International marriages in Korea, particularly between Korean men and women from Vietnam, China, Philippines, Mongolia and Thailand as well as between nations such as Australia, Canada and the U.S., figure prominently in Korean dating culture. In some rural Korean towns, where the population graph shows a declining trend, the local government pays men to tour rural sectors to bring in women of their choice as brides in order to boost population and help in the growth of the concerned town.
Since their society is considerably conservative, it has been noted that at times Korean men date women which develops into a durable relationship after the first meeting itself unlike the western trend. The first date is usually a sequel to a set of group dates. It is rather unusual in Korea for a friend to go out on a date by herself without an escort. As Korea is still an orthodox country and extremely traditional in its outlook, a woman going on a date brings her best friend along as a chaperon or for gaining insights into the man’s personality through the friend’s impartial opinion. This indicates that the man may be on a date with one woman, but needs to entertain two. In Korea, an unmarried woman going out with a man alone throws aspersions on the girl’s character which accounts for such chaperons accompanying women on their date outings.
During their dating relationship if the couple feels that the partner does not meet the requisite qualities of an ideal husband / wife, then the relationship is automatically terminated through mutual consent. On the other hand when parents come into the picture, it usually indicates that the dating stand approved by seniors and may result in marriage. In Korean society, dating between strangers is rare and strange. Generally friends, co-workers, boss or parents introduce dating couples. Public display of affection or holding hands between couples is frowned upon by the society. To counter act this, couples usually wear matching outfits to show their affection and closeness to each other. Dating in this country depends on individual people but the average Korean starts dating around end-of high school age.
It is not uncommon for Korean youngsters to go to movies, game rooms, PC rooms or video rooms for dating. To display that the dating partners are a couple, they purchase couple rings. With the progress in relationship, the boys are brought to the girl’s house to meet her parents. Usually Korean kids do not enter the girl’s home until they intend to get married. After parental approval of their choice, an inexpensive engagement ring is offered as a ritual followed by a formal engagement party. Unlike in the Western culture, Koreans display no ostentation when presenting engagement ring to their partners but the wedding ring is much more expensive. They strongly believe in sanctity and fidelity of marriage. The Korean men folk are the protector of the household which extends beyond families to regional relationships.
Though women in Korea have made remarkable progress in recent times, men still enjoy higher status even in marriage as well as in professional life, where women rarely rise beyond mid-management level. Often for a Western woman dating a Korean man, the personal questions asked by her partner could be quite embarrassing. However, if the same questions were asked to the Korean man, he is not embarrassed and, on the contrary, if the personal questions are not asked he may feel uncomfortable. Western women dating Korean males are expected to conform to the conservative Korean traditions starting with the dress codes. In their society, men folk normally call the shots. Previously, Koreans were rather prudish about pre-marital sex but it is not true any longer as the society is gradually changing. After few meetings, some Korean couples believe in living together which shows that Western influence has penetrated the Korean society.
Koreans dating believe in the concept that marriage is a big deal and a major goal in life. A Korean, who is over the age of 25, always looks for a permanent relationship so those men and women dating from different countries or cultures need to aware of this social factor. However, dating concept in Korea is still in its nascent stage as wealthy families still practice arranged marriages for they wish the union to be a tie-up between sons or daughters from affluent families. In such cases, couples belonging to that social strata have limited dating time since they are instructed to settle for marriage at the earliest.
In recent years, marriages between people from diverse social classes are becoming more common but it has not yet received that level of social acceptance while inter-racial datings are still restricted to students who have gone on exchange programs to foreign countries. Significant percentage of international student exchange program participants are Korean males. This phenomenon is quite prevalent among Korean men who go out with attractive and intelligent foreign ladies. Such women show genuine and deep appreciation for the Korean culture and this relationship may culminate in marriage.
Korean dating with foreigners, especially Americans, Canadians and Australians, begins with hanging around with these friends suggesting his interest. This is followed by dining out, where normally the Korean male treats, and writing poems indicating the serious crush Korean males have over the foreign women. If the girl is invited to the boy’s house for a family dinner, then a marriage proposal is a certainty. Many foreign girls are apprehensive about dating someone from a different culture. But the relationship works when the person completely assimilates into the other’s culture, become open minded about each others’ cultural background and both partners are ready to compromise.
Korean on-line dating concept is still in its developmental stage, however, those who have been availing of such sites have found the process of meeting and interacting much simpler and a novel proposition. There are numerous Korean men and women who use such search engines for finding soul mates for romance, love and a durable relationship.