10 K-Drama Love Triangles That Made It Impossible To Pick Between Leads
Ah, the wonderful love triangle K-drama trope that we can both love and hate at the same time. When the second lead of a K-drama is introduced, it can sometimes entice feelings of second lead syndrome, wavering your heart away from the lovable main lead. But every so once in awhile, on the very rare occasion, you end up equally loving both the male lead and the second lead – a total conundrum. Here’s a look at 10 K-drama love triangles that made it impossible for us to pick between the leads.
1. Fated to Love You
Kim Min Young (Jang Nara) and Lee Gun (Jang Hyuk) first meet on a night when the two are feeling pretty vulnerable. This leads to them having a one-night stand and Min Young getting pregnant. Lee Gun tries to do the right thing and decides to get married to her despite not loving her. The two try to make it work, but Min Young gets a miscarriage, which leads to the two breaking up. It’s during this time that Lee Gun realizes his feelings for her. Can’t really blame him!
At first glance, Lee Gun seems like a knight in shining armour. He first meets Kim Min Young when she’s needing someone to lean on. He seems very understanding and wants to be there for her, but then after the two get married, he seems to not be the hero we thought he was. Even though he turns out to be somewhat of a jerk, we come to forgive him because he persists and realizes that he was wrong to Min Young. He realizes his feelings for her are strong and even when Min Young leaves the country with Daniel, Lee Gun continues to be faithful to her and even visits her mom at her restaurant regularly! Totally forgivable, right?
Then there’s the charming Daniel (Choi Jin Hyuk) who is pretty much perfection personified. He is not only there for Min Young when she’s having marital problems with Lee Gun, but he makes clear his feelings for her after she breaks up with Lee Gun. He waits for her and is completely patient while she gets over Gun. We also can’t forget to mention that over-the-top romantic proposal scene that pretty much set the standard for proposals. How can we not love the romance?!
Watch the first episode of “Fated to Love You”:
2. I Need Romance 2
“I Need Romance 2” is a tale about old first loves and new perfect loves. This is always a tough trope because you really do end up loving both male leads for various reasons. In this case, Yoon Seok Hyun (Lee Jin Wook) dated Joo Yeol Mae (Jung Yu Mi) for several years and knew her for many years before that. When the two decide to part ways, they are still neighbors, but when Yeol Mae starts dating a new guy, it obviously gets a bit complicated. We love both the guys for many reasons that we’ll delve into.
Yoon Seok Hyun
Yoon Seok Hyun knows everything there is to know about Yeol Mae. He’s known her for so long that the two can be friends after breaking up and not be that awkward at all. He’s also pretty selfless when it comes to Yeol Mae and really just wants her to be happy, even if it’s with another guy. He understands he’s got issues and never tries to blame it on her. The two are similar in many ways, which is why it makes it harder for her to move on from him completely.
Shin Ji Hoon
And then there’s one of the best second leads of all time – Shin Ji Hoon (Kim Ji Suk). The reason why Ji Hoon is such a great catch is because he’s not only completely in love with Yeol Mae, but he never tries to push himself onto her. He gives her all the space she needs and is very understanding of her relationship with her ex-boyfriend. He’s incredibly patient and communicates with Yeol Mae about any issues she might have with him. Communication is key in a relationship, and Ji Hoon uses it to gain Yeol Mae’s trust and affection pretty quickly!
Watch the first episode of “I Need Romance 2”:
3. She Was Pretty
“She Was Pretty” was a success for many reasons. Park Seo Joon as Ji Sung Joon and Hwang Jung Eum as Kim Hye Jin are the perfect leads to play an epic romantic tale. Ji Sung Joon and Kim Hye Jin meet as children and become first loves. The two have some really great chemistry and a lot of history. But when Hye Jin gets a job at Most magazine, she also meets Kim Shin Hyuk (Choi Siwon), who is totally smitten with her. The two men are both incredibly handsome and definitely give each other a run for their money.
Ji Sung Joon
Ji Sung Joon and Kim Hye Jin have a history that spans since they were children, which is why the two are meant to be. On top of this, he’s loved Hye Jin and only Hye Jin his entire life into adulthood. He is loyal and faithful to her, which is a main lead that we all can love. Even after he meets Hye Jin again and doesn’t really recognize her, we still forgive him because he’s still longing for the one girl who stole his heart. And after he realizes the not-so-attractive employee of his is the Hye Jin he fell in love with as a child, he still wants to be with her because it’s her.
Kim Shin Hyuk
And then there’s Kim Shin Hyuk, the second male lead in the series played by Choi Si Won who really did a good job of holding his own despite co-starring with Park Seo Joon. Shin Hyuk is not only good-looking, but he is so charming, wealthy, and most of all, loves Hye Jin when she is at her lowest. He loves her for who she is and doesnt care about the way she looks. Shin Hyuk could have had any woman, but he wants Hye Jin, which is pretty darn cute.
Watch the first episode of “She is Pretty”:
4. Reply 1988
Ah, the K-drama that caused an uproar amongst fans and viewers all across the world. In “Reply 1988,” Deok Sun, played by Hyeri, is caught in the midst of a love triangle with two of her best childhood friends Jung Hwan (Ryu Jun Yeol) and Choi Taek (Park Bo Gum). It was a mystery as to who Deok Sun would end up with, but it was obvious that there is a clear divide between the two sides.
First, there’s Jung Hwan, the childhood best friend who loves to poke fun at Deok Sun and make fun of her. He has a deep rooted love for Deok Sun that really comes out as they got older. He realizes his feelings for her pretty quickly, and one of the main reasons why people are so fond of Jung Hwan is because he goes about expressing his love for Deok Sun in the sweetest ways. He is also not that shy about showing her how he feels. His only downfall? – He waits too long to confess his love.
Then on the other hand, there’s Choi Taek. Choi Taek plays the innocent and pure other best friend of Deok Sun who also happens to be a badook playing genius. He is also in love with Deok Sun and is pretty obvious about his feelings for her; his longing stares and emotion-filled smiles towards her are more than showing! People were rooting for Choi Taek because he has impeccable timing, and he is just so darn sweet to her. There is nothing Taek won’t do for her!
Watch the first episode of “Reply 1988”:
5. Discovery of Love
“Discovery of Love” is a series that dwells on the story of new love and old love. There’s Han Yeo Reum’s (Jung Yu Mi) first love Kang Tae Ha (Eric) and her new boyfriend Nam Ha Jin (Sung Joon). Both of them are equally great catches, which is probably why Yeo Reum’s dilemma of being torn between the two is so intense. Here’s a look at the two men:
Kang Tae Ha
Kang Tae Ha is an architect and contractor, which is pretty perfect considering Yeo Reum’s job is making furniture. He is also very dedicated to his work and has never forgotten about Yeo Reum although they were broken up for several years. His first love and only love is Yeo Reum. Tae Ha also has a good relationship with Yeo Reum’s family and knows her inside out as a result of their long history together.
Nam Ha Jin
Nam Ha Jin is Yeo Reum’s new boyfriend, who she is in a passionate and loving relationship with. He has loads of money and very willingly wants to spend it on Yeo Reum. But besides this trait, he’s also completely and utterly in love with her. He is willing to sacrifice everything and anything to be with her. When Yeo Reum reveals that she’s spending all her time with a good-looking boss and that the boss happens to be her ex-boyfriend, he is a little upset, but he trusts her and doesn’t get angry.
Watch the first episode of “Discovery of Love”:
6. Who Are You: School 2015
“Who Are You” stars one of the most heart-wrenching love triangles in high school K-drama history. The two main leads in this series made it really hard to choose who would be better off with our female lead Lee Eun Bi (Kim So Hyun). Somehow, the both of them make perfect sense and Eun Bi really deserves both of them. She couldn’t date both, right? Here are some reasons why it is so hard to choose between the two.
Han Yi An
Han Yi An (Nam Joo Hyuk), the perfect swimmer and all around good guy. He was doting on Go Eun Byul since they were children and has never left her side. Everyone at their school knows that he’s in love with her, but when Eun Bi shows up, it completely shakes him, and he realizes that he really loves Eun Bi. His feelings for Eun Bi are genuine, and he’s not only willing to fight for her, but he puts his friendship with his Eun Byul aside in order to win Eun Bi over. Talk about dedication!
Gong Tae Kwang
Ah, Gong Tae Kwang (Yook Sungjae), the second lead we continue to dwell on today. Gong Tae Kwang is also a great guy. He had his issues in the past, but after meeting Eun Bi, he realizes that the only person in the world that he really needs is her. He spends his days and nights thinking about her and only wants to make her happy. He sticks up for her when she’s being mistreated by a bully and is always the first one there for her when she’s going through a difficult time. Seriously, how do you choose?!
Watch the first episode of “Who Are You: School 2015”:
7. The Greatest Love
“The Greatest Love” has two male leads who are both pretty perfect. Goo Ae Jung (Gong Hyo Jin) is one lucky women as she has these two solid men desperate for her affection: a movie star on one hand and a doctor on the other. There are so many reasons why people were so torn between the two characters. They are both equally so amazing!
Although Doko Jin (Cha Seung Won) and Goo Ae Jung have a rough start, the two fall in love with each other pretty quickly. The thing about Doko Jin is that he seems really out of Goo Ae Jung’s league, but he still manages to fall hard for her. He not only falls in love with her, but he is so desperate to be with her. He doesn’t care about his reputation of being a movie star, and he continues to pursue her even though the public is against it.
Yoon Pil Joo
Yoon Pil Joo (Yoon Kye Sang) literally has women lining up to be with him, but he has eyes only for Goo Ae Jung. Pil Joo is perfect for Ae Jung because he seems to always be there for her when she needs him. Even when he knows that she is going through some problems with Doko Jin, he is still a shoulder for her to lean on. Pil Joo always makes clear his feelings for Ae Jung and that he is always there for her. He is so perfectly a gentleman!
Watch the first episode of “The Greatest Love”:
8. Go Back Couple
Ma Jin Joo (Jang Nara) and Choi Ban Do (Son Ho Jun) are a married couple who are given the chance to go back in time to before they were married. They are able to relive their past and rewrite their destiny. And although Ban Do comes off as being a bit of a jerk at the beginning, he really does come around and win our hearts. Jang Ki Yong‘s role here as Jung Nam Gil is one of the first that he became famous for, and we can really see the reason why – he was very, very, unforgettable.
Choi Ban Do
Choi Ban Do plays Ma Jin Joo’s husband. The two were experiencing some really difficult times in their marriage, causing them to magically go back in time to right before they met. And while they make a decision not to make the same mistake of meeting and falling in love, Ban Do can’t help himself. He ends up watching out for Jin Joo and falls in love with her. He’s persistent and insists that he has realized that he truly loves her and ends up being the sweetest guy ever.
Jung Nam Gil
It was really hard to not get second lead syndrome with Nam Gil, especially considering how amazing he looks in a uniform. Nam Gil plays a fellow student of Jin Joo who falls head over heels in love with her. He’s there for her and very understanding of her when she’s feeling emotional. He continues to try and woo her over, opening up to her about his family problems, and really wears his heart on his sleeve. We really couldn’t get enough of him.
Watch the first episode of “Go Back Couple”:
9. Don’t Dare to Dream
Lee Hwa Shin
Lee Hwa Shin (Jo Jung Suk) plays the veteran reporter who is chased around by Pyo Na Ri (Gong Hyo Jin) for several years. Although he doesn’t reciprocate these feelings at the time, he does end up falling for her after she moves on. Lee Hwa Shin’s love for Na Ri goes so deep that he is willing to sacrifice his own happiness in order for Na Ri to be happy. He loves her in silence and loves her so deeply that he doesn’t want to jeopardize their friendship by telling her that he loves her.
Go Jung Won
Go Jung Won (Go Kyung Pyo) is perfection. And if it weren’t for the charming ways of Hwa Shin, this love triangle would be a no-brainer. Jung Won doesn’t care that his mother disapproved of his feelings for Na Ri. He gives her his credit card to spend it on whatever she wants (which she doesn’t). He is very open about his feelings for her, and there is not a single game played on his part. He makes her a dress – I repeat, he makes her a dress. After Na Ri tells him that she loves both him and Hwa Shin, he understands and is patient with her. This list could go on and on. The love that this man has for Na Ri is serious goals!
Watch the first episode of “Don’t Dare to Dream”:
10. The King Loves
“The King Loves” is a tragic love story as it involves two childhood friends who fall in love with the same girl. Won is the crown prince who is played by Im Siwan. He falls in love with San (YoonA). Won’s childhood best friend Wang Rin (Hong Jong Hyun) also falls in love with San. The two male leads equally gave us butterflies, and it made it so hard to choose who San should end up with.
The crown prince named Won falls in love with San and is willing to do anything to protect her. He loves her more than he loves himself and would give up everything in order to be with her. Won’s got charisma, charm, and status, but he doesn’t care about anything except San. Despite his love running so deep for San, Wan never forgets about his friendship with Wang Rin, which obviously makes him that much more attractive!
Wang Rin falls in love at first sight with San but can’t come to tell her because of his loyalty to his best friend. Wang Rin’s character has so much integrity and grace that it makes it really hard not to fall for him. He’s completely selfless when it comes to both San and Won, and he truly loves them both. The perfection of his character made it that much more impossible for us to pick between the two! Our hearts can’t even handle it.
Watch the first episode of “The King Loves”:
Hey Soompiers, which leads were hard for you to choose between on this list? Let us know in the comments below!
binahearts is a Soompi writer whose ultimate biases are Song Joong Ki and BIGBANG. She is also the author of “K-POP A To Z: The Definitive K-Pop Encyclopedia.” Make sure you follow binahearts on Instagram as she journeys through her latest Korean crazes!
Currently watching: “When the Camellia Blooms” and “Melting Me Softly”
All-time favorite dramas: “Secret Garden,” “Goblin,” “Because This Is My First Life,” “Star In My Heart”
Looking forward to: Won Bin‘s return to the small screen