Today, the institution of dating continues to evolve at a rapid rate with new possibilities and choices opening up particularly through online dating.
The word "dating" entered the American language during the Roaring Twenties.
Communities exerted pressure on people to form pair-bonds in places such as Europe; in China, society "demanded people get married before having a sexual relationship" and many societies found that some formally recognized bond between a man and a woman was the best way of rearing and educating children as well as helping to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings regarding competition for mates.
Generally, during much of recorded history of humans in civilization, and into the Middle Ages in Europe, weddings were seen as business arrangements between families, while romance was something that happened outside of marriage discreetly, such as covert meetings.
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.Prior to that, courtship was a matter of family and community interest.Starting around the time of the Civil War, courtship became a private matter for couples.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.