Tiff over who pays; letting a boyfriend’s friend down easy

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Tiff over who pays; letting a boyfriend’s friend down easy

Q.I’m a 26-year-old Canadian male, who came to Korea in March to work in international finance.
When I met a very nice, attractive Korean woman ― 27 years old and single ― at my friend’s house party two months ago, I immediately asked her out. I’m very happy that we get along. But I’m curious about her policy of dating “foreign men only.”
She said that typical Korean men don’t like “old, poor and liberal” women like herself and that she would rather date foreign men with whom she can learn a foreign language or two and live and/or travel with.
What surprised me was that when we were planning our first holiday together last month, to Thailand, she told me I was to cover “all her travel expenses.” She ended up paying for her own airfare, and I paid the other expenses, but I began to feel strange about her choice to see me.
This is my first time dating a local woman, and I’ve been in fact told by many expat friends to “watch out” for Korean women. I thought I could handle myself, but I’m thoroughly confused about my romantic situation. What’s the deal with Korean women anyway?
A.Despite the modernized and advanced appearance of Korea today, Korean society, seen from inside, is still very closed and conservative. Your girlfriend probably has felt social and psychological pressure from her own people, who place a lot of importance on age, status, traditional family values and rigid roles for women. By dating foreign men who are either free of or ignorant of Korean social prejudices and value systems, she is able to express herself better and feel more free.
Making that choice, if it is an honest one, is all well and good. Who wouldn’t empathize with her desire to live her life as she sees fit? But if she intentionally chooses a naive partner and, under the pretense of love, takes advantage of the man, she doesn’t deserve any empathy. Your expat friends here have probably heard of or experienced such relationships, which are by no means exclusive to Korea.
You need to get to know your girlfriend and where she comes from better. Who knows? Maybe she just really couldn’t afford to pay her own way to Thailand.
Q.One of my boyfriend’s best friends has shown interest in me for months. He calls me whenever he gets a chance. How ― in a very kind way ― can I let him know that I’m not interested?
A.A feeling of dejection is never pleasant, no matter how delicately the news is delivered. If you are not clear with your boyfriend’s pal now, you might have a bigger problem in the future, which could upset your boyfriend. Act today.

by Ines Cho
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