The more we talked about our future, the more afraid I became that I might not be his perfect life partner.
I kept on worrying about whether I could satisfy his friends or parents’ expectations of a “good woman.” My fears were not the only reason we parted ways, but they were certainly a factor.
You can see this contradictory expectation in female heroines of many K-dramas.
The beautiful female protagonist is independent and savvy at her office, but in front of a guy she likes, she’s one step behind, submissive and gentle.
Dating him, and others before that, has allowed me to see my self-contradictions and insecurities.
I am self-conscious of my independence and womanhood.
I am full of contradictory desires, wanting to be my own self, whatever that may be, but also wanting to meet South Korean society’s standards on what a proper woman should be.
All the people I have met at school, at workplaces, even at home have influenced me.
I learned that I need to fight my own expectations for myself, too.
Maybe this “me” comes out when I meet a guy who makes me relax, and I don’t have to think too much about what he thinks about me.
Maybe I was finally enjoying a moment of repose, showing who I really am, in a safe space free from conventional definitions of gender roles.
I stopped going on different social gatherings because I wanted to be like him — being considerate and focusing on our relationship.
Through him, I learned relationship is like a mirror that reflects one another, because I realized it was he who had first engaged in some form of in reality had been a part of my nature all along.