As you may know, I was in a relationship. Yeah – was, as in past tense. As in no more. But don’t worry about me, it is what it is and I am okay with it. But when the breakup came, I wasn’t so okay. I discovered the cruelty of the 40 day rule
So this is a discovery I made with regard to dating culture in Korea. Or more specifically, a subgroup of dating culture with Korean guys who date foreign girls. There is something called the 40 Day Rule. This is a negative aspect of dating culture. I even feel disgusted by thinking of it.
May I also add, that this does not apply to all Korean men who date foreigners. There are genuine guys out there, and there are not-so-great guys, just like in every country. But, the 40 day rule is a dating trend. And, it is something I think women in the foreign community need to be aware of for their own emotional well-being and safety.
Tolls on Inter-racial Relationships in Korea
Being a foreigner in Korea is enough to have all eyes on you. On the subway, the shopping center, and even on the street… eyes will travel to the only one who stands out in a very monochromatic society. This is, in my opinion, one of the factors that sometimes can have a toll on your relationship.
Why? Well, because no one likes being stared at. As foreigners in Korea, we’re pretty used to it. However, for Koreans, it might be their first time feeling othered in their own country. It’s also just an invasion of privacy. Whereas other couples can exist in their own bubbles, being cute with each other, with interracial couples there is always someone watching. Those stares can make everything a little more uncomfortable, and couples often don’t feel confident doing the things people normally do in a relationship.
My Past Relationship
However, despite all of that, my relationship was going just fine. Just a little bit of distance, only seeing each other only on the weekends. Which was something I was completely okay with. Apparently, though, it was not fine enough for my now ex. He wanted to break up because I “needed someone better for me than him, who could cherish me and give me his undivided attention”. The thing is, I didn’t feel that way at all. I wasn’t unhappy in our relationship. I didn’t want better than him, I wanted him.
So, of course, it hurt. The reason was obviously just an excuse. Even when the relationship was just blossoming, I had started to really care for him. So, losing something that was so beautiful and that brought so much joy was heartbreaking. I ended up crawling into my best friend’s bed here in Korea. We had some ramen and I told her the whole story to make some sense of it.
In my mind, everything was fine and then… then it wasn’t. I couldn’t really understand it. Talking about it also made me feel less sad. Just putting my feelings into words was something I needed. And my friend is a great listener. So, she just sat there consoling me and listened intently to every single word that came out of my mouth.
The 40 Day Rule
And then, when I finally finished and my crying had come to an end, she patted my back. Then, she looked me in the eye and said “it’s the 40 day rule”. I had never heard of it, so my confused face was enough for her to start explaining to me what it was.
Turns out, to some Korean guys, foreigners are like a free trial for 40 days. Everything works perfectly for that amount of time. It’s enough time to experience a relationship with a foreign girl without either of you getting too attached. In their eyes, the ‘free cancelation service’ is still available after 40 days. Then, when the 40 days are up, they find another girl and break up with you.
Again, it’s not every single Korean guy does this. However, it is common enough for my friend to call it a “rule”. And, in my experience and my friend’s experiences, it is common enough to be considered a dating trend. My friend told me to blame Tinder, since you never know people from the internet. But, as a foreigner, I don’t really see many other options available to find partners.
Last Words on the 40 Day Rule
I really want to believe that the 40 day rule is not a thing. Dating as a foreigner is already hard enough without a trend like this. Even so, I am writing this so you are more prepared if anything like what happened to me ever happens to you. Because, at the moment of the breakup I felt played and discarded. When he used my feelings that didn’t even exist as a reason to leave, I blamed myself and was full of confusion. I don’t ever wish this feeling on anyone.
So be wary, but don’t stop looking for love. Because love is bigger than shitty guys, and you deserve it. Even if it’s not with the guy you thought was the one. The one will come, and his love will last more than 40 days.
Want to read how I really felt about my past relationship? Click Here to read what I wrote only a short time before our breakup.