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In the twentieth century, dating was sometimes seen as a precursor to marriage but it could also be considered as an end-in-itself, that is, an informal social activity akin to friendship.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.Each culture has particular patterns which determine such choices as whether the man asks the woman out, where people might meet, whether kissing is acceptable on a first date, the substance of conversation, who should pay for meals or entertainment, Since dating can be a stressful situation, there is the possibility of humor to try to reduce tensions.

Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.

From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine.

With the use of modern technology, people can date via telephone or computer or meet in person.

This term may also refer to two or more people who have already decided they share romantic or sexual feelings toward each other.

New types of relationships formed; it was possible for people to live together without marrying and without children.

Information about human sexuality grew, and with it an acceptance of all types of sexual orientations is becoming more common.

Neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky constructed a reproductive spectrum with opposite poles being tournament species, in which males compete fiercely for reproductive privileges with females, and pair bond arrangements, in which a male and female will bond for life.

These species-particular behavior patterns provide a context for aspects of human reproduction, including dating.

Behavior patterns are generally unwritten and constantly changing.

There are considerable differences between social and personal values.

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.

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