As I went through the photos he made publicly available on Interpals, I had noticed there were quite a few photos of him in a military uniform. He didn’t strike me as a military type of guy so I asked him about it. He had explained right away that South Korea has mandatory military service and that almost every Korean man had to do it, including him.
That’s how I started to get to know Kimchi Man, but also how I started to get to know Korea.
Now, more than three years later, I still haven’t had the luck of visiting it, but I have garnered a massive amount of knowledge about it and understanding of it. Naturally, there is still an even longer way to go, but compared to three years ago, the change is obvious.
Of course, there is the simple change of me now having a bigger knowledge about Korea and in a way, about the world. I am able to entertain people with new stories, from mundane ones, like Koreans using metal chopsticks; to surprising ones, like Korean children being locked in high schools for most of the 24 hours, and outright fascinating ones like Korea just 60 years ago being poorer than any African country whereas now it’s one of the richest countries in the world.
But there is also the more complex change, and much more profound one, where it’s much easier for me to accept that there is more than one way to do things and that doesn’t automatically make any of them wrong.
I have always thought of myself as an open-minded person, but it’s different to be one in theory and to be one in practice.
So looking back, how can I regret my relationship with Kimchi Man, when I am a better person for it?
And the truth is, I do not regret a second of it. Just because our relationship didn’t work out, doesn’t make it a waste of my time.
I am reminded of when I first started thinking of making a blog, when not-so-kind-hearted people on some forum asked me what am I going to do once he breaks my heart and I start hating Korea and everything about it.
My reply was that it’s never going to happen. I chose my man carefully and I had no doubt even at the very beginning of our relationship that Kimchi Man is a kind and reasonable man. While I couldn’t guarantee that we would stay together forever (as much as I had hoped we would), I could guarantee that at least our parting would be dignified.
I am ready to say now that I was right.
This has been the most difficult break up for me yet, because even as I suggested that our relationship wasn’t working any more, I still had (have?) feelings for him. And yet he took it with maturity and grace, agreed with me, and continued to be kind and compassionate, in situation where most others would start hurling insults.
Neither of us blames the other for the demise of our relationship, and we both agree it was just an insurmountable difference in what we wanted out of it. Neither of us wrong, but together incompatible (and that not due to our nationalities).
And what his grace with handling the situation has left me with is no bitter feelings towards neither him nor Korea.
I feel regret when I think what we could have had, but I don’t feel regret when I remember what we had.
8 thoughts on “Do I regret relationship with Korean man?”
such maturity- i am bleeding for you and impressed by how well you are managing through this. Paulo Coelho says” when the door of happiness closes, another door opens. But often we look so long at the closed one, we don’t see what was open for us”. Cry, grieve and heal. You’ve a good heart and a lot of good living to come.
I too have the hots for a Korean man- unfortunately its actor Lee Seo Jin, so my prospects are almost zero (note- ALMOST, but not quite), who is younger than me, i’m not Korean or Asian, nor do i speak Korean (but am learning fitfully), he’s a youngest son and, did i mention he’s a gorgeous actor and voted the man that eligible Koreans would most like to take home to parents. I’m also married (but plan to change that this year). I’m not giving up though because like you I’ve enjoyed becoming a Korea-phile, love the dramas, the culture, etc and will visit someday (even though i can’t stand the kpop aegyo). Life is short- embrace it. You’ve done that stepping out of your comfort zone and loving and having a long distance relationship. Your big dreams will come true.
As for me, i’m not closed to a mature relationship, until LSJ comes around that is. I’m happy- it’s enough.
So u had breakup with the kimchi man? Why? Sorry it’s been a long time i didnt read ur blog.
Thank you for your wonderful blog. I’ve enjoyed reading your insights,
When I discovered KDramas, it sparked an interest in learning more about Korean culture and language, What has surprised me is that it has changed me. For example, I have a deeper sense of how to treat family well, being respectful, and connecting to groups/community. It is a gift if you can learn how to shift out of the perspective of your own environment and be able to understand how others might view things differently.
I like how you described it as a more profound change. Even with decades of seeking out people from other countries, working for international firms, being a BBC news junkie, and world travel to Europe and Australia, I still found learning more about Korean people to be a culture shock and a blessing. I’m embarrassed that I did know so little about Korea. Learning about it has been like tumbling into Wonderland, a glorious adventure.
What you’ve learned about yourself and the world could never be a waste. It’s part of your journey. Your unique story. So look forward to what is to come.
Indeed. I believe it is the best to get to know other cultures and pick the best parts of all of them, instead of sticking only to what has randomly been assigned as “your” culture.
i have always kind of wondered what blogs like this that deal with non korean women’s fascination with korean men will end up once the woman who runs it ends up breaking up with the korean man in her life. I guess we will know soon enough. it’s too bad about the two of you since you seemed to be in a serious relationship.
Even if we had stayed together all our lives once we’re dead we can’t keep writing a blog. And if we’re lucky enough to live a long time blogs as such probably wouldn’t exist any more anyway.
So to answer you: This blog will one day end up like all the other blogs – not existing. Nothing you create is forever, but that dosn’t mean it’s not worth creating.
And a little correction, if I may: this blog is not about fascination with Korean men. There has always been only one Korean man that interested me. In more general way it’s about love and understanding between people from different cultures. And I still have both in my life, even after the break up.
Wow, I love your reply! Now I understand what the Kimchi Man meant when writing:
‘I think she is a very good writer and most of people here would agree.
I believe the topics she writes may be changed but her talent for writing won’t change.’
It fills me with such happiness to read comments like this. I am flattered that you liked what I wrote, took your time to read this blog and even to comment. Thank you