How do Korean-American couples differ from Korean-Korean couples or even Korean-European couples? What does Korean couple holding hands truly mean? And does love or relationship come first in Korean dating culture? That is what our next reader is concerned about:
Hey there! So I was just wanting some insight on a relationship that I have found myself in.
I’m a 22y/o Canadian Female, and He is a 29 y/o Native S. Korean. We met through volunteering at our church, and hit it off pretty quickly. He is super outgoing and funny, and we went out for dinner in Feb, where I secured a big crush on him
I decided not to jump out and confess to him, but just to be friends and see where it goes!
About a month later, with us hanging out fairly often in groups, He confessed that he liked me and I confessed back. I did not expect it, or see it coming! It was a lovely surprise. We started to hang out alone more, and he got more physical (Hand holding, cheek kissing all that junk haha) and I really was growing to like him, excited to another person in my life.
The thing was we never decided that we were dating or where it was going, so I was feeling torn about enjoying that date-y atmosphere when we were together, but having a Casual-contact friendship when apart.
Fast forward a month (to Apr 28th about) and I told him that we needed to talk about where this was going. After dinner we went to a coffee shop and talked. I told him I knew what I wanted, but did he? I told him I am looking for a relationship in the future. We talked a long time, he said he worried a lot about losing our friendship if we broke up and really wanting to be careful because I am important to him. These things make sense and I respect it!
The MAIN thing that came out of this is that He said “In Korean culture, one party falls in love, and then you become boyfriend and girlfriend” and he was SHOCKED when I told him that here, often we will date as b/f g/f for a year even and then say I love you. He wants to pursue the friendship and wait on “A change of heart” but I don’t know how to pursue something that seems to be lacking commitment? I would love insight into this if you have any!
He asked for time to think, now that he knows how I feel and we didn’t contact each other for almost 1.5 weeks after the conversation. We did hang out in a group the other night, and it was nice, he texted me after wishing me well to work. I really care for this guy, and I don’t want to have our friendship fall in to awkward-ville, but I also don’t want to find out I’ve been “friend-zoned” haha
When guy (or girl), whether he is a Korean guy or not, talks about being afraid of losing the friendship, in most cases it is a sign that “friend-zoning” has already happened.
Actually, this Korean vs American vs European cultural difference you mentioned is something that came up in a conversation between Kimchi Man and me not while ago. Now, keep in mind that everything we know about North American dating culture come from sitcoms and movies so don’t take what I’m about to say too seriously.
We realized that both in Korea and all the European countries I know, people first have feelings for each other and then become a couple. In North America, when people are dating, they often start going out with someone they do not have feelings for yet and then wait to see if it is going to happen.
We both agreed that for us this seems like doing things backwards. Honestly, we can’t imagine how awkward it would be if we were spending time with someone who we knew was there to judge our eligibility as a life partner.
All the couples we know met each other, were friends first, fell in love, and then became a couple.
I understand you want commitment, but you are most likely going to have to look for it from a different guy. Still, the fact that he likes you as a friend means a lot, it is a good relationship foundation, and he may yet surprise us and have a change of heart.
Readers, what do you think, should love or relationship come first?
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