This week you can try tango lessons, go rock climbing, have a picnic on the beach, play badminton, or enjoy a round of golf. But only if you’re single. The above are just a taste of activities arranged by members of Swedish dating site Shake My World.
Launched in 2008, it aims to turn traditional online match-making on its head by giving “Sweden’s active singles a more fun single life, full of energy and things to do.” It fulfills all the criteria of a dating site. Fill in your details, what you are looking for and surf the photos for any potential pickings
But for many it’s simply about finding like-minded people to share good times with. One member I know – divorced and with kids – says these days she sees herself as a ‘professional’ single. She’s looking for a bit of a laugh and a flirt rather than long-term romance. Another is a 30 something bachelor who has never been married and isn’t hoping to in the foreseeable future.
“Swedes marry less, cohabit more, live in single-person households more, and marry at later ages than the people of any other rich country in the world.” It’s the opening line of a 2008 article in the Scandinavian Review entitled “Modern Sweden: The declining importance of marriage.”
It’s a good read and points to some sociological reasons why this trend has occurred, from gender quality and secularization to the sambo phenomenon – living together without tying the knot.
Indeed, in the last 50 years the number of marriages has gone down while the population and divorce statistics have increased.
But it’s rather more to do with the rising art of being single and happy with it. Indeed, Stockholm is believed to be home to more single people per head of population than any other capital.
Perhaps that’s one contributory factor as to why the phrase ‘särbo’ has come into more common usage of late – being in a relationship but not living together. I’d never heard of it when I moved here eight years ago. But even more compelling is the new expression in town – ‘självbo’.
Literally meaning ‘living alone’ it has been coined by those who want to get rid of the negative connotations surrounding the world single. For this rising Swedish community it’s their chosen way of life.