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Over half of young singles have been in asymmetrical relationships: survey

By Yoon Min-sik

Published : Feb. 11, 2024 - 16:01

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Some 54 percent of unmarried people in their 20s and 30s say they have been in a romantic relationship where the power dynamics were skewed toward one of the parties, a recent survey by a local matchmaking company found.

In the January survey by Duo, conducted on 150 men and 150 women in their 20s who have had romantic partners, 60.3 percent of the respondents said a so-called "gab-eul" power dynamic exists in romantic relationships. Gab-eul refers to a relationship between two people or parties in which one side has all the power, and one side is completely subordinate.

Of the 54 percent who said they had experienced such a relationship before, 69 percent of the men and 59.3 percent of women said they found themselves on the losing end of it.

Asked why such asymmetrical power dynamics occur, 49 percent said it was because "the disparity in how much they love each other," followed by "pride (24 percent)," "different personalities (17 percent)" and the "financial situation" (7.3 percent).

Over half of the respondents -- 60.7 percent of the men and 54.7 percent of the women -- said they perceive such relationships to be a form of gaslighting, which is when someone is manipulated into questioning their own perception of reality.

The respondents differed on what they think the romantic relationship was like as the "eul," the person in the subordinate position in the relationship. Some 28 percent said the relationship was one in which they were "not respected by the other person," while 25.7 percent said it was one "where one always has to comply with the other person's demands," and 23 percent said it one that "might end at any time the moment I give up."

About 33.3 percent of the respondents said they feel such a gab-eul relationship between romantic partners is "abnormal," although 25.7 percent think it is "merely a difference in perspective" and 18.7 percent said it is a "naturally occurring phenomenon."