America’s Latest Dating Trend: The Stay-over Relationship by @DrWendyWalsh

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The Stay-over RelationshipDr Wendy Walsh Sitting

One of America’s latest dating trends is what appears to be a hybrid of cohabitation and dating. It’s called the stay-over relationship, and lots of couples these days are doing it. Ultimately, it’s when couples keep the essentials like toothbrushes at each other’s places but still maintain separate households. They’ll spend the night at the partner’s place a few nights a week but can still retreat to their own home for a night or two when they need their space. The new trend is especially popular among college students and parents of kids who have left the nest.

Since stay-over relationships have recently become an emerging trend there’s not a ton of research about their longevity yet. Social scientists have just started to explore what they’re all about. It’s been suggested that they appeal to those who are interested in an intimate relationship but still want to maintain a high degree of personal freedom. Researcher Tyler Jamison at the University of Missouri suggests that stay-over relationship may make for a cleaner break-up than for couples that have signed a lease, bought furniture, and even adopted a pet together. Jamison says, “Staying over doesn’t present those entanglements.” In their groundbreaking study, University of Missouri researchers found that couples in stay-over relationships are relatively happy, but don’t necessarily plan on moving in together or getting married.

While stay-over relationships may be the best of both worlds for some couples, it’s likely that they won’t have the best relationship outcomes. Why? There is a lack of commitment in stay-over relationships compared to cohabitation and marriage.

Dr Wendy Walsh

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Dr. Wendy Walsh is America's thought leader on relationships, appearing weekly on CNN and Fox’s The O’Reilly Factor. She also hosts Investigation Discovery Network's "Happily Never After” and authored the best selling book, The 30-Day Love Detoxx.


  • January 23, 2014


    Good points. I had somewhat of a weekend stay-over relationship. It worked for both of us at the time since we both had older children who were not quite out of the house yet. Yes, the relationship did end and it WAS a cleaner break than if we’d been sharing an address full time. I can’t say that it was the reason for the breakup BUT it did, I think, contribute to the speed of it.

  • January 29, 2014

    Gary Gunn

    I love this idea – stay over relationships will frame a new relationship far simpler than just moving in straight away. I would view the stay over relationship as an interim to living together.