10 relationship lessons to learn from K-drama The World Of The Married

PHOTO: Viu

If you’ve been keeping up with Korean dramas, you’d probably know of The World Of The Married, which stars Kim Hee Ae, Park Hae Joon and Han So Hee.

The new K-drama has been nothing short of explosive. According to Nielsen Korea, its final episode set a new record for the highest viewership ratings ever achieved by any drama in the history of South Korean cable network.

Based on BBC’s Doctor Foster, the show follows Ji Sun Woo (played by Kim Hae Ae) as she uncovers the truth about her husband’s infidelity and the journey she takes to get revenge and move on. 

The show, which is set in the city of Gosan in South Korea, also shines a spotlight on certain aspects of relationships and brings to view social issues often faced by women, such as their roles in a household and the taboo nature of divorces in some Asian cultures.

Now that the season has ended, fans around the world are hoping there would be a Season 2.

If you’re still reeling from The World of The Married, we’ve compiled a list of the best relationship lessons we’ve learned through watching the show.

*SPOILERS AHEAD*

Don’t cheat (obviously…) 

We’ll never forget how Sun Woo reacted when she not only confirmed that her husband, Tae Oh, was cheating, but that she was connected to his mistress, Da Kyung, in some ways.

And her reaction was not uncommon. Some psychological issues experienced by someone who has been cheated on could include self-esteem issues and self-loathing.

They could also develop anxiety towards new relationships, as they believe that their future spouses will cheat on them or that they are incapable of maintaining a successful relationship.

Communicate with your partner 

PHOTO: Viu

While we absolutely loved watching the plot develop in The World Of The Married, so much could have been avoided if Tae Oh had been frank to Sun Woo about his unhappiness and lack of fulfilment in the relationship. The couple could have gone to therapy, worked out their differences and avoided this entire drama.

And if Tae Oh no longer loved his wife, he should have told her that. After all, feelings change over time and if he had just admitted that to both himself and his wife, they could have avoided going through an ugly divorce and taking revenge on each other.

Give yourself some time to heal 

We know it’s a makjang but, it’s almost unbelievable how Tae Oh could dive head-first into a new life with his mistress, Da Kyung, upon his wife’s discovery of the affair.

However, later on, Tae Oh suffered the consequences of not acknowledging his need to heal in the final two episodes when it came to light that he was buying Da Kyung the same clothes and perfume he had bought his wife.

Heck, the man even made love to Da Kyung with the same song that he used to propose to his wife. *face palms*

Not giving yourself to heal doesn’t only hurt you, but also your new partner. The fact that Tae Oh wasn’t quite over his wife also affected Da Kyung as she struggled to accept her new reality and deal with his emotional baggage.

Don’t get friends involved

PHOTO: Viu

We love Sun Woo’s taste in clothes and she’s got a killer eye for interior design, but the lady really needs to figure out who her real friends are.

In episode one, we find out that her closest friends all knew about her husband’s affair, and one of them even warned Tae Oh when his wife was starting to get onto him.

If anything, the show has taught us not to get friends involved in our marital affairs. Tae Oh even told his friends about his affair, which eventually led to more heartache, bringing us to the next point…

Revenge isn’t always a good idea 

Upon finding out about her husband’s affair, Sun Woo went on a bit of a rampage, trying to find evidence that he’s been adulterous to support her divorce case.

She even slept with her friend Je Hyuk (Ye Rim’s husband) in a bid to gather financial information about Tae Oh’s company and exact revenge on her friend Ye Rim who knew about Tae Oh’s affair.

Ye Rim was devastated when she found out about her husband’s affair, and then Tae Oh decided to get back at Sun Woo by getting her (almost) fired from her job. Confused? Yeah, that was how messy it was.

Sun Woo’s obsession with getting revenge on her husband not only drove her to the brink of insanity, but also affected the relationship she has with her son and the reputation she had at work.

Don’t use someone’s past against them

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From several episodes, we learned that Sun Woo had experienced trauma when she was a child, but the details were not revealed until the final two episodes.

Tae Oh, however, knew about her trauma since she had shared it with her husband. He then deviously used it against her in a bid to get her fired from her job as a director of a hospital.

Not only is this a low blow, it can amount to emotional abuse. Manipulating or betraying your partner’s trust is akin to taking the highway to destroying a relationship.

Never use your children to threaten one another

Throughout their psychological warfare against each other, Sun Woo and Tae Oh both used their son Joon Young as their bargaining chip, as they both wanted full custody of him. They would threaten to let him know about each other’s misdeeds so the other would fall out of favour.

His parents’ actions possibly took a toll on him, as Joon Young had anger issues and had to seek psychiatric therapy from his mum’s colleague. In a lot of cases, children end up being casualties in their parents’ messy divorce and it could lead to some serious emotional issues that will follow them to adulthood.

Only you can help yourself 

Another character in the show is Shim Eun Woo, a bartender who was constantly physically and emotionally abused by her boyfriend, Park In Kyu.

No matter how much SunWoo tried to help Eun Woo leave her abusive partner, the final decision was on Eun Woo to leave Gosan in search of a better life. Similarly, in life, your therapist and friends can give you the best of advice and support, but you have to walk away from a toxic relationship yourself.

Learn to let go 

The reason why Sun Woo and Tae Oh were able commit to destroying each other’s lives for so long was because they were both unwilling to let go of their obsessions for each other.

Even after he left Gosan and returned after two years, Tae Oh was still obsessed with Sun Woo and would often stalk her and loiter outside the house they used to live in.

In the final episode, Tae Oh even tried convincing Sun-woo and Joon Young that things could go back to normal and that they could be a family once again, suggesting that this man just don’t know when to quit.

You're responsible for your own happiness 

PHOTO: Viu

In the drama, we learned that Tae Oh was constantly supported by Sun Woo — both financially and emotionally — when he tried to start his own company. Despite this, he wasn’t happy and turned to Da Kyung for fulfilment and excitement that his marriage lacked.

The fact that Tae Oh relied on other people for happiness meant that he would never be happy as a person, regardless of who he has in his life.

We also saw that Sun Woo was often chided by her friends for getting a divorce, and a few even suggested that she should have just stayed in the marriage despite her husband’s lack of loyalty.

But Sun Woo wasn’t swayed and was set on getting a divorce to give herself and her son a better future, proving that no one else can fight for your own happiness but yourself because only you know what makes you happy. Don’t let other people tell you otherwise!

Watch the full series of The World Of The Married on Viu.

This article was first published in CLEO Singapore.