“Stayover Relationships” Rising in Popularity With Young

Many lament the “hooking up” culture now so prevalent with young people—but a more recent phenomenon has begun to appear in the social patterns of young people that appears to be a “halfway” measure between hooking up and actual commitment—the “stayover relationship.”

MSNBC Reports:

If you’re concerned about wasting money because you and your mate spend almost every night together but maintain your own separate homes, don’t sweat it. You’re simply engaging in America’s “stayover relationship” trend.

University of Missouri researcher Tyler Jamison says she noticed that most of her college friends were “shacking up,” but had not formally moved in together. Instead, they spent three or more nights together a week and still kept their own places. She conducted a research study among college students and found that committed couples in their 20s are redefining dating and breaking social norms with this new relationship model.

Her study of committed couples who engage in the stayover lifestyle is published in the current issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.

“This seems to be a pretty stable and convenient middle ground between casual dating and more formal commitments like living together and getting married,” says Jamison, a University of Missouri doctoral candidate and researcher in the department of human development and family studies in Columbia, Mo.

“It’s a comfortable thing people are doing when they are not totally sure they want to end up in a permanent situation with a person or don’t want to end up living together and having to find another place to live if they are break or decide who gets the dog.”

Jamison believes stayover relationships represent a general trend that young people want to delay permanent relationships because they want to finish their education and pursue other goals. She’s expanding her research to examine unmarried parents, and suspects that people of all ages enjoy stayover relationships.

“Stayover is something they can do that doesn’t have a lot of consequences, but it has a lot of benefits,” she says.

What do you think—is this a negative development, or a positive development, and why?

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