Posted : 2009-12-28 19:14
Updated : 2009-12-28 19:14

Innocent Cougars?

By Kwon Mee-yoo
Staff Reporter

More women are dating younger men.

Typically, the age difference varies from a few months to around nine years.

Although these women might not be aware of it, in some cases, they are courting men who were in elementary school when they were college students.

Gmarket, the online marketplace, surveyed women's dating patterns and the results indicated that 30 percent of them would date males two years younger than themselves. About four women out of 10 have dated younger men and 34 percent said they wanted to.

Seol Sun-young, 25, an office worker, has been dating her boyfriend, who is one year younger than her, for four years. "We met at university and I was a sophomore when he entered," Seol said.

She said the best thing about her boyfriend was that he pays attention to what she says.

"I don't mind dating a younger man, but I'm not sure about our future," she said. "I have worked at my company for two years and am settled now, while he is still a student seeking a job."

There are many celebrity couples where the female is older than the male.

Choi Ji-woo, 34, famous for starring in "Winter Sonata," is dating Lee Jin-wook, who is six years younger than her.

They met while filming the television drama "Air City" in 2007 and have been going out for more than two years now.

Lee has currently been serving his compulsory military service since May and Choi says she is waiting for him to finish his tour of duty.

Veteran actor couple Jeon No-min, 43, and Kim Bo-yeon, 51, comprise another famous celebrity couples, where the wife is nine years older than her husband.

MBC TV's popular dating reality program "We Got Married" put Ga-in, 22, of the Brown Eyed Girls and 2AM boy band leader Jo Kwon, 20, together. Ga-in appears to wear the pants in their virtual relationship.

The trend is backed by the latest survey from Statistics Korea. According to its survey, in the 1990s, men were older in more than eight out of 10 marriages, but the percentage dropped to 70 percent in 2008.

Matchmaking company Duo conducted another survey, showing 55 percent of women and 49 percent of men don't care about age as long as they love one another.

Lee Myung-gil, a dating coach at Duo, said the trend shows that women don't depend on men as they once did.

"In the 1990s, females still accepted the prevalent patriarchal system.

"However, nowadays, women consider themselves as equal partners and think that men should share responsibilities at home," Lee said.

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