dating a selfish person and every little thing that he/she does that upsets you piles up on a big heap of explosives that will all blow up into a big firework at some point.

What you want to do then: Set his entire fucking wardrobe, his favorite club or his entire fucking house on fire.

What you probably end up doing: Being more selfish in your next relationship…

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