COLUMBIA, 8/16/11 (Beat Byte) -- With her recent study on the dating behavior of young adults, University of Missouri doctoral candidate Tyler Jamison (left) has created almost as much international stir as that other popular Columbia summer story about the cicada ice cream at Sparky's.
From Reuters to USA Today to the Times of India, nearly a hundred media outlets picked up on Jamison's discovery: that 20-somethings are "redefining dating by engaging in so-called 'stayover relationships,' spending three or more nights together each week, while maintaining the option of going to their own homes."
A growing trend among committed, college-aged couples, this new kind of love affair offers the benefits of co-habitation while maintaining the option of going solo.
"As soon as couples live together, it becomes more difficult to break up," said Jamison, a researcher in the Mizzou Department of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS). "At that point, they have probably signed a lease, bought a couch and acquired a dog, making it harder to disentangle their lives should they break up. Staying over doesn’t present those entanglements."
Through interviews with college-age adults in committed, exclusive relationships, Jamison also found that -- while living together before marriage is less taboo than it used to be -- many young adults want to avoid the negative social consequences of shacking up.
"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," she explained. "Stayovers are the unique answer to what emerging adults are doing in their relationships."
Her study, "We’re not living together: Stayover relationships among college-educated emerging adults," is in the current issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.