Dating in Berlin: The Mysteries of Open Relationships

photo: Eylül Aslan

People tend to think that open relationships are easier to have than monogamous ones. Speaking from experience, this is simply not true. If you have trouble with commitment, are lukewarm about your partner or have some other unresolved issue like communicating what you want (or even just knowing what you want), then an open relationship will just make everything worse, for everyone. Sometimes it seems people in Berlin are so unable to nurture even one stable, healthy relationship built on respect, communication, love and support that I really have no patience for the wave of “easy fix” open relationships. It’s an issue friends, even friends of friends, bring up with me. I surround myself with wonderful, intelligent people but when it comes to this, everyone is just a fucking idiot…

All too often people that are just in the early stages of relationships are too scared to speak out in fear of losing their new partner, or better yet, are even intrigued and tempted by their partners suggestion; What is a sexy thought becomes depressing reality if one of both immerses themselves too deeply in the possibilities. But who keeps tabs, right? People being unsure of what they want, or just unable to communicate it serves as a slow simmering hotpot for misery and suffering. As we all know: you can’t spice up your relationship if the only thing that you have in your spice rack is salt.

“You can’t spice up your relationship if the only thing that you have in your spice rack is salt.”

I’ll be honest with you. I don’t only have trust issues, I’m also a commitment-phobe (such a catch, I know). Berlin has acted as an amplifier in this regard. The countless hot singles in my area looking for sex that porn sites have promised me, paired with the rise of instant dating apps like Tinder, have lulled many of us in a perpetual state of FOMO (fear of missing out). I’ve heard new couples gush over how deleting Tinder was the real signifier of commitment to one another. You know how it goes: Both of you deleting Tinder is the start of your relationship while changing the password to your Netflix account serves as the smooth let down for the break up. By the way: Anything in between should be actual human interaction.

Why is it mostly people who look like they have trouble finding even a single partner that are obsessive about the concept of the open relationship? If you’ve never seen them I do recommend looking at some of the Facebook groups that deal with the issue. I sometimes do that to keep myself from masturbating while working. Nothing makes my clit shrivel like a pony-tailed guy named Ralf-Jürgen looking for what he calls an “affair” and I call a digital bowl of cornflakes with water.

“The rise of instant dating apps like Tinder have lulled many of us in a perpetual state of FOMO (fear of missing out)”

There is a difference between the sexy idea of being with other people but still having the deep emotional support of one-, non-faithful-but-loyal-partner and just randomly sleeping with strangers without much communication.

The level of commitment, reassurance and honesty needed to sustain a healthy and functional open relationship is simply exhausting at times. And it has the possibility to completely outweighing sleeping with strangers. Beyond that, there are issues of time, personal needs and sexual health to consider. I urge you to sit down, read, discuss every possible angle with yourself and your partner if you consider opening up your relationship. If done with care the experience can be a beautiful, enriching one for everyone involved. If used as an easy fix it just gives (open) love a bad name.

Text: Alix Berber, Photos: Eylül Aslan

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Alix Berber is iHeartBerlin’s newest dating columnist. The Tattletale Heart tells stories of desire, infatuation and the ghosts of lovers past. They are the dating-chronicles of a hopeless romantic with serious trust issues in the capital of the notoriously unattached.

You can follow Alix on Twitter and Facebook.


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