Breaking Down Toxicity In Love Featuring Marriage and Divorce Pt. 1

Warning: This article contains spoilers 
Disclaimer: This article is written subjectively from my point of view

Trigger Warning: This article and drama discuss various forms of domestic abuse

Proceed at your own discretion

Everyone deserves relationships free from domestic violence. If you or anyone you know is experiencing domestic violence, contact the National Domestic Hotline at 1800-799-SAFE (United States) or contact your local law enforcement.

From the writer of New tales of Gisaeng comes a new addition to the trend of rich people behaving badly, and in this drama, they sure are not holding back. Love (ft. Marriage and Divorce) showcases three married women who work together at a radio station and it just so happens that the husbands of all three women are cheating. The coincidence does not end there ladies and gentlemen, because all three mistresses happen to also know each other and create a close trio. I remember when I watched the drama On The Way To The Airport there was a lot of chatter from netizens of disapproval towards glamorizing divorce. Here we are 5 years later, divorce being served on a golden platter.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a big advocate for divorce because for the most part it allows women the freedom to leave a toxic and oppressive situation. There are more patriarchal countries in the world than not, and even those with large feminist movements tend to have governing bodies made out of a single-gender. Therefore there is nothing like serving divorce papers, claiming the alimony owed, and walking away from a bad marriage to ease the mind. The focus of this article is not to promote divorce however, but instead simply analyze the toxic traits presented by the characters in the drama.

Kim Dong Mi played by Kim Bo Yun

Starting off with possibly the most unstable character on the show, Kim Dong Mi, who is married to the wealthy Shin Ki Rim, father to one of the cheating husbands Shin Yoo Shin. Savvy? Now, Kim Dong Mi has raised Shin Yoo Shin as a loving stepmother since he was a young child and the two have developed what could be argued as an inappropriate relationship at times. The term I would prefer to use here is grooming. However, the mother-son relationship is not yet sexual although Kim Dong Mi sure dreams for it to happen.

In terms of her relationship with her husband who is considerably older than her, Kim Dong Mi is a loving wife and caregiver (or at least she pretends to be). Under the guise of a loving wife, she is actually slowly poisoning her husband and plotting ways to get rid of Shin Yoo Shin’s wife despite sharing a daughter together. The fixation and attraction on her stepson, that she has raised from childhood, is quite disturbing to say the least, but not as disturbing as the fact that she is determined to succeed.

In addition to grooming her stepchild and murdering her husband through poisoning (not to mention elderly abuse), Kim Dong Mi decides to move in with her step-son and daughter-in-law. Now in close proximity to the object of her affection, she also gains close access to Yoo Shin’s wife Sa Pi Young who she begins to drug in order to spend more time with him. Personally, with each episode, I pray she gets caught and ends up in prison for her crimes but my experience with the writer tells me it won’t happen for some time.

Love featuring Marriage and Divorce takes an interesting spin on domestic physical abuse by making the woman the abuser. “According to South Korea’s national survey in 2010, intimate-partner abuse — encompassing emotional, physical and sexual forms — occurred in 53.8% of married couples, and in 81.9% of those cases, it was wives being abused by husbands” (Times, 2017).

The republic of Korea’s  “Special Act for the Punishment of Domestic Violence defines domestic violence crimes as acts of assault, injury, abandonment, abuse, arrest, confinement, intimidation and so on between family members which inflict physical, mental, or property damage” (WHO, 2009).

I can’t quite trace where Kim Dong Mi’s lack of mental stability comes from based on the information presented to us thus far. I can’t imagine she was forced into a marriage with Shin Ki Rim and even if that was the case, there were no signs of obstacles for her to get a divorce from him (aside from no longer having a relationship with Yoo Shin). I find myself unable to relate or sympathize with her character based on the awful and unjustified actions she has taken thus far. I admit it’s not fun to play nurse to an old man you have no attraction for, but it seems a theme in the drama, that the women would rather stick it out in an unhappy marriage despite their own mental well-being at risk. One thing is for sure, the writer needs to include more mental health specialists for her character in the drama. That being said, I hope you can expect more toxicity in the upcoming articles!

Edited by Sumi (1st editor), BrightestStar (2nd editor)

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