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.
Behavior patterns are generally unwritten and constantly changing.
There are considerable differences between social and personal values.
With the use of modern technology, people can date via telephone or computer or meet in person.
Dating may also involve two or more people who have already decided that 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.
Today, the institution of dating continues to evolve at a rapid rate with new possibilities and choices opening up particularly through online dating.
Social rules regarding dating vary considerably according to variables such as country, social class, race, religion, age, sexual orientation and gender.
These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.