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What is the acceptable age difference in a relationship in South Korea?

The Acceptable Age Difference in a Relationship in South Korea


South Korea is known for its unique culture and traditions, including its approach to relationships. One aspect of this is the acceptable age difference between partners. In this article, we will explore what is considered an acceptable age difference in South Korean relationships.

The Cultural Context

To understand the acceptable age difference in South Korean relationships, it is important to consider the cultural context. Confucianism, which emphasizes respect for elders and hierarchy, has had a significant influence on South Korean culture. As a result, age is often an important factor in relationships.

The Legal Age of Consent

Before delving into the acceptable age difference in relationships, it is important to note that the legal age of consent in South Korea is 20 years old. This means that any sexual relationship with someone under the age of 20 is considered illegal.

Traditional Views on Age Difference

Traditionally, South Korean society has held strict views on age difference in relationships. It was generally expected that men would be older than their female partners, and the age gap should not exceed five years.

Changing Attitudes

In recent years, attitudes towards age differences in relationships have become more liberalized. Many young people are now pursuing relationships with partners who are much older or younger than them.

The Influence of K-pop

The rise of K-pop has played a significant role in shaping attitudes towards age differences in relationships. Many popular idols are in relationships with partners who are significantly older or younger than them, which has helped to break down traditional views on age difference.

The Importance of Compatibility

Ultimately, the most important factor in any relationship is compatibility. While age can be a consideration, it should not be the sole determining factor in whether a relationship is viable.

The Role of Family

Family plays an important role in South Korean relationships, and their opinions on age difference can be a significant factor. If a partner is significantly older or younger than their family member, they may face opposition from their relatives.

Gender Differences

Gender can also play a role in attitudes towards age differences. It is more acceptable for men to have younger partners than women in South Korean society.

International Relationships

South Korea has a growing international community, and attitudes towards age differences in relationships can differ depending on cultural background. It is important to be aware of these differences when pursuing international relationships.

The Impact of Age Difference on Relationships

While age difference can be a consideration in relationships, it does not necessarily determine the success or failure of a partnership. Communication, mutual respect, and shared values are all vital components of a healthy relationship.


In conclusion, the acceptable age difference in South Korean relationships is becoming more liberalized, with many young people pursuing partnerships with partners who are significantly older or younger than them. Ultimately, compatibility and mutual respect should be the most important factors in any relationship.

What age gap is acceptable in Korea?

In Korean culture, a 12-year age difference between a couple is considered significant because it means they are a full zodiac cycle apart.

What is normal age gap for marriage in Korea?

In 2020, the average age for men to get married in Korea is 33.2 years old and for women, it is 30.8 years old according to Statistics Korea. In many marriages, the husband is older than the wife, and this age gap is often deliberate. Additionally, in 2013, the average cost per person for a wedding exceeded 50 million won.

What are the rules of dating in Korea?

In Korea, couples may coordinate their outfits, but they tend to avoid showing affection in public. While holding hands is common, kissing on the lips is not. Visitors from more openly affectionate cultures should refrain from public displays of affection and instead save them for private settings.

Can a 19 year old date a 20 year old in South Korea?

According to a post on Quora, there is a question about whether it is illegal for a 19-year-old and a 22-year-old to date in South Korea. The answer is that it is completely legal for the two to date, as they are not getting married which is also legal in every way.

Do Korean guys marry foreigners?

In Korea, there is a common belief that the first son should marry a Korean in order to carry on the family lineage. As a result, many Koreans are not accepting of multicultural relationships and this trend is not yet widely accepted.

Is it OK to kiss in public in South Korea?

In South Korea, older generations do not approve of public displays of affection, particularly kissing, as it is viewed as inappropriate. However, younger adults are more accepting of this behavior. Dressing well is a crucial aspect of showing respect in South Korean culture.

It is also important to note that age difference is not the only factor that can cause social stigma in South Korean relationships. Factors such as education level, socioeconomic status, and even physical appearance can also be considered by society when evaluating a couple’s compatibility.

Despite the changing attitudes towards age differences, there are still some who hold onto traditional views. This can lead to judgment and criticism of couples who do not fit within the expected age gap norms.

It is also worth mentioning that the acceptable age difference can vary depending on the type of relationship. For example, it may be more acceptable for an older man to date a younger woman, but less acceptable for them to get married.

Overall, it is important to approach relationships in South Korea with an open mind and respect for cultural norms. While attitudes towards age differences are evolving, it is still important to consider the opinions of family and society in order to avoid unnecessary conflict.

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