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Today, the institution of dating continues to evolve at a rapid rate with new possibilities and choices opening up particularly through online dating.
The word "dating" entered the American language during the Roaring Twenties.
The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time.
Men and women became more equal politically, financially, and socially in many nations.
Dating is a stage of romantic relationships in humans whereby two people meet socially with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a prospective partner in an intimate relationship.
It is a form of courtship, consisting of social activities done by the couple, either alone or with others.
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.
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.
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.