Well, my theory was wrong. I found the article about Swedish relationships and the sociological impacts that are so tied to the Swedish way of life. From The Local of course. And my theory was wrong. Apparently when you add in the dissolution of relationships such as sambo the rate including the divorce rate slaughters any other western country. Divorce rates alone in Sweden, according to the article are 55% as opposed to 46% in the US and just 10% in Italy.
While my idea about the sambos being helpful was wrong it does seem that there is a direct relationship between the religious fervor of a country and their divorce rate. I mean come on. The Pope hangs out in Rome. Of course there’s only a 10% divorce rate. And Swedes don’t go to church. 55%. It all fits.
Apparently, the Swedes have not found a way to avoid marriage but still stay committed. Goes to show the Swedes are fallible I suppose. Despite their worldwide reputation for design. And efficiency. Take the do it yourself, cheap, but designy IKEA, or the fashionable, inexpensive H&M. Their quest for modernity doesn’t always lead to favorable results though.
The article argues that the H&M and IKEA culture in Sweden is actually one of the reasons for the high divorce rate. The reason being that people are looking for a quick, easy, but half way fashionable fix. Some people might be reminded of Vegas. Of course, deep down Vegas is just a bunch of sad looking people trying to look fancy and make their fortune with the pull of a handle or the deal of a card. And maybe that’s what you see here in Sweden: A bunch of people trying to look fancy without ever really pulling it off, all the while hoping that they can rise above the classless social welfare state.
Along those same lines the article states that Swedes are incredibly individualistic. Makes sense. A lifetime of always being classed together, never being allowed to be better than anyone else, might leave you with some deep psychological yearnings to be an individual. And what better way to be an individual than to shop at the exact same store as all of Sweden and buy the exact same clothes as everyone else in Stockholm. But it’s individualistic because those clothes will be out of fashion in a week. And so each day brings a new individual who is on the cusp of fashion.
With this individualism though comes the need for constant improvement. Which can be good. Sometimes. There’s a lot to be said about self-improvement. Just today, I used a few big Swedish words when I was talking to the old man on the phone. Expanding my everyday Swedish vocabulary. Self-improvement right there. But there is a limit. And the need to be constantly seeking individualism in a relationship can lead to problems. Because improvements in an individualistic relationship sound like they just end up being the search for an upgrade. A girl who is just a little prettier. A guy who is just a bit more intelligent. A partner who is just a little bit… better.
At the same time though this constant search for improvement may be the catalyst behind the evolution of the sam- and särbo culture. So maybe this is just the first step towards the ultimate relationship. Or maybe this is just one of those little blips in evolution like Lucy. I’m not sure either way. But I’m still giving my vote of confidence to the idea.