July 31, 2011

Researchers Investigate ‘Stayover Relationship’ Trend

Changing trends in sexual and romantic relationships have resulted in the growth of a new type of cohabitation that sees partners stay together for multiple days while still maintaining separate homes, claims a new study from the University of Missouri-Columbia.

These types of partnerships, known as stayover relationships, are quickly becoming a favored form of commitment amongst college students, according to researcher Tyler Jamison, a doctoral candidate from the university's Department of Human Development and Family Studies.

This alternative to living together, reports Paula Rogo of Reuters Life, involves spending three or more nights a week together while still maintaining separate homes, and it could help explain why the most recent US Census discovered that men and women are getting married later in life.

According to Today.com Contributor Kimberly Hayes Taylor, Jamison got the idea from her college friends, many of whom had been "shacking up" but not officially moving in together.

"This seems to be a pretty stable and convenient middle ground between casual dating and more formal commitments like living together and getting married," Jamison told Taylor on Friday.

"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," she added.

The study, which was co-authored by Jamison's colleague, Lawrence Ganong, appears in the latest issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and involved analyzing the relationships of 22 different university students and college graduates.

"Instead of following a clear path from courtship to marriage, individuals are choosing to engage in romantic ties on their own terms -- without the guidance of social norms," Jamison said in a separate interview with Rogo.

"There is a gap between the teen years and adulthood during which we don't know much about the dating behaviors of young adults," she added. "Stayovers are the unique answer to what emerging adults are doing in their relationships."

None of the subjects interviewed in the study thought of themselves as cohabiters, Jamison said.

"It is interesting how separate they felt about their living arrangements to the point where they would act like a guest in the other person's place," she told Reuters.


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