I Need Romance: Do You Want to Rant or Rave About the Ending?

From the very first episode until the very last episode, I Need Romance remained consistent for me. It was consistently different and elegantly presented. Focusing on the lives, loves, and friendship of three women in their thirties living in Korea, INR packed a lot of interesting issues to ponder into each 45-minute episode. For me, all of the characters felt real, and their reactions and relationships were relatable for me. I found myself going been-there-done-that a few times, and even situations that were never first-hand for me, I could empathesize with these fictional people because they reacted like real people would.

I wrote a first impressions review of INR, but never fully loved this drama enough to elect to recap it. The sixteen episodes were so breezy I didn’t feel like undertaking the pen-to-paper recap tedium for this drama. I would have never even written this final piece had the ending for this drama not been so divisive. I actually see both point of views, but was curious to see WHY others felt the way they do about In Young’s decision. Did you hate the ending? Found it realistic and honest? And does your opinion stem from personal experience? I would love to hear people share some thoughts on romance, marriage, cheating, reconciliation and forgiveness with me. Spoilers about the ending after the jump, so you’ve been warned.

The ending finds In Young choosing, in an honest, straightforward, and decent way (as she has been all drama long) between Seung Hyun, her new boyfriend, staying single for the time being, and in the end, giving her ten-year relationship with her ex-boyfriend Sung Soo another chance. In Young doesn’t actually choose between the two men, she looks at all her choices and says yay or nay to each individually and separately.

So she looks at Seung Hyun first, a good man who genuinely does love her as she loves him, and sees a future fraught with class struggled that might dog her every step of the way. Yes, she can work towards being accepted by Seung Hyun’s uppercrust friends and family, and but it’s still a tough uphill climb. She doesn’t want that. Between love and preserving her dignity and self-respect, she chooses the latter. She doesn’t want to take that chance with Seung Hyun. She’s a Cinderella who says no to the palace because she’ll be living in a gilded cage.

With respect to Sung Soo, who spent the beginning of the drama cheating on her, feeling bad but not really, rationalizing everything and nothing, and only in the end genuinely understanding the depth and breadth of what he lost with In Young, he comes clean with her father about his misdeeds towards In Young and begs for forgiveness. From her father. On his knees. Completely sincere and without any excuse. He explains why (he was young and immature and selfish), but he asks for the full brunt of her father’s anger towards him.

In Young hears this, sees this, and takes it into consideration. In the end, seeing Sung Soo outside her house, standing next to that very light pole where they first kissed, she runs into his arms and takes him back. Without any demands or anymore anger, she wants to take another chance with him. It might work out, or it might. But that is her choice.

Between a new love faced with the perils of class disdain and an old love faced with the possibility of retread, she goes for Sung Soo. Because she has never ever stopped loving him, even when she fell in love with Seung Hyun. In Young’s journey strikes me as so modern and real, because love is not a one-track road, and feelings have multiple avenues to flower and grow.

I don’t know how I would have chosen had I been In Young. Sung Soo cheating on her before multiple times doesn’t mean he’ll do it again. Seung Hyun having never cheated on her doesn’t mean he won’t if he’s with In Young for ten years like Sung Soo was. Both guys come with the risk it will fail in the long term for various reasons, cheating included, but also bitterness stemming from familial pressures and societal mores. I think In Young chose to take the risk with Sung Soo because he was the one she truly loved with all her heart. Since both choices have its incipient risk, Sung Soo was the one she wanted to take that risk with.

I like Seung Hyun a lot, his personality was truly sincere and charming. I found Sung Soo to be funny and endearing, full of so many flaws and weaknesses, but ultimately he felt like a real person. I don’t think relationships are ever black and white, and it’s impossible to guess the future. I think In Young went with a combination of her heart and her head. Had Seung Hyun not come with so much family and wealth baggage, she would have chosen him, because she loved him. But she didn’t love him enough to accept the weighted package. She looked back at Sung Soo and saw the man she loved for ten years and never stopped loving, and decided to take a chance with him. I’m not sure her choice is wrong, but it’s definitely the unpopular one.

What does make me totally perplexed is how the drama threw in some curve balls at the end. After Sung Soo and In Young get engaged, the drama alludes to Sung Soo once again being stirred when meeting a pretty and intriguing girl, AND it also alludes to In Young’s heart thumping for another man who might find her attractive. I’m not sure what the drama was getting at, other than trying to show that people will always be tempted. Recall that In Young was already attracted to Seung Hyun even when she was still dating Sung Soo early on in the drama, so she’s naturally going to be moved when situations arise. But she flashes her ring and says she’s taken.

So we’re left with a drama that was surprisingly winning and interesting, executed deftly with really wonderful directorial flourishes that added immense joy to watch, but ultimately the takeway felt so……limp. The ending was so practical and realistic that it didn’t deliver the drama catharsis we seek from our entertainment, the feeling of fist-pumping joy or gut-wrenching sadness. Instead, the drama seemed to say to us all “this is how life works, suckers”.

Did you like the ending or hated it? Care to share why? I think a person’s relationship history might strongly color what they think about this ending. For example, it would be fascinating for me to hear that a youngster hated the ending but a woman with a long relationship history may have loved it. INR is not a story about romance in the abstract, but a story about romance grounded in the frustration of the realistic. I appreciated taking the journey with In Young and her friends, but ultimately this is not a drama I’m going to have a hard time letting go.

Finally, this drama really was such a visual treat to watch, and for that, I’ll always remember it fondly. Have some screencaps from episode 16 for the road.


I Need Romance: Do You Want to Rant or Rave About the Ending? — 63 Comments

  1. I thoroughly enjoyed the finale because In Young made a choice based on logic. She found her core and knew that life with Sung Soo would be a lot smoother for her than a fairytale ending with Seung Hyun. I feel the icing on the cake was SS confessing to IY’s father in the most sincere possible way and his willingness to bare the brunt of father’s rath so that IY could be free to have a relationship with SH (who he didn’t know was no longer an option for her by her own choice). The ending was just reality kicking in as we can be in love yet feel physically attracted to another person. One does not exclude the other.

  2. Hello!
    Oh~ Here is my place 😀

    I hated the ending, honestly. I wish I hadn’t watch it.
    I can accept that ”he cheated and wouldn’t do it again” but I couldn’t accept his whole attitude about what he did.
    Instead of feeling sorry from the moment he did it, instead of trying his best to be forgotten, and show her that he really deserves a second…ehm… another chance, he did what?what??????
    He told her that he sees her as a little sister, he actually made a relationship with Kang Hee, then he wished for her that SH will hurt her more than he did (!!!!!!!!!!) , so she can be back to him and he ”asked” for her to ”cheat” twice so they can be even.
    This is not how you feel truly sorry for someone.
    He smirked from arrogance when her knees bent , and he did it each time IY was favoring him, or he was ”winning” against SH.
    Isn’t a terrible bastard or not?
    The fact that he was there for her, and act like a friend, says NOTHING to me. Of course he loved her as a human, but that doesn’t mean that she should be involved romantically with him.. AGAIN!!!!
    If IY couldn’t end with SH *sobs* , she should – at least – stay alone from the time being…
    I was really dissapointed by the end. For all the girls.
    I though the whole thing is about ”maturing” and the progress that each individual makes in their relationships and love.
    SY, ended .. alone? I know that her attitude was always that way, but it was supposed to be matured through the whole series. If not, what was the reason of her role to exist? Just to sleep around with the hotties?
    (Photographer, you are my dream man, you know it? *faints*)
    The Ex-Virgin? Ok, she ended up with Duk-Soo. Yes, the one who SLAPPED her.

    • Yes he cheating and was wrong, and I do agree that he could have showed a little bit more regret, but like he said at the end to her father, he always just assumed she would be there. And he was smirking at those times, not derisively at her but at the fact that she still loves him, like she’s trying to deny it. He wish SH would hurt her more but then when he thinks she’s getting hurt, he tries to help her. It was an empty wish and we see through out that he’s willing to send her to another guy if that would make her happier.

      And he says the cheat twice thing but never once stands by it. He says a lot of empty words in anger and you keep talking about them despite the fact that he continually contradicts them in his actions.

      And by the way, SH stepped back from the relationship as well. Realizing the issues with class distinctions.

      And with SY, this wasnt necessarily a show about people maturing, but about people. She was successful and sleeping around before and the same happened after, what exactly was wrong with her life by the end that she needed to mature?

      And with Duk soo…can’t say anything. I agree. They just played off that slap like it didnt happen. Messed up.

      • Once a cheater will always be a cheater!!!

        I wish that the drama will take Fierce Wife (TW drama) route… or Queen of Reversal… (KR drama)

        But yeah, I supposed SungSoo is the “safer choice”

        bohooohooo.. I want Season 2 ! ^^

  3. Koala, thanks for the recap. I loved this series,because it was such a great change from typical rom-coms.(and the music!) But, I saw where it was headed. Been there, done that, but married. He cheated after five years and we reconciled. When it happened at 10 years, I knew it was the end. Serial cheater, but a great date! So, I dated him after the divorce!
    Thought the ending was realistic. In Young is really immature. She’s all excited about getting engaged, like a 22 yr old. Her relationship with Sung Soo has not moved forward and I’m glad they didn’t hit us with a wedding. (Maybe they’re planning a season 2) I too loved Seung Hyun. (If In Young gets tired of Sung Soo, she can put on the ring and get on the plane.)
    Thought the writing was good, cast was good, and loved their friendship. In the end, it all comes down to love and support of friends. And, oh yes “this is how life works, suckers.”

  4. Thanks for posting this… I always enjoy your point of view.

    Ok… I love INR. I love it because it is very realistic. This drama is beautifully filmed. I enjoyed the way the PD uses of color and the screen capture on some important moment.. I found it interesting. I really enjoyed the cast and each and every characters.

    About the ending… I am ok with the ending.. I don’t love it.. but I accept it. The ending is very realistic and I could see why In Young’s decision at the end. As for me, I would probably do the same thing even though I love SH to pieces.. Let me talk about the men.. I love SH’s character and the actor who played him.. He is sweet, handsome, rich and good nature and most importantly he truly loves IY… I can’t tell you how much I enjoyed the last moment they spent together in a jazz club(?).. how he just presented the ring and the open ticket…. how he just wanted to stay close to her just for one night… he has probably already known that she would never use the ticket.. he knew that this time probably the last time they would spend together… it broke my heart… I applause Choi Jin Hyuk’s effort for bring SH to live and made me love SH so much. No matter how perfect SH seems. His family demand is nothing to be desired. If I were in IY’s position, I would have say ‘no’ to him as well… i understand in order to make a relationship works, it takes fair amount of compromising.. but totally turn into some other person.. it’s just no possible. If IY would have take the big step with SH.. eventually, I don’t think they would last long….

    Now SS, I don’t hate him… I know of tons of people has wandering eyes.. men and woman… and when a couple in a relationship for too long.. cheating is not uncommon.. It hit home for me.. not me but my sister… my sister spent her 20s dating this guy with nice background.. he is tall, decent looking and good to her. During 8 years of dating.. my sister suspected that he has been cheating… but chose to ignore it.. and get back together after he apologies etc. her reason is that.. we have been together for so long and I know he eventually wanted to be with me. she also told me that she really loves him that’s why she took him back… they ended broken up because of one incident.. and my sister was heartbroken for a long time… because of my sister.. i never wanted to be with someone who cheats.. IY and SS situation is a little bit different they truly love each other.. for my sister’s case, her bf had already fallen out of love….. and I do love the fact that SS told the truth about their relationship and admit his mistake in front of IY’s parents. I think he redeem himself… and I have no doubt that his feeling for SS is real…

    For me at the end, i would prefer IY stays single and get back to the dating pool and stay friends with SS…. they might ended up together again or not… that’s what I would prefer to see… but I agree with the ending.. satisfy.. but not love… and for my SH.. I would forever has a soft spots for him.. i will take him.. but not his family.

  5. Thanks for your post , your thoughts and the beautiful stills .
    As you said , I believe that everyone reacts with his own background towards cheating men .
    I liked a lot that drama since I watched the last episodes raw and I am not disappointed by the very last scenes . Why not , by the way , choosing this solution ? It was very believable , that’s what matters for me .

  6. I really liked the ending.

    And when Sung Soo and In Young met the too people at the end that made their hearts stir, I took it as a small joke from the writers.

    Sung Soo was flattered that the girl called him “good looking”, and In Young was the same way when her childhood friend said she’d grown up nicely. But then they BOTH immediately admitted to the two people that they were seeing someone they’d been with for ten years, and apologized to the people they were meeting.
    The people they were meeting both looked at them funny because they weren’t insinuated any romantic interest at all. LOL.

    I thought it was funny. To me it seemed like both characters learned a valuable lesson.

  7. i had been having a looming feeling since this show started . honestly i haven’t watched the ending yet because no one is subbing this ( AGDJKCDK###dhkjds ) but i never felt that In Young truly loved Seung Hyun , she was just driven by her hurt and in need of another man to make her feel good and confident about herself , i never liked the way she ALWAYS compared Seung Hyun and Sung Soo – and honestly if a man cheats on you two times and you yet get engaged to him maybe you just want to wallow in the misery and secretly enjoy the drama . I wished she had come to a conclussion where she chose to be by herself and rediscover all the good things that got lost in those ten years she wasted with Sung Soo . lol maybe because i’m not in my thirties yet i can’t understand the dilemmas of thirty year old women . i wish we had more photographer guy and model woman ( who’s name i can never remember . they were fun . )

  8. i am a grandmother and was in a marriage for 27 years….married to a “cheater” took him back and attempted to start over but to be honest starting over is 10 times harder than you think…..TRUST…..is the issue….and unfortunately will always be the issue in a scarred relationship…sometimes its just too much of an issue….no matter how sorry he is or how much you want to believe in him it just isn’t enough! My deal breaker for me was that i got breast cancer during this time of reconciliation and i decided to think about ME not anything else..for the first time in my life ..i came first…..i don’t regret my decisions and am very happy with my choices ….i am a survivor!!!

    • More power to you!

      Yes, once lost, trust is difficult to regain. I’ve found that it’s possible to forgive, but forgetting not so. And more to the point, I’ve found forgiving to be much easier accomplished when I’ve not had to brace myself against being betrayed again.

  9. I liked the ending and for the reasons you’ve mentioned already. It’s an honest ending, not a fairytale. People like to think the fairytale is all there is to life but that’s not true. Far from it.

    As to why I feel this way? This didn’t happen to me but I had front row seats to this same scenario. My sister had and went through this same issue, tho a bit different, it was ultimately a choice of her husband of 8 years (they were separated at this time) or the new man. She went back to her husband. They have a stronger relationship but not because of the cheating and whatever other issues there were. It was because they realized that they almost lost something extremely precious.

    The ending was honest and she was honest to herself the entire way through. I liked the whole drama and enjoyed the ending.

  10. Hated the ending of I Need Romance with a passion.

    Ultimately I felt it was dishonest writing.

    I was suspicious of the first episode of ‘cheating’ before episode 16, because it was never elaborated on. Episode 16 validated my suspicion. As written it makes the first ‘cheating’ an over-reaction by In-Young. So the first ‘cheating’ episode was a straw man to make Sung-Soo look VERY bad, and by making it not a cheating episode made him see less bad.

    But it didn’t work. Because if In-Young was that upset about a misunderstanding-how did Sung-soo think she would do when her fears were realized?

    I so hated how In-Young treated Sung-Hyun during Episode 15 and 16 that I washed my hands of her.

    The only scene that worked for me was Sung-Soo’s apology to In-Young’s parents. It made visceral how intertwined their lives were and how difficult it would be to make a clean break.

    Despite finding Sung-Soo throughly human and liking him, I didn’t think he valued In-Young enough.

    Hyun-Joo/Duk Soo’s story was the only story I enjoyed through the entire series.

  11. i’d love to rant about the ending but wont since it will only make me even angrier. seriously whats wrong with a woman in her 30s moving on from a 10 years relationship? why did the daft writter have to make them get back together? once a cheat always a cheat …yeah some say the devil you know is better than the one you dont know…but a lady has got to explore perhaps my idealogy is far from the way others perceive life.i really did like this show until the very end when they decided to make me go bonkers. Were they trying to tell us you just have to stick in even when a dude treats you that bad? what exactly were they trying to imply?

    • you are hundred per cent right!How can you ever trust a man who cheated -and not only once? And who explains it by being a man’s nature? In Young may expect a lot of pain, she should have stayed alone !

    • i totally agree with you…If he cheat once I’m pretty sure he’ll do it again and that’s reality for you.This is the ideology for most woman that stays in abusive relationship but that’s another matter… I’m so furious….

  12. I really enjoyed watching INR because it was such a different story and you really didn’t know who In young was going to end up with. She could have ended up with Sung hyun and the story would still have made sense.

    I have mixed emotions about the ending. Sometimes I don’t like In young even though at times I relate to her. She was very selfish and immature in her relationship with Sung hyun. She never loved him as much as Sung hyun loved her which is not something she can really control, but she never treated their relationship with as much seriousness as Sung hyun did. Really she was on the rebound which is regrettable since Sung hyun was so awesome.

    I would have preferred is she was single at the end. She really hasn’t had that many experiences. In young realized that her career, which she would have to give up to be with Sung hyun, is a really defining part of who she is, but I would argue that she doesn’t know who she is without Sung soo because she grew up with him. (She’s never been single and on her own as an adult) I mean being married to a successful director comes with it’s own set of problems and unfortunately women are always the ones expected/asked to give up their lives, dreams, and ambitions to make the relationship work…In young got back together with Sung soo, but Sung soo is on a plane to Canada to finish shooting his film. Plus she theres the media which reared its ugly head briefly when Sung soo had those rumors with Kang Hee.

    I wasn’t sure about In young’s parents reaction to Sung soo’s confession and apology. I appreciate the lack of drama, but despite it’s sincerity I found it a little unbelievable. I don’t know, they didn’t need to be angry, but on the part of her dad, I don’t think he even showed disappointment.

    In young and Sung soo are those friends you have who have such a tumultuous and complicated relationship that you wonder why they are still together. But they are together and no one needs to understand what they have, but the two of them. In that way their relationship is very realistic, but not so interesting at times. Sometimes when they fought (very realistic arguments) it got really tedious because it was like watching your friends who are always fighting in yet another argument.

    Overall though I really enjoyed this drama especially Sung hyun. He could serenade me a proposal any day! Some lucky woman will get accept his heart later on, as long as he doesn’t turn into a jaded, bitter and mean chaebol because In young broke his heart (I don’t think that would happen given the way they broke up). I don’t need a season 2 of INR, but I could see a spin-off that follows Sung hyun as he mends his broken heart <3…Also I think Choi Jin hyuk is only 25 in real life :/ I feel old.

  13. thanks for your recapping the ending sistah and for asking our opinion.

    i’m a sucker for chaebol-no class girl pairing but the ending seems to be rooted on a reality. I don’t hate the ending but would have love it if IY had ended with Seung Hyun instead of Sung Soo. I find less effort or more like groveling on the part of Sung Soo. On the other hand, Seung Hyun is so much in love with In Young that it was such a waste. But I also believe and liked her decision to be practical on Seung Hyun… that is what this drama has been driving at ever since… some touch of reality.

  14. I had mixed emotions about the ending, but I understood her choice. Familiarity is a component of love that can be seen as a double edge sword. I think she choose him because she can be herself with him, never once during there journey did he try to change her and I think in the end that was the main reason she choose him. From a western girl point of view this ending was very realistic because we stop believing in cinderella decades ago, which is why I appreciated her realizing she loves herself more than anyone and her prince charming is really her.

  15. Hate. Hate as in hate. Liked it up until 16, then HATE.

    Sung Soo spends most of the show cheating on her, he doesn’t really apologize to her, he does get jealous, and starts being a decent friend, but no. Even if we accept the idea that the cheating at 5 years wasn’t cheating (and who waits 5 years to explain that? but lets girlfriend stew for 5 years? I think not!) then he’s still a cheating rat bastard.

    I think it’s a shame that SH couldn’t bring himself to tell his family “no you don’t get to remake her into what you want because I loved her for being her”, but at least he acknowledged the problem himself. So I’m with her on that one. Who would want to spend the rest of their life in lies?

    But to go back to Sung Soo? So you miss him, after 10 years who wouldn’t? So you are comfortable with him – no problem. But to take back the cheating rat bastard? Not so sure. It’s not like I Am Legend, where the chemistry with the X went through the roof and he came to appreciate her instead of resent her. No, Sung Soo may have realized what he lost, but In Young deserved better.

    Move on, be friends, if something more develops again later, then good, but in the meantime, wait to see what might be behind door number 3.

  16. I’ve been watching this drama but not all the episode for some time now. I love the drama because it looks realistic to me. I love the IY she is the most realistic of the 3. What she’s going thru and how she handles things, funny and with purpose most of the time. Loving a person is something that no one can explain. How you love a person is also different in all levels. Our hearts can change, sometimes it will trick us in a way that it will make us think we are feeling something but in the end it knows who to go to or truly beat for. From the beginning I believe that IY never see the younger guy as a love interest. I think that they had the relationship because IY is having trouble with her long term BF. Her BF kept on hurting her by cheating and sometimes people get tired of cheating and will feel like it’s too much, from the beginning of IY’s relationship to the younger guy he is the rebound guy and we all know that there is a little to none success in a rebound relationship. I also believe that if IY chooses the younger guy I don’t think they will have any angst at all social status, age etc.. IY can handle it she’s a very tough girl and very easy to like/love. About the cheating the younger guy could but if his with IY I think there is a little to non chance because he is totally in love with her. I’m not saying that IY never love the younger guy I bet she did but the love is not enough for her to be in that kind of relationship the gilded cages is just an excuse. There is no excuse in love. IY can charm her way through the social ladder, she is a very capable woman like AJ ( I miss LTM!!!! will there be director’s cut? will we able to see the supposedly epilogue of little KJ/little AJ ). Being with the younger guy feeds IY’s fantasy of romance thinking that it’s what she truly needs or wants but in the end she realize it’s not. Sometimes we think of things that we thought we need or want but when it presents itself to us at first we will like it and learn to love it but if that is not what our inner self really want or need it will fade as quickly as we started to love it. IY’s long term bf is the love of her life, I love love the story because it’s very realistic, believe me I’m not a big fan of cheating but their story depicts or shows all the love story of millions of people around the world. I don’t wish that to happen to anyone and even me but I know people who are in this kind of relationship. LTBF(longtermboyfriend) is her one true love. She couldn’t walk away in that relationship because she really love him. She could love, feel attracted to another man but her heart only belongs to LTBF. She chooses him because it feels right no matter how wrong may it seems to all of us, whatever we think, IY’s heart belongs to LTBF from the beginning up to the end. Only IY knows what is best for her we cannot dictate that no one can tell you what’s good for you no one, only a person can know what is good, better and best for him/her. For who think that IY is foolish because of the choice she made. Yes she is foolish, stupid etc… love can make you do and feel things that you cannot explain or even understand because even if how hurt you are in a situation you will be able to endure everything. I’ve asked women why do they stay in crappy relationship, they only have one answer “I love him” and on my part I will always tell them it’s stupid, then they will tell me I will understand when I fall in love, and that there is always this hope that one day it will all go away (cheating etc…). Love always comes with forgiveness, IY’s love LTBF that’s why she always forgive him, her love it that great to stay with him. Love it cannot be explained, it comes with forgiveness and taking chances. Love it doesn’t go wrong only the lovers do. I don’t exactly remember what the old lady from letters to Juliet said but she said that Man takes time to mature. LTBF I know he loves IY but he is a natural flirt I have watch him resist with the temptation. He have this charm in him which is handy because of his work. IY’s love for LTBF is enough to forgive him, choose him and take chances on him. Them in the end showing IY’s feeling something and LTBF is starting to flirt I guess it’s only showing us that we could sometimes be attracted to somebody even if we are in a relationship but then it will make you realize soon that you’ve already have someone to love. Again I’m not a fan of cheating but this drama is the reality of millions of people all over the world. Choosing the younger guy it’s easier for IY, being in a cheating relationship for years or decade is no joke she endure it, for IY to learn to belong in upper level of society for me will be easier. But she did not took that chance because her love for the younger guy is not enough and it’s not what she needs.

    Thank you K!

    • I just saw that. did you see Pasta? I’ve watched Pasta before but didn’t even notice him in that. He was acting under a different name at that time. I’m going to rewatch it!

  17. I’m not thrilled with the ending but I wasn’t necessarily surprised either although I thought In Young would choose to be alone in the end.

    I really wanted In Young to end up with Seung Hyun but as soon as his family decided she needed to disappear for a year, change her name and age and fabricate how she and Seung Hyun met I knew their relationship was in trouble. Especially since he was okay with that as well … plus quitting her job! To me that was so bizarre and unrealistic! How you can return pretending you’re someone else? She would have to hide from everyone she knows… her parents, friends … everyone who knew her from before. Who are they trying to fool?

    Sung Soo ….. It seemed to me that his first cheating episode was really a big misunderstanding and his next cheating episode seemed to be a “half-ass” one but nonetheless he was a jerk.

    I keep wondering who would I choose? If I could be Cinderella without having to lie about who I was then I would choose Seung Hyun. But going back to comfortable, accepts me who I am Sung Soo, knowing this time that he really learned his lesson and was truly remorseful didn’t seem so bad either. But, choosing no one and being completely free and just enjoying being alone for a while seemed good too.

    I enjoyed this drama and the zany characters in it. Lots of eye candy, fun and exciting.

  18. Ah, INR. What an ending! The moment it ended I was unsure about how I felt about the last episode, and I still am of two minds about it.

    Character- and story-wise, I feel like INR had an ending that was true to itself. I loved it that way. It took a big risk, doing what is the opposite of most kdramas – that is, not having a fairy tale, happily-ever-after-with-the-handsome-prince kind of ending. If this drama wasn’t on cable, I think it would have done that, but narratively I think that would have been betraying itself. In that sense, I think it was a great ending.

    Emotionally, on the other hand, I had a totally different reaction. Actually, the one thing I’m most unhappy about is not that IY ended up with SS (I could kind of see that coming, even if I wasn’t 100% sure – which is in itself, the marker of a well-told story, which I appreciate), it’s that Seo-yeon didn’t end up with Joon-hee. But that was my emotional reaction; narratively it makes perfect sense and is completely in-character for Seo-yeon. But I still hated to see poor Mr. Hot Photographer get dumped. They had such good chemistry and were so hot together. Hyun-joo’s ending was predictable and probably the most “normal” ending for a kdrama, and I was happy that they got together. As for In-young…well. Like I said in the previous paragraph, narratively I liked it okay, even if emotionally I still hate Sung-soo’s guts for cheating on her, and I question her decision to go back to him. On the other hand, I think that her seeing his confession to her parents gave her (to her way of thinking, I mean) a good reason to take him back. No one could doubt his sincerity after seeing that. I loved that scene so much, and I was glad to see the actor has come so far since Goong. (Because let’s be honest, he just wasn’t that great in that drama.) Emotionally, I would have preferred that she get together with Sung-hyun, but I can see narratively why she didn’t. But my heart still hurts for him. 🙁

    I could go on, but mostly I’d just be fleshing out my thoughts. But I would like to add that I LOVED this shows lighting. It was wonderful to look at in other ways, too, and the directing was great as well, but I just fell in love with the lighting.

    • Thanks for asking! I watched and enjoyed this mostly, with a lot of me yelling at the screen.

      Totally agree with:
      Actually, the one thing I’m most unhappy about is not that IY ended up with SS (I could kind of see that coming, even if I wasn’t 100% sure – which is in itself, the marker of a well-told story, which I appreciate)

      A lot of folks have said how I feel better than me up there.
      If this were real life, there would not be only two choices for IY, SH or SS. Sure, SH wouldn’t work if she wanted to be herself and stay the same.
      But SS again? The way I see it, the 16 eps cancelled themselves out, we don’t really learn too much about them and their break-up.
      The question I still have is WHY DID HE CHEAT IN THE FIRST PLACE? If it is “That’s the way he is, and, great news! He got better!” Chiro!! Nomu nomu chiro!
      I wished they had shown more strife and conflict between them so we could have seen them resolve those issues cleanly. He could have confessed that, I don’t know – her XXXing made him unhappy, or she was too XXXX. She could have said that was always XXXing and it made her feel miserable because of it.

      All I got from the flashbacks was they were an extremely compatible couple with a great sex life. So that brings me back to “Why did they break up? He cheated. Why did he cheat? Because.”

      I’m not saying it wasn’t realistic. I liked them as a couple. I was actually rooting for SS after a while.

      Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is one of my all time favorite movies. The story they tell is similar. People fall in and out of love with the same people over and over because on some unseen level, certain couples just belong together despite the fact that they make each other agree and disappoint one another.

      Both stories end similarly, but I liked ESOTSM better because the tone was bittersweet, and it felt like the part in a Jewish wedding when the husband breaks the glass.

      There may not be an happily ever after, but there could be a happy enough most of the time and even if we are not we aren’t going to get a better deal anywhere else so let’s just stay together, OK.

      (I thought I didn’t have anything to say. I guess I lied!)

      • should be “certain couples just belong together despite the fact that they make each other angry”

  19. thanks koala. had the impression that you were not really interested in this drama. i was soooo into it that i would watch the raw episodes, not knowing that everyone was saying. no one was doing recaps on it so i had to wait several days sometimes before i actually knew what was said on those scenes.

    i loved ‘i need romance’. it touched me in a different way than the other dramas that i watched. at first, i dismissed sung soo as a cheater. like once a cheat, always a cheat. and i was telling in young to move on, get it on with the young dude and live life well. sung soo appears to be more sorry that he was caught than for the actual cheating. i don’t think he would have lost sleep over it had he NOT been caught. so i dismissed him — jerk! cheater!

    but the history of those 10 years together started to seep in. i think the director intentionally let the 10 year history slowly show throughout the drama precisely for this effect. then i can see it dawning in him that he lost in young for real this time. watching him watching in young fall in love with this great guy was almost heartbreaking. he can see that this new guys is treating her well, that she is falling for him. i think that whole i-cheated-on-you-twice-so-you-can-date-two-other-guys scenario was a desperate move on his part to get her back. i maybe a fool but on that one scene where he came to her and asked her to feed him… when he said he would not loose her again if he got her back — dang, man, i believed him! hehehe…

    i was truly torn on who to go for. but the thing is, the heart wants what the heart wants and in the end, while Seung Hyun made her heart flutter… it had always beat for Sung Soo. there was never any doubt in my mind as to who she would end up with. i wasn’t a bit surprised.

    as to whether my choice is based on what i have experienced in real life, i’m not sure if does. i’m a 41 yr old woman who has been married over 7 yrs. no long term relationship before this one. so, go figure…

    thanks again, koala. i enjoyed your take on this drama as well.

  20. I sooo looooved this drama, it was a wonderful suprise. But I hated the ending. She should have married the new guy or just stayed single. 10 years?! That’s why you should never date anyone too long because after the magic dies, there needs to be committment (marriage) to keep things working and going or else they drift away.

  21. Hi! I think that I’m one of the younger readers commenting. I’m in college and have not experienced a long-lasting relationship. That being said, I liked the ending. I thought that the entire point of the drama was that it was about real people making real choices. People also make mistakes and do things they shouldn’t have. IY’s desicion was real. She chose what was familiar, what she knew would “work” and what would maintain her status quo. Although that sounds boring, people dislike change. Also, I got the impression that IY only broke up with SS because societal norms told her that when a man cheats you should break up with him. She didn’t ever actually seem like she wanted to leave him. The ending shows that everyone is tempted, as humans we notice other humans. Appreciating another’s attractiveness is not cheating it’s human nature.
    Also, the friends were supposed to be foils, the one to show that not everyone needs to get married to find happiness, and the other to show that some do. I don’t think that there’s anything wrong with using these characters to make a point about life.
    I especially loved this drama from moving away from the typical k-drama dilemmas. It was a breath of freshness that I loved to watch amid the craziness of all the others.

  22. im sorry. once a cheater, always a cheater. Sung Soo proved that he couldn’t keep his pants on. Taking him back is just pathetic. I think a better ending would have been her not taking either men and idk growing as a person. Letting go of a love that in my eyes was a false love. In my opinion, if a man truly loves you, he wont stray. He wont cheat. Him cheating and lying to her, thats not love. He just doesnt want to let her go because he likes having her love. Boosts his ego.

  23. I have read the recap but have not watched the last 2 episodes. I am waiting until I have “forgotten” the recap and everybody else´s opinion before watching the ending. I do think though that the ending is realistic. Women forgive men again and again.

  24. The redemption of Sung Soo was poorly written. He’d say one thing and he would do the exact opposite. He said he regret cheating on In Young and yet he continued to meet Kang Hee. I can understand why he couldn’t fire her from his movie (that would be unprofessional), but…what about after work? Why did Sung Soo continue to hang out with her if he was serious about rekindling with In Young? That’s what I have an issue with, more so than the cheating itself. His behavior afterwards did not show me he truly felt sorry for what he did. Sung Soo’s actions showed he had no respect for In Young.

    If only Sung Soo had stepped up a few episodes earlier, I could have accepted this ending.

    • Yeah, I do know what you mean about meeting up with Kang Hee knowing how sensitive IY was to her but, then, he did say that it was work-related. And I did believe him. Like when IY comes over and finds out that they were going to watch the DVDs together; SS would not have let IY in knowing that KH was going to be arriving at any moment if it had have been anything other than work-related. I really don’t think he would have. And I truly do not think that when he did cheat with KH, it went to anything beyond being just meaningless sex for SS. In other words, he was not hiding an on-going secret affair at that point so IY really DIDN’T have anything to be worried about. But having said that, I do agree with you that he should have made a bit more of an effort to put IY’s mind at ease, regardless. He doesn’t even change his door code so KH can come in whenever she pleases, which I really thought he ought to have done. If only to prove it to IY. But as I said in another post, I found the mistakes he made more realistic as was the gradual maturing of his character. I don’t think he’d grown enough by that point to realize just how badly he hurt IY. That didn’t happen until the end when he thinks he’s lost her for good to another man. (And he makes the confession to IY’s father.) I just really think he came to see that it was THE biggest regret of his life by the time the series ended and that he was really trying to be a better man, so by having her end up with him was more understandable for me.

  25. I liked the ending and the drama was truly enjoyable to watch. I really enjoyed the girls’ friendship and how they expressed themselves freely about love, sex, and relationships. I think that in the end, In Young loved Sung Soo. Her love for him was a part of her, like when they were having dinner and she went to sit down next to Sung Soo instead of SH, and her automatically doing things for him like sewing his button. A ten year relationship is not an easy thing to let go off and people stray for different reasons. In the end, she loved him and he loved her. After ten years, the love that one feels is not the same passionate love that one feels in a brand new relationship, but it’s worth fighting for all the way.
    Loved this drama and all of the actors. Very real and entertaining at the same time.

  26. Sung Soo is the type of man you look back at being with after 10, 20, 30 years and say in bitter tears, “I’ve wasted my life on an a&&hole.” His moments of genuine regret or the “highs” of love and laughter will always be marred and brought low by the inability to treasure, cherish, and fully love what he has in In Young. He’ll cheat again, be sorry again, cheat again, be sorry again ….. In Young needs a little (LOT) of Alex’s advice: RUN RUN RUN

    There is no common sense in her decision, afterall. She reasoned incorrectly that she’d never fallen out of love with the cheater (most women don’t, they are charming and fun, which is why good women fall in love with these flighty bast**ds to begin with) and should give him another chance after a sincere apology/confession/brief-moment-in-time.

    However, there is just as much baggage with Sung Soo as she reasoned that there was with Seung Hyun, it’s just different luggage. One is gutter luggage where you have to drag yourself to the doctor periodically to make sure you haven’t picked up any nasty STDs from The Rat you are sleeping with knowing he’s sleeping with other women and constantly having your heart re-broken: the other luggage is world class couture, full of catty chilly behavior for the outsider who’s wondered into the VIP lounge, full of loneliness and constantly not knowing the “unspoken” rules (which can take years to learn, believe it or not, with the truly uppercrust) while trying to get a love to bloom in that sterile, viper-laden atmosphere (yeah, that will work out).

    If In Young was as smart as she likes to think herself, she’d shuttle both men and wait for one who’s worth having: a man who is neither burdened with classassyness or classlessness, a healthy relationship where two mature adults are responsible for bringing love to the table and with natural boundaries that keep all intruders (invited and un-invited) out of the relationship.

    As for my personal background, HA! I did the last, waited on a mature man whom I could have a wholly healthy relationship with, but then, I’m a counselor, so why would I settle for a half-a&&ed crap love when the mature love is so much better?

    • I wish I had your insight at 20. Can I assume you went around the block a few times before you settled down with your true love?

      • LOL, I guess you could say that I went around the block a “few” times. Raised in a conservative family and taught that I should marry within my faith, I broke off a “few” engagements before I settled at 24 to marry a man of my choosing: who was, incidentally, in my faith, but two classes above me, so to speak. He shuttled the family “class” and married me and 17 years, 4 kids later, no regrets by either party. My MIL (mother in law) is still unhappy about the match, but then she doesn’t have to live with us day-to-day, so it’s good.

    • I was just thinking, I can’t be the only one yelling at the screen, “Don’t do it, girlfriend, Don’t, Just say NO, he’s a bas**rd, can’t you see??”

      • Yeah, that was really a total cop out on HER part. Problem is it was totally realistic and most women do make the same mistakes over and over.
        It’s the damn genes, I tell you! They just want to couple and recouple! They don’t care if the dude’s a bast**rd, or the chick’s a pycho.

  27. THANKS Ockoala for raking this up, and your insights. Very interesting, reading through everyone’s perspectives and experiences.
    Call me a coward – I actually avoided Ep 16 once I saw Ep 15 because a certain outcome was inevitable. I do know how it ends, but I don’t actually like to see how it ends.

    While INR was realistic (unlike my favorite, The Woman Who Still Wants to Marry = to this day, I felt their separation should have been more realistically 3 yrs to prove their relationship could stand some test of time and endurance, or to allow Kim Bum’s Ha Min-jae some growth, or some room to play the field before returning/confirming his choice)

    Both choices were hard.
    = SS’s familial comfort zone (and 10 yrs of shared history and memories together is hard to erase) but he was already so taking her for granted in addition to all the trust issues. A couple of moments of enlightenment does not convince me, especially since he’s so fickle whenever a pretty face turns his head(s).

    So what if he confesses to her dad, how much weight does that hold?
    This dude’s core, while not totally rotten, is not/may never be totally centered either.

    In a way I view this ending (while realistic) as sort of a cop-out.
    I personally would rather remain ALONE, than take SS back. It would be a more empowering message to send out. It would be great to remain friends with him, but he’d not be enough to chance my heart on anymore either. A scar like that leaves doubts in any relationship.

    = A future with SH would be charting unknown intimidating territory. However, it might have worked out, if only his family didn’t have all these intimidating expectations of her. The scary reality was the fact SH actually endorsed his grandma’s brand of thinking too.

    Especially since IY (post-breakup) was trying to establish her own identity and independence. The bottom line was perhaps IY didn’t feel for SH enough; plus had the previous baggage with SS to benchmark reality against and they didn’t share enough history together.

    And on top of being that coward who was veering for a SH-IY ending … my shallow biasedness towards Kim Jeong Hyun (his sometimes bitter face and body just never appealed since Goong days, sorry!) didn’t help matters any either.  😛

  28. Love is not enough. Many things are needed for a relationship to work out because in a long run no one knows what the future holds. Th heroine based her choice not just because she loves him more than the other, its more like choosing which one has less baggage and risks that she can deal with. So Yes. the ending is ok for me.

  29. While I understand IY’s decision, I too would have rather had her choose herself and herself alone.

    In my twenties, I had a long-term relationship with someone who was so a part of my very being and whom my parents so adored that I sometimes felt it was I who was not my parents’ child. Also, I’d had a rather unique undergraduate experience, and he was very much a part of it, though not romantically. Hence, I had a very difficult time letting go of this unhealthy relationship because I wasn’t sure if I would be able to find anyone else who’d be able to know such an essential, defining part of my life. And I haven’t since found anyone who can share that part of me.

    Funny enough, this guy was both my Sungsoo (history/identity, minus the love) and Seung Hyun (social prestige via a family as storied and blue blood as Americans can get, minus the love). Ultimately I chose and continue to choose me.

    I respected IY for choosing herself over Seung Hyun, which is why I find myself disappointed that she wimped out with Sungsoo. If she could leave behind Seung Hyun, she ought to have left behind Sungsoo, but it was fairly clear for several episodes that she was dying for reasons to go back to Sungsoo. It’s not that I’m passing judgment on Sungsoo; rather, it was time for IY to discover her own person apart from Sungsoo.

  30. Personally, I was pretty disappointed by the ending… Now, again I figure a lot of this is based on what kind of relationships you’ve had, and since I’m fairly new into the more mature dating world (being only 20), I understand that I probably have a little bit of a “happily ever after” complex. I feel my reaction to the ending is most shaped by the heartbreak that one of my really close friends has gone through. My friend dated this guy for about a year and she fell madly in love with him, only to be presented with evidence that he was cheating on her. Even with that evidence (which was “mysteriously” deleted) he still refused to admit to it and was basically a dick about the whole thing. My friend was absolutely heartbroken (as only first loves can truly do) but now, a year later, she is seriously contemplating getting back together with him.

    Watching her go though all of this, I just feel that once that trust is lost it can NEVER be regained. I think trust is a little bit like faith, it can’t be quantified or proven, it is something you feel, and once you become disillusioned it is impossible to go back to the way things were.

    Thus, while I didn’t necessarily want In-young to get together with SH, I absolutely did NOT want her to get back together with SS because I feel like they will always have that between them. I feel like it would have been a better, more meaningful ending, as it would have gotten the message across that women don’t need a man to be happy.

  31. The more I think about it, the angrier I am with the drama’s end.If In young were choosing- I quote-“in an honest, straighforward and decent way” she would never go back to S.S.. She could never trust him again , and each time a young pretty starlet would appear on the firmament (and in his job this would occur over and over again) she could have reason for worry. This is not the kind of life a young , modern woman should choose.
    And if she didn’t mind suffering and hardships, why not give S.H. a try?Who knows, may be she could enjoy a little social climbing in the end?
    And what’s wrong in not choosing any one of these two and staying single until Mr. Right appears? I enjoyed this drama so much, may be therefore I’m so disappointed by this end!

  32. I see both sides of this story. And, to me, that’s the marker of a well-written drama. Though I HATE cheating in relationships, I’m not upset with the ending. (Go figure. xD) But I think it’s because I truly believe by the end of the series that SS DID regret what he’d done and how badly he had hurt IY. And from there, I think true forgiveness can slowly emerge. I’ve been reading some people claiming that he didn’t regret it properly but I have to disagree. Especially after watching the confession to her father. I honestly believed, that scene being the deciding factor, that he would never cheat on her ever again. He knew and admitted that he was selfish, wrong and immature in his actions and that he had lost IY because of what he had done so, by IY witnessing such a confession, I think it earned him a tiny bit of trust back in her eyes. Of course, trust does not return in full overnight but I think that was the first step since they broke up (despite all the times he was a good friend to her thereafter) that IY felt like SS understood just what damage had been done to their bond. Because, by that point in the story, he was NOT expecting anything in return. He truly thought that he had lost IY for good, so it was important for IY to see SS admit, WITHOUT the hope of reconciliation this time, that he was genuinely sorry for the pain he caused her and what he had done to shake their relationship.

    As for SH, yes, I do feel badly for him. It was obvious he loved IY with all his heart but as someone mentioned above, I questioned whether IY felt as much for him as he did for her. Though she loved SH, I don’t think she was ever truly OUT of love with SS and I think in the end, (and after the SS confession) this is what she came to realize, hence her decision.

    The ideal ending probably would have been for IY to be single for the time being but, like I said, I was okay with the way it unfolded because it delved into real flaws and real mistakes that people do make. It didn’t sugar coat the troubles and issues that relationships can go through so I appreciated the realism that this drama reflected.

    About Duk-soo/Hyun-Joo and the slap; These two were actually my favourite part of the series but I really found the slap incident to be tremendously out of character for Duk-soo. I hate that it was added in the first place. The only reasoning I can see for adding this scene was as a way to depict how much he felt for Hyun-Joo (even at that early stage) and how hurt he was in that moment that she was trying to “buy him off” (or as was how he was thinking) so his emotions got the better of him for one split second. But still, it shouldn’t have happened. I don’t believe anything condones hitting a woman and it seemed so unbelievably odd that his character would do such a thing that I’m trying desperately to forget it happened.

  33. I never even heard of this drama, prior to it’s broadcast or when it was showing. After Scent of a Woman there’s nothing right now that is catching my attention to watch and as I browsing thru DramaCrazy’s list or recent dramas, I stumbled upon I Need Romance. I read the plot, it seemed interesting that I decided to watch it. Boy! It kept me up for 24 hrs! Lol. The storyline is very related in all sorts of level. I am a woman in mid thirties. Dated and lived with a guy for 7 yrs before we finally tie the knot 2 yrs ago. I can somewhat understand her choice in the end but absolutely does not agree with it. You have a guy that truly loves her plus the emotional baggage she brought along. Is willing to grow with her and is supportive of her growth as well, i.e studying abroad to better herself. If she had done that, I’m sure regardless of what the family says she will be accepted into his without the name changing and all. I think it’s wrong to show that woman needs to settle and do what’s familiar. We should start thinking that we also deserve the best the world can offer. Going with SS was more realistic, but to actually outdo urself and be with someone that is usually only in ur dreams, is beyond words. That’s why I love the ending of Secret Garden, taking a chance on love. The movie is well written and the cast are eye candies, men and women. Will highly recommend for friends in their late 20s, early thirties to watch. The kissing and bed scenes are also sizzling.

  34. And also agree with the post above, the best scenario for her is to be single and enjoy her new found freedom. Going overseas to study would have been best. At least she’s doing it with her own accord, not because some guy’s granny told her to. Then in the end, whoever waits for her and stayed true with loving her unconditionally, or even with a new found love, would be best for her. That’s staying true with her loving herself best.

  35. I watched and rewatched the important scenes which led to the ending and finally understood what I think the writers wanted to convey.
    1. Romance is no fairytale and doesn’t have a forever after. it is the love built by a couple over years of “living”, inclusive of joy, pain, forgiveness and even boredom.
    2. It takes conscious effort on both parties to keep a relationship going. I think SW knows this that’s why she chose not to have relationships, because she knows it’s tiring and a good amount of effort is required- and she can’t be bothered. In the end, they show the two being tempted to stray but they make the effort not to, even if it’s overcompensating on their part, much to the surprise of the other parties. At least now, there is a Conscious effort.
    3. No one is perfect, that’s why when we make mistakes, we either make them again or if we are wise, we learn from our mistakes and make sure not to do it again. Sure, SS is an a$$ for cheating and to a woman, it’s unforgivable but the show tells us that IY is just making her choice to do the undoable and forgive. She knows that she wants this SS in her life, the one who now values her and knows what it’s like to lose her, so why prolong the agony? And I laud her for taking the risk and trusting SS again. I made the same decision ten years ago and I have never regretted it. I believe SS has really learned his lesson and fully understands the stakes on the table if he does the same mistake again.

    So yeah, I’m happy with the ending.

  36. I didn’t know the drama existed until I watched ep 5 on TvN today. From 3+pm to 2am, I watched all episodes after ep 5! Not quite sure if I’m in a position to judge the ending of this drama but I will anyway haha.

    I’m really really sad that IY chose SS 🙁 🙁 From where I started watching, SH was so sincere! He was just so sincere from the beginning! Don’t really know how to explain but… Well, he tried so hard to make her smile when she was at her darkest chapter of life, really really sensitive to her needs too! No? I was really hoping that SS would just give up when IY had true feelings for SH. They do not really have to get married, no? As long as they love each other. They were so cute as a couple!

  37. Hated the ending. She was so attached to the past she couldn’t see a good thing that finally came to her. She said she loved herself more. Apparently, she didn’t.

  38. Just saw this ending… I was sooo frustrated! I think this must be like how some people felt when Carrie got together with Big at the end of Sex and the City.

    The show just felt so anti-climatic, I think it would have been better if she were alone at the end or maybe if they hinted that Sung Soo and her would start over. But to just restart without rebuilding the relationship seemed odd to me.

    Plus Seung Hyun was just so awesome. And he did nothing wrong, he really tried to accept her and do things her way. And I felt like he left with plans to wait for her, like things weren’t really over in his mind. I understand the not wanting to lose oneself, but I just don’t feel like she should have ended with Sung Soo either.

    And the talk they had about the first “cheating” 5 years ago felt like a cop out to make Sung Soo seem more forgivable. In all the other conversations about the cheating he seems to admit to it, I think there’s even an episode where he says that he made a mistake then and that he’s only cheated twice the two times she caught him.

    I felt cheated watching this, it was like 13 episodes of her trying to get over Sung Soo and when she finally seems to end the relationship for good, they get back together… It’s like watching a movie where the protagonist is on an adventure to find something and like 5 minutes from the end is like, naw let’s just go home. Sorry needed to rant…

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