With the departure of 2PM’s Nickhun and f(x)’s Victoria from their virtual marriage and show We Got Married, fandom goes into mourning over the make believe couple known as Khuntoria.

But why?

Despite idol relationships gaining more and more prevalence, it has yet to mainstream into acceptance. A quick look at any rumor, scandal, or even suggestion regarding a romantic relationship between two idols is filled with horror, outrage, and revolt. Even virtual couples of We Got Married fame, are met with backlash. But virtual couples are able to transcend this initial backlash and gain acceptance. And between the Facebook pages, Youtube compilations, and Tumblr posts, these couples transcend backlash and acceptance into adoration, love, and massive fan followings. Even though a real celebrity couple may gain acceptance in this day and age, I have yet to see a Twitter account dedicated to the happenings of YunRa (Junhyung and Goo Hara).

The obvious response to this discrepancy would be to point out the difference between fantasy and reality. On a show like We Got Married, the jealousy and envy that arises when we see things like Nickhun kissing Victoria, can easily be dismissed by the fact that none of it is real. Even if conspiracy theorists are right and the two are dating in real life, what occurs before the camera is not real. So instead of getting angry, sad, or whatever about it, we just dismiss it and enjoy it for what it is worth.

But I think it’s much more than that. When we see Victoria’s heart-of-gold attempts to please Nickhun and Nickhun’s make-me-giggle efforts to impress Victoria, our souls melt. We Got Married provides us with an intimate look into the relationship between these two people and regardless of whether it is real or fake, what we see, hear, and feel is so fantastically elastic that we cannot help but laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry, and love when they love. We love them and god damn it, we accept them!

For reasons that are so obvious they are not even worth pointing out, we don’t have the same experience with real life celebrity couples. First of all, they are real. But second of all, we don’t get to see the smiles, the laughs, even the tears and the fights that show us how good these crazy kids are to and for each other. And as fans that are invested in these people, we worry. We worry and then we flame and then we troll. And while a virtual couple can win us over with their diabetes inducing cuteness, real life couples do not have the same opportunity. That is why virtual couples have the acceptance, the fandoms, and the appeal that real couples, and even other niches in Korean Pop, do not.

So who is your favorite virtual couple and your favorite thing about watching them?