• Sweden's news in English
 
jobs_header_v3

Long commutes 'bad for marriage': Swedish study

Rebecca Martin · 24 May 2011, 16:47

Published: 24 May 2011 16:47 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

“To be able to commute to work can be a positive thing because it means you don’t have to uproot your family with every career move but it can also be a strain on your relationship,” said author Erika Sandow to The Local.

According to the study, 11 percent of Swedes have a journey to work that consists of a 45-minute commute or longer. Many commuters have small children and are in a relationship. Most are men.

“One of the long-term risks with commuting is that it can sustain gender-based stereotypes both at home and in the labour market,” Sandow said.

In families where the man commutes, the woman is often forced to take a less qualified job closer to home, which means both less money as well as a larger share of the the responsibility for kids and household.

Although women commuters also experience an increase in salary and career prospects, earlier studies have shown that they experience more stress and feel less successful career-wise than commuting men.

The risk of divorce goes up by 40 percent for commuters and the risk is the highest in the first few years of commuting.

According to the study, most people that start commuting to work continue doing so and more than half that travel a long distance to work today have done so for more than five years.

Five years also seems to be a wathershed because according to the study, most commuters and their families have managed to adapt to the situation by then.

But Sandow adds that they don’t know for certain why that is.

“There could be another selection process at work there as well, that the 'weaker' relationships can’t take that kind of strain in the first place,” she said.

Growing labour market regions may be good for growth but Sandow thinks that it is a pity that the social costs of commuting aren’t brought up more in the debate.

“We don’t know today what the increase in commuting will mean to society in the long run and it is important to look at the social costs involved as well,” Sandow said.

And more Swedes are travelling farther distances to work.

“The trend is definitely pointing upward. Both the journey to work and the working hours are getting longer, “ Sandow told The Local.

The study was based on statistical data from two million Swedish households between 1995 and 2000.

Rebecca Martin (rebecca.martin@thelocal.se)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit


Your comments about this article

18:24 May 24, 2011 by nonefornow
I have been commuting for over 17 years. It takes me an hour and 15 minutes one way. I have been happily married 23 years.Oh I am also a female.
19:11 May 24, 2011 by Observour
There is nothing wrong with a husband earning more than a wife. He spends the money on the family and has self fulfillment as a man. The wife on the other hand feels cared for and the children are raised well by her caring nature. It's good if both parents earn high incomes but if one has to sacrifice job and the other more time working I think the man should work more and the woman is better with the children. For those who believe in evolution, I think this is just one of the pattern that works with your theory. Real men are never satisfied depending on a woman, what's more, they are bad with the children...women are best at multi-tasking and men can't beat in compassion and care.
01:36 May 25, 2011 by jazzIIIlove
Nonefornow, Patrick4141

Mama, Papa

What are you doing here? I am hungry, bring some food for god sake.
05:28 May 25, 2011 by EssenSieMich
I actually prefer long commutes. It gives me more time to spend with my girlfriend and less time around that seething bitch that I married.
07:22 May 25, 2011 by itmustbethedog
This is why I quit my job and went on welfare 20 years ago. My marriage is too important to me to jeopardize it.
08:44 May 25, 2011 by karex
Two hours each way, every day except Fridays when I work by remote from home. It was the price we had to pay to be able to live in a decent home and not a closet with a bathroom and kitchen for an atrocious amount of money. It's a huge sacrifice but it's worth it. BTW, I am female, and my husband works home-based most of the time. I do however wish that it were the other way around... I would rather be the home-based one and let him commute instead.
11:42 May 25, 2011 by storstark
Really? 45 minutes is considered a commute that invokes strain? I work in Nacka and live in Bromma - it can take me an hour to get home sometimes to my pregnant wife... we are in heaven... Why? Cos we've just moved to Bromma. For the last six months I've been commuting 2 hours each way. With the train schedules halved over winter and the countless disruptions... ugh... I ended up being a weekly commuter, staying in Stockholm Monday to Friday, seeing my wife and dog only on the weekends... And it was a strain doing that... Personally, I think that you can begin to gain a certain amount of independence that invokes clashes when you come together and have to compromise again and play married at the weekends. Now I'm back under the thumb and couldn't be more at peace... ;)
12:42 May 25, 2011 by karex
BTW @itmustbethedog, another common cause of divorce is insufficient income... a chronic lack of money leads to perpetual frustration and attrition between the involved parties.
13:06 May 25, 2011 by Puffin
Wow - 45 minutes - luxury

I have been commuting 300km/4 hours per day for 11 years and have been married for 18 years
21:36 May 25, 2011 by karex
@ puffin You commute 300k every day?! OK, I officially feel sorry for you. I have a hard time coping with half that much.
05:40 May 26, 2011 by fatandhappy
@ Essen LOL!
12:39 May 26, 2011 by FourSaabs
45 minute commutes sound like utopia.

I used to drive 17 miles to work, outside of Boston. It often took 2 hours each way.
09:08 May 27, 2011 by nolikegohome
my take on this is simple, you have two choices.

1, live a happy life full of love and enjoy the company of your partner and have a reasonaable comfortable life and be poor.

2, be rich and have no time to spend your money, and have marital problems.

you choose its your life. I am a number one person. Id rather be poor but be happy and in love.

However sometimes u need to commute for a short while to get a few things in order, but only a short while. Your kids need to be near you more than the money u show them.
15:34 May 27, 2011 by MarshaLynn
Our more modern society has many conveniences, such as high speed rail, so that people are able to get to their jobs further away. While modern conveniences have increased, wisdom has not unfortunately. In this day of "women's liberation," what is it they have been liberated to do? Commute to a job, while leaving their own children in the care of others? This is progress? I think not. Marriage is the fundamental unit of society. Childrearing is its most important task. There is no future without it. No healthy future, that is. Take your minds off your own personal self-fulfillment, ladies. Stay home and raise your children. Swedes, have lots of children so that you will have a nation to grow old in.
13:51 May 28, 2011 by philster61
Poor babies..... Don't get married then.....
Today's headlines
Swedes protest cutbacks in personal assistance budget
Demonstrations were held in 25 towns and cities across Sweden on Saturday. Photo: Janerik Hansson / TT

Thousands of people staged demonstrations across Sweden on Saturday to protest recent cutbacks in the budget funding personal assistance for people with disabilities.

Police launch manhunt after deadly Stockholm shooting
No suspects have yet been arrested over the attack. Photo: Claudio Bresciani/TT

Swedish police have launched a massive manhunt after masked gunmen barged into a Stockholm café and shot two people to death late on Friday.

Sweden has fourth happiest workers in the world: report
Is Swedish fika the secret? Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

Sweden is home to the fourth happiest workers in the world, an international survey has claimed.

Here's how much Ikea staff are getting for Christmas
Christmas comes early for Ikea staff. Photo: Vegard Wivestad Grøtt/NTB scanpix/TT

Staff at Ikea are getting an early Christmas treat in the form of millions of euros to share between them.

Sweden threatens action to stop Facebook 'hate and lies'
Should Facebook crack down on hate speech? Photo: AP Photo/dapd, Timur Emek

Sweden could impose legal obligations on Facebook as a last resort if the social network does not crack down on hate speech and fake news, the culture and democracy minister has threatened.

In pictures
This is what Sweden's new Icehotel looks like
An artist's impression of the hotel in winter. Photo: PinPin Studio/Icehotel

The famous Icehotel in Jukkasjärvi has just opened its new year-round section. Have a look at some of the first pictures of one of the world's most unusual hotels here.

The Local List
Sweden's pioneering free press act turns 250
It doesn't look bad for 250 years old. Photo: Regeringen

On the day of its 250th anniversary, The Local looks at five facts worth knowing about Sweden's groundbreaking Freedom of the Press Act.

Beware ice, Swedes warned after string of accidents
File photo of a Swedish car not related to the story. Photo: Tomas Oneborg / SvD / TT

Swedes have been warned to be on their guards as stretches of the country’s southern roads turned into ice rinks due to the chilly temperatures, causing a string of car accidents.

The Local List
Ten things you should never say to a Swede
These things are guaranteed to anger Swedes. Photo: Fredrik Sandberg/TT

The Local List
Seven bizarre Swedish academic traditions
Student life in Lund, southern Sweden. Photo: Johan Nilsson/SCANPIX

The Local guides you through Sweden's ancient universities' top academic traditions all foreign students need to know about.

Sponsored Article
Smart songwriters: Sweden’s next big music export?
National
Final proof that Sweden has NOT banned Christmas lights
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm attracts so much talent from abroad
Travel
IN PICTURES: Stockholm's new myth-busting Viking museum
The Local Voices
Job market matchmaker hooks up 1,300 newcomers and Swedes
Blog updates

14 November

Hello darkness, my old friend (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"I started thinking about November’s blog for The Local at the end of October, as the…" READ »

 

6 October

10 useful hjälpverb (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! I think the so-called “hjalpverb” (auxiliary verbs in English) are a good way to get…" READ »

 
 
 
Sponsored Article
18 Stockholm innovations to keep an eye on
Gallery
People-watching: November 30th
Sponsored Article
Sweden to Hong Kong: The Local guide
National
This is how cold it's going to get in Sweden this week
Gallery
Property of the week: Skellefteå
National
Inside Sweden's perilous Sami reindeer pilgrimage
Sponsored Article
Programmers' bootcamp: Change your life in 12 weeks
The Local Voices
'My name is Sami and I am a proud Swede - it hurts when people say I'm not Swedish'
Sponsored Article
We visited 5 'murder spots' in Malmö
National
Swedish Advent 'less popular than Christmas Eve'
Gallery
People-watching: November 25th-27th
Sponsored Article
Why Stockholm startups are teaching kids to program
Swedish city to put all workers through LGBT course
Sponsored Article
Smart songwriters: Sweden’s next big music export?
National
The five weirdest attacks on Sweden's giant straw yule goat
Gallery
People-watching: November 23rd
Sponsored Article
'Learning to trade gave me the life I wanted'
The Local Voices
'Swedes are stylish: you need to dress well if you want to fit in'
Sponsored Article
Stockholm: leading the way in clean energy innovation
National
Critics slam Swedish paper's Donald Trump cartoon as anti-Semitic
Sponsored Article
Michael Björklund: 'Being a chef is crazy work'
National
Men call Sweden's mansplaining hotline for mansplaining tips
Sponsored Article
We visited 5 'murder spots' in Malmö
Gallery
Property of the week: Gotland
Sponsored Article
HIV in Sweden today is not like it was yesterday
Gallery
People-watching: November 18th-20th
Sponsored Article
Mette Helbæk: ‘We have a basic human need to connect'
Culture
Shooting starts on The Bridge 4
Sponsored Article
Terje Håkonsen: 'I try to make everything count'
Travel
Sweden's ten most beautiful places
Sponsored Article
Lina Thomsgård: 'I try to break down barriers every day'
The Local Voices
Having a Swedish girlfriend didn't help this Egyptian evade culture shock
Sponsored Article
'We wanted to turn ideas into action'
Gallery
People-watching: November 16th
Culture
What the world of Harry Potter would look like... set in Sweden
National
Here's where Sweden's best non-native English speakers live
The Local Voices
This new book by a Syrian writer gives refugee children their own hero
Politics
Do Swedish polls underestimate support for Sweden Democrats?
3,561
jobs available