Dating a Korean Guy – What you should know about meeting men in the South

Last Updated on August 17, 2022 by 90 Day Korean
Dating a Korean Guy

Dating a Korean guy must be a fascinating idea for you for different reasons. You’ve probably fallen in love with the South Korean guys that croon K-pop songs and star in a K drama. Or perhaps, you’ve met somebody while you’re visiting South Korea that you’ve become quite smitten with.

Dating a Korean Guy

Between differences in South Korea’s dating culture and social norms from those of other cultures, there are definitely some things you need to be aware of to ensure your success.

Fear not; we’re here to give you the scoop! Read on for a list of tips to land that cutie you’ve had on your mind.

You can also get this article in PDF form:

Things that you should know in dating Korean men

We’ve listed several things to take note of on how to get a Korean boyfriend or if you’re currently dating a Korean guy. However, just a quick disclaimer, all men are different, the same goes for South Korean guys. While these tips will help you with most of the gentlemen you encounter abroad, make sure you use your gut, too. You know your situation better than we do!

Don’t expect to be “asked out” by a Korean man

If you’re spending time in South Korea soon, you will definitely meet Korean men. If you’re interested in dating while you’re there, be warned: just because South Koreans are not asking you out does NOT mean that they’re not interested.

The culture in South Korea is a little bit different than in many other countries in the early stages of dating. In the culture of most Western countries, a guy will approach their potential date when they’re interested and strike up a conversation, even if the person is a stranger.

dating a Korean guy

That’s not the case in South Korea, especially if you’re not from South Korea and are noticeably a tourist or a new local. You are unlikely to be approached by young South Korean men you’ve met because they’re generally pretty shy when approaching strangers, male or female.  However, that doesn’t mean that they would never love you to approach them and introduce yourself!

There is no stigma against approaching a cute guy and making the first move. If you like this guy, don’t be shy, go say “hi”!

Get ready to be glued to your phone

Are you a fan of texting? Good, because the odds are that your new Korean beau is as well.

Most men in South Korea are big fans of constant communication via text messages, phone calls, instant messaging apps, and social media on their smartphones. Especially among young men in their 20s. (South Korea’s smartphone technology is one of the best in the world, so that’s no surprise!)

dating a Korean guy

The norm for Korean women and men in South Korea is to be updating their significant other as often as possible. Opposite to other cultures where there is a stigma against texting a romantic interest too soon for fear of seeming too interested or clingy.

Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that the Korean man you’re getting to know is way more interested in you than guys in the past who have texted and called less. It’s just common, so everybody does it.

The next time you get home from a date with a Korean man, send him a quick text that you had a great time after he drops you off at home! You’ll get the ball rolling in the right direction. And if you’re unsure about the norms of texting in Korea, we’ve got you covered! If you don’t know what the texts say, then go here for a plan to help you study.

Should the Korean guy pay on the first date?

One of the most awkward parts of the early stages of dating, should you reach for the bill after dinner? If he paid for dinner, should you offer to pay for drinks after or wait until the next date? Why does figuring out who pays for dinner feel like an intricate math problem? There are two different schools of thought in South Korea’s dating scene to answer that.

The traditional, old-school approach is that the man must foot the bill for the first date and all subsequent dates. Don’t expect an opportunity to pay for the succeeding dates as it’s generally how it’ll be as long as you’re together.

The only downside to going on dates with a Korean man who holds this belief is that occasionally, it can go hand in hand with being somewhat patronizing. For instance, your date may expect you to be slightly submissive and quiet while you’re enjoying each other’s company.

dating a Korean guy

On the other hand, you might be the type of woman whose preferences lean on balance and freedomCompared to the old school, the second one is the more modern approach to payment and gaining ground in this culture.

For some young Korean men, it’s also now common to pay for dinner on the first date and then let the girls pay for coffee or soju at the next stop, and then they’ll alternate payment throughout the evening or dates. This approach is definitely more balanced, and there’s less of an implication that you should feel obligated to put on an act for your date. 

While there’s no quick and easy way to determine which school of thought your Korean man will fall into, it’s usually pretty safe to wait until the second stop of the evening and offer to pay.

If he declines, he’s probably old-school, and if he takes you up on it, he’ll be a fan of the newer approach to splitting payment, also leaning towards gender equality. Either way, don’t stress — have fun on your date, and you’ll figure it out at the end!

Being “Oppa” and Korean chivalry

If you’re a fan of K-pop or K-drama, the chances are that you’ve been exposed to the term “Oppa.”

“Oppa” is a term that shows respect to a man who’s more mature in terms of age, but it goes way further than that in the culture in South Korea. Rather than being a simple term meant to show respect and deference to an older man, “Oppa” is also what Korean men really want to be when in a relationship.

So, how do Korean guys treat their girlfriends? Whether they’re older than you or not, South Korean men will typically want to be in a protective, responsible, and respected role while in a relationship.

dating a Korean guy

Photo credit: https://rocketnews24.com

This desire to be “Oppa” can be an amazing thing when you’re in a relationship with a Korean man. For example, they’ll check all the points for the classic signs of chivalry and service. Prepare to have your chair pulled out for you, for his coat to be handed to you when you’re cold, and to arrive at the restaurant, seeing he’s already secured the table to make a good impression.

There can also be drawbacks to the “Oppa” dynamic. South Korean guys that lean heavily on this “Oppa” identity could expect you to act in a demure, respectful way. Always trusting his opinion and judgment, and not fight or talk back, etc. But don’t worry, as this is certainly not expected by all South Korean men.

Also, don’t be surprised if he refers to himself in the third person as “Oppa.” Consider yourself warned!

Can't read Korean yet? Click here to learn for free in about 60 minutes!

Valentine’s Day in Korea

Valentine’s Day is special in many countries. It’s an excuse to shower your partner with love, affection, flowers, and probably chocolate (or something equally delicious). What’s not to love?

If you’re the type of woman who is a fan of Valentine’s Day and all that comes with it, you’ll absolutely love-related holidays and traditions that South Korea has to offer. They put the rest of the world to shame when it comes to celebrating love!

dating a Korean guy

Once you’re in a relationship with a South Korean man, don’t worry about waiting for the year-old anniversary for a big celebration. You’ll be showered with affection in celebration of your 1-month anniversary as well as the 100, 200, 300, and one-year markers of your relationship. Hello, chocolate and flowers!

South Korea also has a ton of national love holidays that are fun to celebrate. The nature of the holiday can range from Valentine’s Day (February 14th) to Kiss Day (June 14th) to a holiday you’re meant to give your partner chocolate (White Day, March 14th)– there truly is a love holiday for everybody, no matter what your style is.

Even on Pepero Day (November 11th), you can certainly express your love to someone! We hope we brought you one step closer to landing the love of your life or at least taught you a little bit about Korean culture

Should you learn Korean when dating a Korean guy?

There are a million reasons for learning South Korea’s language. You might have been interested in Korean because of some famous movies and music, or perhaps you want to travel through South Korea and speak to the interesting people you meet. For some, however, learning Korean is important to understand and communicate with their Korean boyfriend or girlfriend.

If you’re currently dating a Korean guy, proper communication is very important, so learning Korean will be an advantage to you. As a plus, you’ll also be able to understand what you’re ordering the next time you’re in a Korean restaurant and understand the words on signs that you see as you go out on dates! You can check here for more information and a summary of the language.

If you’ve come across this article while actually looking for tips on dating Korean women instead, we won’t let you down! We have the perfect article to understand Korean women more in the dating world. Now, do you have some advice for snagging the heart of that Korean hottie that we didn’t cover here? Please share it in the comments below! 

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