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What are relationships like in Korea?


South Korea is a country that is known for its rich history, culture, and traditions. One of the most fascinating aspects of Korean culture is the way relationships are formed and maintained. Family and social relationships play a huge role in Korean society, and understanding these relationships is essential for anyone who wants to fully appreciate Korean culture.

The importance of family

Family relationships are highly valued in Korea, and the family unit is considered the cornerstone of society. The family hierarchy is based on age and gender, with older family members holding more authority than younger ones. Children are expected to respect their elders and follow their guidance.

Gender roles in relationships

Traditional gender roles are still prevalent in Korea, although they are changing slowly. Men are expected to be the breadwinners and women are expected to take care of the home and children. However, more women are entering the workforce and challenging these traditional roles.

Courtship and dating

In Korea, courtship and dating are taken very seriously. Couples often go through a lengthy process of getting to know each other before deciding to date. This process can include meeting each other’s families, going on group dates, and exchanging gifts.

PDA (Public Displays of Affection)

Public displays of affection are not as common in Korea as they are in Western cultures. Holding hands and hugging in public are generally accepted, but kissing and other forms of physical affection are seen as inappropriate.


Marriage is considered a significant milestone in Korean culture. Families often play a big role in arranging marriages, although this practice is becoming less common. Weddings are typically large events that involve many family members and friends.


Divorce is still considered taboo in Korea, and it can be difficult for women to get a divorce. There is also a social stigma attached to being divorced, which can make it challenging for divorced individuals to find new partners.


Friendships are highly valued in Korea, and they often last a lifetime. Koreans tend to form close-knit groups of friends, and socializing with these groups is an important part of Korean culture.

Work relationships

Work relationships are also important in Korea, where the concept of “office family” is common. Colleagues often socialize outside of work and even go on vacations together.

Seniority in relationships

Seniority plays a significant role in all types of relationships in Korea. Older individuals are respected and often hold more authority than younger ones. This seniority-based hierarchy can sometimes lead to conflicts between younger and older individuals.

Communication in relationships

Communication is essential in all relationships, and this is especially true in Korean culture. Koreans tend to communicate indirectly, using nonverbal cues and gestures to convey their messages. It’s important to pay attention to these cues in order to avoid misunderstandings.

Cultural differences in relationships

Finally, it’s important to remember that cultural differences can have a big impact on relationships in Korea. Understanding and respecting these differences is key to building strong and lasting relationships with Koreans.

What is Korean dating like?

In Korean dating culture, couples often express affection by giving each other gifts such as flowers, chocolates, and small trinkets. They stay connected even when they are apart by frequently texting or calling each other, creating a very romantic atmosphere.

What are the rules of dating in Korea?

In Korean culture, it is common for couples to coordinate their outfits, but they tend to be more conservative when it comes to displaying physical affection in public. While holding hands is acceptable, kissing on the lips is not as widely accepted. If you are accustomed to more public displays of affection, it is advisable to reserve such behavior for private settings.

How long are Korean couples together before marriage?

In Korea, couples often exchange rings to celebrate reaching 100 days together. While dating in Korea can be enjoyable and offer many great experiences, it is not necessary for a fulfilling life.

Do Koreans confess their love?

In Korean culture, expressing one’s love to someone they are interested in is seen as an important part of starting a romantic relationship. The “some” stage, or the period of uncertainty and playful flirtation, comes to an end once one person confesses their feelings and the two individuals officially become a couple.

Are Koreans monogamous?

In the traditional sense, marriage involves being faithful to one partner, and in the past, couples would typically have many children, often between three to nine. However, younger Soviet Koreans now tend to limit their family size to one or two children. Similar to Korean culture, family names typically come before given names, and it is common for women to keep their maiden names even after getting married.

What is considered flirting in Korea?

In Korean culture, courtship is similar to what is depicted in Korean dramas, where individuals use endearing and charming expressions to appeal to the person they are interested in. Additionally, they may employ aegyo, or cute behavior, as part of their flirtatious approach.

Religion and relationships

Religion can also play a role in relationships in Korea, as the majority of the population practices Buddhism or Christianity. Religious beliefs can influence values and expectations within relationships, such as the importance of chastity before marriage or the role of traditional gender roles.

Long distance relationships

Long distance relationships are common in Korea, as many young adults move away from their hometowns for education or work opportunities. These relationships can be challenging, but technology and communication tools have made it easier for couples to stay connected.

LGBTQ+ relationships

LGBTQ+ relationships face challenges in Korea due to conservative social attitudes and legal restrictions. Same-sex marriage is not yet legal, and discrimination against LGBTQ+ individuals is prevalent. However, there is a growing movement for LGBTQ+ rights and acceptance in Korean society.

Military service and relationships

Mandatory military service for men can also impact relationships in Korea, as it can disrupt dating and marriage plans. Many couples choose to delay their plans until after military service is completed, while others may choose to end their relationship due to the uncertainty and distance.

Interracial and intercultural relationships

Interracial and intercultural relationships are becoming more common in Korea, as the country becomes more diverse. These relationships can face unique challenges due to cultural differences and language barriers, but they can also provide opportunities for cross-cultural learning and growth.

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