A University of Missouri researcher has revealed that a growing trend of dating habits could explain the decline in marriage rate, particularly among young adults.
Tyler Jamison, a doctoral candidate in the Department of Human Development and Family Studies, has found that people in their 20s are redefining dating by engaging in "stayover relationships", spending three or more nights together each week while maintaining the option of going to their own homes.
"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," said Jamison.
He found that "stayover relationships" are a growing trend among college-aged couples who are committed, but not interested in getting married or move in together.
"A key motivation is to enjoy the comforts of an intimate relationship while maintaining a high degree of personal control over one's involvement and commitment," said Larry Ganong, professor in HDFS.
"We see this interest in personal control nationally in more single adult households, and in the growing phenomenon of 'living apart together' (middle-aged and older monogamous couples who maintain their own households). It may also help explain why marriage is on the decline, particularly among young adults," he added.
The study is in the current issue of the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships.