My two posts about dating in Sweden got a lot of attention (if you’re new, here they are: the first one and the follow-up). Many could relate to what I described while others couldn’t at all. I got a tonne of questions and while I’m trying to answer every one personally, I’m going to address some of the frequently asked ones in separate posts like this one.
One question that came up often was whether the next step after dating is marriage or moving in together for Swedish people.
Not one of my Swedish friends in my age is married. And yet several of them have been together with the same partner for several years. Practically every couple that has been together for more than six months live together.
So marriage isn’t very common among young people. In fact, statistically most people get married for the first time to their long term partner in their mid to late thirties. But on the other hand it is very common for young couples to live together. We have a word for couples who live together but aren’t married: sambo. It means “together-living” and is not a bad word in any way. When a person is talking about his or her sambo, they will proudly refer to them as their “sambo,” in the same way people talk about their wives or husbands.
Practically all of the couples I’m talking about live by themselves, and not with their parents.
Adult children in Sweden don’t get much financial help from their parents. From around the age when you finish high school (18-19), most young people move out and get by on their own, either by taking a job or joining university and thus getting student loans. Quite a lot of people combine their college studies with a part-time job. Hannes and I are in this latter group.