Are you tired of romantic K-Dramas simply because they are too unrealistic? Do fairy tale love stories make you cringe? Well, you’ve come to the right place! Sometimes tropes like soul mates, star-crossed lovers, and fated couples are just too much to handle. After all, it’s hard to think they matter in real life, and if you’re a particularly pragmatic person, they’re even more unpalatable. So if you’re looking for K-Dramas that will restore your faith in romance while also serving as an escape from reality, we’ve got the perfect watchlist for you!
Observation: This list is not in ranking order, but there will be a poll at the end of the article where you can vote for your favorite K-Drama. As this is a poll for readers to vote on whenever they encounter this article, it will not close and no result articles will be published.
1. “Because this is my first life”
One of the most moving romance K-Dramas of all time, “Because This Is My First Life” tells the story of two young men in their 30s, navigating the world of adulthood amidst financial problems, past trauma, unresolved insecurities and more, all while being forced to confront their feelings for each other after they share a house. Lee MinKi plays Nam SaeHee, and Jung SoMin plays Yoon JiHo in this drama, who meet as landlord and tenant first, and lovers last. Neither party is in a position to consider romance, and SaeHee in particular seems to have completely given up on the idea after her previous relationship ended. Forced closeness allows them to slowly open their hearts and let love in, albeit cautiously. This K-Drama will make you feel vulnerable yet understood.
A meditation on loneliness, freedom and will, “My Liberation Notes” is a modern masterpiece, to say the least. Starring Son SukKu, Kim JiWon, EL and, once again, Lee MinKi, this drama follows three brothers who are trapped in their own ways of life and a stranger who shakes things up for all of them. Most notably, the celebrated romance between Mr. Son SukKu’s Gu and Kim JiWon’s Yeom MiJung start from a place of “worship”, as MiJung puts it. Two individuals who have turned their backs on the world and other people turn to each other for comfort and meaning. They encourage each other to find their own inner strength and be honest with themselves before anything else. It gives their connection so much more meaning than romantic love, and that’s exactly what makes this drama a must-see.
This may be a total departure from realism, but beyond the obvious fantasy plot, “Hotel Del Luna” tells deeply human stories that you can’t help but relate to. Our heroine, ManWol (IU) – brave and strong, unwavering in her courage and indifference, has no time or space for love. In fact, she doesn’t even consider that possibility. However, everything changes when she brings Chan Seong (Yeo Jin Goo) into her life. Chan Seong, on the other hand, who suddenly finds himself part of a cosmic plan greater than he could comprehend, is fated to lose her but love her forever. Neither ManWol nor ChanSeong would ever imagine such a tragic romance, and yet, they fall irrevocably in love.
While the previous entry on this list leans heavily on fantasy, “It’s Okay Not to Be Okay” is a modern fairy tale washed in darkness. Seo YeaJi plays Ko MunYoung – a children’s literature author who suffers from antisocial personality disorder. She has all but the tiniest bit of love in her life, and romance is simply out of the question. Instead, she replaces her need for affection with unhealthy or obsessive tendencies. On the other side of the story, we have Moon KangTae, played by Kim SooHyun, who appears to be completely different from MoonYoung, but a deeper look suggests they are more alike than you might think. KangTae also can’t afford to think about romance, let alone hope for it. He is an empath through and through, and while undiagnosed, he struggles with his own mental health. Facing each other, MoonYoung and KangTae address their deep trauma and facilitate healing with the realization that they deserve to love and be loved.
If you’re looking for a lighter subject, “Her Private Life” will be right up your alley. This lovely romantic comedy is equal parts down-to-earth and dreamy, making it the perfect K-Drama for viewers who prefer not to drench themselves in cloying sweetness but certainly appreciate the butterflies. Park MinYoung plays Sung DeokMi, a successful young woman who leads a secret double life as a fangirl. She believes in only one kind of love – that between an idol and a fan, and rejects romantic love with “real” men at all costs. At the same time, Ryan Gold (played by Kim JaeUck), isn’t exactly receptive to romance because of his own fair share of reservations. However, as the K-Drama gods would have it, the right people meet at the right time and indulge in the most fulfilling love. If that doesn’t undo her slide into K-Drama romance, we don’t know what will!
We’re taking another trip through fantasy land with “Doom At Your Service” and trust us, you’ll want to come along. Starring Park BoYoung as Tak DongKyung – a terminally ill woman who wishes the world would fall into disgrace, and Seo InGuk as Myul Mang, or Doom incarnate, who shows up to grant her wish, this K-Drama will remind you that even the most closed people bloom like the brightest flowers when they are in love. Myul Mang, renamed Kim SaRam by his beloved, will go to the ends of this world and beyond to keep DongKyung safe, and DongKyung would leave the world for him, even though he is the one who teaches her what it really is to want to live. . Can a love story get any more exquisite? The forbidden love trope is strong in this one, but it’s so tastefully executed that you’ll be coming back for more each episode.
“Mr. Queen” is easily one of the most innovative, unique and entertaining K-Dramas of all time and for good reason too! Starring Shin HaeSun as Kim SoYong/Jang BongHwan and Kim JungHyun as King CheolJong, this drama takes the aversion to romance to an entirely different level. You see, BongHwan (initially played by Choi Jinhyuk) fell into a pool in present-day South Korea, and his soul traveled back in time to Joseon, entering the body of Kim SoYong, the future Queen of King CheolJong. Now, CheolJong has nothing but hatred for SoYong but is inadvertently attracted to her new persona, while BongHwan (in SoYong’s body), who never considered that she might like men, is suddenly attracted to CheolJong. They do their best not to fall in love, but the heart wants what it wants, creating one of the most charming power couples in the land of K-Dramas. You don’t want to miss this one.
If you like your romance ambiguous and tension filled, there couldn’t be a better drama for your watch list than “Hyena”. Starring two of the most amazing actors in the K-Drama industry – Kim HyeSoo as Jung GeumJa and Ju JiHoon as Yoon HeeJae, “Hyena” is a courtroom drama that gains much of its fire from our central duo. From enemies to lovers, best friends and everything in between, GeumJa and HeeJae make an unforgettable pair with unbeatable chemistry both in the workplace and beyond. More than anything else, they are a solid pillar of support for each other – the kind that make us wish we had one too. However, when you meet these characters, especially GeumJa, you can instantly tell that she doesn’t have time in her life for romance, but I wouldn’t hesitate to use that to her advantage. Therefore, if you like romance, suspense and comedy at the same time, “Hyena” is your best choice.
9. “I Love You To Hate”
The latest addition to the list of realistic yet totally heartwarming romance K-Dramas is “Love To Hate You” by Yoo Teo and Kim OkBin. If it isn’t already evident from the title, our main characters, Nam KangHo and Yeo MiRan, prefer to stay miles away from love and each other, but circumstances and overwhelming attraction bring them together, allowing them to heal the wounds inflicted on their hearts. . Nam KangHo is suspicious of women and Yeo MiRan tends to only see the negative side of the men around her. Both have their own reasons that prevent them from having a meaningful relationship, which means they are exactly what the other needs. This drama will have you swooning left and right, but also rolling with laughter – the perfect combination!
Finally, this list wouldn’t be complete without “Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency” – the historical drama that gave us more than one definition of love and romance through its colorful and complex stories. Kim MinJae plays Ma Hoon, the leader of the best matchmaking agency in Joseon. However, despite his profession, he doesn’t think love or marriage is in the cards for him. When he finds his own perfect match in the quirky but strong and independent Gae Ddong (played by Gong Seung Yeon), sparks fly and minds change. Our main couple gets a happily ever after they never expected but definitely deserved.
Which of these romantic K-Dramas is your favorite?
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“Because this is my first life”
“It’s OK not to be OK”
“Flower Crew: Joseon Marriage Agency”
What other K-Drama would you add to this list? Tell us in the comments section below!