This term may also refer to two or more people who have already decided they share romantic or sexual feelings toward each other.
These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.
It can be a form of courtship that consists of social activities done by the couple.
The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time.
The researchers suggest that inflated expectations can lead to major disappointments when daters meet in person. The Rules of Attraction in the Game of Love Love is More Powerful than Sex Men and Women Really Do Think Differently Loss of Loved One Really Can Cause Broken Heart Altruistic Love Related to Happier Marriages Why Some Old Lovers Look Alike Fantasies vanishing with knowledge is a process that hits women harder than men, said Michael Norton of Harvard Business School and one of the study's authors.
“On online dates, women are much, much more disappointed than men," Norton said.
Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.
“We were working with a couple of online dating companies who were finding that their users got very unhappy very quickly with online dating. To find out, they showed each of 304 online daters, average age 34, a grab-bag of anywhere from one to 10 traits randomly culled from more than 200 characteristics gathered from real online daters.
Each online participant rated how much they liked their potential date, as well as which traits they would also use to describe themselves.
While the term has several meanings, the most frequent usage refers to two or more people exploring whether they are romantically or sexually compatible by participating in dates with the other.
With the use of modern technology, people can date via telephone or computer or meet in person.