Young changing their view of relationships

The way young adults view relationships has altered considerably in the last 50 years, new findings have suggested. Research published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships has shown people in their 20s are increasingly indulging in 'stayover relationships'.

Tyler Jamison, a Researcher in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Missouri - founded in 1839 and often referred to as Mizzou - said this approach, which sees partners spending three or more nights a week together while also sleeping on their own occasionally, is redefining the concept of dating.

The report's author stated: "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."

Such an approach appears to be blossoming among college-aged individuals who are committed to one another but want to maintain control over their own involvement.

Dr Jay Watts, Chartered Psychologist, said: "This interesting study shows the emergence of a new social norm for 20-somethings - 'stayover relationships'. The research suggests that couples make a conscious decision not to risk the entanglement cohabilitation brings - joint rents, shared bills, etc. 

"The couples interviewed are committed but value their freedom, personal control and autonomy so choose to live apart. There are considerable advantages to this new social norm - individuals have more freedom to pursue their own interests, can change their mind about relationships before it's too late and can, perhaps, more easily continue to develop a network of friends independent of the couple.

"However, being able to exit a committed relationship with fewer complications has its downsides. Young adults spend an increasing amount of time concerned with creating a successful image of themselves. New relationship norms can often increase a sense of anxiety that partners may leave us if we are not interesting or successful enough.

"New social norms do not get rid of old anxieties - a need to feel safe and secure with our partners."