5 lessons from a K-drama about true love and healthy relationships



Korean culture seems to have invaded the world. K-drama, K-beauty and K-Pop have increased in popularity, with many people (mostly) women swooning over them.

When I was at the University, everyone went on and on about K-Dramas, but I never watched them. I thought they were so sappy and unrealistic.

Recently, I was scrolling through Netflix, bored. I didn’t know what to watch, when a K-drama, ‘True Beauty‘, caught my attention. This K-drama was released a long time ago, in 2020, so you know I am not such a huge fan. Once I started, I was hooked, and I was like, no wonder a lot of people love K-drama.

The basic storyline is an ‘ugly’ girl who endures bullying, learns makeup and transforms into a beautiful woman. Her love interest knows her as both the ugly girl and the beautiful girl and loves both sides of her, it is more complicated than that, but that’s the basic story.

Of course, there are many parts of the series I felt were cringeworthy, like how she would always almost trip, and he would grab her… how many times does she have to stumble? Can’t they establish sexual chemistry in another way? Not to mention that she didn’t even look ugly in the first place, her face was just red.

But here are the lessons I left from watching this K-drama:

If someone truly loves you, they love you, the real you. It’s not just, ‘I like your vibe’. You are perceived as a compassionate and pleasant person with imperfections that make you unique. They cherish you for your inner qualities rather than superficial ones, while your physical appearance is just a complimentary attribute. Ultimately, your personality is what holds the utmost importance to them.

Honest communication can either end a relationship or strengthen it, depending on how both parties listen, understand and work on the issues together. How do you say you miss someone when they are busy at work and can’t meet up with you, without sounding needy? How do you tell them you think their female friend has feelings for them and you are not comfortable with the friendship? Communication and understanding are key.

In K-drama, men always appear chauvinistic, and even the women are sacrificial. They both go to extraordinary lengths to offer safety and comfort to their partners. A person who loves you will seek your best interest at heart. They will move mountains to make you happy and safe. They will care about your feelings, your physical health, your dreams and ambitions, and everything about you.

Western culture has instilled in our minds the notion that sex is an essential component of love. However, K-dramas showcase that a romantic relationship can evolve and flourish without including physical intimacy. Sure, they had sexual chemistry and tension, but it only culminated in kissing. When we focus less on sex, we can get to know the person with clear eyes and truly love them for who they are. Attraction and sex are important, but they shouldn’t be the most important thing.

I know this sounds like stale news, but this is a fact; we are almost always on our phones. If they don’t want to talk to you, then it’s already a red flag. When I say, something is wrong, I mean they lost their job or phone or someone died. They might not talk with you all day but will call to check up on you at some point.

Do we consider the lessons from K-dramas unrealistic because our perception of true love is one-sided and we are unwilling to make an effort, or are there certain idealizations beyond human reach? What do you think?