Disappointed by how the eager gentleman of the first few dates turned into an inattentive boyfriend, Korean women often turn to online portals to air their grievances. Talk about the responsibilities of a man in a relationship and how to make sacrifices to keep your Korean boyfriend lead to hundreds of comments per thread, most of them split between criticism or support of the poster. As part of our continuing coverage of changing gender roles in Korea and the minefield that is modern Korean dating, koreaBANG has translated a comprehensive look at two popular dating threads.
From Nate Pann:
My boyfriend has subtly changed. I don’t know how to express my disappointment.
Hello everyone. We are a couple in our mid-twenties. We’ve been dating for three years. My boyfriend had a crush on me for years before we began dating. He treated me well for the first two years of our relationship, but since then he has slowly and subtly changed. I can’t put my finger on exactly how he is different, but after several months of this, my love is withering from the accumulated disappointments.
It’s not really obvious. He basically treats me well, but he doesn’t care about small things any more. For example, he still walks me home. We say goodbye earlier than before but he doesn’t seem sorry about it. He’s still attentive to me when he’s with me but now he enjoys his hobbies with other people and he leaves me alone longer. I know I’m still the only woman he sees but he has begun drinking with people, including females. He still talks to me on the phone every night but it’s only once a day, compared to 3~5 times a day as in the past. Even though we don’t talk as much as before, he seems bored. It is me who leads the conversations now. Twenty to thirty-minute phone calls have shrunk to five to ten-minutes. He still wants to spend weekends with me but compared with before we don’t spend as much time together. He still likes being with me alone but we only hold hands.
In the big scheme of things, he’s the same, but small things have changed a lot. Those didn’t happen all at once, so it took me a long time to realize that things have changed. I tried to talk about this to him carefully, as I know guys don’t want to listen to complaints like this, but he assured me that he’s not bored with me and he loves me. Since he didn’t say anything wrong, our conversation about it just stopped there. I have read many posts that claimed this happens when the guy spends his energy on something else. We are in a long-distance relationship and we had been friends for a long time. I know he still spends the same amount of time with his friends before and after we began dating.
It’s just that he used to treat me so well that I feel a bit sad now. I still like him so much and I’m scared he will disappear from my life one day. However, I hate him sometimes for no apparent reason, maybe because of those small disappointments. I feel empty and I can’t like him as much as before. Please share wise words with me as to how to deal with this situation.
I’m very surprised this is already a much discussed post. Thanks for all the wise words and advice. I feel better. I’m glad I wrote this here. Those answers got me thinking a lot. As one of you said, I guess I was more disappointed because I was on the receiving end of one-sided love for years and I was always treated very well.
However, I’d like to clarify something. My boyfriend is a student while I’m working. We are in a long-distance relationship because of his school. He originally grew up in a place close to where I now live. He always said he is happy to walk me home so I don’t have to feel sorry about it. I feel guilty about adding time to his travel, but whenever I offered to walk him home he always strongly refuses. I know it’s not easy to walk someone home all the time. I always appreciate it and often express my gratitude. For dating expenses, I have paid 70%. I always wait for his calls because I don’t want to call him first since he lives with his friends and I don’t want to make him uncomfortable. I don’t just wait forever though.
We discuss our date plans together and we always sit side by side. It’s a bit funny to say this but to compensate for the love I’ve received from him so far, I try hard to treat him well. The top comment below might come from someone’s personal experience, but that doesn’t mean their lesson would work in my case. But it seems true that my pride suffers when I think about how I love him more than he does me, especially since I used to think I received so much love from him. Thanks for the good answers. I will keep them in mind.
Comments from Nate Pann:
Does your boyfriend happen to have a car? If not, you guys must have been traveling on public transit. He always offers for you to sit first when there is one empty seat on the bus or subway, right? You might have taken it for granted. You said he always walked you home. If it normally takes thirty minutes for him to go home, it would take 1~2 hours to go back home on the last transit after walking you home. Do you smile and say thank you to him every time he walks you home? Have you ever gotten grumpy because you didn’t quite enjoy the date or you were tired while he was on his way back home on the last transit? He walked you home for two years. Have you tried to do that for him just for two months? If he has a car, have you ever picked him up and driven him in your car? Have you ever driven a long distance for him? Have you ever tried to change the brake pad or engine oil on his car that has accumulated so many miles from driving you? Think about what you have taken for granted and try to return the favor. For example, if you go to a restaurant, he will let you sit on the sofa side while he sits on the chair on the other side. All guys do that. Sitting on a sofa is more comfortable for men, too, but they are being considerate. Women take it for granted. Then men begin to change. They are human, too. When there is only one empty seat and their legs hurt, they want to sit, too. Going back home on the last train is tiring for guys, too. They do it for their girlfriends who take it for granted. If he doesn’t call you as much as before, why would you wait when you can call him first? If you are unhappy that you don’t spend as much time together as you did before, why don’t you try walking him home to be with him longer? You can also plan to go somewhere with him and stay until late at night. But would you? It may be bothersome and it may hurt your pride. Your boyfriend has been doing that for longer than two years. Think about whether you appreciated it. Those women who only take things from guys have no right to complain about changing love. Why do you have to be only on the receiving end of love? Both mind and stamina have to be recharged. One-sided consumption leads to depletion. If you want to say “I have bought him some meals though”, you are silly. Then, maybe he only needs to buy you meals, too.
I’m sorry about my assumptions.^^ It seems you really love your boyfriend a lot. I don’t think you need to be anxious. You are getting lots of love! ke ke. It may be just that he got busier at school and there are not as many new topics to talk about.^^ You guys seem like a lovely couple with no problems to me. He he.
Why do men always get bored as soon as women completely fall in love with them?
Every woman experiences it at some point. It’s important to know how to accept it. If you obsess yourself with the idea that love has changed all day, it will only hurt your pride! You guys have been loving each other intensely for two years. You can afford to have some time for yourself and your friends. You can enjoy new hobbies, too. Then you will naturally have new things to talk about!
It seems women don’t like it when it goes from 100:0 to 50:50.
If you read some comments here, it’s sounds like everyone is trying to be a relationship expert, ke ke ke. The OP didn’t have feelings for her boyfriend at first. He was following her around and asked her out. She accepted it. Now that time has passed, he doesn’t seem as passionate. Of course she would feel sad. You cannot help it. You get used to each other like that. It’s natural to feel sad when you watch someone change in a relationship. Should she try to reciprocate the love she has received? That’s bullshit. The guy managed to go out with her with all his sweet talk. Now this is a violation of his contract.
I married my husband after a long period of dating. I spent all my 20s with him. I also had a similar experience to yours. I was sad and cried alone back then. Your boyfriend has his own life, too. He might have tried to completely accommodate you before. Now he might be naturally getting back his own time. You might feel sad about it but you should accept it. You can try to change your own life pattern, too. Invest in yourself and enjoy your own free time. As long as you think he still loves you, you don’t have to worry at all~ If he makes you nervous and suspicious, your relationship has a problem, but if you just feel that he doesn’t seem as passionate as before, he probably just finds you more comfortable than before. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t love you. If he’s excited everyday, he would die early;; Getting comfortable is not necessarily bad. It means you guys have that much trust in each other~ Your trust gets stronger and it blooms into a new form of love. I had a similar experience tp yours and I have no doubt that my husband still loves me the same~ I wish you good luck~ ^^
When your boyfriend had a crush on you, he might have felt just like you do now.
Honestly, when you feel something has changed in your relationship, it might be already too late. Sometimes the boyfriend can change with some effort but there are guys who aren’t like that. Isn’t it silly to comfort yourself thinking it is your turn to care more in your relationship when you feel he doesn’t love you as much as before? It’s not wrong to feel sad about his changes. Don’t bury your head in the sand, face the reality. Just break up with him. Guys who don’t change don’t change. Trying to be a cool woman who can stimulate him? Do you think it will be comfortable and happy to be in a game-playing kind of relationship? You should find a consistent guy with whom you can express all your emotions. There are many men in the world.
Except for my wife, there were six women whom I asked out first. My relationship with each of them didn’t last for longer than a year. However, my heart still flutters with my wife even though we dated for five years before marriage. All of my ex-girlfriends took my favors for granted. It was me who dumped them. I had no regrets because I treated them the best I could. They stopped expressing gratitude about my favors after some time and only wanted to rely on me but I couldn’t rely on them. I’ve been with my wife for nine years so far and she still turns me on. She’s so lovely because she’s always grateful for whatever I do for her. She also does favors for me and takes care of me. She doesn’t only try to rely on me. She takes good care of herself. She has lots of aegyo. She looks innocent without makeup but sexy with makeup. She doesn’t get catty or grumpy. Men’s behavior depends on women’s behavior. I hope the OP can try to take care of her boyfriend well. If the woman dictates what her guy should be like, he will get exhausted. You should try to change yourself first.
This is why guys shouldn’t always feel required to treat women well. They take it for granted. I guess being the Bad Guy is the answer after all. Just being nice ends up hurting you. Why are women so selfish? Since when have they been like that? Is it especially worse with Korean women? I’m regretful about my 20s where I always tried to do everything for women. They might have taken it for granted. Sneaky.
Hey, woman who only wants to be taken care of by your guy. Are you a princess? When will you stop being a goldfish who should be fed by him? If he has served you for two years, don’t you think it is your turn to give it back to him?
Okay, I read your additional excuse. It’s funnier. You still complain even though he’s still that nice to you? What the hell!!!!!!!!!!! Do women get childish as they get older? Can’t you become a more mature human and lover? What the hell is your problem?????? You mean you pitied the lowly bastard who was begging for your love and generously opened up to him but now he’s being lazy and not carrying out his duties properly? You haven’t even learned how to give love. I feel sad for the guy. As a guy, I hate women like you. I truly hate them.
Honestly, it seems the guy is a bit bored with you now. About time he begins to be attracted to other women. Not that he doesn’t love you. Everyone experiences this phase… The man turns like that the moment his woman has given all of herself to him anyway.
Focus on yourself. Men like women who are not within his easy reach, who do their own work passionately and to whom other people look up. When he asks you out on a date, don’t be agreeable all the time. If you show him that you are usually sweet but you can always leave him, he will pay more attention to you, ke ke. And importantly, you should become the person he can turn to when he’s having the hardest time. You can cook for him after work. You can listen to his rants. You can praise his good traits. You can massage his shoulders. You can go watch baseball or soccer games with him. Men are only human. When they feel exhausted but their girlfriends can’t help them, they will go meet their friends instead. You need to be generous like a mother, too. Just like he does things for you like a father.
Maybe he changed because of you. Examine your own behavior.
Just reading the OP makes me tired… It isn’t a big deal. How can someone be 100% the same for three or four thousand years?
Article from Nate Pann:
He always says he’s tired…I’m sick of it.
I’ve been lurking here everyday. I’ve got a story to share. I’m a women in her 30s and I’ve been in a relationship with my boyfriend for over one year. I feel tired these days. My boyfriend works at an interior design company. He’s always on site. I know it’s tough to do manual work outside. I have always felt sorry for him doing hard work. I have tried to be understanding and considerate to him.
Even if he replies to my message late or doesn’t reply at all, I try to understand that it must be because he is too busy with work. He makes one phone call to say good night each day but I try to comfort myself thinking it is still nice of him to call me although he must be tired. It’s been like that. Honestly, there are times I just want to hear his voice and I often feel like falling asleep while chitchatting with him on the phone. If I try to tell him about my day, he isn’t even responsive. Maybe he’s too tired. If I talk to a wall, I wouldn’t get hurt at least. I quickly hang up because he sounds tired. I really feel sad about it. However, I have tried to understand him because I don’t want to be hard on someone who’s too tired. He takes a day off only on Sundays. It’s hard to ask him out. I always think to myself that he must be tired and I should understand him.
He feels very sorry and grateful. He said there is no woman who’s as understanding as me. He said he will try to treat me well for life. I was grateful for his words and tried to be even more considerate and understanding. However, I was getting emotionally exhausted. I’m a human, too. If I sound a little grumpy, he’s like “You’ve been doing well so far. Please be understanding a bit more.” Then I had to stop complaining. Frustrations were accumulating in me. A while ago, I was drinking with my friend. I don’t usually drink much but on that day, I was feeling so frustrated.
He usually goes to sleep at 10:00 p.m., 11:00 if it’s late. I usually try to get home before he goes to bed but on that day it was past 11:00 p.m. when I got home. He sent me a message that said he’s too tired so he will sleep without talking to me. Tired…tired…that word triggered a bomb in me. I don’t get home late everyday. It was like the first time in several months. If he had waited until I got home, would he have died from fatigue? I wondered why he wasn’t worried about his girlfriend going home late at night. I had to cry in front of my friend although I didn’t want to. I was so sorry about that.
When I got home, it was around midnight. I called him. Normally I wouldn’t even send him a message because it might wake him up but I couldn’t help it on that night. He answered my call after some attempts. He was surprised because I was crying. I asked him why he couldn’t wait until he made sure I’m home. He sighed and replied by asking why I had to talk about it now. He hung up saying we can talk the next day. Although it was obvious we wouldn’t even be able to talk about it next day because he’s busy… I was different that night. Why couldn’t he just listen to me for five or ten minutes even though he was tired? I got exhausted from crying so much. I stopped calling him. I didn’t call him the next day. I was sick and couldn’t even go to work. He seemed worried and brought me a bowl of soup. He also kept calling me. I told him to give me some time to think. I was so exhausted that I didn’t want to accept him.
These days, most women work. Everyone’s tired. I also work and I have my own hardships, too. I still tried to understand him because I love him but it seems he likes me because I understand his hardship. Of course, there are exceptions but most guys find calling their women bothersome and just don’t want to be bothered. Why would you hurt your precious person like that? What makes you so tired all the time? Yeah????
Edit: Omo…I’m surprised my post received so many views. I carefully read your comments. At times like this, bad comments also give me strength. It got me thinking. First of all, thank you for all your comments. Hearing about other people’s experiences is helpful for me.
I guess it was wrong for me to try to tolerate more than what I could take. While it is important to sympathize and try to understand the other person, I should’ve clearly talked to him about what I could not bear. Because I always tried to absorb it all and move on, it became overwhelming for me. We eventually got into a rut and weren’t even aware of our relationship’s sickness.
Last night, he came to my house and we talked a lot. He said he genuinely believed it every time I said I was okay. He said he noticed I was gradually getting frustrated but he thought I would be okay and honestly he didn’t care much due to his own problems. Since he knows what I think now, he told me he will try to care about me better. I was encouraged by his words. I felt sorry as well. I’m well aware that field work is tough and it’s hard to contact me even though he can find time to use the washroom and have meals. It’s not that women cannot understand it. Whether you are a woman or a man, we are supposed to expect basic courtesy between lovers. Even though he cannot always be attentive to me because he’s busy, I just wait for him to assure me that he cares about me. Men and women are very different. You need to understand that important point in a relationship. Thanks again for all your comments. Have a great day~~
PS: Just to clarify, I couldn’t go to work not because I was intoxicated too much. I normally drink one glass of beer but I didn’t even drink half a glass that night. I had to go to the ER because of stomach cramps. Also, my work isn’t easy, too. I don’t have to work all day but when it gets busy, it’s really busy. I go to work by 8:30 a.m. and leave work at 7:00 p.m. I often work overtime as well.
Comments from Nate Pann:
Even if men are tired to death, they don’t leave their loved ones alone~ They still find time to drink and meet people. If he’s really that tired all the time, break up with him. What’s good about a lifeless guy? You guys sound like a couple who hit the seven year itch. Why would you stay in such a relationship…
One-sided sacrifice and submission makes you tired. Meet someone else who can give you love. If you get married to him, it will get even worse. It seems you will have to do all the house chores even when you are working as well. If you have a baby, will your tired husband take care of the baby?
No matter how busy he is, he still has time to go to the washroom and have meals. It isn’t hard to send you messages. It seems he doesn’t really care about you. There are many men out there. Meet a better guy and be loved happily~~~
My mom said we always have to try to be our best to our girlfriend during the initial dating period. If you feel you aren’t being loved even once during that period, you should stop seeing him. Well, maybe not literally just once but it is just not worth it to keep dating someone who doesn’t make you happy. That’s all I can say.
He even brought you a bowl of soup. I don’t think you really should break up with him. He seems like a good guy but his hard work must be the problem. ㅜㅜ If you can’t deal with it, you will have to break up but it doesn’t seem like he doesn’t love you.
What if I write a comment from the guy’s point of view? I do interior work on the worksite. It’s really hard to work outside. It’s worse especially when it’s hot like these days. My girlfriend accepts me. I’m very sorry but I’m tired to the point where I can’t even say I’m sorry. However, a while ago, she got upset and cried. She said she will be home late because she’s drinking with her friends. Since it was a very hot and tiring day, I just went home to sleep without talking to her. She must have been upset about it. It seems she exploded with all her accumulated frustrations. I apologized to her but she doesn’t accept it. What should I do?
There should be basic courtesy between lovers. If you receive a message, you should reply to it. If you will be late, you should call your partner. If there is some problem, you should tell your partner. If you said you would call later, you should not forget to call. If you will be on a trip, you should let your partner know it. Some people ignore these basic things. Such unintentional negligence makes your partner look desperate for your affection, which hurts their pride and turns them neurotic. If you want to do whatever you want, just stay single. Don’t make a poor person desperate. The OP is not wrong. She only expects basic courtesy.
I don’t understand how she didn’t go to work because of heavy drinking. And what’s worrisome about going home late after drinking with friends? Shouldn’t you be able to take care of yourself? I’m sorry that women are targeted for crimes but if you want to be safe, don’t stay out until too late. How did you manage to go home when you had no boyfriend?
I’m a guy who experienced a similar situation. My girlfriend with a smile said to me, “Look at me. I’m serious. From now on, please call me at least once everyday. Okay?” It got me thinking. I realized that I was a bad boyfriend who didn’t even call my girlfriend every day. Your boyfriend might be exhausted by both work and love but he may not want to give you up. Wouldn’t it be a turning point between you guys if you can have an open and serious discussion about your concerns?
Both are supposed to sacrifice for each other. If it’s one-sided, it woun’t last for long. It reminds me of the comic where it said just saying “don’t worry about it” all the time meant there was no time to say “I love you”.
It seems you didn’t really understand him but you pretended to accept him. And you got tired of it. I know what it feels like to refrain from asking my boyfriend for a date because it is the only day he can take a rest in the week. ㅜㅜ His appreciation for my patience eventually becomes annoying. I’m not really that patient and I don’t like to be alone but I tried to be considerate to him because I love him. You should’ve talked to him when he brought you a bowl of soup. If he doesn’t like you, he wouldn’t have done that. You should think about whether you can live with a husband who’s too busy with work.
My husband also does field work. He doesn’t even take any holidays. I envy you because your boyfriend can at least take a day off on Sundays. Only when it rains so much or he’s sick can my husband take a break. But he doesn’t contact me as little as your boyfriend. Your boyfriend seems selfish. It might be a good idea to break up. If you get married, there is even more responsibility. Being understanding works only when there is basic courtesy.
Would it be hard for him to wait until his girlfriend gets home even if he’s tired? Yes, it might be. Try to put yourself in his shoes. I’m a woman and I barely manage to change my clothes before falling asleep when I get home because I work really hard. If my boyfriend calls me, I talk to him as my eyes are closing. If he calls me too late, I’m upset because I’m dead tired! Love isn’t more important than making a living. Please don’t be sad because of things like that.