Stable, safe, strong – that has always been my relationship and my married life with my husband Ray*. Or that was what I thought for the last six years that we have been together. Until late last year… when I found my ideal man in Seoul!

Ray and I first met at a tuition centre as fellow physics tutors. We made an odd couple – personality-wise, Ray and I were like oil and fire. I loved trying out anything hip and trending, and did things according to my mood; Ray was an introvert and a total bookworm. But we got along fine… Fast forward three years later, he asked about applying for a flat together, and seeing how sincere he was, I agreed wholeheartedly.

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A few years ago, my colleagues got me hooked on K-drama serials, especially rom-coms. I delighted in seeing how the couple in the show would go through all the trials and tribulations to be together. The
tragedy, the fights, the swoonsome leading man – I indulged in all of them!

Before I knew it, I started obsessing over the actors. I had no particular favourites (or “bias” as the Korean pop culture fans called it) – I would just gush over the hero of whichever series I was watching at the time. However, these celebrity crushes deepened into something unhealthy!

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Over time, I started to crave for romance. While I had a desire to have kids, I found myself wanting more zest in my love life even more! I knew Ray loved me, but he was awkward with expressing his love, and was even more shy with me in the bedroom! I voiced out my desires and tried to get him to change, but being the oblivious and stubborn nerd that he was, Ray did not respond. In my frustration, I escaped into my K-drama world even more. I started daydreaming, and soon built up my perfected version of a Korean Oppa in my head.

It soon proved to be a dangerous fantasy. In the middle of last year, I decided to head to Seoul for a trip on my own. Ray knew I liked Korean culture and had wanderlust, but little did he know, I also had a thirst for excitement!

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While researching about Seoul, I came across a tour guide service of sorts, one where I could “rent” an Oppa to show me around for a day. Intrigued, I picked Wonbin* from the website, booked and paid for an appointment with him for two days in Seoul.

I was nervous when I first met Wonbin – he appeared much younger than his picture! But he looked and acted like how I thought a typical Oppa would. Wonbin was tall, had fair skin, and was stylishly dressed. He was also gentlemanly, a great conversationalist – he spent his early teenage years in the US so he spoke English pretty well. He soon calmed my nerves, and we went on our two-day “date”.

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Despite our age gap – Won Bin was a few years younger than me and so was not really an Oppa – we got along like a house on fire. We shared a love for K-drama, had similar family backgrounds and were both adventure-seeking extroverts! In fact, we clicked so well, he offered to accompany me on the days I was in Seoul for free when he found out I was traveling alone!

Through the week, we became so comfortable we even held hands while walking along the streets, making sure to maintain to ourselves that it was simply a platonic act of friendship. At one point, he even planted a light kiss on my cheeks suddenly while we were at a park. His actions made me shiver with delight!

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On the last day, Wonbin gave me an intimate hug when he saw me off at the airport. He whispered that he would miss me and asked if we could stay in contact. I said yes, boarded the plane, and cried silently in my seat. I took out my wedding ring from my purse and put it back on my finger – throughout the time I spent with Wonbin, I had lied that I was single. I cried knowing that though I did not cheat physically, in my heart, I felt I had betrayed Ray’s – and also Wonbin’s – trust in me.

For the first three months of this year, Ray and I have gone for several sessions with a marriage counsellor. I told Ray how seriously I wanted to deal with my issues and he agreed without questioning further.

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I have come to realise that Ray is not the Oppa I wanted, but the one I cannot live without. And as for Wonbin, well, I’ll be meeting up with him again in June this year… with Ray in tow. After all, I have to introduce to my “fake-Oppa”, the one true love of my life.

*Name changed to protect privacy.

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