Dong Hoon & Yoon Hee: Did They Divorce or Not?

[Important background information from @justamom:

Previously, he [Dong Hoon] always called Yoon Hee 집사람 (chib saram), literally family person or my wife (formal).

But now [Ep 16] he calls her 애엄마 (ae omma)! My kid’s mom! That’s an additional level of separation.

It’s a BIG CHANGE!

So she’s still family, she will always be family, but she’s the crown prince’s mom. Not his wife or the empress. Just the crown prince’s mom.

I really, really like how they showed that.]

We keep wondering if DH and YH got divorced or not. I don’t know for sure either, but I think there are plenty of clues spread throughout the drama for us to conclude that, by the end of the drama, they are separated, if not formally divorced.

This is especially true if we look at things from YH’s side. I’d say she is the one who called it quits.

Throughout the drama, YH and DH are on two different pages

YH and DH’s choice of drinks symbolizes their different worldviews / values.

YH = coffee = modern, Western values (like individualism, small family)
DH = buckwheat tea = traditional, Korean values (like tribalism, large family)

QmTkNvj.png

DH would often call YH habitually on his way back home – but either YH didn’t answer his call, or she would cut the conversation short (while being visibly annoyed).

D3ehprN.png
Cue heavy sighs from DH.

“Want me to buy you something?” – the warmest words to JA, but the most infuriating to YH.

In Ep 9, YH snaps back:

cOxo24e.jpg
And then again in Ep 11, we hear snide remarks from her:

nKvuz7q.jpg

Cue heavy sighs from DH.

YH has clearly been frustrated in her marriage. Why else would she search for an outlet in JY? As DH says, maybe she thought “it’d be easier to divorce [DH] if [YH] had an affair with him, had [DH] fired, and turned [him] into a homeless person”. Divorce has always been on her mind, and DH knows that. DH on the other hand has wanted to salvage the marriage, if only for Ji Seok and DH’s mom.

To be fair, YH prompts him to share his mind with her plenty of times, but he either evades it or doesn’t respond. Home should be the place where people feel the most at ease – but both YH and DH put their guards up around each other, and there’s a lot of tension in the air. YH seemed the most at ease around JY while they were still having the affair. And DH shared his thoughts the most when he’s alone with either Sang Won or JA…

Interestingly, they are the only two people who tell him: It’s no big deal.
lCZQ0wF.jpg

YH doesn’t have DH’s photos either on her office desk or in her workspace at home.

2uH5VA3.jpgibzDMyt.png

It’s safe to say that to YH, “family” = Ji Seok. And that’s the family to whom she “fulfills her duties” till the very end.

YH feels stuffy in her marriage

This is shown visually when she opens their apartment’s windows / doors (more than once in the series). To those of you who think otherwise, and were even rooting for DH and YH’s reconciliation, I’d love to see your reasoning explained. I don’t remember much love or rapport or healthy communication shown between DH and YH, and fail to see how their marriage could have repaired itself.

Open: (just had a unilateral conversation about interest rates, trying to catch a breath)

dLeYhz1.png

Closed: (can’t bear to look at DH after he’s beat up – thinks it’s related to her affair and JY, feels suffocated)

E5DQyZu.png

This goes for DH as well… and I doubt it’s because he literally feels hot (it’s frigging winter in Korea).

Open: (home alone, trying to catch a breath)

WO7Y1ml.png

Closed: (just overheard YH talking to JY, feels suffocated)

DGZyewx.png

 

YH’s thoughts during the confrontation

@arctichare:

The scene where YH talks about how DH makes her feel lonely and never makes her his priority, it broke my heart. Every single thing she said hit the mark – how DH used to say he was having dinner with his family when his wife wasn’t even there with him. My heart broke for both of them. What a sad situation to be stuck in. Yes YH did a terrible thing and DH’s failings as a husband does not excuse her betrayal but it does provide a much needed context to the audience. As you correctly said the show is designed this way – DH and JA are the leads while YH is just a supporting character, so of course the majority of the screen time and sympathy of the audience will reside with DH. But those scenes in ep 12 are so crucial in understanding the depth of both YH’s betrayal and suffering. DH is a wonderful, decent human being but good god is he terrible at communication, at confrontation with anything that makes him uncomfortable. It must have been so frustrating and suffocating to live with someone like him for over 15 years. Yes YH could have handled this better and she should have asked for a divorce or something instead of having an affair with JY but it’s easier to say that in hindsight. We humans rarely do the right thing when given the choice.

I don’t know if there’s anything left to salvage their marriage, I don’t know if there’s enough love left. And even if it is, will that be enough? They clearly want different things and now finally it’s all out in the open.

YH claims that DH comes “first” to her, but we have evidence to the contrary

  • Unlike DH, YH is someone who puts her own happiness first. During her affair, YH explicitly plans to get DH fired. To her, it’s an unpleasant but necessary by-product of her plan to be with JY.
  • Just before she finds out DH knows, she doesn’t care whether it’s JY or DH who loses his job. She wants them to fight it out themselves. Wouldn’t a caring wife vouch for her husband till the very end?
  • When DH comes home all beat-up, she breaks down in tears out of humiliation that DH knows (as evident from the flashbacks of JA saying, “Park Dong Hoon knows everything.”), not because he’s in bad shape.
  • She doesn’t have the consideration to shut the door before calling JY in ep 11. DH overhears their conversation, and lets out the deepest sigh…Guess what the immediate next scene is?

    It’s clear that he wants to call it quits too, but is forcibly holding on.

  • JY tells her: “The one earnest request that Senior made to me was for me to make sure that you never found out about this! And he wanted me to break up with you, without causing a fuss. Because, on the day that you found out that he knows you would definitely stop living with him.

    And that’s precisely what YH did. She stopped living with him (i.e. separated from him albeit amicably).

    After all, YH is someone who cannot stand feeling humiliated. What hurt her most when she found out JY’s true nature was humiliation, not the fact that he didn’t love her. Almost every time she broke down in tears after finding out that DH knows was because she felt humiliated… Do you think someone like her could tolerate living in the same society where everyone knows about her messy affair?

Remember the car scene in which DH and YH are guessing answers to a quiz show, and appear to be getting along well? That’s when they’re still ignoring the elephant in the room (i.e. the affair). Once it’s out in the open, things are very dry between them.

I think it’s crucial that the only time we see them having beer together, just the two of them, is when YH tries to bring up her affair. It makes sense that they have another serious conversation about their marriage when they have beer together in ep 16. That’s the logical inference, because in the immediate next scene, when YH comes up in conversation, she’s already in the US. (KH is more perceptive than Mom about his marital status, and goes as far as to tell DH to move in with them.)

YH waits long enough for DH to bring up divorce / where their marriage stands

In Ep 15, when DH sits down to talk, she seems to think he is going to talk about them… but then he brings up JA. And yes, like someone pointed out before, YH’s face falters when JA comes up.

Remember, if there was any chance of them getting back together: YH’s demand was that 100% of DH’s attention would go to her and her alone. Someone brought up Corinthians 13:4-7 to illustrate that true love is not selfish:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

… but YH’s “love” is envious; she is always measuring DH’s love for her… which is ironic because she doesn’t put him first herself!

As though it wasn’t enough that DH spares so much of his time and attention for his mom / brothers / neighborhood pals… How do you think YH feels that his thoughts are dominated by another woman now? Do you think she wants to salvage this marriage anymore?

@tiger457_stv adds:

In episode 14 during the directorship party for Engineer Dong Hoon at Jung Hee’s bar, Lawyer Yoon Hee already saw that she is the outsider.

She cannot fit in with these people… So she left with tears in her eyes. It was obvious that there is nothing to salvage… other than to somehow deal with their son. This is one of the reasons she is not angry with Ji-an, even though she knows how much Engineer Dong Hoon means to the girl, and probably how much Engineer cares for the girl (In Episode 15, she thought he wanted to talk about their non-marriage, when he surprised her by talking about Ji-an instead). She is the outsider, a stranger looking in. So there is no way she will continue to live in this poisonous atmosphere plus the scandal where people at the engineering firm found out about the affair. The news will spread if she stays, then how will she ever face mother-in-law??? So fresh cold air in the US is preferable, even if she has to learn the language and take the exam. She is a smart woman and can do it.   Engineer Dong Hoon is lucky that both women who enter his life are that: smart and competent… and one has moved on…

Advertisement

13 thoughts on “Dong Hoon & Yoon Hee: Did They Divorce or Not?”

  1. UnlikelyCouple1970’s says:
    KYH/PDH were college-sweethearts getting married early, before each of them actually learns about themselves and what she/he truly wants out of life: In particular, their values and expectations of an ideal family/couple/spouse… Their views turn out to be completely different (largely mutually exclusive ie no middle ground).*

    KYH spells out she’s waiting for a divorce when PDH finally realises that their marriage/love is dead (instead of because of DJY).

    Likewise, the drama does not want to send a wrong message.** It is a beautiful story about life & struggle, love, family/community, healing, redemption, rebirth and well-being.*** (The previous barriers btn PDH and LJA and the ending “allow for the further development of their relationship at the right time”. Yet, too obvious a happy ending could be somewhat distracting.)

    * that’s also the key reason PDH has to let go of the young LJA to Busan, to cool down and figure things out for herself.
    ** PDKim and Writer Park tells a story of unconditional love and forgiveness. But have to carefully avoid some audiences may merely see it as a story of an older/accomplished man achieving happiness via forming a new family with a young girl…. That’s not the story!
    *** it also emphasises self-scarifying not the solution.

    Like

    1. When I wrote the above comment I was thinking of my college buddies who married their college sweethearts. Some have worked out well. More have failed (sadly, including those with kids),… usually between their mid 30s to mid 40s. Yet, their subsequent marriages all have worked out very well. Any magic? Not really (just “having the right person”). They have everyone’s blessing.

      Some other ugly cases came to my mind: those couples decide to maintain their marriages (like running a biz), and both the husbands and the wives have their own affairs. Nasty.

      Then i start to understand the LJA/PDH storyline. I do feel bad for LJA and detest the slow and indecisive PHD. But we probably don’t want their pure and selfless love to end up as another affair (although still very different from that of KYH/DJY).

      Painful, but it has to be done this way. As Oldschooler said, “MA is a story about making a moral choice between the rightful and the wrongful way to satisfy our needs, whether it be a transgression of forbidden boundaries that inevitably hurts others, or holding back just enough to be intimate without violating the sanctity of rightful relationships… the barriers btn PDH and LJA allowed for the further development of their relationship at the right time.”

      Liked by 1 person

      1. PDH yells at director Yoon (when defending LJA) that those at work are human beings, not robots/machines…i.e. It’s the PEOPLE that matter. Likewise, I think PDH should take a step back and look at his marriage with KYH precisely the same way. All that really matters is the *well being of the people* in the marriage. Otherwise the marriage itself is meaningless.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Not sure we can use the fact that there was not much love/communication during the scenes together to conclude whether they have reconciled or not. The show deliberately makes this ambiguous. In the end we see her minding Ji An’s words and asking him to bring back beer, on the other hand we also see them not living together. In the end and after the time skip they are different persons, he is more confident, in the last episodes she learned to appreciate him reaching out.

    Like

  3. “””The scene where YH talks about how DH makes her feel lonely and never makes her his priority, it broke my heart. Every single thing she said hit the mark – how DH used to say he was having dinner with his family when his wife wasn’t even there with him. My heart broke for both of them. What a sad situation to be stuck in.”””

    The point, though, is that he did invite her to be there with him, and she always made excuses to not be there (apart from the brief initial period where she pretended to go along with it and be nice to his family, in an attempt to mold him into what she wanted). It was to the point where she never even showed up to her own niece’s wedding, in order to spend the day with her lover, and never even called to congratulate: she was her aunt! She was at the same level of family connection as her sister’s daughter!. This is no longer about small vs large family (we are talking about mother and brothers, not about a cousin thrice removed, in any case). And, as the following comment correctly points out, her words are hypocritical gaslighting: she didn’t put DH first, she was not on her side (more below), instead he did always side with her, even standing by her side when he knew of her betrayal (porridge scene, etc.), and confronting her lover about not wanting to marry her. The only thing he did not do was compromise his core values about family for her. Given that he never hid them, and that she was the one that pretended to go along with it and to be nice to them in order to ingratiate herself to him and mold him into who she wanted, I would say that he is not at fault here, and in any case he does not have any obligation to change his core values for her: he is an equal partner, not a slave that needs to agree with her or else.

    DH is a wonderful, decent human being but good god is he terrible at communication, at confrontation with anything that makes him uncomfortable. It must have been so frustrating and suffocating to live with someone like him for over 15 years.

    I would say that regarding the priority thing they did *not* have a communication issue: it’s something they discussed multiple times, including in the flashbacks in episode 6. They simply had different values: it was not a failing as a husband, again, he is not her puppet, he does not have to agree with her if he genuinely feels otherwise about an issue. This might mean they ought to go their separate ways, but in no way does it constitute an objective slight (and with her lover, she did admin that DH was kind and caring, if a bit lonesome, and most people would have been happy with him: it was a matter of different values). They did have a communication breakdown when dealing with the “not being at home issue”, in that she attacked him as usual, and he finally snapped back that he didn’t want to come back to an empty apartment, and that was why he met up with his brothers, and she acknowledged that vicious cycle.

    In terms of the silence, he swallowed his paint in silence when she said something that hurt him, rather than bother her. He did this in the first episode when she brought up not being there for the wedding of her own niece, when he recalled her not calling the whole day, and being disappointed for her absence and lack of care. The last thing I would say is that she is just as bad at communicating, because as much as he does not speak up (in order not to hurt her, because when he snaps he brings up accusations such as her never being at home, etc., while he wants to suffer in silence to support her in her career), she does not listen and try to understand him at all (throwing her words right back to her). All in all, everything she accused him of she was a billion times more guilty of, and he should really be the one to question her commitment and care and priorities, in light of what she has done. She tends to gaslight and project her faults to others, and has a tendency to snap at him every time she herself does something bad.

    But regarding the key issues, which are the family thing, he was adamant: he considers his brothers part of his family, and this does not detract from her love from her. I wish he would have pushed more on this point, asking her whether it would make sense to ask her whether she loves her son or husband more, or whether she loves her husband less now that she has had a son, given that she now loves the baby as well…. they are different kind of love (familial, friendship, romantic), and loving his family does not mean he loves her any less. Also, he could have asked, since both in the apology scene and the flashbacks in episode 6 she used her own son as a token, whether she really thinks that the child would have been happier without the support structure provided by his strong bonds with his extended family.

    “””so of course the majority of the screen time and sympathy of the audience will reside with DH. “””

    I would say that this is also due to the objective facts: she was having an affair with his worst enemy, deceiving him without a shred of guilt for a year, and stood by the man’s side as he mistreated her husband (moving him to the safety team, etc.), and planned to fire him, none of which were deal breakers: he was worth to her less than a lie about camping and talking behind her back, after twenty years and a child together. So much for “priorities”. She mined her husband for information in the initial episodes’ bribe event, feeding them to her lover, instead of standing by her husband’s side as he asked for help. She even planned to manipulate him into quitting his job and take on debt to start a new business, planning to divorce him when he quit, making the affair with his boss and tormentor come to light, which would have obviously left him shattered right when he needed to punt all his focus in the startup phase. All this while he was financially supporting his family. And even after her breakup, she showed a complete indifference as to whether he would be able to keep his job, planning to watch from the sidelines (while at the same time gaslighting him about not telling her about the promotion, while they both knew she had been the other candidate’s lover and had leaked to him information about DH during the bribe incident). By constrast, he always sided with her, even after her betrayal: he thought of her: he stood by her side and took care of her after her breakup with her lover, preparing her porridge. He responded to her harsh words and impatience with kindness.

    “””Yes YH could have handled this better and she should have asked for a divorce or something instead of having an affair with JY but it’s easier to say that in hindsight. We humans rarely do the right thing when given the choice.”””

    This is just unacceptable casuistry, a doomed attempt to handwave away the inexcusable. First of all, it is factually not true. Female cheating percentages in Korea are 10%. So it’s factually untrue that humans rarely do the right thing. In the context of the drama, none of the people DH cares about, including JA who was hired expressly to work against him, would have ever betrayed him in such a manner. So there is a 100% counterexample about the latter claim (which, incidentally, would have made him actually distancing himself from them for the sake of someone that would callously betray him so horrifically and completely, a ridiculous choice to make). DH himself would have never done such a thing, and he felt just as lonely and unheard, while being even more unhappy (he was borderline suicidal in episode 5 and 6, considering first freezing to death, then jumping off a bridge).

    As for hindsight being 20/20, this is obviously ridiculous: it was perfectly clear from the get go (no need to be nostradamus) that she should have divorced, like her own sister in law, just to name someone in the exact same situation, was in the process of doing to DH’s brother, and not betrayed her husband physically, emotionally and financially, and deceived him. She clearly knew that what she was doing was wrong, she was not under the mistaken impression that betraying her husband after twenty years and a child together was not utterly appalling, which is why she was sneaking around and deceiving DH for a year. Again, she knew he was a very good person, and admitted that he was kind and reliable, if lonesome, and anyone else would have been happy to be with him. She knew they merely had a difference in values. And DH was correct to point out about asking for divorce, and about drawing a distinction between unhappiness and betrayal: being unhappy not being a sufficient condition, and a complete lack of respect for you partner being a necessary one. Remember that her lover was divorced, and her own sister in law was going to divorce DH’s brother (their son was accepting of this situation, and in any case they are wealthy seoulites and the kid is already living alone in the US where this is a non issue), and for that matter YH was planning to divorce him as well. Instead, as already mentioned, she had an affair with his boss and torment, his worst enemy, and stood by his side while he planned to fire him with the help of an accused murderer, while she herself was trying to manipulate him, playing on his own insecurities, with the intend of getting him out of a job, which as I explained above would have ended in a complete disaster.

    Like

  4. “To be fair, YH prompts him to share his mind with her plenty of times, but he either evades it or doesn’t respond. ”

    This is not true, she does no invite him to share his mind only to receive silence. When he responds shortly, it’s either because he suspects/knows of the affair, is hurt by one of her uncharitable and unfair attacks (the bit about the food when talking about him finding the bribe money and telling her her lover was greedy), or is otherwise embarrassed (i.e. his niece’s wedding where he was the only one that didn’t know about the plan to steal the money, and was embarrassed by that and upset by her being absent and not calling him all day).. She says things that upset him, and he does not want to snap back at her (like he does for example when he tells her that he does not want to come back to an empty house), so he swallows his paint and bears with it in silence (like he does in the first episode, when she missed the wedding of her own niece in order to spend a day with her lover, and didn’t bother to call to congratulate her, or call DH in general all day). It should be pointed out that he obviously does not feel at ease *now* that she is having an affair, and in general she was always snapping at him, gaslighting him about things she was billions of times more guilty of, and uncharitably attacking him every time she herself did something wrong (like questioning his care, priorities and commitment, after having an affair with his worst enemy, where they conspired to get him fired/out of a job, and not considering either her lover’s mistreatment of him -such as moving him to the safety team- or attempt to get him fired to be deal breakers, while him badmouthing and lying about camping was… so much for priorities, after twenty years and a child together-. Not to mention the indifference with which she planned to watch from the sideline, uninterested in whether DH kept his job, immediately before she learned he knew of her betrayal).

    I would say that, on the important underlying issue, they did discuss them multiple times, so there was no communication issue there: in the episode 6 flashbacks we see that they has out the family issue. Now, it’s true that he came back to an empty home and did the housework, then didn’t even turn on the TV when she immediately went to the studio, and being lonely, but not wanting to bother her because he wanted to support her in her career, he turned to his brothers. She admitted that she was a part of that vicious cycle, and that was something they had not hashed out in the past, because he usually kept silent when she attacked him, not wanting to snap back and hurt her, but rather to bear the pain and loneliness in silence in order to support her in her job. But the key issue about their views of family was hashed out.

    I must say that here I see a clear nationality split, most of the people in the US probably don’t understand the context, given the rarity of families living nearby or in the same building, but in Southern Europe it’s pretty common, in my own family I have parents and relatives living with the wife’s or husband’s in-laws in the same building, let alone the same town (small town, everyone knows everyone else, bit like that neighborood). By contrast, we would find her perspective and the fact that she even missed her own niece’s wedding in order to spend time with her lover, not even calling to offer congratulations, as completely crazy, well beyond a small vs large family (talking about extended family when referring to mother and two brothers also sounds ridiculous: we are not talking about a cousin thrice removed, which in some contexts here could also be included in the family… YH’s brain would probably explode if she discovered such a reality, I would imagine).

    There is also the fact that she had equal communication issues, always attacking him about things she was a billion times more guilty of, gaslighting him and uncharitably attacking him every time she did something wrong (for example, questioning his priorities, care, trust and loyalty in light of her own complete physical/emotional/financial betrayal and deception). By contrast, she never actually listened to what he said (taking his words, such as asking her whether she needed something, etc., for granted, until JA helped her see the kindness in those small gestures… also, the flashback in the car made her remember how he always answered with kindness to her harsh words and impatience and gaslighting).

    “””Home should be the place where people feel the most at ease – but both YH and DH put their guards up around each other, and there’s a lot of tension in the air. YH seemed the most at ease around JY while they were still having the affair. And DH shared his thoughts the most when he’s alone with either Sang Won or JA…”””

    In this context, I would say that given the way she treated him snappily, etc., always attacking him and nitpicking (from the bit in the first episode about the food, which she cared about more than him finding the bribe money, which was clearly an attack prompted by him mentioning her lover’s greed, hitting a bit too close to home, given that she was mining him for information to feed that very same boss that was tormenting and planning to fire him). But I would not agree about the point you make as to the conversations with her lover. First of all, their very first scene together is a fight where she questions his care and commitment in a manner very reminiscent of her fights with DH -one year into the relationship and not living together, and they already seem to be headed in a similar situation as her current marriage, which to me signals a pattern of possessiveness/insecurity/need for constant validation: something better discussed with a therapist than with her partner-. Then, there is the way she talks about DH and says he is kind and reliable, if lonesome, and any other woman would have been happy with him, admitting it was just a matter of having different values, and JY refuses to share details about his love life. Clearly, this worked only during the honeymoon phase, and later on their conversation degraded when she realized he was feeding her hogwash and never told her anything truthful (though some of his observations, such as her still having much love for DH, are up in the air in terms of truth or falsehood… one would guess not, given everything she did against him, and her indifference to him keeping his job until right before she discovered he knew of her affair… then again, she constantly brought the guy up -which irritated her lover-, and the very pain she feels when wanting to matter to him does seem something that wouldn’t be there if she had no feelings for him… again, up in the air, but in this case it was certainly not a comment in JY’s favor, so I would say he was sincere at least regarding his perception of her situation).

    Like

  5. “””She cannot fit in with these people… So she left with tears in her eyes.”””

    I think that it was realization about how little she knew of her own husband’s backstory with his friend, and the guilt she felt when looking at his brothers.

    “””The news will spread if she stays, then how will she ever face mother-in-law??? So fresh cold air in the US is preferable, even if she has to learn the language and take the exam. She is a smart woman and can do it. Engineer Dong Hoon is lucky that both women who enter his life are that: smart and competent… and one has moved on…”””

    I don’t think that the first part is plausible. They know about it at DH’s company because that’s where the CEO was removed and imprisoned, but she has never met anyone else from his company, nor she ever will, either here or in the US. Here going to the US does not make any difference.

    As for being “lucky”, given what she did to him, and the fact that she was the kind of disloyal person that would betray him with a man that suppressed him at word and humiliated either in person or through the good he had put him under, on top of planning to fire him, and would have deceived him about that indefinitely, I would say that the only “luck” they had, if any, was the kid. Less spitefully, they wanted different things from life, and this is not just about communication: he was ready to compromise, she was not ready to accept his compromise (nitpicked and spurned it), and didn’t want to make one of her own. They both are unwilling to compromise on their values. So it would have been 20 years gained if they had never gotten together (or 15… from my understanding the split was 5 friendship, 5 bf/gf, 10 marriage, as per JY telling her about her “family of 10 years”).

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s