Decoding Dating in Berlin

When I first moved to Berlin a guy once said to me, “If you’re looking for a serious relationship, you’ve moved to the wrong city.” At the time I didn’t understand the extent of the dire dating situation here but after two years of experiencing and talking about dating in Berlin – I realize he wasn’t wrong. Whenever I bring up dating with single friends or new acquaintances, their immediate response is to grunt with frustration.

A few months ago I was discussing some of the qualms I have with the opposite sex with a guy on the street. Two random women overheard our conversation and both cheered in agreement as they walked by. It seems that no matter where women come from, how long they’ve lived here, or the type of relationship they’re looking for – they all have the same complaints about dating in Berlin.

Maybe you’re reading this, completely confused about what’s going on with guys in this city, feeling like you’re all alone. Believe me, you’re not. Beautiful, talented, and fun loving women all over the city are experiencing the same dating struggles as you are. If you’re tired of trying to decode the behavior of the guys you’re going out with, we will try to guide you through decoding dating in Berlin:


Ghosting seems to be a quite commonly used tactic to avoid awkward conversations to end relationships or to run away from feelings in general. Maybe you’ve gone on a few dates with a guy and thought things were going well until he suddenly stopped responding to your messages. Or you’ve dated someone for a few weeks, met their friends, spent tons of time together then gradually they became too busy to see you until they disappear all together. There’s levels to the ways you can be ghosted.

Examples of Soft Ghosting:

“Haha yeah” • “I don’t know, I’m pretty busy this week and next”  • “Lol” • “True” • Never initiates text again

Examples of Medium Ghosting:

“Yeah I think Monday could work” • “You can come if you want” • ‘Read at 10:10pm • Two days of no texts and then a drunk text at 11pm • Not liking any of your social media posts despite sleeping together • Talks about exes a lot

Examples of Hard Ghosting:

Silence • Soft blocking (block and unblock) • Social media removal (unfollowing) • Unopened message

True story: After dating a guy for a few weeks – a purely casual and mainly sexual relationship – I left the guy’s house one Saturday morning to discover his lift wasn’t working. I texted him to ask where the stairs were and he told me then I said, “Thanks, talk later”. I went back onto to Whatsapp 30 minutes later and could no longer see his photo or any of his info. He had blocked me and I had no idea why.

It may seem easy to dismiss someone you’re not really into with a “Lol” when you’ve only gone on one or two dates. But if you’ve gone on several dates and slept with the person, just do them the decency of telling them you’re no longer interested instead of disappearing.

The rise of the Softboy

Most women are familiar with the term “fuckboy” and are understandably anti-fuckboy, but so are some men. These men would never want to be seen as fuckboys. They want to treat you with respect, take you out on dates and even offer to pay, and they talk openly about their feelings but after months of this, he still isn’t interested in anything serious.

These are “softboys“. Instead of misleading you about what they want just to get you in bed, softboys appeal to you emotionally, leading you to fall for them but run at the first sign of any commitment. It’s fine for you to spend the night with each other, they introduce you to their friends, they tell you stories that tug at your heart strings but at the first sign things are getting serious they’re out.

True Story: I went on a couple of really great dates with a guy then he was at my house almost every night for the following two weeks. He told me about his troubled childhood, the loss of his parents, how stressed out he was about finishing university. He said we would meet again after his exams but then he stopped responding to my texts. A month later he texted, “Hey how are you?” as if nothing happened. When I asked why he ghosted me, he told me how sad he was that I felt that way.

Even when you think you’ve found a good guy who listens, treats you well, and is open and honest – give it at least a month before getting your hopes up. You may have just found yourself a softboy.

Open Relationships

Open relationships seem to be all the rage in Berlin. While swiping on dating apps you’ll see “open relationship” in several bios or if you meet someone a bar they may disclose that they’re in one. I’ve never been keen on open relationships because in my mind that means I’m agreeing to be an option. But for those who aren’t into monogamy, it’s a great way to get everything they want: be in a relationship with a partner who is totally fine with them exploring connections with other people.

True Story: When I moved to Copenhagen I was talking to someone about how bad dating is in Berlin. Then I told them about how popular open relationships are. They had no idea what that even meant. After I explained it to them, they asked me, “What’s the relationship part?”

If you’re looking for something noncommittal you may see this as an opportunity to also get what you want: someone that you can see and sleep with on a consistent basis that isn’t looking for something serious. The key for all parties in this case is honesty. Tell the person you’re interested in that you’re in an open relationship up front – don’t sneak around. (If you’re sneaking your relationship probably isn’t that open.) If you’re dating someone in an open relationship check in with them about how you’re feeling – maybe you change your mind and decide you’d like something more serious later on.

While this blog probably doesn’t get you excited about going on dates, I don’t believe all hope is lost. It’s not impossible to find a person that’s a good fit for you. If you have a busy schedule and only have time to see someone once a month, there’s someone out there for you. Even if you have your sights set on settling down with kids one day, I see people with kids here so I guess it is possible.

Try not to let getting ghosted or disappointing behavior get you down. Dating should be fun, once its not, it’s ok to take a break from it. Delete your dating apps, find some events to go to so you can meet new people, and take advantage of all of the great things Berlin has to offer.

Speaking of events, join our Post Breakup Party at Sohnemann October 4 at 7pm as we stand in solidarity with those having a terrible time dating in Berlin.


Photo by Gerry Juwono on Unsplash

Published by berlinerinblog

Many move to Berlin with an idea of what it will be like to live, work, and build relationships in the city but shortly after arriving they realize things are vastly different. Berlinerin aims to change that. By covering well-known and not-so-common information, highlighting the wonderful women making their mark on the city, and providing a platform for women to connect this blog is dedicated to discussing the reality of life in Berlin. Started by two women drawn to the city for its creative spirit and the uniqueness of its inhabitants, they hope that the topics covered on this site will enrich your Berlin experience.

2 thoughts on “Decoding Dating in Berlin

  1. Oh lordy,
    I can’t agree more!! My friends were joking as well when I moved here (they were right) and I saw the most beautiful women getting ghosted.

    What I learned in the last years is…get you a guy/or a girl that is:

    a) From Berlin (raised here)
    or b) lives here already more than 3 years..
    or c) Lives in another city. lol.

    All the “newbies” are waaay too troubled exploring the city and themselves in it. The “real Berliners” barely mix with them. They often even gather together at home – or in that little ugly non-known bar . They hang with friends they know already since school and have diner with their parents a few times a month. So very down to earth actually.

    Lots of people who moved here, at least many I spoke to – see Berlin as a “stop by” where they can party hard and “be crazy”. It’s tough to find someone ready to commit in that crowd. Of course there are also exeptions.. you just have to become very good in filtering.
    Why is a person is here – what’s the intention behind it. And then you can spot who is just a pretty-faced-waste-of-time and who might be up for something more.

    There’s hope!! lol. Fingers crossed! Stay strong girl ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Spot on response Henry! But our question is…if the people who are from here are the ones to meet, how do those of us looking for connections make our way in if they only hang with people they’ve known since childhood?


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