There’s a new type of relationship to obsess over, this time courtesy of the University of Missouri researcher Tyler Jamison, who noticed that most of her friends where “shacking up,” but still held on to their own separate apartments. She did a formal study, and lo, a new dating term was born:

Stayover Relationship. noun. When a couple spends nearly every night together, practically living together, without formally moving in.

According to Jamison’s study, this trend is affecting mostly 20-somethings seeking a middle-ground between casually dating, and making more permanent life-decisions (with big ramifications if things don’t work out).

“Stayover is something they can do that doesn’t have a lot of consequences, but it has a lot of benefits.”

It’s a nice change from a more worrying trend: couples who move in together simply to save money on rent. (Practical, yes, but not always emotionally sound.) And the trend does seem to say something about how the current generation views dating and relationships: that is to say, with slight trepidation. They’re not cynical about love, but they’re definitely not rushing into anything without a backup plan.

Are you, or do you know anyone, in a stayover relationship? What do you think of the trend? Let us know in the comments!