9 K-Dramas With Heartbreaking Couple Moments That Are Peak Angst
While it’s always enticing to see the cute couple moments like the back hugs, the languid kisses, and nose bumps, sometimes we can’t help but be addicted to the drama. No matter how cute a K-drama is, there comes a point where angst needs to have its time to shine. These scenes, while gut-wrenching, can be some of the most powerful and poignant scenes to watch. Whether it be the slow, melancholic OST, the top-notch cinematography, or just the look of downright despair on the leads’ faces, some moments are so exceptional that you’re compelled to watch them as much as you do the fluffy scenes.
Here’s our list of dramas that are perfect to watch when you’re in need of some angst!
Warning: spoilers ahead!
This drama has one of the most simplistic breakups, but it certainly packs a punch. Childhood best friends, Park Ri Hwan (Lee Dong Wook) and Kim Haeng Ah (Jung Ryeo Won), struggle to keep their romantic relationship alive. Granted, it’s not because they don’t want to be together but rather because Ri Hwan’s mother (and almost every other character in the drama if we’re being honest) is against it.
Their relationship comes to an end at their spot, a.k.a a swingset at the park. The way Haeng Ah follows after him as he walks away makes my heart hurt every time but I can’t look away. It’s just so well-acted and shot. You can feel the longing and sorrow deep in your bones! Let’s just call it what it is, poetic cinema.
Start watching “Bubblegum” now:
Anyone who has seen “W” knows that Kang Chul (Lee Jong Suk) and Oh Yeon Joo (Han Hyo Joo) never let us live. Packed with drama, suspense, and angst, this drama never shies away from ripping viewers’ hearts out. Kang Chul’s tragic backstory of being framed for his entire family’s murder and spending most of his life trying to figure who the killer is doesn’t leave much room for anything but angst, let alone romance. But to be fair, he is a comic book character.
However, once Yeon Joo gets sucked into the fictional world, they are drawn to each other. Their fluffy moments are fleeting, especially when Kang Chul realizes he must set everything back to how it was. If you look up the word heartbreak in the dictionary, there is sure to be a picture of Yeon Joo crying over the tablet as she resets the comic back to the beginning.
However, the angst doesn’t just end with this. Though Kang Chul does not remember her, Yeon Joo gets sucked in because he subconsciously pulls her back into the comic after she drops the ring he gave her. Of course, it rolls all the way back to him and she’s stuck standing there with all the memories suffocating her heart. If you’re addicted to angst, you’re gonna want to watch this drama pronto!
Catch the first episode of “W” below:
Shim Cheong (Jun Ji Hyun) is one for the dramatics. Every time she separates with her fated lover Heo Joon Jae (Lee Min Ho), amnesia is sure to follow. Devastating isn’t even a word that can cover it. But what’s a girl to do when she has to keep a secret? She is a mermaid after all, and with that comes the power to erase herself from someone’s memory.
After a whimsical romance with Joon Jae as they run through the streets of Spain to evade his con victims, they are cornered on the edge of a cliff. While Joon Jae is afraid of the water, Shim Cheong knows she can save them. It’s there that she steals a kiss from him as he realizes her true identity, and she leaves him unconscious on the beach. All he’s left with is a whisper of an “I love you,” a pearl, and the jade bracelet that he’d been trying to steal from her. The cinematography on its own is enough to make anyone’s heartache but luckily the rest of the drama is there to bandage it!
Watch “The Legend Of The Blue Sea” below:
Here’s another mermaid drama that’s full of laughs and heartbreak, especially when it comes to Ha Ni J (Jo Bo Ah) and Kwon Shi Kyung (Song Jae Rim). It’s inevitable between this very naive mermaid and celebrity chef because Shi Kyung is the second male lead. However, their moment is so touching that if you watch it, it will forever be sealed on your heart.
These two seem to make the realization at the same time that Ha Ni does not love Shi Kyung but rather Hyun Myung (On Joo Wan). Shi Kyung kindly admits that cooking is all about timing and that he’s very good at it; however, his timing with Ha Ni is always off. They part ways amicably, and as Ha Ni walks away, Shi Kyung realizes that she was the one who kissed and saved him from drowning. He tearfully grips a scale from her tail that he had gotten when she had sent him back to the surface. The tears, the OST…everything about this scene is desolating. The second male lead syndrome will hit you hard.
Catch the first episode of “Surplus Princess”:
This one is a two-for-one, which is to be expected since Jo Ji Ah (Chae Soo Bin) is pretending to be a robot, Aji 3, for Kim Min Kyu (Yoo Seung Ho). Not only do you have to watch Min Kyu tearfully part from Aji 3, but you also have to go through it all over again when he finds out the truth. The first time is heart-wrenching as Min Kyu has to give up the one person (or well, robot) that cures his allergic reaction to people. He gives Aji 3 the necklace that his parents gave to him and they share a very tearful goodbye as he confesses that he loves her.
Ironically, it is the necklace that brings the truth to light. They coincidentally meet again and Min Kyu is flabberghasted at how similar she looks to Aji 3. While he says goodbye to Ji Ah after she convinced him that they were strangers, he can’t help himself. He finds her again on the water and notices the necklace hanging from her neck. This parting is even more agonizing than the first one, as Min Kyu’s feelings of disbelief, anger, and betrayal bubble up so greatly he winds up having an allergic reaction. Tears are glazed in both their eyes as Min Kyu gasps for breath and the episode comes to an end. Not only is it heartbreaking but it’s also stressful! This was especially the case if you were watching it when it was airing and you had to wait a week for the next episode. The acting though? *chef’s kiss*!
Watch the first episode of “I’m Not A Robot” below:
This one is a doozy. The whole show is about a well-known personal trainer named Kim Young Ho (So Ji Sub), who helps a woman named Kang Joo Eun (Shin Min Ah) restore her confidence. He witnesses her through her lowest points and helps her get back into shape. However, Young Ho has his own demons in his closet. An old leg injury continuously acts up, and eventually, he gets in a nasty car accident where he’s gravely injured all over again. Unwilling to let Joo Eun be there for him as he was for her, he shuts her out. He won’t even let her see him when she comes rushing to the hospital. Instead, he tells her “tap, tap” – something he had told her previously that meant to let go. Joo Eun handles it like a pro and leaves a band-aid behind to bandage both their hearts (and ours)!
Watch the first episode of “Oh My Venus”:
Ji Sun Mi (Oh Yeon So) and Son Oh Gong (Lee Seung Gi) are the king and queen of heartbreak. Their angst level is so unparalleled that it’s advised that you watch this drama with a box (or two) of tissues on hand. Fated to defeat a great evil that’s set to destroy the world, Sun Mi bounds Oh Gong to her for protection with the help of a special bracelet, geumganggo. It’s safe to say they get off on the wrong foot.
When she was a young girl, Oh Gong had tricked her into freeing him from his personal prison. And when she is an adult, he makes it very clear he’d rather be doing anything else but helping her kill demons. But as any K-drama goes, over time, he winds up falling for her. So much so, that he’s desperate to save her from their ill fate: in order to save the world, she has to die. Not only do you have to watch her die in his arms, but she’s also brought back only temporarily in the end, so they are forced to separate again.
Bumkey’s “When I Saw You” woefully rings in the background as Oh Gong presses his head to hers to gives her one of his eyes, promising Sun Mi that no matter what he will find her again. We know, it’s mad depressing, but it is hopeful! They will find each other again!
Catch the first episode of “Hwayugi” below:
“Queen For 7 Days”
Is it really a saeguk if it isn’t soul-crushing? Caught between the dirty side of politics, Shin Chae Kyung (Park Min Young/Park Si Eun) and Lee Yeok (Yeon Woo Jin/Baek Seung Hwan) can never quite catch a break. While they get on each other’s nerves when they were young, they wind up becoming as thick as thieves. But when his older brother Lee Young’s (Lee Dong Gun) ambition for the throne grows too great, Lee Yeok is exiled. The heartbreaking moment comes when Chae Kyung sneaks onto the path he is taking and sobs as she begs for him not to leave. He tearfully promises her that he will return and she promises him that she will wait. However, shortly after, he is attacked and a mauled body is brought back to the kingdom. In the end, he’s pronounced dead.
The angst and agony don’t stop here. Lee Yeok manages to survive the attack against him and reunites with Chae Kyung. However, their relationship is turbulent, as he plots to take the throne from his brother. While his plan to take the throne is successful, it, unfortunately, does not come with the happy ending that they had both wished for. Chae Kyung is ultimately exiled and breaks it off with Lee Yeok so he can be the king that the people need. They are a couple full of “almosts,” but that’s what makes them so beautiful.
Catch the first episode of “Queen For 7 Days” below:
“Father I’ll Take Care Of You”
If you’re just in the mood to be a masochist, then this is for you. The ever-handsome Han Sung Joon (Lee Tae Hwan) is set with a time-sensitive and delicate task: to rescue Oh Dong Hee (Park Eun Bin) from her kidnappers. Even more of a plot twist: Dong Hee’s kidnappers are their boss, Bang Mi Joo (Lee Seul Bi) and her father (Go In Bum). Their separation makes our hearts gloomy as they already go through so much within the 50 episodes to be together. However, Lee Tae Hwan and Park Eun Bin deliver such an impeccable performance – the longing they feel for one another oozes off the screen. Not only does he go to the house and sees all the signs that she’s there, but he also manages to sneak her a secret message through her drama script.
Your heart will cry the most when he stands outside the house with tears in his eyes, as he whispers her name out to the wind. It’s beautiful and utterly heartbreaking but in the best way!
Of course, these aren’t the only heartbreaking, couple separation moments that made us cry. Which K-drama breakup is your favorite? Tell us in the comments below!
kaityv spends most of her time watching K-dramas even though she should be writing. If she’s not watching a drama then she’s for sure binging BTS, iKON, and Red Velvet music videos.
Currently watching: “Romance Is a Bonus Book”
All-time favorite: “Strong Woman Do Bong Soon”
Looking forward to: “So I Married An Anti-Fan,” “Vagabond,” and “My First First Love”