When dating gets serious

The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time.

While the term has several meanings, the most frequent usage refers to two people exploring whether they are romantically or sexually compatible by participating in dates with the other.

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.

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.

These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.

This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement.

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.

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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 or marriage.

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