This term may also refer to two or more people who have already decided they share romantic or sexual feelings toward each other.
These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.
While pair-bonds of varying forms were recognized by most societies as acceptable social arrangements, marriage was reserved for heterosexual pairings and had a transactional nature, where wives were in many cases a form of property being exchanged between father and husband, and who would have to serve the function of reproduction.
Communities exerted pressure on people to form pair-bonds in places such as Europe; in China, society "demanded people get married before having a sexual relationship" and many societies found that some formally recognized bond between a man and a woman was the best way of rearing and educating children as well as helping to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings regarding competition for mates.
Social rules regarding dating vary considerably according to variables such as country, social class, religion, age, sexual orientation and gender.
Behavior patterns are generally unwritten and constantly changing.
It can be a form of courtship that consists of social activities done by the couple.
The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time.
Women eventually won the right to vote in many countries and own property and receive equal treatment by the law, and these changes had profound impacts on the relationships between men and women. In many societies, individuals could decide—on their own—whether they should marry, whom they should marry, and when they should marry.It generally happened in that portion of a person's life before the age of marriage, enabled dates to be arranged without face-to-face contact.Cars extended the range of dating as well as enabled back-seat sexual exploration.Historically, marriages in most societies were arranged by parents and older relatives with the goal not being love but legacy and "economic stability and political alliances", according to anthropologists.Accordingly, there was little need for a temporary trial period such as dating before a permanent community-recognized union was formed between a man and a woman.