Most engagements and wedding plans are broken off because of disputes over the costs associated with the wedding, an informal trawl of online forums by the Chosun Ilbo shows. Reporters analyzed 339 posts from people who broke off engagements or were on the verge of doing so on two popular online sites --- Lemon Terrace which has 1.74 million members, and Wedding Café with 220,000 members.
The top reasons were disagreements over wedding-related costs with 57.5 percent. More traditional reasons such as parents' opposition, disagreements about religion, conflict with in-laws, and personality differences are now the minority.
The most frequently cited reason had to do with buying a home with 23 percent. Dowries came second with 22.1 percent. Disputes over the cost of the wedding occupied 7.1 percent, and debt issues followed with 5.3 percent.
Among the traditional reasons, personality differences were the most common with 22.1 percent of the broken engagements, more than family issues (6.2 percent) and conflicts with in-laws (14.2 percent) combined.
Shin Kwang-young, a sociology professor at Chungang University, said, "Young couples fall in love and they almost reach the stage of getting married, but they break up because of the cost of wedding and personality differences."
The erosion of the traditional Confucian patriarchy means that the power in the family shifted from grandparents in extended families to parents in nuclear families. This has now again shifted to the children themselves.
In these circumstances, young people take financial insecurity and personality differences most seriously when considering marriage.