We can see K-dramas often sweeping viewers from their feet with their heart-fluttering portrayal of love. Many K-dramas showcase themes like loving relationships, exploring health, etc. The dramatic world of toxic love stories is often seen taking center stage, which leaves all the fans wondering if therapy or love is the real solution. These shows serve us with a plate of relationship drama with a side of absurdity. These dramas are filled with a roller coaster of emotions. So, let's see the top ten K-dramas about toxic love stories.
Tempted is a drama released in 2018, starring Park Soo-young, Moon Ga-young, Woo Do-Hwan, and Kim Min-Jae. The drama has all the elements that are necessary for a riveting yet toxic drama. Kwon Shi Hyun is a cliche playboy who feels no emotion towards the woman he sleeps with. He then takes a bet to seduce Eun Tae Hee, who doesn’t focus on dating and leads a virtuous life. They fall in love however their relationship is built on manipulation, lies, and deceit. The drama delves into the dark side of lies and relationships.
2. Young Lady And Gentleman
Young Lady and Gentleman is a drama released in 2022, starring Lee Se-hee, Cha Hwa-Yeon, and Ji Hyun-woo. While dramas with age gaps are quite a standard narrative, a particular instance in the drama raised eyebrows among the fans. The story is the love story between a single father, Young Kook, who is in his 40s, and an independent woman, Park Dan Dan, who is in her 20s. One of their flashbacks showcased their first meeting when she was only 13 years old, which left all the fans quite uncomfortable, which makes their relationship creepy.
3. My ID Gangnam Beauty
My ID Gangnam Beauty is a South Korean drama released in 2018 starring Cha Eun-Woo, Kwak Dong-Yeon, Im Soo-hyang, and Jo Woo-ri. The drama weirdly portrays the relationship dynamics between the main characters, Kyung-seok and Mi-rae. Their interaction is filled with emotional distance, misunderstandings, and moments that can be easily interpreted as manipulative. The series heavily relies on the trope knight in shining armor, where Kyung-seok is often seen rescuing Mi-rae. The series also focuses on plastic surgery and beauty standards while addressing critical topics but also portraying unrealistic beauty ideas.
4. Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo
Moon Lovers: Scarlet Heart Ryeo released in 2016, is based on a Chinese novel. The story is about Ha-jin, a modern woman who is transported back to the Goryeo Dynasty, where she becomes Hae-Soo. Her involvement with different princes, specifically Wang-so, is marked by toxic dynamics and emotional turmoil. Wang’s transformation from someone who is misunderstood, a tragic character, to one who is seen resorting to violence and control in his relationship with her.
Nevertheless, is a drama released in 2021, starring Song Kang, Han So-hee, and Chae Jong-hyeop. The story is about Jae-eon, a charismatic player and Na-bi, a heartbroken art student who embarks on a friends-with-benefit arrangement. They have a causal relationship, but Jae-eon is seen emotionally harming Na-bi by flirting with other people and sending them mixed signals. Na-bi has just come out of a fresh abusive relationship and fails to see the red flags. Fans claim that the drama portrays one of the most toxic relationships.
6. Playful Kiss
Playful Kiss is a drama based on the Japanese manga released in 2010, starring Kim Hyun-Joong and Jung So-min. The dysfunctional relationship between Seung-jo and Ha-ni is quite troubling. Ha-ni is relentlessly pursuing Seung-jo, despite not being interested, having stalking behavior and also lacking respect for boundaries. Seung-jo on the other hand tends to publicly humiliate Ha-ni, after she confesses her feelings.
7. True Beauty
Many K-dramas focus on love triangles and viewers love these and enthusiastically root for their favorites among them. It follows the story of Im Ju Kyung, a high school student who struggles with insecurities due to her appearance but manages them with her make-up skills. During high school, Lee Su Ho is a rich boy, and Han Seo Jun is a bad boy who both fall for Ju Kyung. Fans often found Su Ho’s behaviour problematic as his character seems too possessive or controlling. Many viewers voted for the second lead, but some also pointed out his toxic behavior, mainly focusing on his jealousy.
8. Secret Love
Secret Love is a South Korean drama released in 2013, starring Ji Sung, Lee Da-hee, Hwang Jung-eum, and Bae Soo-bin. The story's plot is problematic to begin with. The central romance between Min-yuk and Yoo-Jung is surrounded by a disturbing backdrop where Yoo-Jung serves prison time for her ex-boyfriend’s hit-and-run crime. This tragic death creates an unsettling background for a romantic relationship. Their initial interaction is based on misunderstandings and hatred rather than love, an unhealthy foundation.
9. The World Of The Married
The World of the Married is a drama released in 2020, starring Han So-hee, Kim Hee-ae, and Park Hae-joon. It portrays the story of a married couple who betray each other, and that leads to a whirlwind of grief, healing, revenge, and forgiveness. Ji Sun-woo is a successful doctor whose marriage life changes when she discovers her husband's infidelity. Even though the drama is undeniably engaging and intense, it also displays many problematic dynamics, from revenge plots to infidelity. The absence of healthy communication and relentless pursuit of vengeance in their relationships contributes to a narrative of discomfort and tension.
10. The Heirs
The Heirs is a rom-com drama released in 2013. It is initially presented as a typical romantic drama, but it takes a dark turn. It starts with Kim Tan, a wealthy person who falls into Eun-Sang. As the story escalates, she becomes the target of unwanted attention and bullying that forces Kim Tan to choose between his family's empire and her. Kim Tan portrays the essence of a toxic boyfriend, being extremely possessive over Eun-sang, trying all he can to have control over her, even if it means invading her privacy and hurting her.