However, one particularity of the human species is that pair bonds are often formed without necessarily having the intention of reproduction.
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 or marriage.
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.
This term may also refer to two or more people who have already decided they share romantic or sexual feelings toward each other.
Thus, the concept of marriage is changing widely in many countries.
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.
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.
Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.