Why I hate living in Sweden

6 April 2013

I write, or at least begin, far more blog posts than I end up publishing, mostly because I don’t want to subject you all to the same sort of whining that you’ve been hearing for the past three years I’ve been in Sweden. But usually the act of writing is therapeutic, and reading your comments even more so, giving me outside perspective and a feeling of being understood or appreciated. I should really write more.

Now that I am in actual weekly therapy with a psychologist with whom I have a rapport I am not at all feeling less full of thoughts and insights to share. And while I am currently feeling even more unhappy about my life here than usual, and it’s miserable, it’s good to know why, at least.

First let me tell you about time with my Swedish therapist. For one thing, we speak in Swedish. That has some benefits, such as the therapist probably understands me with less effort and, when she talks to me, can focus more on the content than the form of what she says. It also means she is experiencing me as the majority of Swedes do, which is helpful since a good deal of what we talk about is how I relate to Swedes and Sweden. I am also more succinct in Swedish since I usually only have one way to say something. I guess this way I get more bang for my therapy bucks. It’s also kind of neat to know that I can manage a sociolinguistic situation so complex as talk therapy in another language.

Of course, what’s not good about speaking Swedish is that I fucking hate speaking Swedish, feel like a childish idiot when I do, and can’t always explain myself and my feelings as precisely or fluently as I’d like. Nevertheless, when the therapist hasn’t seemed to have quite understood my intent at first, it seems like the problem is more cultural (e.g. expectations of behavior for an American from the south).

In general, this woman really seems to get me. She understands my feelings, my situation, my reactions. I can’t tell you how novel and valuable it is to feel like a Swedish person gets and appreciates me. She doesn’t think that all my problems with feeling at home here in Sweden are all my fault, or that I’m doing something wrong, or that my life is a series of mistakes that sounded like a good idea at the time. The therapist is good at pepping up my self-esteem by telling me various of my solutions to problems or my initiatives (e.g. volunteering at the library) are creative. And she has had some great insights into psychological and societal processes that are affecting my state of mind:

• I don’t actually having any sort of anxiety or depression disorder as I was beginning to suspect, according to her, but rather am just uniquely unsuited to my current status of being an unemployed educated immigrant from the southern part of the United States living in a rural working class Swedish village, and am thus having an especially difficult time adjusting to the change of living here. The facts of who I am just don’t mesh at all with my environment and for assorted reasons I am particularly sensitive to this discord.

• It’s probably not that the ladies in the village don’t like me (especially since they don’t really know me); rather they’re not interested in making the extra effort to communicate and connect with me, given my foreignness and my accent. They are comfortable with known entities, and don’t want any new friends or even acquaintances. This is a very strong phenomenon in a rural Swedish village and my therapist advised I straight-up give up trying to be friends or even all that friendly with the mommies in the village. Theoretically if I stop trying, I’ll stop being disappointed (shout-out to Facebook, for facilitating much of this disappointment!), which is wreaking havoc on my self-esteem. I’ve never had trouble fitting in or getting along with people before, and I really like socializing, and I feel very alone out here in this village, so this bit is very hard for me.

• Where I come from it’s your social class, education, and work accomplishments that provide status and context for an individual, whereas here it’s who you know and where you grew up. I don’t know anybody and didn’t grow up here, so I’ve got no cache. Though I could of course take personal and professional satisfaction in having an appropriate job and doing it well, and thus compensate for my lack of social capital, I still have no such job.

• My map/guidebook for interacting effectively and winningly interacting with people and institutions (e.g Little Girl’s school) is of no use so besides the language difficulties, which still arise, I feel bereft and powerless in these contexts.

• In my “previous life” in the US, I did everything a girl like me should: played the piano, rode horses, did well in school, went to a good college, got married before living together, worked a professional job, had a baby, stayed home to care for her. It was all by the book for my milieu. And then I went off and moved to Europe, which was totally off the rails, and this one major life decision that was the first which was entirely my own isn’t turning at a) at all how I’d hoped and b) very well for me personally at all. This is apparently why I can’t seem to feel comfortable with any decisions I now make, about issues big or small; I don’t trust myself to make good ones.

• My marriage is now direly unequal, since I rely on Husband more and more (instead of the expected less and less) for so very much as I am emotionally dejected by previous failures and in practical terms not interested in repeating them (e.g. not securing a refund on a defective item at a store; unable to convince school personnel to take me seriously). Now I try to get him to call or be present at appointments for everything, having no faith in my ability to manage them. This makes e feel the opposite of capable and adult. Being an immigrant is like being a five-year-old.

• I feel super-guilty, apparently (as evidenced by all the crying in therapy), about having left my mother and grandparents behind in the US. When I moved, my grandparents were both in serious decline, and my mother had left her work to care for them full-time. Very shortly into my time here some things happened I am not comfortable detailing here, but they were pretty horrifying and necessitated my return to the US to deal with the fallout. My having moved abroad was one reason they occurred. GUILT.

• Additionally, I am a good southern girl, and we are supposed to take care of our families, sometimes I of course am not at all doing from another continent. MORE GUILT.

• Much of my expectations have been met with disappointment. We were supposed to come to be near Husband’s large extended family, but we hardly ever see anybody except his parents. The country life was supposed to be idyllic, but the villagers ignore us and there are a couple of men who drive around our village and others trying to convince schoolgirls walking home to hop in their cars for who knows what terrible purposes. Apparently Little Girl’s sweet little country school is crappy. The long winters and unreliable summers are taking a toll on me. The graduate degree I got in the US with the explicit purpose of being more employable abroad has turned out to have no practical value in Sweden. I had expected to travel within Europe a fair amount but we don’t get around to it too much, what with the never-ending house renovation using up our time and money instead. And, not to be too middle school about it, but nobody wants to be my friend, at least nobody Swedish, and that’s disappointing.

• I feel like a culturally incompetent parent and I hate that for my children’s sake. They deserve someone who knows what’s what and can work the system on their behalf.

• There’s a fair amount about Swedish culture I just don’t like and now I’m going to make some big assholish generalizations here in discussing them because I am in a bad place about Sweden at the moment and don’t feel like being fair: Swedes don’t appreciate how good they have it. They take advantage of their social welfare mechanisms and expect to be taken care of entirely in a very entitled way. Everybody wants to look the same and do the same things (preferably in a group) and buy the same crap and it’s boring as fuck. Swedes hate change and innovation unless it relates to their iPhone. They are too casual about sex which I personally think is part of why their rape culture is so strong. The typical foods are boring and bad for you. Adults are rude and unfriendly and children indulged and undisciplined. They don’t value education beyond trade school, which they sometimes call university even though it is not. They think everything about Sweden is automatically the awesomest and are incurious about everywhere else. Extended family has little value, and neither does staying home with one’s children. Swedes are suspicious of and/or uncomfortable around anybody who is different. The only books they read are cookbooks, and then they just go ahead and fry up ready-made meatballs all the time anyway.

• My point about the above diatribe is that a lot of what I see as common Swedish values I do not like and I do not share. It’s tiring and frustrating and demoralizing to run up against them, to work against them in raising my children, to see them at work everywhere.

So now that the therapist has figured out why I am having such a hard time, we need to figure out how to make it better, because I can’t go back in time and not have moved, and even though we could and might move back to the US (something I think about many times a day), that’s not going to happen for a few more years for practical and ideological reasons. I want to be happy here, but how?

For a positive update, click here.


109 Responses to “Why I hate living in Sweden”

  1. nothanks Says:

    It fells like much of your feelings and reactions to typical Swedish behavior are related to how it are in a smaller rural location which to be perfectly honest only are adequate to at most 1 fifth of the Swedish population. My advise would be that if possible you could move you and your family to at least middle to large sized city in Sweden where still much of the cultural aspects rule but not in the same big context and where much more other influences are important as well.

  2. Kristina Says:

    Wow, that seems so powerful to be clear about all the reasons you are feeling sad and frustrated right now – very good reasons! I’m so glad you have a therapist who gets you and can help you sort through things. My two cents/thoughts at the moment are that the best you can do is the best you can do…I like the idea your therapist had of not making further effort to be friends with the moms who are not available for a variety of their own reasons (some which sound very limiting to themselves but oh well). So maybe make a list of things you’ve done that have helped/been positive to your life there (taking language classes, volunteering at the library, therapy, travels, etc.) and decide if and how you will keep doing them and then maybe another list of things you want to try or do that you think might have a chance of meeting some needs you have (for friendship and a sense of competency for example) and do what you can to check them out when you feel up for it. From my perspective, you’re very skilled (your language skills are vastly above what others would have in your position for example) and are doing a lot! I have a last thought that maybe you can use this experience as an immigrant in some way down the road – maybe help others or write about it or something… Sending lots of care and support, Kristina

  3. Anonymous Says:

    When I moved to Boston with husband, baby and a toddler,,,,we were there for a certain time period,,,, we were there for post grad studies,,,, made friends but we will never ever be part of the town,,,my boys grew up there ,,,popular in school. ( I always volunteered,,,bought gifts for the kids in class,,,had really nice birthday parties -with themes..I tried my best) I was always sad and lonely,,,hubbies family live 4 hours away,,,so my kids are part American but because I. Arab,,,my kids are not entirely like the other kids. All in all, my kids came first,,,,library,,,activities,,, after school martial arts,,,soccer ,,,swimming etc etc
    now we are back in Saudi Arabia,,,, I don’t even try ,,,my kids still come first,,,still have awesome parties ,,,,,they are Saudi,,,I grew up here,,,,I am from here,,.i went to the schools here and Uni,,..my kids and I fit in even though the hardly speak Arabic.,,but I’m their mom,,. Aonautomatically they fit,,,,mothers call me for play dates,,,(I feel like an asshole because I don’t even try,,,they are instantly popular and everyone wants to come over and the moms like me)
    The take home,,, u have to stop being sad,,, throw nice parties.,,,have cooler play dates,,,,show off with it post grad degree,,…. You just have to try harder..,if not for ur sake,,,for your children’s sake,,, That’s what I did,,,,,but I always told them they were also half Arab and should be proud of their culture.,,,so your kids are half Americanhalf Swedish,,,
    Be proud of who you are,,,speak English,,,speak Swedish,,,tell your daughter to tell them she is bilingual,,,you are a smarty intellectual, you are only there for a period of your life,,,make the most of it,,,enjoy their culture…but keep yours.

    When you return to the States,,, you won’t pick up where u left ,,,it will be a little hard,,,it’s a fast pace there ,,,,but you’ll be HOME,,,,u will pick up where u left off with ur school friends,,,and ur kids and their kids will get along,,,,Ull be happier there,,,but then ur husband will feel lonely,,,it’s hard,,,being sad wont help,,,,maybe u should go home for a visit,,,go out with friends and then Ull appreciate what u have back in Sweden.

    GGood luck sweetie


    • Ana Carlsson Says:

      Loved your text. Enjoy the time…I am now in a mood: annoy the swedishes…forget your problems. And is working well. My son speajes three languages, portuguese coz I am brazilian, English and swedish.My son is blond with yellow eyes since I am a bit tanned just…maube weak blood. But now I do push more my will and my swedish husband dies not like sweds so he teaches me how to have confidence. I have been suffering a lot….Not anymore!!!

  4. alejna Says:

    I’m so glad that you are working through all of this with someone. It sounds like a big complicated place to be, and I’m glad you are not going at it alone. It sounds hugely stressful, and I really feel for you.

    I also want to second that at least some of what you describe about Swedish culture may be small-town culture. It actually sounds similar to what I have seen in small-town US. I have not managed to make friends with the natives of the town where I live–and I’ve been living there 13 years. However, I have finally made contact with other outsiders in my town. Unlike in your case, we aren’t foreigners, but we often feel that way. My new friends have also had their attempts to make friends in town rebuffed (or at least not reciprocated). Even though there is not the language barrier, there is a (sub)culture barrier.

    For that matter, as someone who moved around a lot, I experienced this (sub)culture clash in other towns in the US, also.

    But that’s not to say that I think it’s all totally the same. Everything is probably multiplied and magnified by the (perceived) language barrier. (I felt that, too, to some extent when I spent a semester in Brazil as an undergrad. The locals–and this was Rio, certainly no small town–had no patience for my slow and accented Portuguese. But I bonded with others from outside Rio, mostly other expats, but also even other Brazilian natives from outside Rio. But I was mostly miserable in Rio.)

    Sorry, I’m rambling. (And possibly incoherent.) I guess I just mean that I hear you, I’m here to listen to you, and I hope that you figure out a way to be more satisfied with your life. You are a very cool individual, and you deserve to be around more people who want to hang out with you.

  5. Mia Says:

    Move to a city! I am an educated Swedish woman from a larger Swedish city and I would NEVER move to a rural working class Swedish village. It takes generations to get accepted there, it’s common knowledge. My husband’s parents moved to a village in the early 70s and they are just about starting to get a sense they belong there now.

    Also, sell the house! I realize it’s the family home of your husband, but it’s not worth this unhappiness. Sell it or let it and rent/buy something in a city, which will hopefully enable you to go traveling a bit more. There are so many great sights in Europe, and if you live in a city with good flight connections they’re not all that far away, and not all that expensive either.

    If you move to a city you may vastly improve your chances of getting a job.

    My only advice for you, should you choose to stay in the village, is to develop interests that correspond to what surrounds you. Get involved in the byalag or vägförening or whatever organization is the most important there, whether it interests you or not – it’s a great source of information and will allow you to rise a bit on the status scale and get to know people (though if will perhaps not get you friends), or going the church choir. Get a hunting certificate. Actually, activities that are centered around nature are great in many ways – whether you dislike the Swedes or not, accessible nature is one of Sweden’s great assets and it might prove to be a rewarding contribution to your wellbeing. Take up canoeing or orienteering or hiking or become an avid camper. Any social setting that does not focus on being Swedish or being a part of community would be great – bird watching, sports, a political party? Somewhere where the participants are forged together by a stong mutual interest, rather than family ties or geographical proximity.

    I have lived abroad for a few years (so I can obviously relate to the hardships of being an immigrant, but that’s beside the point here) and when I returned to Sweden I really hated it here, much for the same reasons you stated (though I’d lie if I said I wasn’t wildly provoked by them). So my husband and I opted for a diverse, multicultural suburb – yes the schools face problems, and yes there are heaps of social issues, but the ambience is great, we have neighbours from all over the world, we meet and talk without ever knowing what topics will be discussed (or in what language) and without knowing whether we will agree or not – threatening to some but liberating to us. The divide between educated/not educated and urban/rural cuts through every nationality and ethnicity – given my and my husbands backgrounds, we get along best with those who are urban/educated, be they from Iran, Uruguay or Sweden. So if I were you I’d seriously reconsider the location… your husband will have to adjust to you here, it doesn’t make sense that you’re this unhappy.

    Best of luck to you.

  6. Youma Says:

    Rough. A job might help, best friends are often collegues.

  7. cpalsson Says:

    I can relate 110%. I lived in Kiruna and your story could almost be my story, except I didn’t have kids at the time. Being an educated woman, I expected to be able to do something in regards to education and the English language. It was very soul-damaging to be told I was only good for cleaning hotel rooms. As you state, I felt like a five year old. I was a child to everyone around me and a child in the society, even though I had been a functioning adult before the move.

    I’m glad you are seeing a therapist and hope she can help you find a way to find your happiness. I didn’t want to be a downer before you moved since it was your plan and it sounded like you would at least have family near by. . . but I couldn’t help but worry this is how it would go. I’m just so sorry it went this way for you. I am crossing my fingers that a way back to the US will open up for you.

  8. Sara Says:

    Thanks for writing this, because it has given me some insights into what my husband is going through in the USA. He hasn’t tried nearly as hard as you have to engage himself in the community, but still, the five-year-old thing rings true. It’s hard.

    We live in a very small town in the southern USA, and honestly, some of the same things go on here. It does sound like you’ve got the perfect storm of small town problems and Swedish problems. I do wonder if you’d find life in a bigger city a bit easier if you decide to stay in Sweden.

  9. hanna Says:

    Your rant isn’t about swedes, it’s about small town people. Move to a larger town! Is the house really worth it? I feel for you, and hope you’re in a better place (in both meanings) soon!

  10. Marie Says:

    I agree with the commenters above me – most of your frustration stems from living in a small village rather than a larger city. It is hopelessly difficult to live in a small village in Sweden as an outsider – my parents are both from Stockholm and moved to a tiny village on the west coast right before I was born, and my family was never really accepted into the community. We all had a different accent than the locals, and my parents both had university degrees, which was a strange and rare thing in that village. I got out of there as soon as I graduated high school and moved to a much bigger city, where people are (to put it bluntly) much more civilised and intellectually curious. It must be a hundred times more difficult to live in such a village as a non-Swede. I really do think you would feel more at home in a large to medium-sized city, because it doesn’t sound like you’ll ever fit in where you live now. It doesn’t sound very reasonable at all to stay in a place where you’re unhappy, even if your husband does have familial ties to it.

    Lastly, while I understand most of your complaints about small town Swedes and Sweden in general, I feel that I really must address your comment about rape culture. Sweden doesn’t have a stronger rape culture than any other western country – it has a broader legal definition of rape than pretty much any other country which means that more sex crimes are defined as rape, but rape isn’t more common here than in any other country. As a feminist, our openness and casual attitude towards sex is one of the things I like best about Sweden, and the way American culture views sex (and especially women who have and enjoy sex) is honestly horrifying.

    • Antropóloga Says:

      I’ll concede any opinions I have about Swedish rape culture are based only on hearsay and random newspaper articles, and I appreciate your clarification about it.

      I in fact totally agree that it is a good thing when women’s sexuality is not feared or considered shameful. Though as I have seen plenty of misogyny and the consideration of women purely as sex objects in, say, the comments sections of newspaper articles in Sweden, I’m not sure a casual attitude about sex leads to feminism. I do know that’s not the precise equation you were making.

      My issue with the casualness about sex is regarding teenagers, basically. I am appalled that it is normal for teenagers here to have, not uncommonly, live-in boyfriend/girlfriends or a variety of sexual partners already in high school. Of course, when it comes right down to it the reason I think this is so horrible is just because it is so contrary to how I was raised and it makes me uncomfortable. I guess if the teenagers involved practice safe and mutually satisfying and respectful sex (though I kind of doubt this is usually the case) there is no real reason for my objection other than my just thinking it is super-tacky, which is, I agree, a dumb reason to object since informed teen sex doesn’t hurt anybody and is pretty natural.

      At any rate, this issue is an example of my lack of agreement with Swedish social norms. I will certainly not want my kids having sex-sleepovers in high school, no way. I do realize how I am in fact the one with the stupid opinion if I think hidden, shameful sex is the preferable option for teenagers.

      As for my particular situation, we do actually live near a medium-sized city that I should start trying to think of as my own, and consider the village as just a suburb. It’s not like in America I thought I had to be friends with everybody in my neighborhood; that sounds kind of moronic. I guess the reason I felt differently about the village was because my kids would be growing up with their kids, and I thought it’d just be, I don’t know, idyllic, to be friends with the other moms.

      As an immediate mental health measure, I think this is what I will do: block the village ladies on Facebook so I don’t have to see all the pictures and reminiscences of gatherings to which I was yet again not invited. Why people love to post all that publicly I will never know. Are they being mean or just thoughtless? And I will also prepare very well for the meeting I have coming up about my offering some classes in the fall. And I will take longer walks in the forest and see my (immigrant) friends and go out to eat.


      • Annika Says:

        In terms of the village ladies, I want to reinforce what the therapist said. It is probably not an active dislike on their part. Chances are that they are friends since school or childhood, that it is a close-knit, closed and longstanding relationship and, to them, just not worth the trouble (or would even occur to them) to extend it to any “outsiders” regardless of how friendly. Having children the same age or living as neighbors – which makes Americans cultivate new relationships – does not necessarily make a difference. Based on my experiences with smalltown Sweden,many social networks are set up like this and that makes it extremely hard to come in from elsewhere. By this reasoning they would not expect their fb-postings to hurt you since by their standards you would never expect to be part of that group. Hiding them on facebook seems like a smart move!

      • Youma Says:

        “block the village ladies on Facebook so I don’t have to see all the pictures and reminiscences of gatherings to which I was yet again not invited.”

        Haha, I’ve been there. If you’re feeling lonely, stay the hell off facebook. It’s been scientifically proven even: http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2012/05/is-facebook-making-us-lonely/308930/

  11. loulouloves Says:

    Sorry to hear you have been having such a bad time here. Great you have a good therapist to talk to about it all.

  12. Annika Says:

    A few thoughts:
    1. Wonderful that you have a good therapist , can get some perspective and have figured out that this is NOT your fault.

    2. I burst out laughing at your rant even though I feel desperately sorry for you in the situation you are in. I grew up in a Swedish smalltown and most of what you write about Swedes resonates with me. I am also highly educated but not in a technical field and, you are right again, this is awarded NO respect among most Swedes I meet.

    3. I agree with most everything Mia said and then some! I know you have invested a lot in that house but since your life where you are is sucking your soul dry, rent it out and live in the nearest city. You will not escape all of the issues you have mentioned but you will have more options, more people from the outside to relate to, more activities outside of the house and hopefully a better school system.

    4. I was you two years ago except in an American small town. Terrible job opportunities, no social life, a constant feeling of failure, no shared values (for me it was the other way around – this was a churchgoing community built around family and I have no kids and don´t go to church. This is also a town where you basically only hang out with family – everyone lives close to family), becoming unhealthily dependent on my husband while being unable to be a good spouse to him since I was so unhappy and as a consequence seriously endangering my marriage. So I know this feeling of awful and the toll it takes on everyone.

    Hang in there! At least now that you have the larger perspective, you might be able to formulate some kind of strategy for survival but there are limits to where and what you can adjust to. I hope you and Husband are able together to figure out some intermediary and longterm plans for change.

  13. […] Antropóloga om en massa jävligheter i att inte passa in på en plats där jag misstänker att männen går klädda i fluorescerande arbetskläder och mekar med motorer hela tiden. […]

  14. Alyssa Says:

    None of this is easy. I don’t know how you managed to live in a place with almost no social support (other than family) for as long as you have. It is certainly wonderful that so many people here have offered advice and choices for you to think about. Your therapist sounds wonderful and it’s great you’ve found her. Hang in there.

  15. Christy Says:

    All of the comments to this post make your situation seem hopeless, until you are willing to move to a larger city. I’ve never lived in a place where the social norm is to ignore all outsiders, but I have to admit, it sounds awful.

    I have an idea! Move back to the US and hang out with me! It will be awesome!

  16. thebankes Says:

    Wow, I could have written this from next door in Denmark. There are a lot of similarities culturally (of course, a Dane would be horrified to think that was true, how dare I suggest they might share something with those crazy Swedes). I am impressed you have managed for so long in that environment. I have only been here about 9 months now and it’s a daily struggle for exactly the same reasons you listed. (And for the record, we’re in the 2nd largest city in the country — not a small village.) I have found a group of other ex-pats online who have helped validate that I’m not alone in my experiences and feelings here, and that has helped tremendously, but doesn’t offer any real solutions in terms of managing my daily frustration and depression about being here. (And again, even those in Copenhagen seem to echo the exact same sentiments as those of us in smaller locales…while moving to a bigger city might indeed open up some more options for you, I don’t think it will in fact solve many of the challenges you’re already dealing with.)

    I’m glad you are able to see someone locally to discuss everything and I hope you’ll find a way to tolerate the time you’re still there and hopefully things may turn around. But I think that what you’re feeling is more the rule than the exception for most of us who have similar backgrounds and end up in this part of the world, to be totally honest.

  17. Mina Says:

    I think it is a set of circumstances against you, an expat living in rural Sweden. I hear anyone living in rural Germany is pretty much shunned unless they speak perfect German, go to church and join all and any communal activity. So, practically, you have to be a German confirming to the small community norms. And not even then are you guaranteed acceptance. This I am being told by a German, nonetheless.
    Living in a larger, cosmopolitan city, I can say that some of the issues are less so, especially if you are active in doing somthing about them beside complaining. For example, I expect I could find some sort of employment if I needed one. Even though they have this weird attitude, I am overqualified for a job I could get as a foreigner and underqualified for a job I could get as a specialist. Humdeedah. Curiously, I find older people more welcoming and open to talk to me than people my age over here. People my age are ignorant and rude, but rudeness is such a plague, I am having trouble deciding what exactly is the nature of it, are they rude and behave like barbarians because they lack manners, as in are unable to appropriate manners, or they are not taught, or it is their too literal nature of everyone for him and herself, or perhaps it is genetically encoded, or what?!?
    Anyway, I think that you would find it less opressive in a larger city. At least you would have more things to do, and people would be more exposed to dealing with foreigners and your feeling like a five year old would disappear. And so you could reclaim some of your independence back.
    I am sorry to hear about your hard times. I hope you find a solution soon. Life is too short to be lived in a state of unhappiness when you can do something about it. Good luck!

  18. Alexis Says:

    I can’t comment on Sweden, but village life is very tough. I know I could never live in my in-laws’ village, even though there’s no language barrier and they’re not quite as unfriendly as your village seems to be. I would never, ever be one of them–I could join the WI and send my kids to the village school (except not as it’s C of E) and I still wouldn’t fit in.

    I don’t know that moving to a city would solve all your problems—the cultural issues are still there, just as I still had difficulty adapting in London—but there are at least more people and it’s not quite so closed-off.

    Also, when we first moved back and things didn’t go well, I blamed myself a LOT, even though it’s not as if I had dragged my husband kicking and screaming over the Atlantic. It did get better as we settled in and things got better for us.

  19. Yo-yo Mama Says:

    “Boring as fuck…” was admittedly my favorite part because that sums up your situation quite succinctly.

    I use to work with a young woman who was from Detroit’s inner city. Imagine whatever stereotype that goes with that and then take that young woman and marry her off to a Caucasian cattle farmer who lives on his parent’s farm in Bum Fuck Nebraska 100 miles from anywhere and 800+ miles from any relatives. Her situation mirrors yours. BTW, they met through an on-line dating site because how in the world would these two have ever met!

    She is trying, but struggles daily. Her in-laws treat her with disdain and racism. The closest black person is a half-day’s drive away. Their children are treated as curiosities. She can’t even go out and simply get her hair done because there’s no one around who can do it.

    You two are fish out of water. Finding another ex-pat is only part of the issue since there’s no guarantee that you’ll even like her. Having the US of A as common stomping grounds won’t simply be enough. And I know that moving to a city isn’t in the realm of possibilities or else you’d already had done that.

    There’s no way to even imagine what you (and my ex-coworker) is going through, but I’ll continue to hope that seeing a counselor helps even just a little. Of course, that means you can write more here and I don’t think any of your blogging friends will object to that.

  20. a Says:

    It sounds like everyone agrees that it’s small town more than Sweden. But, that’s where you live. What can you do? It’s frustrating, but now you have confirmation that it’s them and not you. I hope that’s helping.

    I guess your best bet is to a) adjust your strategy as far as making friends and b) consider private education for the kids if possible. The only thing you can really do is have patience and hope that you can find your niche. I’m sure it’s out there.

  21. Melissa Says:

    Wow, all of that sounds really tough. I’m glad you have your therapist, and I have to say you deserve huge kudos for going to therapy in another language!

    What does Husband think about all of this? Does he like it there? Everyone is telling you to move, but obviously you’re not the only one making that decision. I hope you guys can figure something out that works for both of you, because it’s no fun being so miserable day in and day out.

    In my opinion those Swedish village ladies don’t know what they’re missing. :)

    • Antropóloga Says:

      My husband and I talk about moving sometimes. When I am feeling bummed, he always offers to move back whenever I want, to wherever I want. And he does like it here in Sweden; he’s just a good guy. Anyway, I am doing okay at the moment. It helps when the sun shines! Plus I have plane tickets OUT of Sweden booked for some trips. That always helps. Even if we were to move, it wouldn’t be soon for a variety of practical reasons I’ll have to write about sometime.


  22. Bamboo Says:

    Hi. I really appreciate your ‘rant’ – it is exactly on point about what it means to be in Sweden. I would say, though, that it isn’t small town living that makes it difficult, it is Sweden itself. I have lived in 8 different countries and this is the first time I have found it impossible to have a social life and friends outside of work. I live in one of the larger towns in Sweden and it feels like social Siberia. Until I read your blog I really thought it was me and my new-found inability to fit in with the the zombie like behavior going down here. My strategy is to move when I am financially able, to a country where I can feel human and involved in at least a small part of what is going on. Saving saving saving those SEK!

  23. Daniela Says:

    I found your blog in the midst of a fit of rage for the people of this country. I empathize with what you are going through, even though I am an expat living in Stockholm. However, I have given up trying to make friends with swedes a long time ago. It’s just not worth it. They are boring as hell.

  24. Simon Says:

    I think the Swedes are taking some mind control drugs… they are all the same, show no emotions, so boring, they all talk about the same crap.. mostly money… we have been here for 1 year and every single day has been tough, every single day I have wanted to leave. my depression is getting worse.. Sweden has to be the most boring place on the planet…. the food is boring, the country is boring, the people are boring… I have to leave soon before I crack up…

    • Jay Says:

      Hi Simon,
      Sooooooo true. Especially the money thing. It’s all they talk about. How much this costs. How much he earned. Money money boorrring. I often think I am cracking up.

    • Colette Says:

      Hello Everybody

      I habe been living in Stockholm for one month now and it is hell. I have lived in various European countries, but never have I experienced such distain, disinterest,coldness and arrogance as displayed by the Swedish. I never expected this. I am also beginning to feel like a five year old, beginning to lose my confidence and am close to a nervous breakdown. I am leaving Sweden as soon as I possibly can as I am dying here. I gave up my job, my home that I loved, my friends, to join my Danish husband (who does not understand and exspects me to adjust) in Stockholm. I hate every single day here, I am literally dying. I have lost my smile, my joy, my pleasure in everyday things. It is a comfort to know that others feel similar as I thought it was only me.
      My husband wants a divorce as he is adament on remaining in Sweden. I HAVE to leave here in order to save my sanity and myself…..

      • Antropóloga Says:

        Hello! I know exactly how you feel. I also am pretty sure it will get better! Anything I can do to help? Eva


      • Ana Says:

        You are not so bad, since you are in Stockholm and there is a lot of activities to do and foreigns around….and we who live on smaller cities, where people are closed minds…not so many places to go. I am in Sweden for 9 year, finally now I have some friends and places to go, finally I am accepted, I am not black what helps me a lot as well, so…I totally understand you. Keep strong, drink wine, focus on dress well, go to some shops, don’t be pregnant!!!!! here there is no nannys and you don’t decide to leave your kids at school the way you want, you have to be with them full time until 7 yesras old, if you do not have a job, its really hard. Everything is expensive like manicure, hair salon, so don’t get 3 kids like the sweds, one is good, so you can focus on him but its enough…. Here is a hell, to the swedishes is easy, coz they work a lot and can leave their 3 children at school the whole day, and there are 2 salaries, do they have a lot of money. This system of just husband working and many kids, do not work in Sweden, just if you a milionarie. Here one mistake, you lost all your freedom. Focus on yourself.

      • Anonymous Says:

        I don’t know where you’re from, but I hope you made it home. I left for the same reasons except I knew it wasn’t me. The people are so insular, boring, humourless and depressing. It’s no wonder Sweden has the highest suicidal rate.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Absolutely agree. Six years here… Stockholm. It is unbelievably, mind-numbingly boring. The people are dogmatic and ridiculous.

    • Idil Mohamed Says:

      OMG! It’s time someone mention the money thing. They always talk about money and it’s sickening really. I think they are poor at heart. The buses dont have heaters.ni have been here for right money and cant wait to leave, America with all its issues is ten to twenty times better. I miss just talking to strangers even some are fake.

  25. paul Says:

    Thank you guys for all your posts,ive been in sweden for 2 years now in a smallish town and I’m getting seriously depressed, I only have one person to talk too my partner , i really miss small chats with strangers but thats not allowed here , I asked for something in the shop the other day and because i have an accent the lady just stared at me like i was an alien,then whilst walking around the lake i said greeted another lady walking her dog and she ran ahead scared then stopped and looked back at me wide eyed,it placed a chill in my heart, Now i don’t even bother trying, I met a woman in the library ” your not from sweden” she said when she heard my accent, ” most people arnt” i replied yet more staring….. I spend all my time regretting all the major mistakes ive made …. What makes things worse for me is ive lost touch with everyone back in the Uk including family, ….. In the winter i spent my time kicking lumps of snow down the road, thats how bored i was, sorry for moaning

    • Jay Says:

      Know how you feel Paul. I’ve been here 2 years and feel the same. This place can crush the most confident people down into a wreck.

  26. Black Carpenter Says:

    I don`t like sweden either.

    • Not a Swede Says:

      Exactly. Sweden is the most depressing place to be for a foreigner. I feel like I’m surrounded by smug paternalist zombies, repeating the “lagom” mantra of mediocrity. What a boring place!

      • Anonymous Says:

        I wish I could give points to comments as I would give you 10/10!! I’m going to laugh at that comment for a good while. Why are Swedes like zombies? Don’t drink the water…they’ve put something in it I swear. Sweden would be perfect without the Swedes however. Beautiful countryside. Actually I take that back, the UK has more stunning parts to it!!

  27. Amanda Says:

    As a fellow American, I hated living in Sweden too. I lived in a large suburb minutes away from Stockholm and I can tell you that the problems you talk about aren’t small-town problems – they’re Swedish problems.

    Glad I got myself out of that place. I’ve never appreciated the US as much as I do now, after having lived in Sweden. Sweden is just cold, boring, and miserable, and I could use exactly the same words to describe the Swedes.

    • Idil Mohamed Says:

      hi Amanda, i am so happy you are back at where you belong. I have been here for about eight months and i have never cried more. I just cannot wait to sun up the courage to leave. I hope and pray to God that i Will leave this summer for good and never return. I spend most of my time drinking black coffee and watching stupid movies with my partner, it’s so boring. The scenery is a bit depressing too.

  28. I’m a Swedish man on 24years. I’ve now been away from Sweden since 4years, traveling the world, living and working in Aussie and New Zealand. And NO I do NOT miss Sweden. People who “trust” their government wholeheartedly, are insane.! I couldn’t imagine to live there again except during the nice summers in Stockholm. one of the most miserable countries I’ve seen so far and I have been working myself through most of the continents on this planet. Now trying to get a carpenter apprenticeship in NZ… I left Sweden depressed unemployed without hope and hadn’t even finished secondary school. Now been through so many different jobs in Australia and over here in kiwi-land. people think I’m not serious when I say that I’ve never worked in Sweden but that’s the truth. I’ve got nothing to hide like Sweden do…. Sweden does indeed know how to make up the perfect lies for the outside world, but the truth always shine! I like reading this blog and the comments because not many people ever understood when I said I don’t like Sweden especially Swedes..sometimes they just walked away from me quietly and said nothing.! Please add me on FB: Christopher Mattias Oberg blessings! /Chris

  29. smartfarts Says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I came to Sweden a year ago from Germany for studying and I didn’t think that the cultural differences would be so big. I make similar experiences in a not-so-rural city and keep thinking “what am I doing wrong?”. Apparently I am not the only one feeling like this. I also have a boyfriend here and can totally relate to the feeling of getting more and more dependent on him, and I can’t stand that. I really hope things will get better for you. I’ll finish my Master in Spring and would really like to move back to Germany but at the same time I don’t want to leave my boyfriend. Maybe I’ll have to stick around for a few more years.

  30. Jay Says:

    I’m from the UK, been here two years and know exactly what you mean. Even speaking the language, I know people think I’m a silly foreigner. You can see that look on people’s faces when they stop listening after your second sentence. This place is borrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrring!

    • bbernie75 Says:

      Exactly!! so much booooring, its incredible. Never lived such an antisocial and egoist country before. One thing:MOVE away from here everyone!

  31. Robert C. Says:

    I’m an American who stupidly moved to Sweden 3 years ago (Swedish wife) and completely understand what you’re going through. However, it has nothing to do with living in a small town. The same rudeness and unfriendliness prevails in Stockholm as well.

    I also feel like a five-year-old who has to rely on his Swedish partner for everything and she is also my only friend here after all this time. My university degree and 20 years of experience in Corporate America means absolutely nothing in Sverige (still haven’t gotten a proper job here despite being in the largest city and trying my damdest).

    No one seems to like Americans or Brits here: I’m convinced Swedes naturally hate people who are from English speaking countries.

    I fantasize all day/every day about having a time machine so I could go back to December 2010 and convince my then fiancée to move to California instead if me insisting we start our lives together in her homeland.

    I always wanted to live in Europe and I was convinced that I would fit right in and it would be a grand adventure. Instead it’s a nightmare that I can’t wake up from (and the six months of Winter and darkness only adds to this dread).

    The only good thing that has come from me moving to Sweden is that I now appreciate the USA so much more than I did in 40 years of living there. Hopefully one of these years I can live in my beloved California again. :(

    • vanessa Says:

      What happened? Are you still here?

      • Robert C. Says:

        Unfortunately, yes I’m still here. :(

        Six years now and things are even more depressing than when I wrote that 3 years ago. Honestly each year is worse than the previous one.

        I still have no friends here except for my wife and our cats. And to me it seems that people are getting ruder and more irritated with “foreigners” such as myself with each passing day.

        We return to Los Angeles for 3 months every year and my wife says that I literally become a different person when I’m there. She said I never stop smiling the entire time we’re back in California and is amazed at how many friends I have there and how happy they are whenever I come home for a visit.

        She also sees her homeland of Sweden as a completely different place to what it once was and wants to leave and never look back, too.

        But, of course, it will take a lot of time to get her U.S. immigration paperwork sorted out (2-3 years) and then we both need to find a job in the U.S.

        So for the next few years I will be stuck in this God forsaken country counting down the days until our next trip to California comes around again.

    • Danne Says:

      You Think you Have it bad? i live in this hell 27 years against my own will. If you only knew how this swedish pigs treated me I hate this fucking country. I must have done someting Real bad to have so much bad luck.

    • Anonymous Says:

      What on earth have you done? Don’t let Sweden spoil your impressions of Europe. You just haven’t lived! Sweden is incredibly boring and mediocre, so are Swedes (androids in personality). Go and explore Europe, well mainly the southern states while you can. But I think California is more beautiful and you should return. I say this to save your sanity, if you haven’t returned already. I left Sweden after 2 years on a one-way ticket home. It was the wisest move I ever took!

  32. jjsdrbrg Says:

    I am so happy to have found this post. I thought I was crazy for feeling exactly the same! I grew up in the US and lived in the UK for years. I now live in Sweden with my Swedish husband and I hate it here. I look at flats online in London everyday. I dream about moving away. And I have a PhD and still no job. I can’t stand it here.

    • bbernie75 Says:

      Same here! And really no difference between small and bigger cities. Same shit. No job even I speak the language and having BA. Im going back to my city: Budapest, and my Swedish boyfriend coming with me:) After he visited my country and we managed to buy a flat there, knowing my culture he cannot live in Sweden anymore! Cant wait to be over with this looong nightmare! No way to raise my future children in this plastic land.

      • Coco Says:

        I left Stockholm as it was slowly but surely killing me. I have never felt as isolated, disregarded and invisible as I did in Sweden. Those people are so rude and arrogant. “Plastic” is an apt description for Sweden and it’s people. I tried, I really did, but to no avail. Believe me, once you are out of there, you will be able to laugh and enjoy life again. Good luck!

      • Idil Says:

        Hi there, I have been here for almost ten months and believe me I have cried quite a bit. This winter was really hard for me simply because I was studying Swedish and it was so dark and I felt very isolated. Now that I am heading home for the summer to evaluate things, I dont know if I will miss Sweden or if I will ditch it all together. Time will tell. Where are you from?

      • bbernie75 Says:

        Thanks for the nice words Coco! I really hope everything is will be ok. I wish nothing but the best, for you too at home or somewhere else! My advise for “Idil” is try to find your luck somewhere else if its possible you wont regret it. Good luck!

  33. kike Says:

    Lived in sweden for 30 years.Was exile with family to sweden as a kid.Probably hated every day i lived in tha country.All houses look alike.No one out in the streets.I had a job with much stress and after work i walkt out of the working place and it felt i was in marz no one out.I probably gonna be damage for life mentally after living there.And i lived in a big cityThank God i moved from sweden 8 years ago.I sometimes look at videos from sweden to see how good i have it now not living there any more.But looking at videos from sweden makes me depress so i better stop it

  34. Laura Says:

    Dear Antropologa, there’s no difference between living in a rural town or in a big city. Sweden is always the same, with the same rude, flat people, living only for money. This is the reality and the only thing I can suggest you is to come back to your beautiful, sunny homeland or you could become a Don Quijote… Don’t lose your energy! You deserve to be happy, you deserve a real LIFE, for you and your family.

  35. Alison Says:

    Holy crap, you are practically writing my story. I’m here in Sweden for my husband’s job and as hard as I try to like it- I hate it. I can completely relate to you- and esp the part about not trusting your decision making skills anymore- the same thing is happening to me. where do you live? I’m in the southwest and I have a 3 year old little boy. Maybe we could get in touch and commiserate!!!

  36. Ana Carlsson Says:

    My friend….we are going throw the same problem…I did all well in my early life in Brazil…catholic school, law school, child after marriage…but I tolerate Sweden, I am bipolar and here is getting really bad. I think we should talk more

  37. Ana Carlsson Says:

    Please add me on facebook Ana Paula Sampaio Carlsson.

  38. Cat Says:

    Glad to hear I’m not the only one. The rainy weather doesn’t help either and I often feel like I’m in the Twilight Zone with barely anyone walking down my street. Also being an incredibly independent person, I too have noticed how I have to do everything with my SO, instead of just doing it myself. What is wrong with me? lol I say, we all get together at some point for coffee or at least exchange emails for the time being and chat. I think nothing is more important than having a support system. Life is too short for all of us to be sad and depressed. Might as well enjoy our time of “freedom” with others that understand! :) Let me know if you’re interested in chatting!

  39. Someone There Says:

    I can completely relate to you and have similar story with life turning into nightmare. This is my 15th year in Sweden. As someone mentioned before I have a strongest support in my life, wife and 5 year old. Happy looking family. Now when I look back, I had a friends with same problems as we now. I had a constant feeling of failure. I blamed me and only me and tried “Harder” Friends told me “You will never be like sweds, you will have hard time here” . I ignored warning and decided to go study with sweds and to integrate with more effort. More education means better people. We decided to move to bigger town as this means more friends and social life specially friends from country of origin. Some of these friends integrate well as they enjoying good jobs positions and some of them not.
    It is much related to job as it is really hard or impossible to make this cold, jealous and childish people to like you. The rules are simple. Job list goes like Swedes, Scandinavians, fancy US-UK. To now I changed 15 jobs and I know what I´m talking about. Everything here is seen by my own eyes and makes hard to live with. They sing, you dance and do not dare to compare to them or be different, especially have your own idea about something. You will be evaluated 10 times a day with large dose of suspicious. Good part is that I cant categorize and some of them were friendly and made me laugh. 1-2% of the population, so find them. Even if you find them don’t think you can make friend of them as these are colleagues. Now the bad part. Wherever you go you will see same situations. One day we ended up in hospital, we waited for 10 hours and while waiting I saw an american crying of pain and shouting “I will get help more quickly if it was from Los Angeles ohhh I hate this country” Another one changed his surname to Carlsson. Show goes on as many took this lifestyle as granted and do as the Chinese – If you cant win against them then join them. Everywhere you go you will see unhappy, frustrated people. I tried everything to make those people like me. After 15 years I have zero friends here at least not Swedish. I have been studying and working with them. I tried to share same values, being cold like hell included. I failed. Life is not bed of roses anywhere I know, but at least I have been living in another countries so I have strong background to relate to. Yesterday I turned radio on and I hear president speech “More Swedish language for immigrants and harder legacy” This was like hammer hammering my head after my university and efforts here. Maybe I need to speak only English? And forget my fluent Swedish. Maybe then they will be more friendly.Now I´m trying to figure how to end this nightmare without to loose my family as I seen families that Sweden turned to a wreck. And now the scary thing. If I manage to live in isolation will this affect my child? Will he be accepted as I see here that even the third generation is not accepted. I have friends here born in Sweden but they still hang with immigrants. Have hard to find jobs etc. Can I serve this for my child in silence knowing this? Can I? I will apply for a job in US, anywhere far far from Scandinavia, separate with family for a while and maybe migrate and start again. I will try or die trying. Depression is standard here and my best friend is Iphone. At-least some values to share. My best time here is not being here and many swedes think the same. They all live to travel 3 times a year, have nice job,house,dog and to move to Spain when 60. I hope this will help you at least to be more careful if you decide to fight this problem as I did for 15 years.
    And one thing more.. do not ever loose contacts with outside world, friends etc. You might need them as the life is too short.
    Good luck!

    • KT Says:

      @someone there says
      that is exactly the 15 years i would never ever be able to endure. why have you not moved back?

  40. KT Says:

    Wow, I happened to stumble upon this blog as I was crying my eyes out for much of the same reasons you wrote about above. Actually, I googled ”i hate Sweden” and this came up. Hope things are going better for you now. Soon I have been here 1 year and I am getting so depressed. My Swedish is rather OK and I too had an amazing job in my ”previous life”, went to very good schools, and in the past 10 months have had 3 interviews. Granted, I work 2 part time jobs that I am too embarrassed to write or speak about but only to cover my student loan bills in the US.

    I cry all the time and am reliant on my Swedish husband for almost everything. One more month of trying and F this I will start the paperwork to move back to the US. I will not be reduced to nothing by these stuck up people.

  41. Simon Says:

    back again.. I posted a message

    17 August 2013 at 5:35 am

    Still stuck here in this boring place,

  42. […] part because I still get comments pretty regularly on what has turned out to be my iconic post, Why I hate living in Sweden. While I still remember with bitter clarity how I felt when I wrote that entry a year and a half […]

  43. Anette Says:

    How are you getting on? After reading all this Im not sure I want to move back “home” after my 18 yrs in the uk. X

  44. Anette Says:

    sorry missed your last comment, great that things have turned for the better :)

  45. Carlos Says:

    Sweden is the country of loneliness …. especially if you’re coming from somewhere else out of Sweden and you don’t know anyone here … it’s very hard to know Swedish people and got socialize and the worst if you were not living in Stockholm that would be the end for you my friends :P Swedish people are closed to themselves … I believe they are even lonely themselves

  46. Carlos Says:

    I don’t wanna waste my life here . . I’m definitely moving somewhere else when I get the chance . . .

  47. carlosd3 Says:

    well since we’re all feeling lonely here if anyone would like to hang out sometimes you can contact me here and maybe we can go out and do something fun together instead of whining here

  48. Anonymous Says:

    Hi Everybody

    I moved to Stockholm one month ago to be with my Danish husband who has been residing here since the beginning of August. My husband, who has a personality disorder called Borderline, has now decided to file for divorce. I now find myself in Stockholm without a job, friends and income. He does not want me to use the Internet, Water, etc.in our home. We were married in Denmark. He claims he can divorce me without my consent, throw me out of the Apartment etc. Is there anyone on this block who could advise me concerning a Lawyer who specialises in Danish or International Family Law? I would appreciate any reply greatly. There has been no infidelity or anything spectacular which prompted the divorce. I attribute this whole thing to his Borderline disorder. We do not have any children together.

    Thank you very much in advance.


  49. Anonymous Says:

    and yes, Sweden really is the loniest place in the world😢

  50. Anonymous Says:

    Hi everybody. Here is another foreigner who finds Sweden ridiculously hard to adjust to. It is comforting to know there are others who feel the same way. I talk to my Swedish partner about these issues and he clearly disagrees with me, he feels that its mostly my negative attitude and that Sweden is a place like any other in the world. Anyway, I ve only been here for a year and half and already for 8 months now I have been feeling seriously depressed and stopped engaging with the world. I cant stand the idea that I have to spend more years of my life here. What a waste! It makes me angry when i think i have left a good job and friends back home in Greece to come to this solitary place. I m glad we dont have any children and I do hope that i ll find the strength to leave. It hard because I dont want to split up with my partner. He is the most loving, fantastic person. But i wont sacrifice my happiness for my partner, i wont raise children as a depressed mother. I m very well educated and experienced, something else will come…I hope you and your husband decide to move back to your home place, I m sure you ll be happier inside. Do it for your children and for yourself. I live in Sweden’s second biggest city and it is exactly as lonely and solitary as you describe the life in the village. Be strong, all of us. Lets get the hell out of here- and hope that our partners want to follow…

    • Anette Says:

      Hi guys! I’ve been following this blogg for awhile and as a Swede myself its really sad to read how you all feel about Sweden. I’ve lived abroad myself for 18 years so I can relate in many ways to how you feel about integrating into a new culture, it takes time/years but I can see your point that Sweden is probably not the easiest of countrie to move to. I don’t know what it is, lack of understanding towards other cultures?? a society that had it to easy to long?? Welfare system that made people lazy and arrogant?
      My dream is to move back home eventually but as Im probably not a typical Swede anymore after all these years abroad, its a bit of a eye opener to read how you all feel…….

    • Anonymous Says:

      I cannot agree with you more. I too left a good job, a home that I loved to come here to be with my husband. He does not understand my issues with Sweden. I have tried SO hard, but this country justs gives me the cold shoulder. People are terribly unfriendly, disinterested and unhelpful. I have never felt so lonely and utterly depressed. I am now looking for a job in Switzerland or Germany so that I may return to one of those countries. I feel suicidal here, Sweden is killing me. I cannot sacrifice my life for our marriage, this is no life, it is simply existing.

  51. Alexander Kjell Eric Holgersson Says:

    Wait a minute… We swedes doesn’t just read cook books… And the food we eat is actually more healthy than junk food, silly american.

  52. 9 years in Sweden Says:

    To eat healthy food is not all Alexander, I live in Sweden for 9 years, and I adapted because I do not allow swedes get into my life, they are just unfriendly, disinterested and unhelpful like the other person said. I love the food, but people, the weather, the mentality are not the most easy. Right now I love the weather, but still, after 9 years, still struggling with swedes, and I am white, a lawyer…so my advice is do not have kids, find a lot of foreigns friends and don’t give a damn about the swedes.

    • Anonymous Says:

      Love it, and totally agree!! I’m white female english and the best people I met were my Iranian friends from learning swedish. I didn’t survive my time in Sweden as I nearly did die of boredom. The only people I miss are two iranian males I sat next to in class. Wish I’d kept in touch with them; fond memories, and hope they’ve made lives for themselves, or returned to their families once more.

  53. Kris Says:

    Please Help!!! Going on 3 yrs, married the love of my life, 44 yrs old, moved here for us both. We got pregnant…a bloody miracle, stuck on a farm, no Licence, no car, 2 friends, no work, little to no Swedish, baby love love love, and I never go out on our own, hubby feels badly but with the new baby, he is at work soooo much.
    I am so depressed, sad, serious anxiety, just about everyone speaks English, but they act as though I am brain dead for not speaking perfect Swedish!!!
    Going insane!!!!
    My family 6400 km away, His family in another Scandinavian country!!!
    Soooo alone, lonely miserable…
    Zero extra money!!!!
    Love…so very much love, frustrated just want to go home, have a huge family back home, a large family in his home…
    Impossible to see a bright side, the rain and lack of any sun is dragging me down down down…..
    Please any help?

    • 9 years in Sweden Says:

      Kris, I am sorry, I am Brazilian (latin warm blood) I could not hold my tears…be strong! I live in Sweden for 9 years….on a small or larger town for me as Brazilian there is no difference…SWEDS ARE BOOOOORING as hell!!!! no funny jokes, full of bla bla bla… we cant talk about that or this….so so so so BORINGGGGG. I am a lawyer in Brazil, here in Sweden I am just a stay home mother…I got used to be alone, now people annoy me, specially swedes…that is worrying…when you prefer to be alone than around people…try to keep contact with your friends in US…BY whatssapp, facebook, I talk to my friends in Brazil all the time. it is like we live still at the same city. A tip: at the beginning when my son was a baby or small, every Saturday my husband took me and our baby to a shooping mall, even that you need to drive far, I dress up, so that kept me ok for some 3 years….I putted all my energy to that moment, after my ideas started clearing up for more things to do…so I invented an online shop andI ake my money from that now…keep busy, the mind like that and start filling the body on a better way. Talk to your husband, and explain painfuly your situation, and you need to go out on the weekends …he is Swedish like mine? they a bit stupid and as all Swedish think Sweden is perfect… they just understand when you start pointing the mistakes and force them to think. Do that!

  54. Anna Says:

    Wow! I hear you. I am so sorry you are stuck in Sweden like this. Get out! I am a Swede who has lived in the US and now travel the world. I dislike Sweden so very much, and my reasons are exactly what you describe so well. The worst part for me is being different and living differently and being judged and criticized to no end. Seriously, get out while you still can!

    Someone mentioned trying a bigger city. I am from Stockholm, have lived in several small and larger cities in Sweden, and it makes no fucking difference. In Sweden you must adapt, be the same, like the same, look the same or you are doomed to be an outsider.

    Get out, save yourself! Save your kids before they become conformist little shits, let them see that the world is bigger, and not necessarily worse as all Swedes seems to believe, than Sweden.

    Making real friends in the US is not easy, but at least you can make friendly chit chat with strangers, in stores and restaurants without being looked at like ufo. At least people acknowledge you, say hello in passing and smile once in a while.

    • Tania Says:

      I am so glad I read this. I live in australia and was seriously considering moving to sweden before my swedish partner cheated. This gives me some comfort that it was the wrong path for me. I believed that sweden was a utopia due to the generous paternity leave and thought swedes would make better partners because of this emphasis on family. I spent 3 months in Stockholm during winter and it was horrible. No decent places to eat, no one talks, no connectivity to the environment

      I am well traveled, talkative, have a love for different people and their stories. I hate the cold…australia doesn’t really get dark/freezing. As much as how the relationship ended hurts, reading this blog has made me feel I was protected. I am that person who strikes up conversation in the street and walks away with a phone number to connect again. I think I would have died a slow death based on the descriptions here. Fuck the social benefits when your society is closed off to the beauty of the human spirit. Anna…you sound fun. Let me know if you want to connect.

      • kike Says:

        When i was a kid in the begining of the 80s.I use to go out and walk the streets town i lived in.There was no one out.We had to television channels that were own by the state.They usualy show some programs a day.No plays tation no internet does days and only 2 tv channels.It was like walking in the moon.I always wounder back then WERE IS EVERYONE.Looking back i still not know the anwser to that….

    • Isa Says:

      Thanks for your comments Anna, it means a lot coming from a Swedish girl. ‘Conformist little shits’ is the perfect expression. Oh but Sweden is the best place to have kids! You have such a long maternity leave to do go around and show off your buggy and spend you sek at Acne.

  55. Simon Says:

    thankfully, after so long feeling like Steve McQueen in the film Pappilon, freedom from Sweden is just around the corner.. we sold the house… and it will soon be time to escape this place.. you know, Sweden is how I would have imagined North Korea to be like…

  56. 9 years in Sweden Says:

    to late…now I am adapted. My swed husband wants to move out more than me. :/

  57. I hate sweden Says:

    I hate Sweden! I resided in Malmo and in a Kristianstad for about 4 months. In both places I was treat like utter garbage by the racist swedes. I am American and I made an effort to fit in. However during my time in Sweden no one spoke to me. Sweden is a socialist, feminist hellhole that hates masculinity. It is like a cancer on the world. It also serves as an example to the world of what happens when you demonize men and allow feminism to run rampant. Most of the balanced men I met in Sweden told me that they live elsewhere and took non-swedish wives. I find this very easy to be live given the utter hate the Swedish women showed me. It is something I will Never forget. I could careless if Sweden sank into the sea. I will never invest in Sweden ever again. I want absolutely nothing to do with that man hating lesbian hellhole. I care nothing about Sweden. All of the stories told to me by my Norwegian friends were made true because I lived it. They were right about every aspect of that Nazi playground. hell I even saw neo nazis during my time in Malmo. But even that is understandable. When you oppress people (Men) it is no wonder they go to such extremes to protect their masculinity. Hyper masculinity is a reaction to a culture of repression and shame. I hope the suicide rate climbs higher in Sweden. The the world will be rid of the tumor that is known as feminism or rather nazism, same thing basically. I should know given that I was on the receiving end of their hate. Denmark isn’t much better either. A bunch of wannabe Dutch! Losers the lot of them.

    • Anonymous Says:

      I lived in Stockholm, the so-called Capital of Scandinavia and I, although female, could not agree more. No real men, terrible, hateful, extremely bitchy females. I have lived in various countries, but have never experienced such extreme rudeness and arrogance, not to mention racism. I left Sweden as every day was hell. Nobody spoke to me, unless it was absolutely necessary. I have the impression they have ice and not blood in their veins. The Danes are simply terrible too, rude, arrogant, entitled and extremely uncultured. I am quite amazed and still in shock at what I experienced with Danes and Swedes. Suffice to say, I left Sweden to save my sanity. Yes, one does become suicidal over there.

      • Anonymous Says:

        OMG, and here was me thinking, and made to think, the problem was me. I feel sorry for anyone emigrating to Sweden. They’re all a bunch of unplugged, insular, arrogant, rude and boring people. Read my post at the bottom.

  58. Anonymous Says:

    The problem with many of us is that we were spoiled, we believed our “English” would save us, our graduations would save us, and does not, Here we and the immigrants from Syria are the same thing. And since we are spoiled, everything becomes so annoying. We need to start from 0, we are not the princess no longer. We want to come here and to be swedes, but to be swedes requires too much:to find a job (we cant speak Swedish, we cant find a nice job behind a desk with blazer, and get a lot of money, just if we arrive here already with a previous contract), requires to be more humble, to face the winter and darkness, learn to like the simple things, sometimes we need to behave older than we actually are because the system is based on maturity and made to the swedes who have jobs and high payments. We are not ready to be second, maybe third class on another country. We can not compete anymore with other girls,as we love to, about our trips when everything was ok, we didn’t have so many bills to pay, to decide between a trip to Australia or to fix the roof, or to save as much money as possible because We had many kids and want to stay home, but the system does not support this kind of life here, and soon the money will end and everything is expensive…Panic!!!! We cant go to hair dresser every month and play blondies or manicure… I did wrong decisions!!!we were not ready for that. We want to talk about superficialities, to plan trips in group , champagne, now life knocked our doors, now we have choices to do. Reality is nothing but nice…Time to grow up girls, stop nagging, we must to accept our decisions, erase and forget a past that does not belong to us anymore, we need money, we need to work, on wherever we find. Time to grow up, there is nothing bad on it.

  59. Anonymous Says:


    Islam from its very foundations was a refuge for degenerates and criminal men only.
    Its attraction for the bad guys means that serious crime of murder, rape, slavery, robbery and even the most extreme violent crime was not just forgiven, but encouraged in Islam without any remorse attached, because it was all done in the name of a God called Allah and with the constant Allah Akbar cry, Islam offered the trappings to provide a religious cover to crime against all non Muslims.
    To be a Muslim, a man had only to go down on his knees, bow facing Mecca, the birthplace of the prophet of Allah and proclaim that Allah was God and Muhammad was his prophet.
    That declaration of faith made him a Muslim and he was suddenly transformed into a whole new world with a radically changed mindset forgiven and freed from any guilt for his past crimes.
    He would set aside any moral standards he previously possessed and as a Muslim, he now had a different world view and a licence, indeed a religious duty to further Islam and to carry out Jihad.
    Islam is fundamentally a sexually baited hook designed to appeal to male sex perverts with desires to own and sexually have their way with women and children whether his own family or captive slaves.
    The defining nature of Islam is to reduce females to the level of chattels. In Islam a woman has no voice, has to cover her body, remain in her man’s house and be his property. As a Muslim he is encouraged to beat her if she disobeyed him or refused sex. The lust for unrestricted sexual freedom of any kind appealed to many base men.
    Slavery was the business of prophet Muhammad in his lifetime and his use of and embrace of slavery was another attraction in Islam for sexually deviant men who could own multiple wives.
    The Muslim was never alone. He would meet with other Muslims in any ad hoc mosque and all fellow Muslims were like minded brothers regardless of their race, colour or country of origin. They are a universal brotherhood in purpose.
    So they kiss and hold hands together as brothers and pray to Allah together while dreaming of the expansion of Islam and discuss world domination.
    In mosques they read only the Koran and the words of Muhammad telling them how to treat his wives, how to beat them, how many lashes she must get for different levels of disobedience, how and when to have sex with her, how to deal with slaves, how to deceive the enemies of Islam, how to attack, subdue, disarm and steal from the infidels and how to control and behead them after you subdue them, etc, etc, etc.
    Islam was a charter that legitimised all of the most extreme crimes and provided the criminally degenerate with an umbrella of religious pretence. It is a religion from Hell.
    In the mosques the men plan and scheme on strategy to extend their reach as they watch and wait. Integration with infidels is forbidden.
    If a Muslim expresses doubt or blasphemes the prophet or his Koran, it will bring him certain death. There is no way out of Islam. Nobody can portray the life of prophet Muhammad or his image because his crimes are so far off the radar, it would expose him as a Satanic demon. The Imams who are the main deviant followers of Islam ensure that such blasphemy is rigorously punished as we saw in the Charlie Hebdo cartoons in Paris.
    Mohammad’s directive was to spread Islam all over the world and that remains their strategy and goal today. The bad guys want to rule the world and must destroy the good guys.
    This was the basics of the so called religion that moved on camels across the deserts of the Middle East and terrorised and subjugated most of that region within ten years of Muhammad’s death.
    Islam’s attraction to the criminal degenerates who led the invasions in all directions offered the women and children of the towns and regions that were conquered to be raped and then they were led away in chains terrorised and brutalised to be kept as slaves or sold to other Muslims. We see reports of such crimes today in Syria and parts of North Africa as the march of Islam approaches Europe but our politically correct Western media play down Muslim terror crimes and only report the tip of an iceberg of Muslim atrocities on Christians worldwide. As a result the public are not warned and are betrayed by our own media.
    As they advance jihad on nations, Muslims steal all the land, homes and valuables in their path leaving only devastation, fear and ruin in their wake. No Muslim can speak out against it and live a day longer.
    The most aggressive and warlike Muslims, called holy warriors, Salafis and Wahhabis are the radicals who lead the wave of invasions. The moderate Muslims and converts come behind them and take over the lands and homes of the conquered and force them to pay taxes just to survive. The radical Muslim is not afraid to die, because he believes he will be rewarded with 72 virgins and unending sex if he dies on jihad.
    That was how Islam spread, first across the Middle East and then across North Africa as far as Morocco and up into all of Spain within one hundred years of Muhammad’s death.
    They attacked at random and without warning, and like their prophet showed them, they beheaded any man who offered resistance. and forced towns and communities to surrender with every degree of trickery and treachery. Once they submitted the men were disarmed, bound and imprisoned separating women and children. They burned and destroyed churches and cathedrals developed by the Christian world during the previous six hundred years.They raped women and children and murdered the old and infirm. Christian men who would not convert to Islam were crucified. They burned all libraries, universities and schools. Slaves allowed to live were forced to build mosques and cities. Just in the past few years several Christian churches in Africa were set on fire with all the terrified Christians locked inside. It’s part of the terrorising method to force populations to submit.
    Once submissive and converted, the Muslims were subjected to a lifelong brainwashing process of prayer, reading and memorising the Koran. To think outside that box was blasphemy. They become zombies, unable to reason.
    That terror unleashed on law abiding Christians and Jews over the centuries resulted in millions of Christians being terrorised and hideously murdered and millions of women and children raped and enslaved in every land that the Muslims invaded. This was how Islam took control of two thirds of the Christian world before the first Christian resistance. That was the first crusade in 1095 called for by the pope after almost five hundred years during which time the Christian world was only a third of what it was at the time of the prophet Muhammad’s death. The pope recognised that Christianity was in danger of being completely overrun and destroyed by Islamic terrorism if he did not fight back.
    The crusades to the holy land took place over the coming two centuries and while they had some successes they were overall a massive failure and cost the lives of millions more of well meaning Christians who volunteered to fight on hearing about the terror inflicted on their fellow Christians.
    Today the radical Islamic terrorists called ISIS, Al Queda or many other names are carrying on that same jihad having gained a foothold in war torn Syria. It has been an ongoing war at all times but never explained by our politicians or our media who try to appease Muslims in every manner.
    The Somali pirates are Muslim marauders on jihad. Hostage taking for ransom was taught them by prophet Muhammad.
    Muslim Boko Haram in West Africa destroy girls’ schools and enslaves thousands of schoolgirls. Muslims preyed on and enslaved Africans from the birth of Islam and for three hundred years they found a new market for slaves with unscrupulous white merchants who took them to America and kept them in slavery.
    Children are terrorised into becoming suicide bombers to spread the terror strapped with remote controlled bombs.
    Once the lands are overrun by the first wave of terror fighters, the population of sleeper Muslims already living in the Christian country step into their shoes and take control with Sharia or Muslim law under the radical Imams. Then the country becomes an Islamic state just like all the Islamic nations worldwide today. They all were once Christian nations.
    Today they don’t invade on camels brandishing swords. They have tanks, armoured cars and high tech weapons left by the Americans in Iraq and Libya.
    9/11 Twin Towers, Lockerbie, aircraft, trains, bombing shopping malls, poisons and all crimes to terrorise citizens are in their arsenal. Iran is racing to produce the nuclear bomb and has vowed to wipe Israel off the map as soon as it achieves the means. Meanwhile western media will not connect the dots as the Islamists intensify their terror on all fronts. They have banned Christmas in many places and put halal food on menus in schools. Saudi oil wealth has developed mosques worldwide with radical Imams installed.
    Today ISIS use the Internet to recruit fighters or Jihadists from the young radical sleeper Muslims worldwide who are only waiting for the call to arms and jihad. ISIS is the vanguard of a renewed wave of expansion of Islamic terror ahead of and cheered on by all the moderate Muslim nations and Muslims already living in Europe, America, Africa, India and China.


  60. Isa Says:

    Thanks everyone for your precious comments on the kingdom of boredom.
    My sambo is swedish and I insisted to move to Stockholm one year ago because it felt great to live in a beautiful flat after the shit holes one can find in London. I have lived abroad for 9 years so I felt like I was used to adapt myself. He warned me: if you are not very focused on a specific project, it’s going to be hard. He left Sweden for 8 years himself so he is what I call ‘an international swede’. Thanks god he is not boring as his peers.
    People here are just interested in the Eurovision, ice hockey and fika. They don’t like chit-chats so why would we have a fika? All that matters are: maternity leaves, TV, expensive clothe. Not to mention ‘moms’ (taxes). Everything is built so people commit to boredom, get a normal job and certainly not an entrepreneurial project. Who gives a shit anyway?
    How to leave now that I got used to living in a warm flat, have a comforting fika every second day, in such a quiet capital? My sambo is upset when I criticise the nation even if he sees the same things as me. He thinks we should make it work anyway. I don’t know…

  61. Ano Says:

    Sweden are a shit country.
    I hate how Sweden have become..

    I am no longer a swede..
    When i get the opurtunity, i will move.

  62. Marika Says:

    Dear all,

    I am writing this super-late I realise, but it might be therapeutic and possibly render a reply :).

    I am from a rural place in Sweden, currently living in Gothenburg but have lived in Australia and Stockholm previously. In Gothenburg I’ve been studying engineering physics for 5 years and will work here for at least 6 months to begin.

    I am seriously lonely in Gothenburg (despite being swedish), something that I did not feel in Stockholm, and feel completely misunderstood by my partner. As I want to find other opportunities in the world career wise and socially (in addition to being rather lonely), he is an introverted person whom is quite happy being alone, sitting in front of his computer.

    The last 2 years, he has completely refused any of my wishes, deeming them unrealistic while he never has lived anywhere else than Borås and Gothenburg, in Sweden.

    So, I will probably be leaving Gothenburg, if not Sweden as well :D (with or without partner :( )

    // Marika

  63. Anonymous Says:

    I am English but lived in Sweden in the late 80’s until early 90’s. I went to a School for Immigrants to learn Swedish while I was married to a Swede. After I had a baby it all went downhill fast but my reasoning crystallised, to survive I would have to leave Sweden. That was 24 years ago. I’ve been back on two short visits staying with swedish friends but nothing would ever compel me to live in that country again. The people and the country are just too remote and boring. They don’t have a sense of humour, are terminally boring in conversation, and never ever get to the bleeding point. Worst culture on the planet.

    • I hear you sis. I am from the US and dont like it here either. It’s so boring and the people are nagging all the time at least the ones I am around, ugh.

      • Anonymous Says:

        I’m surprised you don’t like it. Find other foreign people to relate to. I knew an American living on the outskirts of Stockholm who seemed to be enjoying himself. He was very outgoing and had children, married to a Swedish national. I wonder if he changed his tune after a few years. Don’t you just hate the expression “du must”, translated to mean, “you should”. The language lacks imagination and creativity. Go back to the USA Idil, find your soul again, go back!!! Sweden is an insular, soulless, suicidal riddled society….LEAVE!!

      • Anonymous Says:

        Sorry that’s my comment below, and is meant to read “I’m NOT surprised you don’t like it there!!”

  64. Anonymous Says:

    I am going to read this whole thread soon. If people find Sweden a hell-hole I say GET OUT now because it won’t get any better. My swedish daughter has now grown up in England with the funniest sense of humour, is well balanced and happy. Thank god I took her back with me when she was 2. Best action I ever took. Swedes are so bloody dull and pc!!! GET A LIFE, GET OUT!!!!!!!!!!

  65. Anonymous Says:

    Are there any foreign nationals still living in Sweden, or did everyone make it home safely?

    • KT Says:

      Still here. I posted a couple yrs ago during my most depressing point of not being able to find fulltime work. Well it’s been 3 yrs that I’ve lived here and my situation changed very fast. I got the good job, got pregnant, have a beautiful baby with the good parental leave and am now living in the city center of Stockholm (formerly was in bad neighborhoods with second hand contracts) in a big apartment with cheap rent. However, I cannot go back to my job due to a big falling out and despite everything I still hate Sweden. It’s sad. I’m so lonely and just have not been accepted by Swedish women. I had 3 sorta friends and they all fell away and started flaking after my child was born. Swedish women are incredibly petty and boring. I have no female friends here. No one I know I’ll be friends with in a few yrs down the road. I’m married and I think it’d be weird if I would start cultivating deeper friendships with the more interesting Swedish males in my social circles.

      So I will probably look to moving back soon or just keep having kids like the Muslims immigrants here do. I mean, I can’t blame them. Why struggle to fit in with a bunch of ppl that will never accept you? It’s easier to just focus on your family if you’re able to. And I’m American, it’d be totally normal to have 4-5 kids. Maybe I just will. Drain these suckers dry and then move back to the U.S. Ik, it’s a terrible attitude but I think this forum may understand.

      • Anonymous Says:

        I certainly understand it. Just be careful not to divorce with kids, as in my case, I nearly had to fight for custody to return to the UK.

        I keep reading ‘horror stories’ about Sweden to do with the muslim immigrant crisis, cars and homes set alight. Is this exaggerated?

        “Swedish women are incredibly petty and boring” – yep, I recognise that too. I had a swedish visitor (won’t call her friend!!) invite herself to stay with me (in the UK) for nearly a week last month. She could hardly speak a word of english, and yet, she thought she was well educated and a high flying business woman. She spent the whole time ‘singing to herself’, looking at her iphone while I cooked, drove her to all the best sites and architecture of nearby places. If there was any coffee shop nearby, off she’d shoot to buy herself, and only herself, a cup of coffee, while I spent a fortune on entertainment, meals and travel. Never again! Rude and inconsiderate B…ch! She couldn’t even be bothered to email/write to me and thank me for her stay. I only vaguely knew her twenty years ago when I lived in Sweden. I needed to come on here and vent!

        You will find other immigrants more interesting, I’m sure, with a lot in common with you. I should imagine they all feel incredibly frustrated living there. Good Luck!!

  66. Virginija Says:

    Hi everyone! It’s been a great pleasure to read this blog and especially the comments.
    I stuck in rural Sweden as well. I thought it was ME not able to adapt…Thanks Gods I’ve found the blog at a right time 😊 before depression hit me…

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