There is a new relationship model sweeping the nation. "According to the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, an increasing number of coupled twenty-somethings have struck the perfect balance between casual dating and cohabitation. The 'stayover trend' involves spending three to seven nights per week together while maintaining separate homes. This relationship model is popular among college students and seems to satisfy the potentially conflicting desires to remain romantically attached while pursuing academic and career interests. The schema also appreciates the difficulty associated with splitting up once a couple shares a home."
This seems to be an acknowledgement that living together hasn't delivered the results that the media, intellectual and cultural elites once promised. Research has shown that the incidence of break-ups increases among those who live together before marrying. It is no wonder. In this era of Mirage Man Syndrome, the male partner is often pretending to be emotionally compatible and share many interests with his intended female partner to achieve immediate sexual results. By living together 24-7, the female partner often sees the real man behind the mask, realizes she has been deceived and becomes jaded. Thus many cohabitations that limp into marriage are already weakened before the wedding ceremony.
The "Stayover trend" avoids the key problems that the mirage man faces in cohabitation or marriage. He can be as charming as George Clooney, Cary Grant or Robert Redford for a passionate night at her place, playing his role of attentive lover. The next morning he can head off-stage to take off his "Prince Charming" costume, wash off his greasepaint and relax with a smoke in the comfort of his "dressing room" back home. He can maintain a partner waiting in the wings for his weekly visits who believes with all her heart in the character he is portraying, yet get to be his real self on the off days. He can maintain the facade indefinitely by keeping the relationship in a perpetual state of romance with no big emotional or financial demands made of him.
Best of all for the mirage man, if he decides to move on, there's no messy breakup or legal entanglements- all he will lose is a toothbrush. The chronic distrust and disappointment that women feel toward men has now become institutionalized into a system that is completely adapted to men's sexual and romantic self-interests. Women's and American society's long-term interests in marriage and family are the casualties in this latest chapter in the War of the Sexes.