Dating Korean guys is not much different than dating other people, but here are top 5 things about Korean guys that are good to know:
Korean age is calculated differently than international age. When they are born, they are one year old (approximation for the 9 months they have spent in their mother’s belly). Instead of gaining one extra year on their birthday, they gain one extra year on New Year’s Day. For example, if they were born 7th of August 1979., on that day they are 1 year old. Then, 4 months later, on the 1st of January 1980. they turn one year old. And so on, adding one year every 1st of January. An interesting thing happens if a baby is born on 31st of December. On the 1st of January that baby is two years old by Korean age, but only one day old by western age!
The easiest way to think about this is that Koreans count the calendar years in which you have existed, instead of counting how much time has passed since you were born.
Since most people like being young, Koreans prefer using international age. Also, international age is used for legal documents.
Korean military service
Almost every South Korean man over the age of 18 has to go through 2 years of military service. If you are going to date a guy who hasn’t finished it yet, you should know that you will have to spend 2 years without him. Even though they get about a month of vacation during those 2 years, it will be very difficult, if not impossible, for them to contact you. Especially while they are lower rank. Internet access is restricted, cell phones forbidden and pay they get is around 80$ a month, which is 10 times less than South Korean minimum wage.
If your man has already finished it, be nice and ask him about it. Those were two very difficult years of his life. 2 years which he could have spent furthering his education, getting a real paycheck, hanging out with his friends, watching movies, playing games…
Korean guys’ height
Height is important to many women when looking for a boyfriend. They will be glad to hear that South Koreans are tallest among Asians. An average height of 18-year-old Korean man is 5′ 8“ (1.73 m).
However, is bone length really how you want to choose a person you migth end up spending the rest of your life with?
Kimchi Man is taller than an average Korean, yet he is 3“ (7cm) shorter than me. Believe me that I would have missed something truly wonderful if I wrote him off because of that.
A typical Korean name consists of 3 syllables. Family name consists of one syllable and is written at the beginning. A person’s given name consists of two syllables – one unique and one shared by the same generation inside a family. A name also has matching Hanja characters, in order to further distinguish between people. Thus names that are spelled exactly the same using Hangul, might have different meanings.
Of course, parents are not restricted to follow these rules when naming their children.
Some Koreans may offer to use English name when dealing with foreigner to make it easier for them to pronounce it. If you really care about the guy, you should make an effort and use his real name (unless he wants something else, of course).
Religions in Korea
They say opposites attract but when it comes to religion it is easier if both partners are on the same page. So, what can you expect when dating a Korean? 46.5% Koreans are irreligious (atheist, agnostics, etc.), 22.8% Buddists, 18.3% Protestants, 10.9% Catholics and 1.7% belong to other religions. However, these statistics are just an estimate, because, except for Christians who carefully keep track of believers and nonbeliever, there is no precise way to identify other groups.
Recently we wrote an answer to a woman who wishes to marry a Korean muslim man. There is also any interesting documentary about Korean shaman women, called Mudang.
Keep in mind, even if your views on religion are different, it doesn’t mean your relationship is doomed. With love and tolerance, everything is possible.
I hope you found this post to be fun and informative. I have aimed to only include the facts they all have in commons since Korean guys I met have been rather different. If there is something you think I missed, leave a comment below.
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34 thoughts on “Top 5 things you should know about Korean guys”
Very interesting. By the way, I read in several blogs that Korean men love their mothers more than anything in the world, including their wives. I know no one Korean, so I don’t know the reality, but if it’s true, women who date Koreans should know about it, and be more understanding, perhaps. As in… not finding it.. creepy.
I don’t think culture can dictate how much we are going to love someone.
But how can love be creepy? Hate is creepy. :)
That is actually very true! My Korean boyfriend and I have been dating for an extremely long long time, and he loves his mother very much! In Korea, almost anything regarding one’s mother in a negative tone can be thought of as a suicide wish, as mothers in Korea are very loved by their children (particularly their sons).
I don’t think that all korean men will claim those 2 years of military service to be the most difficult 2 years of his life. It mainly depends on what they did before. I’m close friends with a korean male who worked in the military for 11 years, and yes he does say it was difficult but he wouldn’t go so far as to say the most difficult.
I never said most difficult. The sentence you are reffering to says very difficult. Maybe you read it wrong?
Also, it sounds like your friend chose military as a career. I was talking about 2 years of service that almost every Korean man has to do – whether he wants it or not.
So informative! Thank you so much. I finally understand the name system, as well as the whole age thing =.= I could never get the seemingly contradictory ages.
I’m glad that I manage to explain it so you can understand. It was clear in my mind, but not so clear when I started typing, haha :D
why do Korean guys have to do military service? what is the reason for it? *just curious*
Well, in general countries that decide to have mandatory military service (conscription) as opposed to voluntary military service (professionals) justify it by saying that every citizen has a duty to protect the society, that children mature into adults during such training, and simply that countries that require large armies don’t have finances to pay the soldiers.
Specifically for South Korea, it is still at the state of war with North Korea, so they need to be ready in the case North Korea makes the move, and they do require large number of soldiers. Still, even with conscription in place, South Korea still has less soldiers than the North does.
Also, South Korean soldiers are serving the country during their military training so they are in a way very cheap workforce and very effective when Koreans need someone to clean up after a typhoon or any other similar event.
I’m not sure how many, but I think over 40 countries in the world have mandatory military service. Some countries, like Israel, even have it for women.
ohh I see. now I got something cool to share with my friends! :)
True story :) The same goes for Denmark.
The only big difference between DK and SK is the length of the mandatory military service. We only practice it for around 4 months max and women gets the chance to freely choose to join the mandatory military service. Of course the military wants the youngsters to join as soon as they turn 18 or right after their exam.
Example; If you graduate high school when you are 17 and apply for College(1 year) or Gymnasium(2-3 years) and enroll before you turn 18, then you can wait with the mandatory service until you have graduated.
I know this isn’t about SK but yet some points are similar as far as I know :)
I thought only some, randomly chosen, men have to do military service in Denmark?
As far as I know men get a letter from the military sent to them when they turn 18. If they are born with a sickness that can be seen as a handicap then they will be taken off of duty to serve the nation.
Even my big sister went into the military and volunteered to participate Mandatory Military service and she has loved the military ever since.
She and her husband (also a former high ranking officer) is still active in the military to this day, but here some Wiki information xD
1: When you turn 18 you will be called into a physical checkup.
2: If you pass you will continue to the audition and “sort-out” section.
3: Only a rate of 50% of the same generation will get selected and enter the military.
4: Once you get in you can freely choose the route/education you want to take ex.
Regiments horse squadron
DEMA basic training
The Royal Guard
Army basic training
Navy basic training
Assistance Work in developing countries (in collaboration with MS)
Hope it helps :)
I thought it said only 50% of the generation is suitable for duty but not all of them will serve the conscription. And 91% of conscripts were volunteers ^^ Haha, awesome.
Anyway, thank you for your explanation.
In addition, I would like to add that my boyfriend (whom is Korean), was born in America, so it was not mandatory for him to go into the Korean Army. He is allowed to go if he wishes of course, but it is not specifically required.
I wish I could meet a nice Korean man. I find their language one of the most intriguing languages in the world but I am 56 years old and there is no Korean men where I live but even I could have a e-pal it would be nice. I don’t speak their language but I love their ways and their food.
There are many online site where you could meet Korean pen pals who are eager to practice English. Of course, majority of people are teenagers there, but not all.
Did you find one yet? hangul namja chingu sipeyo. i want a korean boyfriend too and like you i’m 56 and have only seen a few korean men and those seem like in their 20’s. i am thinking of saying more o them than anyeong haseyo. maybe a cheerful ottoshimnika or eotteohke kinase yo? at least i may get someone to teach me conversational korean.
I like a Korea man
What does it mean if your korean exbf contact you after 8 months of breaking up?
The same thing if your American ex-boyfriend contacts you.
i love south korean,i also like their guys,they are handsome.i wish i can date or chat with one.am 20 have not seen any website to meet them.
i realy wish to have a korean boyfriend but i cnt speak their language
Then our post Should I learn Korean language to have a Korean boyfriend is perfect for you
Don’t let that stop you. I speak very little Korean and I’m dating a Korean guy. His English isn’t great either. We teach each other and use translators when we have to lol
Hello I am latina and a bit dark (like Beyonce dark Lol!!) I met a Korean young man through internet, ( he is older than me ) I was the one who started the conversation. he is very nice and friendly but usually I’m the one who starts the conversation. he has only started the conversation in two occasions to say I look nice or great in a picture, also when we started to talked through audio he said I had a very sweet and pretty voice and he said that if I go to south Korea I could visit his house and hang out with him. Also he asked me if I had Skype . It’s been almost a month since I met him. he will be treaviling to USA and because I told him I have never been to USA he said to me “let’s go together ” I actually think he sees me as a friend or maybe he said it out of pity, I don’t know! My friends actually say that I have a chance with him, but I really don’t think he likes me or finds me attractive. What do you think, Is he attracted to me or does he simply sees me as a friend? Maybe it’s to soon to actually know but I just want to know if I actually have a chance!! Please help!! please reply ASAP!
i really like korean men….although i dont fully know thier language but m learning….. i love their ways , their foods & their culture .Want to enjoy the cherry blossoms[KOREA] with a korean boyfriend in future…. Is it possible for a korean guy to love an indian girl?????
I think you will know the answer to your question if you read these two articles that we have written: Will a Korean guy be attracted to me? and Do Korean guys like black women. It’s not exactly your case, but it would be the same answer never the less
This is very helpful blog, especially for us that don’t have any idea of what to expect from dating a Korean Guy. I’m 24 and I’m dating a Korean guy, we meet in a dating site, he went to our country to have his vacation and do some of his business also, he’s 6 years older than me. He is very nice, but were very opposite, he’s very introvert and I’am a outgoing person. He said that he like’s me/love me or I don’t know if he’s serious about that. But he think I’m not ready to meet his parents because he’s kinda worried that I might have face difficulties to accept their culture, I mean especially his mom is a tough woman to deal with. So I’m confused now if I will take our relationship seriously, since he is not yet decided about us also, and do you also encounter this scenario where you have to be worried about your boyfriends parents opinion, especially when your not a Korean? What things do you think I should consider or what things do I have to learn about them?
Thank you for taking time to read my comment. It will be very helpful to received your reply. Thank you in advance :)
P.S : Though they can’t say accurate English, they tried to explain it in simple sentence which I find it amazing! haha
It makes me so happy you find this blog helpful. You can read answers to your questions in the post we have written about my experience with his Korean parents and their approval of our relationship as well as a woman whose Korean boyfriend didn’t tell his parents about her. I wish you all the best.
Thank you for the information, now i know about that military thing. I have dated some korean guys and i can tell they are all different but there is some thing in common maybe because they are all koreans, haha just kidding. Yah! you can’t really avoid the korean culture thing. I can feel tight about it and its challenging and every korean guys has it and it needs patience to get along with. anyway, thank you
I’m Arabic and I’m Muslim i love Korean i was worry about it bcoz much Korean didn’t like Muslims but finally i find one and he ready to be Muslim for me
I was in love a Korean guy he is my life and also my everything I can’t imagine my life without him. He is the reason way i survive in this world .I feeling crazy about him he is my power, my energy, my straight. But there is a creepy attitude in my Korean man that hard to understand his mode. Sometime he make you feel that you are not important to him which is make me feel down .But there was a time happen that he make you feel like a Queen. There was a time also he make you feel hurt by hurting herself than hurting you. My Korean man is intelligent person that love to i love him even what people say that I’m like pet in his side. But if you really love you should to understand what he is and learn how let him free. I’m not sure if he will be like me to be a part of her life but I’m still standing until the last words he will tell to Goodbye that will be end of my life…..:-)