Study Shows Korean Women Not Happy in Marriage Long-term

Article from Yonhap News:

Study Shows Korean Women Only Happy in First Two Years of Marriage

study korean women marriage

A study has shown that Korean women’s level of happiness decreases after 2 years of marriage to the same level they experience before marriage.

On April 2, according to a paper by two researchers from Korea University: Professor Robert Rudolph from the International Department, and Professor Kang Seong-jin from the Economics Department, women’s level of satisfaction with marriage disappears after two years,

Professor Rudolph’s team used information from the Korea Labor Panel for their study, including data on 1000 people’s perceptions of their first marriage before and after getting married, and data from 200 people before and after getting divorced.

In the first year of marriage, couples reach their maximum level of satisfaction, with men’e levels increasing 0.3 points, and women’s levels increasing by 0.25 points.

The study shows that for women, this increase drops back to pre-marriage levels two years after being married, while for men, their satisfaction levels stay at 0.15~0.2 points above their pre-marriage rates throughout marriage.

Additionally, for couples who are divorced, or where one partner is deceased, compared to women, men’s levels of happiness drop swiftly, and it is not as easy for them to recover from the loss.

Professor Rudolph said, “For Korean couples, they are not able to equally divide the gains of marriage, meaning they have a high level of gender inequality.” “In contrast, our study shows that couples in England and Germany were able to equally divide the gains of marriage.”

This study was published in January’s edition of the “Feminist Economice.”

Comments from Naver:


Rather than the right man, it’s important for women to meet the right in-laws. Before marriage, if you don’t like your in-laws, it’s better not to get married.


In just a little bit, this will become a battlefield [between male and female netizens arguing with each other].


Whether you’re a woman or a man, if you think you will not be happy getting married, then don’t. You’ll make things difficult for each other.


In reality, no matter how you try to divide the household work between husband and wife after marriage, the wife will end up getting involved with all of it. I don’t like cleaning up after others…As a woman, this would be the end for me, and I would have to sacrifice everything for my family…the conclusion is that I will remain single. I need to make a lot of money.


It’s more of a benefit not to get married.


You have to pay back loans together….Even if both are working, the wife has to take care of the birth and childcare. She has to go to the in-laws for ancestral rites and holidays… If her parents are rich and she spends lots of money, [her in-laws] will say sh*t about it. If her family is poor, they will say she is uneducated. If she is competent, they will say the husband is intimidated. If she leans on the man, they will say she is not good enough for their son…kekekekeke I would never try to win their heart.


I am five years into marriage. I want to live with my mom.


Just seeing my she graduated from college, and left her good job as a high school teacher to have me and my young sibling. She doesn’t get any praise for doing household chores, or any money, and just labors on day after day. She doesn’t have self-esteem. Recently, she said her life was ruined. As I grew up seeing mom like that, I don’t have an inch of illusions about marriage at all


Women lose the most when it comes to marriage. It’s a difficult road to walk. Think carefully before you make the decision.


Live by yourself. You won’t be happy getting married, it just makes things more difficult.


Taking care of your husband, your kids, your in-laws~ there is no more respect for yourself. sad~~


The reality of marriage…make food, take care of kids, clean up, make food, take care of kids, clean up, and then make..

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  • lonetrey / Dan

    Why not try to explore new forms of relationships?

    The article doesn’t really say if there’s a common denominator for unhappiness, but the comments points toward the wife taking too much of the burden in the household.

    If the husband is too demanding, simply do not marry them. Make sure your partner in life is willing to work with you instead of for you or against you.

    I feel like this is so obvious. But what would I know, I’m not married. :/

    • Bryan Cheron

      It’s hard for people to know if, how much, and in what way their spouse will change after marriage. After almost five years of marriage, my wife and I have changed in ways such that we are actually more compatible, but a lot of people won’t be so fortunate.

    • commander

      The article is obviously missing out on why married women have lower satisfaction than their male partners do.

      Why do they got married im the first place.

      Before making one of the most crucial decisions in life, i.e. marriage, one should think hard of the reliability of the other partner as lifelone companion.

      If they takes a plunge and get into marriage, they should come to terms with what comes from their decision.

      If a husband is not as committed to the marriage and family as he promised before wedding, or his wife believed he would, then the pair needs to go into a serious talking session over their relationship to sort out troubles.

      That’s way the marriage goes. If there is only a dead end in the conversation, the marriage not just get partners less satsifacted, but also have the potential for going on a rocky path toward doom.

  • homtanks

    Of course not. They prefer big white cocks.

    • Deprince

      what about big black cocks?

      • justmega

        You dirty big cock whore. Same goes for you. Read above.

    • justmega

      Some may prefer them but in your case, probably not. Obviously, your mind is preoccupied with ‘big, white cocks’ and the resultant other cocks you are comparing them to. If you are spending that much time on cocks she would become jealous and unhappy regardless the object of your fascination is your own or others’ cock(s). That is, unless, you would step out of the closet and admit to being a homo/bi then both of you could eat, sleep, ‘big, white cocks’ all day long. Then both of you just may live happy lives together.

      • homtanks

        I already do. Funny how you’re taking for granted that I’m a man.

        • aesof

          In Thailand or Japan maybe but not in Korea.
          And it’s nothing compared to white women’s big black cock obsession and white men’s black bull cuckold fetish. kthxbai.

          • Tae

            Exactly! Korean women do not like white guys!! You will never see any Korean girl with a white guy. They are pure and Koreanic!

  • terriblemovie

    Because many housewives stay at home all day and watch K-dramas with unrealistic expectations of what husbands/lovers should be like.

    The honeymoon period ends soon afterwards when they realize their husbands are average joes who are slowly overworking and drinking themselves to death.

    • justmega

      I think it works both ways. Men are looking for a mother. And women are slightly delusional. This is sometimes the case as there are more modernized men but Korea is still a widely confucian nation.

    • redwhitedude

      Somehow you have to be pretty stupid to take kdramas that seriously.

    • ptptp

      From the few K-dramas I’ve watched they should expect their husbands to die of some exotic disease or be their long lost brothers. So maybe it’s not K-dramas.

  • MikeinGyeonggi

    Recently married women are happy to finally check the box off the to-do list. They are relieved that all the older women around them have quit hounding them about getting hitched. But then they soon learn that being a married Korean woman mostly means cooking and cleaning for others.

    On the other hand, there is no downside for men. They get bumped up in social status and have a live-in maid.

    • justmega

      Sh!t, I do all my own laundry and sometimes the family’s. Clean most of my own dishes as well as the family’s. Clean her car. Vacuum. Have to fetch groceries constantly. What bump? Live in maid?

      • MikeinGyeonggi

        Married people rank higher than single people in Korean society. It’s subtle, but you are slightly more respected by those around you.

    • Comebackkid13

      People need to get out with complaining about doing HOUSEWORK. If your husband is working all day every day until late at night, is it not reasonable that the wife takes care of the home??

      Ungrateful bitches

      • 금정산

        I don’t think the unhappiness comes from having to do more housework. It’s that their lives have been “diminished” to that of a housekeeper.

        The distribution of work in a marriage is an issue, but few women will complain unless they are both working and having to (by expectaition and tradition) take an unfair share of the housework.

    • redwhitedude

      There also perception of gender roles. People are brought up being told by the older crowd which have a traditional view of gender roles. Perception lags the actual.

  • Chucky3176

    Korean society need to give more time for families to thrive, and Korean men need to start getting involved in their family’s, instead of always go drinking with their work buddies or their personal friends. Korean men need to center their lives around the family, and not his work and his buddies. In Korea, it’s hard for men to do this, because of the group culture and the fact that everywhere you go in Korea, there are so many drinking establishments catering to men’s entertainment. Not just the men, entire Korean society need to reorient their priorities on the family, instead of encouraging and focusing on high grades in school, and the economy only. Learn from your Northern European societies whom Koreans admire so much. It’s not their social welfares that are really admirable. It’s their priorities which focuses on the quality of life/life satisfaction, and the importance of European family, that Korea should learn from. In utopian Northern Europe, people go home to their families at 5pm, after work, and everything shuts down. How about learning that, instead of only just looking at welfare money, Babo Koreans? Once again, they only look at money only.

    • Winsie Lee

      I thought Asian culture is more family-oriented than western culture. Koreans care more about parents and spend a lot on children’s education and extra-curricular activities. Northern Europe is good with quality of life and time off although I don’t think it’s necessarily just about the family. I have been to Sweden before and there’s really no nightlife! It seems nice, but too cold and expensive for me.

      • Mihel

        From what I understand being family-oriented in east-Asia is more about spending time with your in-laws and parents, whereas in the west being family-oriented is more about spending time with your spouse and children.

    • Z Kim

      Or they can learn from North Korea.

  • Comebackkid13

    Housewives complaining how difficult their lives are again. I suggest they watch Bill Burr. You see these house wives out at cafes at 1pm on a Tuesday with the local moms chatting it up while their husband is getting reamed at work.

    Then they have the gall to complain about doing some laundry, blows my mind.

    • troll_harder

      Bill Burr is freaking hilarious!

  • Joe Louis

    As a long time “lifer” and not married, I’ll say this. Not all, but when the word marry comes up, people here tend to weigh more on their societal position and that Korean sense of “duty.” They still act like they live in small villages seperated from each other. Yes, they have smartphones and shop at Zara and eat burritos (blah blah progress), but its all the inner game. I’d most likely marry a K-chick if she was an orphan. I just hate that family structure, because its not true family, its community. I mean, waste all that money for a wedding for relatives you dont even know? Geez. Satisfaction? Its the internet age, K-peeps need to become individuals. Stop all this stone-aged thinking and this crap hierarchial stuff. Kids now are already f+cked, Old man ranting, but I like Korea, actually. I also clean my house and work a full-time job. Pussified men and spoiled women. US can be just as bad in some parts too. Lol. rant over. love old man.

    • commander

      Although your case that wedding in Korea have more to do with formalities than a true celebration for the fresh restart as the union of the two humans, this secular and materialistic attitude about marriage is not confined to the Koreans.

      Yes, I agree that a life can be much more rewarding when all pretentiousness and face saving are discarded in favor of a genuinely communicative relationship where two souls feel the strongest bond and emotional support, consummated and reinforced by physical togetherness.

      But human history shows that not all people share such a view, with some even dismissing the idea as evidence that those making such a case are trying to provide a justification for the failure to get successful in the wordly sense.

      Some people just acknolwedge that the ostentatious display of wealth and social status with the extravagant wedding should not be the indispensible part of the wedding but that they are secular enough and materialistic enough to take some pleasure in getting attention and jealousy from friends or acquaintances around them when they have, if financially capabpe, such a profligate wedding.

      They may ask what is wrong when they live up their life in their own way without harming others?

      But you may still find ridiculous the wedding by some couples beyond their means of a bride and a groom for jealousy glazes.

      But it is their decision that holds a luxurious wedding and it is they who have to face possible financial squeeze.

      Thus, there is nothing wrong with that.

      The real problem is that in your subconsciousness, you feel embarassed and angry when some people judge you by wealth and status, not by you character and talents and future prospects.

      Your anger and aversion, profusely expressed in your comment, to the prevalence of mammonism for what should be a product of the true love and affection shows that you still take care about what others think of you, and your uncomfortableness with it.

      Just let different or what you think disagree with your life philosophy go away, and dont let it bother to you.

      If you continue to be affected by it, you will be more likely to be seen as a person who doesn look things straightly.

      Just confident in your lifestyle and spend more time on what you think matters most. Then, I think you will find your soulmate or an ideal partner along the way.

      • 금정산

        Unless you have a university qualification in psychoanalysis and had Joe tell you about his life, you can’t evaluate him like that.

        He’s stating what he values over material values. Perhaps he doesn’t want to see people get caught in the affluenza trap and wants to share his opinion. Perhaps he believes everyone would happier if people weren’t so ostentacious.

        • commander

          If there is anything that Joe may take offence at in my comment, I’m sorry and I didn’t mean it.

          If Joe feel really upset at my comment, I have the willingness to take it off.

          • Joe Louis

            Haha, such drama. This is a public forum, people can give their opinions, and I gave mine.

            Oooh I’m so upset, haha.

          • Joe Louis

            Ah, but I will add on, I know the hierarchial stuff plays an integral role, and that will not likely go away. People are definitely less polite now. Japan has its hierarchy but people generally are cordial to each other. (long lifer there, too). THOSE DAMN JAPANESE! :) If Korea had manners class (like Japan does until 3rd grade), it could really be a benefit, but this is not the land of “if..then.” Oh well.

  • Sweet Cuppin’ Cakes

    Link to or citation of the study, please.
    So many questions about their methodology, satisfaction ‘points’ metric, survey questions…

  • vonskippy

    Wow, it’s a huge unsolvable mystery – NOT. First off, the women need to marry a guy because she loves him, not because of his money, or his family, or his job, or his social status. Second, don’t get engaged until you live together for two years. If you can last two years without marriage, then you have a much better chance of lasting together when you are married. Third, Korean men need to join the 21st century, most of them don’t deserve a good wife.

    • antman1

      Good point. Living (or to be precise, sleeping) together before being married is frowned upon however.

  • Laura Emmons

    There rare so many factors here influencing why Korean women are so dissatisfied with their marriages:
    1. Korean women are burdened with all of the house duties and the responsibilities of taking care of the children. In Korean society, kids are mollycoddled and not strictly disciplined by their parents as they were in the past. The result is a bunch of spoiled little brats who no doubt give their mothers and enormous amount of stress and headache. Without support from a male head of the household (who is too busy working 12 hours a day plus attending business dinners/drinking outings) who would reasonably expect a Korean mother to not become overwhelmed? Korean men are not trained by their mothers to assist with household chores, even simple things like tidying their rooms. The mothers follow them around the house cleaning up after them like servants. Koreans glorify this type of behavior as being a “good mommy” but in reality it is contributing the breakdown of Korean marriages. Years later, Korean husbands who have never learned to do even the simplest of tasks– wash dishes, hang a load of laundry, etc are also devoid of any sense of appreciation for the work their wives do. These days many wives are also working and still are expected to do most of these task due to lingering perceptions about gender roles.

    2. Korean business culture (also know as the good old boy network) does not respect marriage vows whatsoever. From government ministry official meetings at prostitution places like 노래방, 달란주점, 안마, 등 등 men who are married are forced to entertain their superiors/bosses and engage in sexually immoral scenarios accompanied by heavy drinking that I would really rather not discuss in detail. Wives know very well when their husband stumbles into the apartment drunk at 3a.m. what kind of messed up things are going on, but somehow this is just supposed to be accepted by wives and glossed over? Women are emotional creatures and we have a sixth sense about these kinds of things. Marital infidelity runs rampant in South Korea. Just on my walk home in Gangnam I pass by about 12 different brothels. There are now numerous love hotels where you can swipe your credit card and secretly have affairs. There’s also special “golf tour” trips to the Philippines which are popular with both married and unmarried men. Many business practices here have little or no respect for the vows of marriage.

    I could list more reasons but I think I already started to write an essay when I only meant to write a paragraph.. sigh..

  • Guy Forget

    This is a STUPID STUDY. It’s like saying, “When a person loses their job, their level of happiness decreases by 2 points”, “When your parents die, your happiness decreases by 2 points”, “Studies find that when taxes increase, and wages decrease, your happiness decreases by 2 points”. Everyone’s level of happiness goes down after marriage. That’s not the problem. The problem is that everyone has become a people who want to live selfish and materialistic lives. If we have to raise kids, cook food, clean the house, and stay at home, then life sucks and we are not happy. It’s like saying, “studies show that students level of happiness decrease when they have to go to school versus when they are on holidays and free to play.” NO DUH???? This is life. Life is hard and life takes sacrifices. The whole world, but especially, first world countries, have become very shallow people and nothing makes us happy anymore, not even money, not even power….we are materialistic and nothing in this world can fill the constant void we have in our hearts. This is the reality of a 1st world people. That’s why the poorest people in Africa don’t have depression or commit suicide. They are actually more happy than rich people living in Korea or other industrialized nations. The reason is not because of the circumstances, it’s because of our minds. We have changed. We no longer value the things that matter in life. We now value things like, self-pleasure, materialism, hedonism, the need to consume, and a life of comfort and excess, regardless of what bad it is doing to others. This was a stupid study. It’s proving nothing.

  • Guy Forget

    Think about it this way also, did you ever notice that kids are happy? They are happy for no reason and they are happy for the smallest and tiniest reasons in life. If you want to read a book, or color a paper, or look at insects in the garden, or go walking to the park, or go make paper airplanes, whatever it is, they are happy and ecstatic. Why? Because they are innocent. They have not conditioned themselves to become greedy, spoiled, gluttons whose “needs” are growing faster than their ability to meet those needs. They are lowly and humble and find the joys in every small thing in life. This is the “state” we can all be in it. To appreciate the small things in life and find the everyday miracles. But no, most of us have lost that wonder. We grow up, and we become conditioned to be greedy, gluttonous consumers who need to hoard and consume daily everything in excess and the moment we stop, we begin to feel unhappy. This is the “poison” that has settled in our lives. If we could love our spouses or a our children or our families and friends for simply being who they are and being able to spend time with them, that would solve most of our problems with happiness. But since all we care about is their status, their image, how much money they make, how they look, what they do for you, etc., we set ourselves up for failure and unhappiness all the time. We place unrealistic expectations on each other making us like hamsters running on a wheel everyday just trying to keep you happy by performing for you and “doing” things for you. If you have ever gone to a poor country and visited the villages and brought a simple soccer ball to them, all the children are the happiest runts ever, and they enjoy the simplest things you can do together. It can be just singing a song and their day will be made. But try impressing kids in a 1st world country. You’d have to buy them each a smartphone just to make them happy. Anything less, and they are just miserable and depressed fucks. I’m not saying that we should all be poor, but there is something that we have “lost” when we all became rich. We thought we were gaining more when the reality is, when you get rich, you actually LOSE more. That’s why well-off people and countries are the most unhappy and have the highest depression and suicide rates in the world, while the people who have less or nothing at all, are actually more happy or content in life because they actually have more in life to enjoy. We have lost the ability to enjoy being with our families (we all want to get away from them right?), we can’t even enjoy doing things like cooking food and cleaning the house, or building a tree house, or making necklaces out of cheerios. We have become so poisoned and intoxicated with consumption and wealth, that ANYTHING less than that kind of lifestyle = automatic unhappiness. Did you all not listen to Justin Bieber’s “As Long As You Love Me” song? You might hate his guts, but at least that song’s lyrics got it 100% right. That’s what we have all lost. (I just threw in the reference to Justin Bieber to hopefully get more of a reaction lol).

  • bultak23

    some people get too caught up in looks and money, marriage is about giving up some of your own wants for your spouse.

  • codfilet

    It’s ALWAYS the fault of the men, huh? Maybe a guy marries a slim, sharply-dressed, smart woman, and watches her change from that to a tubby clone of his mother watching the afternoon soaps in sweatpants and a saggy T-shirt, and she wonders why the spark has gone out of their marriage?

  • That’s marvelous

    When Korean girls are young, everyone around them tells them it’s the ultimate goal in life: get married to a nice or rich or smart guy. Once you do that, you will have ensured life-long happiness and carefree life.

    Two years into marriage they simply find out that life is still hard, you still need to get up early and do stuff, you still have responsibility.

  • Smith_90125

    In every Korean marriage I saw, women became effectively servants to their husbands’ family. If they didn’t obey and cater to their whims, the women were “disrespectful”. Small wonder their marriages are miserable. Many Korean women who marry foreigners would rather marry Koreans, but don’t want the baggage.

  • John

    Unlike Western cultures, in Asia, you don’t just marry your spouse, you marry your in-laws. Korean mother-in-laws tend to be brutal towards their sons’ wives.

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