According to one study, in press for publication in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships and reported in the New York Times, the stayover refers to a type of part-time cohabitation. From an analysis of 22 college students in stayover relationships, a few interesting characteristics emerge:
Stayovers develop informally.
Stayovers are convenient rather than committed relationships (as with cohabitation).
Stayovers do not share financial responsibilities (as do cohabitating couples).
Stayovers do not keep their personal belongings in the other’s home.
Stayovers are more like guests than roommates.
Stayovers may be a new phenomenon or may have been around for years but never studied.
This is another type of relationship that we don't regularly discuss in our interpersonal textbooks but is obviously one that our students do. The long-term implications of stayovers are not clear and perhaps future research will look into these.