I’m a man in my 40s living in Seoul. When I was young, I couldn’t even date because all I did was work. My parents died early, and I had to raise my little sister. I think I only worked throughout my 20s as my younger sister studied hard and entered a good university. I felt my hard work paid off when she reached legal age. However, her nagging increased for me to date girls. “You had sacrificed for me so long, it’s time you meet a nice girl and settle down. Don’t worry about me anymore.”
Of course, I also wanted to have a girlfriend and live, however, it couldn’t happen just because I wanted it. I had no parents, no money, and barely graduated from a two-year college. What good woman would welcome me, I thought. However, I guess there is such a thing as a soul mate. Even for a guy like me, at 37, I met a girl. She was a contracted worker at my company and not only was she pretty but also kind, so I fell in love with her.
I didn’t even dare to ask for a date, but at a company party, she got drunk and started to flirt with me. I was quite excited because I had never been so close to any woman. Then as she leaned on me, she said, “Don’t you know that I like you?” At that moment, my heart started to beat so loudly that I feared she would hear it. That’s how we became lovers. At work, we pretended to be just co-workers, but off work, we dated as any lovers, trying out famous restaurants, and spent a year happily together.
Since my girlfriend’s age was in her mid-30s and I was close to 40, we had to think about marriage. However, many things were needed to get married. The biggest problem was money. Usually, the groom is responsible for getting the newlywed house, but I only had about thirty thousand dollars, which was not enough even for a deposit for a multi-unit lease. I also had to worry about leaving my younger sister alone. I brought it up casually to my sister, and she said that she would move out into a studio for us to move into our place as our newlywed home.
Although the housing was resolved, our place was not that good. It was on the second floor of a shabby multi-unit residence. I was sure my girlfriend would not be happy about it. After fretting about it a while, I finally brought it up to my girlfriend. “It is difficult for me to say this, but because I had to take care of my younger sister and myself, I don’t have much cash savings. If we get married, we have to live in my place where I used to live with my sister, and I can’t afford a luxurious wedding. Still, is it right that we get married unexpectedly?” My girlfriend was very understanding and accepted it.
“I’m not from an affluent family myself, and I contributed to my family too, so my savings are less than ten thousand. If we both work hard together, wouldn’t we be okay?” Hearing my girlfriend’s words, I was elated. I thought I shouldn’t lose her, so I proposed to her formally and began our wedding preparations. My girlfriend’s family didn’t seem to welcome me, who had no family and without any particular skills. However, my girlfriend strongly appealed to her parents, and they reluctantly permitted us to marry.
As we became busy with the wedding, we needed someone to officiate our marriage and sing the wedding song. We decided to ask my girlfriend’s high school teacher to officiate and my friend to sing at the wedding. We personally visited her teacher to ask, but I didn’t have time to meet my friend, so we decided to meet him at the wedding and thank him later. Finally, the long-awaited wedding day arrived. Because I had no parents, my distant uncle and aunt sat at the head table, and my sister looked happy as she watched the ceremony. Even my father and mother-in-law, who really didn’t like me, had bright expressions on their faces.
I greeted the guests at the entrance and my bride at the bride’s seat. Then the photographer came up to me and said that I needed to take photos with the bride. So I went to the bridal suite alone and found my friend who was singing at the wedding. He must have come to greet the bride, but her expression was very dark. I wondered if my friend did something to cause that. “You should have come to see me first. What’s the matter with you coming to see the bride here alone? You looked very busy, so I came to greet the bride first.”
At his words, my bride glanced at my friend and let out a small chuckle. In truth, looking at her, I somehow did not feel good about it, but I just ignored it, thinking that I must be too sensitive due to the wedding. Fortunately, the wedding was finished smoothly, and we left for Southeast Asia on our honeymoon. Just as we got to the hotel, my friend called me. He said he didn’t even get to congratulate me at the wedding due to all the excitement. “Thank you. When we return from our honeymoon, come to our house for a visit.”
I invited my friend to come to our house the weekend after we returned from our honeymoon, and my friend readily accepted it. A few days later, we returned home after completing our happy honeymoon. We had some vacation days left over, allowing us to get over our jet lag. It was the weekend my friend came over, just as he promised. We ordered chicken, and my wife prepared a stew dish herself. We drank rice wine, talking about the good old days, and spent the evening happily. “Hey Sucho, thank you for singing at our wedding.”
“It’s nothing, Jinhyuk. Are you still working at that small company?” “Yes, why?” My friend let out a deep sigh and started to preach to me. “There’s no future working at a small company. Your wife is kind, so she married you. But there’s no future. Why not go into business with me? Actually, I am making a lot of money running a restaurant.
It hasn’t been long since I opened the restaurant, but with deliveries, I am raking in the money.” Truthfully, I was surprised because it was the first time I witnessed his boasting. I never heard that he was making a lot of money, and especially that he quit his job and started a business, which was complete news. Moreover, his attitude was not the same. It was very odd to hear the way he spoke, full of bravado.
“Is that right? Well, more money could be earned from doing business, but not everyone could do it. For me, I am just content to be a wage earner for the rest of my life.” By the way, when will you get married? Do you have a girlfriend?” My friend replied, smirking. “I have money, so would I have any problems getting girls? If you have money, of course, girls follow. I can get married at any time, but I want to enjoy single life more.” That’s what my friend said. He did nothing but brag about himself before he left.
After he was gone, I felt strange. He used to be a simple and humble guy like me. I was happy for him that he became successful, but it was certain that it had gone to his head. After the housewarming was over, our newlywed life began. However, after only three months, my wife said she wanted to quit working. I was disconcerted because we had plans to have kids and felt we should both work to save money. However, she was adamant. “I’m a contract worker, so I have to quit soon anyway. I’m sick and tired of being pushed around. It’s a contract job, but it can be extended.”
“We’re going to have kids, so shouldn’t we save some money?” “How little do I even earn for you to say that? If we are careful with your wage, we could live well enough, right?” She snuggled up to me, coaxing softly. She looked so cute, but I told her to let us think about it more before quitting her job. A few days later, she brought up her job issue again, demanding a decision about quitting. Cautiously, I said she should stay with her job a little longer.
As the head of the household, I felt guilty insisting my wife to work. But since she married me knowing that, I believed we needed to combine our income by working hard. However, my wife thought differently, so in the end, it’s money more than me. “I’m having such a hard time. I wish you would be in business like Sucho and earn a lot of money. But you said that you would be a wage earner for the rest of your life, didn’t you?” At that moment, I became angry when she said that. When she compared me to my friend, my pride was hurt as a man. I had a big role with her that day and drank two cans of beer at the convenience store.
My wife pouted. Ever since that incident, she was the same, even much later. Eventually, I gave in to her and told her she could quit if she wished. Since she said she could live on my wage alone, I felt that we would manage somehow. I thought if we united together and were thrifty, it would be possible. My wife became excited and immediately quit her job. Then an unexpected problem came up. Contrary to my expectation that if we were careful, we could live on my wage, our finances started to go into a hole instead.
My wife’s spending habits did not lessen, and actually, the opposite. She bought luxury brand clothes and makeup, shopping at department stores. Honestly, I couldn’t believe it. I saw a large luxury brand shopping bag one day, so I asked her about it. Without batting an eye, she answered casually, “I bought it on small installments, so it’s okay, right?” Of course, it wasn’t okay. I yelled at her to immediately go and get a refund, but my wife didn’t budge.
I became so angry and sad. “I didn’t know you were this kind of woman. Yes, I may not earn as much as other men. However, you married me knowing that, so shouldn’t you adjust accordingly? How could you just do what pleases you?” As I yelled, she yelled back, “No, you were like this even before I got married. I used the balance of my pay after giving money to my mom and dad all for myself. Just because I am married, how could I live without even spending this much?”
It was a hopeless fight. In retrospect, I realized that I did not know too much about my wife. I felt helpless about how we could live out our future. A few days later, I got a call from one of my married friends. He also knew Sucho, who sang at my wedding, so I sent a text message to invite him. “I am having a drink with Seong-ho. Do you want to come also?” “I can’t because I have some business. Just have fun yourselves.”
I thought nothing of it and met my friend. We talked frankly over a drink, and I freely talked about my worries. They were mostly about my wife because he was married also. He seemed to empathize with me fully. Still, he also sided with my wife, saying that’s the nature of women. He advised me to try to be understanding because wives want to brag about their spouse to their friends by showing off luxury brand items. A temporary happening, that she will quiet down the line.
When I heard that from my friend, I thought I might have been too hard on my wife. On my way home after drinking until dawn, I thought I should say sorry first and reconcile with my wife. I got home and went up the stairs, trying not to wake her up. I had earlier told my wife that since I would be drinking late, I go directly to work without coming home. When I thought it over, I thought I was too harsh on her.
I quietly opened the front door and saw a strange man’s shoes at the entrance. I didn’t know whose they were, but they were young men’s shoes. The reason a young man was in this house meant just one thing. I held my breath and tiptoed toward the bedroom. I didn’t even have to open the door as it was slightly ajar. I could see through that opening a strange man’s naked body and my wife lying underneath him.
I was so shocked that I almost let out a scream, but I swallowed it and turned on my phone camera to take a photo. The shutter made a sound, but their moans were so loud that the shutter sound was drowned out. It flowed out from my eyes, but doesn’t Jinhyuk really know that we used to date? At that moment, my ears perked up. That man was the friend who sang at our wedding. “Yes, he doesn’t know. He really has no sense. Of course, he would never in a million years even imagine about you and me.”
I quietly listened to their conversation. Those two were having fun and sneering about me. “Do you know how surprised I was to see you at the wedding after so many years? It shocked me that you were marrying Jinhyuk. Your popularity wasn’t much anymore. I thought, how could you dump me for being a loser? Well, that’s why I’m seeing you again like this now. You have something. It’s so annoying. Why meet at my wedding? If I had seen you earlier, I would have married you instead.”
I couldn’t stand their talk any longer, and I kicked the door, barging in. The two were shocked and scrambled for a blanket to cover their naked bodies. I punched that bastard a few times and kicked him out. I didn’t even want to call him a friend. I stood in front of my wife. She barely put on a nightgown and stood in front of me shedding tears. I honestly had nothing more to hear from her, but I demanded an explanation.
She said she had dated my friend a few years ago. He didn’t see her until the day of the wedding to sing. My wife’s excuse was that she was surprised that he even called when we were on our honeymoon. And when I invited him to our house, she
Certainly, here’s the continuation of the story:
she was taken back to her old emotions temporarily. However, while I was listening to her story, I strangely felt a cold feeling emanating from her. She didn’t seem to feel sorry as she spoke.
“So, what are you going to do?” I asked.
She answered, “I want to restart with Sucho. It’s hard to live with you.”
I heard that it’s hard for her because I had no money. I felt I would only become pitiful if we continued any longer. So, with a broken heart, I decided to leave my wife. I still had love left for my wife, but I couldn’t be with her, who had someone else in her mind.
After the divorce, I lived in despair like a broken man for over a year, but it was my sister who gave me strength. After graduating from college, she cheered me up with good news that she was successful in entering medical school. She came over and said, “Brother, forget about that woman. When I become a doctor, I’ll help you live in luxury.” I couldn’t stay in despair when I had a sister like that. I gritted my teeth to overcome my depression and went back to my usual bright self.
However, I didn’t date as the wounds were just too deep. Time passed on, and I worked diligently while my sister became a doctor. The doctor’s salary was definitely different. She was hired on a salary, and her pay was quite high. Thanks to her, I traveled abroad and received many gifts to repay my sacrifices in raising her. She said that if I brought a woman, she would buy me a car and a house. I was grateful even if they were just words.
I was able to go on and forget about my ex-wife. Then one day, my sister and I went shopping at a department store and went to eat at a nearby restaurant. There, I saw a familiar silhouette. The waitress doing the serving was my ex-wife. I was so startled that I tapped her, and she looked very shaken as soon as she saw me. My ex-wife’s gaze turned to my sister. Since my sister had bought bags full of luxury brand handbags and clothes, my ex seemed very surprised to see those.
My sister said she was offended to be in the same restaurant with my ex-wife and left. I grabbed my ex and asked, “Are you working here?” Unlike before, she looked haggard. Her eyes twinkled with interest in my sister and asked if she married a rich man. I told her that she graduated from medical school and became a doctor. I could see that my ex-wife’s eyes fluttered much. She was astonished that my sister, whom she thought was ordinary, became so successful.
Aren’t you happy?” I thought I heard that from someone. She sat down and started to sob loudly as other people began to stare at her crying. I felt embarrassed and took her to a nearby cafe. Sitting at the cafe, she calmed down and told me about what happened to her.
“The Sucho Kim committed fraud on me,” while sniffling with tears, she cursed my friend full of hatred. “He said his restaurant was successful, so I left you to marry him. But it was all a lie. Let alone a restaurant, he was nothing but an unemployed bum. The car he drove was all from that. And when I divorced him after only three months, my parents refused to see me and kicked me out. So I ended up working here. Honey, I was defrauded.”
I was speechless. How could a person be so stupid? She was pathetic. I still felt sorry to see her so shabby and living a hard life. So, I squeezed a hundred dollar bill in her hand and came out of the cafe. Then she followed me out and grabbed my arm, crying, “Honey, I’m so sorry. Could we not start again?”
At that moment, I wondered how I lived with such a shameless woman. “Are you saying you want to live with me after you abandoned me that way? Now that my sister is successful, do you want to be with me again? You shouldn’t live your life like that. You should live honestly, earning money on your own.” I shouted those words at her, pushing her arms away, and left. I heard her sobbing from behind.
I felt sorry for her for a while, but I had no intention to start over with her. My sister was shocked at her gall and had a mouthful for her. Currently, I’m back to normal, working for a company. I didn’t think I could start to date, but recently, I even have a girlfriend. My sister is still very nice to me, trying to do more for me in everything. Although in a short period, I had suffered much, but considering what I have now is happiness.