There is also särbo. Separate living. The Swedes have it all. These are people who might be in a relationship but don’t necessarily live together. The term gives a little bit more seriousness than to your average high school couple though.
The fact that Swedes give terms to these different styles of a relationship is very interesting to me. Some people even forego marriage and instead live as sambo, deciding never to take that plunge, while others, as DCP’s father may say, practice catch and release sambo living, and switch it up every year or so.
This is something that you just don’t see categorized to the same extent in the US. It just seems so different to me. Granted, couples throughout the United States live together before being married, some live together without ever marrying in the first place, and others have incredibly committed and serious relationships without ever living together. But given the discussions in the US about the sanctity of marriage and all that goes with what some would call the perfect holy union I just don’t see these relationships being acknowledged so openly as to give them official names. Hell, some people still have a problem with couples living together before they are married, to say nothing about giving this living together a specific name. And that’s too bad.
Personally, I’m all for it. Obviously. But I think it’s a good idea to test things out. Some people just can’t live together. Happens with roommates in college all the time, happens with relationships too. So why not give it a shot? The prevailing attitude in the US against living together often seems to be religious based. So that excludes me for sure. And maybe that’s why the Swedes have such little problem with living in sin outside of marriage. As I’ve mentioned before in this blog, Sweden isn’t exactly a bastion of religious fervor.
Of course, all this being said, Sweden is considered to be the divorce capital of the world. So either this whole sambo thing just doesn’t work. Or there is something else at work here. Maybe the numbers are skewed because there are so many people in sambo relationships that work out so well they never feel the need to marry and thus never move on to divorce. Seeing as marriage tends to be a very important first step towards getting divorced.
I actually read a very interesting article about the Swedish divorce phenomenon and the sociological aspects as related to the Swedish way of life. I’m going to try to dig that up and write a post on that in the next day or two.