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Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel
Kunstformen der Natur (1904) by Ernst Haeckel

Dating is the act of going out on dates whereby one person socializes with a potential lover using a process that involves scheduled, usually exclusive, meetings of two people with mutual interest in one another. Typically a person may date different partners (this does not include or indicate the sexual relationship) during the same time period in order to have the best chance of finding their most suitable and available partner for an intimate relationship. A date involves going out to do something together (like having dinner, visiting the theater, or having a picnic at a park or beach), while dating involves the continued communication and courting between dates, such as meeting on-line (also known as virtual dating), chatting on-line, sending text messages or picture messages, and conversing over the phone. In this sense, during the dating process, people often explore each other through "dates" to discover whether or not they would be compatible together in a serious relationship - which for many people involves the sexual component but depends on individual beliefs. Usually, if the two individuals discover that they have poor or low compatibility, it signals the end of the dating process: however, due to the multiple person dating strategy a person ideally has other options to explore.

Dating is viewed by some as any social activity performed as a pair or even a group with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as their partner as a spouse. The word refers to the act of agreeing on a time and "date" when a pair can meet and engage in some social activity.

Going-out is an action taken after two people discover their romantic affection for each other. This is similar to dating though not as in depth. This may include hugging and holding hands but not kissing, usually the step before dating.

In many cultural traditions, dates are arranged by a third party, who may be a family member, an acquaintance, or a dedicated matchmaker. Recently matchmaking services have become popular. Although dating rules in Western popular culture have become more relaxed during the 20th century, there is considerable variation between individuals' values. For example, when the activity costs money, it has traditionally been the man's role to pay; in recent times the practice of "going Dutch" (splitting the expenses) has emerged. Traditional dating activities include sharing entertainment or a meal.

See also

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Dating" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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