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Dating worldwide

A Japanese couple holding hands on the beach

Dating customs and habits vary considerably throughout the world. The average duration of courtship before proceeding to engagement or marriage varies considerably throughout the world.[75]

Africa

Ethiopia

One Ethiopian writer described a couple, when dating, as happy, at parties and movies and recreation centers and swimming pools, while they appeared to be less so after being married; still the writer thought marriage was the "lesser of two evils" when compared with the single life.[76] Marriages link families in Ethiopia since the dowry paid by the family of the bride is often significant financially.[77] According to one source, there are four ways that marriage can happen in Ethiopia: (1) arranged marriage, when well-respected elders are sent to the girl's family on behalf of the boy's family; (2) courtship or dating after a friendly meeting between boy and girl such as at a market place or holiday where there's dancing; (3) abduction, such as during a blood feud between families; (4) inheritance.[77]

Finding a wife is not easy for a Nyangatom boy. He has to build his own house, store lots of tobacco and dry coffee leaves for the girl's parents and have many cows and goats. ... If the girl is from a wealthy family the dowry given to her parents is worth about 200 to 500 cows, about 1,000 sheep or goats, five camels and three rifles.

— [77]

Asia

Asia is a mix of traditional approaches with involvement by parents and extended families such as arranged marriages as well as modern dating. In many cultural traditions, including some in South Asia,[78] and the Middle East[79] and to some extent East Asia, as in the case of Omiai in Japan and the similar "Xiangqin" (相親) practiced in the Greater China Area, a date may be arranged by a third party, who may be a family member, acquaintance, or professional matchmaker.

China

See also: Shanghai marriage market

Patterns of dating are changing in China, with increased modernization bumping into traditional ways.

One report in China Daily suggests that dating for Chinese university women is "difficult" and "takes work" and steals time away from academic advancement, and places women in a precarious position of having to balance personal success against traditional Chinese relationships.[80] Women have high standards for men they seek, but also worry that their academic credentials may "scare away more traditional Chinese men."[80] It is difficult finding places to have privacy, since many dormitory rooms have eight or more pupils in one suite.[80] And dating in restaurants can be expensive.[80] One commentator noted: "American couples drink and dance together. But in China, we study together."[80] Professional single women can choose to wait:

Like other women in my social circle, I have certain demands for a potential mate. He doesn't have to make much more than I do, but he must be doing at least as well as I am, and has to be compatible with me, both morally and spiritually ... He should also own an apartment instead of us buying one together. Remember what Virginia Wolf [sic] said? Every woman should have a room of her own.

— Wei Liu, 45, single, broadcaster, in 2005, [6]
Actress Shu Qi starred in the 2008 movie If You Are the One

The game show If You Are the One, titled after Chinese personal ads, featured provocative contestants making sexual allusions and the show reportedly ran afoul of authorities and had to change its approach.[81] The two-host format involves a panel of 24 single women questioning a man to decide if he'll remain on the show; if he survives, he can choose a girl to date; the show gained notoriety for controversial remarks and opinions such as model Ma Nuo saying she'd prefer to "weep in a BMW than laugh on a bike", who was later banned from making appearances.[82]

A new format of Internet "QQ" chat rooms is gaining ground against so-called "traditional dating agencies" in Changsha (Hunan Province); the QQ rooms have 20,000 members, and service is much less expensive than dating agencies which can charge 100 to 200 yuan ($13 to $26 USD) per introduction.[83] Internet dating, with computer-assisted matchmaking, is becoming more prevalent; one site supposedly has 23 million registered users.[84] Speed dating has come to Shanghai and other cities.[85][86] Worldwide online matchmakers have explored entering the Chinese market via partnerships or acquisitions.[87]

There are conflicting reports about dating in China's capital city. One account suggests that the dating scene in Beijing is "sad" with particular difficulties for expatriate Chinese women hoping to find romance.[88] One explanation was that there are more native Chinese women, who seem to be preferred by Chinese men, and that expat women are seen as "foreigners" by comparison.[88] According to the 2006 report, expat Chinese men have better luck in the Beijing dating scene.[88] A different report, however, suggested that Chinese men preferred Western women, whom they consider to be more independent, less girlish, and more straightforward than Chinese women.[89] Another account suggested that western women in Beijing seem invisible and have trouble attracting Chinese men.[90]

Each year, November 11 has become an unofficial holiday[91] known as China's Singles' Day when singles are encouraged to make an extra effort to find a partner.[92] Worried parents of unmarried children often arrange dates for their offspring on this day as well as others.[92] Before the day approaches, thousands of college students and young workers post messages describing their plans for this day. In Arabic numerals, the day looks like "1111", that is, "like four single people standing together", and there was speculation that it originated in the late 1990s when college students celebrated being single with "a little self-mockery"[91] but a differing explanation dates it back to events in the Roman Empire.[91] For many, Singles' Day offers people a way to "demonstrate their stance on love and marriage.[91]

There is concern that young people's views of marriage have changed because of economic opportunities, with many choosing deliberately not to get married,[91] as well as young marrieds who have decided not to have children, or to postpone having them.[92] Cohabiting relationships are tolerated more often.[6] Communities where people live but don't know each other well are becoming more common in China like elsewhere, leading to fewer opportunities to meet somebody locally without assistance.[92] Divorce rates are rising in cities such as Shanghai, which recorded 27,376 divorces in 2004, an increase of 30% from 2003.[92]

A government-sponsored agency called Shanghai Women's Activities Centre (Chinese: Jinguoyuan) organized periodic matchmaking events often attended by parents.[93]

Chinese-style flirtatiousness is termed sajiao, best described as "to unleash coquettishness" with feminine voice, tender gestures, and girlish protestations.[94] Chinese women expect to be taken care of (zhaogu) by men like a baby girl is doted on by an attentive and admiring father.[94] They wish to be almost "spoiled" (guan) by a man buying gifts, entertainment, and other indulgences.[94] It's a positive sign of heartache (xinteng) when a man feels compelled to do "small caring things" for a woman without being asked such as pouring a glass of water or offering a "piggyback ride if she's tired."[94] These are signs of love and accepted romantic notions in China, according to one source.[94]

Romantic love is more difficult during times of financial stress, and economic forces can encourage singles, particularly women, to select a partner primarily on financial considerations. Some men postpone marriage until their financial position is more secure and use wealth to help attract women. One trend is towards exclusive matchmaking events for the 'rich and powerful'; for example, an annual June event in Wuhan with expensive entry-ticket prices for men (99,999 RMB) lets financially secure men choose so-called bikini brides based on their beauty and education,[95] and the financial exclusivity of the event was criticized by the official news outlet China Daily.[96]

A brave lover in Beijing must be prepared to accept a paradigm shift to enjoy the cross-cultural dating experience.

— [94]

There was a report that sexual relations among middle schoolers in Guangzhou sometimes resulted in abortions.[97] There have been reports of scams involving get-rich-quick schemes; a forty-year-old migrant worker was one of a thousand seduced by an advertisement which read "Rich woman willing to pay 3 million yuan for sperm donor" but the worker was cheated out of his savings of 190,000 yuan (27,500 USD).[98]

India

Indian dating is heavily influenced by the custom of arranged marriages which require little dating, although there are strong indications that the institution is undergoing change, and that love marriages are becoming more accepted as India becomes more intertwined with the rest of the world. In the cities at least, it is becoming more accepted for two people to meet and try to find if there is compatibility.[citation needed]

An Indian wedding

The majority of Indian marriages are arranged by parents and relatives, and one estimate is that 7 of every 10 marriages are arranged.[99] Sometimes the bride and groom don't meet until the wedding, and there is no courtship or wooing before the joining.[75] In the past, it meant that couples were chosen from the same caste and religion and economic status.[100] There is widespread support for arranged marriages generally. Writer Lavina Melwani described a happy marriage which had been arranged by the bride's father, and noted that during the engagement, the woman was allowed to go out with him before they were married on only one occasion; the couple married and found happiness.[101] Supporters of arranged marriage suggest that there is a risk of having the marriage fall apart whether it was arranged by relatives or by the couple themselves, and that what's important is not how the marriage came to be but what the couple does after being married.[101] Parents and relatives exert considerable influence, sometimes posting matrimonial ads in newspapers and online.[100] Customs encourage families to put people together, and discourage sexual experimentation as well as so-called serial courtship in which a prospective bride or groom dates but continually rejects possible partners, since the interests of the family are seen as more important than the romantic needs of the people marrying.[2] Indian writers, such as Mistry in his book Family Matters, sometimes depict arranged marriages as unhappy.[102] Writer Sarita Sarvate of India Currents thinks people calculate their "value" on the "Indian marriage market" according to measures such as family status, and that arranged marriages typically united spouses who often didn't love each other.[103] She suggested love was out of place in this world because it risked passion and "sordid" sexual liaisons.[103] Love, as she sees it, is "Waking up in the morning and thinking about someone."[103] Writer Jennifer Marshall described the wife in an arranged marriage as living in a world of solitude without much happiness, and feeling pressured by relatives to conceive a son so she wouldn't be considered as "barren" by her husband's family; in this sense, the arranged marriage didn't bring "love, happiness, and companionship."[104] Writer Vijaysree Venkatraman believes arranged marriages are unlikely to disappear soon, commenting in his book review of Shoba Narayan's Monsoon Diary, which has a detailed description of the steps involved in a present-day arranged marriage.[105] There are indications that even the institution of arranged marriages is changing, with marriages increasingly being arranged by "unknown, unfamiliar sources" and less based on local families who know each other.[99] Writer Lavina Melwani in Little India compared Indian marriages to business deals:

Until recently, Indian marriages had all the trappings of a business transaction involving two deal-making families, a hardboiled matchmaker and a vocal board of shareholders – concerned uncles and aunts. The couple was almost incidental to the deal. They just dressed and showed up for the wedding ceremony. And after that the onus was on them to adjust to the 1,001 relatives, get to know each other and make the marriage work.

— Lavina Melwani, [100]

Relationships in which dating is undertaken by two people, who choose their dates without parental involvement and sometimes carry on clandestine get-togethers, has become increasingly common. When this leads to a wedding, the resulting unions are sometimes called love marriages. There are increasing incidences when couples initiate contact on their own, particularly if they live in a foreign country; in one case, a couple met surreptitiously over a game of cards.[100] Indians who move abroad to Britain or America often follow the cultural patterns of their new country: for example, one Indian woman met a white American man while skiing, and married him, and the formerly "all-important relatives" were reduced to bystanders trying to influence things ineffectively.[100] Factors operating worldwide, such as increased affluence, the need for longer education, and greater mobility have lessened the appeal for arranged marriages, and these trends have affected criteria about which possible partners are acceptable, making it more likely that pairings will cross previously impenetrable barriers such as caste or ethnic background.[100] Indian Americans in the U.S. sometimes participate in Singles Meets organized by websites which happen about once a month, with 100 participants at each event; an organizer did not have firm statistics about the success rate leading to a long-term relationship but estimated about one in every ten members finds a partner through the site.[106]

Dating websites are gaining ground in India. Writer Rupa Dev preferred websites which emphasized authenticity and screened people before entering their names into their databases, making it a safer environment overall, so that site users can have greater trust that it is safe to date others on the site.[107] Dev suggested that dating websites were much better than the anonymous chatrooms of the 1990s.[107]

During the interval before marriage, whether it is an arranged or a love marriage, private detectives have been hired to check up on a prospective bride or groom, or to verify claims about a potential spouse made in newspaper advertising, and there are reports that such snooping is increasing.[99] Detectives investigate former amorous relationships and can include fellow college students, former police officers skilled in investigations, and medical workers "with access to health records."[99]

Transsexuals and eunuchs have begun using Internet dating in some states in India.[108]

The practice of dating runs against some religious traditions, and the radical Hindu group Sri Ram Sena threatened to "force unwed couples" to marry, if they were discovered dating on Valentine's Day; a fundamentalist leader said "drinking and dancing in bars and celebrating this day has nothing to do with Hindu traditions."[109] The threat sparked a protest via the Internet which resulted in cartloads of pink panties being sent to the fundamentalist leader's office.[109] as part of the Pink Chaddi Campaign (Pink Underwear/Panties Campaign). Another group, Akhil Bharatiya Hindu Mahasabha, threatened to do the same, for which it was severely mocked online[110] and on the day after Valentine's Day, had protesters outside its Delhi headquarters, with people (mockingly) complaining that it did not fulfill its "promise",[111] with some having come with materials for the wedding rituals.

Japan

There is a type of courtship called Omiai in which parents hire a matchmaker to give resumes and pictures to potential mates for their approval, leading to a formal meeting with parents and matchmaker attending.[112] If the couple has a few dates, they're often pressured by the matchmaker and parents to decide whether or not to marry.[112]

Korea

The reasons for dating in Korea are various. Research conducted by Saegye Daily showed that teenagers choose to date for reasons such as "to become more mature," "to gain consultation on worries, or troubles," or "to learn the difference between boys and girls," etc.[113] Similarly, a news report in MK Daily showed that the primary reasons for dating for workers of age 20 ~ 30 are "emotional stability," "marriage," "someone to spend time with," etc.[114] An interesting feature in the reasons for dating in Korea is that many Koreans are somewhat motivated to find a date due to the societal pressure that often views single persons as incompetent.[115]

Present Korean dating shows a changing attitude due to the influence of tradition and modernization. There are a lot of Confucian ideas and practices that still saturate South Korean culture and daily life as traditional values.[116] Patriarchy in Korea has been grounded on Confucian culture that postulated hierarchical social orders according to age and sex.[117] Patriarchy and Women Patriarchy is "a system of social structure and practices in which men dominate, oppress and exploit women” which is well reflected in the ways of dating in Korea.[118] Adding to it, there is an old saying that says a boy and a girl should not sit together after they have reached the age of seven. It is one of the old teachings of Confucianism[119] and reveals its inclination toward conservatism.

Most Koreans tend to regard dating as a precursor to marriage. According to a survey conducted by Gyeonggi-do Family Women’s Researcher on people of age 26-44, 85.7% of respondents replied as ‘willing to get married’. There is no dating agency but the market for marriage agencies are growing continuously.[120] DUO and Gayeon are one of the major marriage agencies in Korea. Also, "Mat-sun", the blind date which is usually based on the premise of marriage, is held often among ages of late 20s to 30s.[121] But the late trend is leaning towards the separation between dating and marriage unlike the conservative ways of the past.[122] In the survey conducted by a marriage agency, of 300 single males and females who were asked of their opinions on marrying their lovers, about only 42% of the males and 39% of the females said yes.[123] There are also cases of dating without the premise of marriage. However, the majority still takes getting into a relationship seriously.

Dating in Korea is also considered a necessary activity supported by society.[115] Korean adults are constantly questioned whether or not they are dating by the people around them.[115] During family gatherings on holidays one of the questions that people hate getting asked the most is related to marriage.[124] According to a survey it was the highest ranked by 47.3 percent.[124]

College students in their sophomore to junior year who have not been in a relationship feel anxious that they are falling behind amongst their peers. Most of them try "sogaeting", going out on a blind date, for the first time to get into a relationship. Dating is a duty that most people feel they must take on to not seem incompetent.[125] In recent trends, even dramas such as “”Shining Romance” (“빛나는 로맨스”), and “Jang Bo-ri is Here!” (“왔다 장보리”), and in a variety show called, “Dad! Where Are We Going?” (“아빠 어디가?”) there are elementary children confessing their love.

Dating has also been depicted to be an activity of fun and happiness. There are Korean TV programs that film celebrities together as married couples supporting this depiction of dating such as “We Got Married” (“우리 결혼했어요”), “With You” (“님과 함께”) and “The Man Who Gets Married Daily” (“매일 결혼 하는 남자.”)[125]

According to a survey by wedding consulting agency, men consider a physical relation as a catalyst of love, otherwise, women regard it as a confirmation of affection. Adding to it, both 79.2% of men and 71.0% of women stated that how deep their physical relation in dating is concerned in the decision of whether to marry.[126]

Pakistan

Marriages and courtship in Pakistan are influenced by traditional cultural practices similar to those elsewhere in the Indian subcontinent as well as Muslim norms and manners. Illegitimate relationships before marriage are considered a social taboo and social interaction between unmarried men and women is encouraged at a modest and healthy level. Couples are usually wedded through either an arranged marriage or love marriage. Love marriages are those in which the individuals have chosen a partner whom they like by their own choice prior to marriage, and usually occur with the consent of parents and family. Arranged marriages on the other hand are marriages which are set and agreed by the families or guardians of the two individuals where the couple may not have met before. In either cases and in consistency with traditional marital practices, individuals who marry are persuaded to meet and talk to each other for some time before considering marrying so that they can check their compatibility.

Singapore

Singapore's largest dating service, SDU, Social Development Unit, is a government-run dating system. The original SDU, which controversially promoted marriages among university graduate singles, no longer exists today. On 28 January 2009, it was merged with SDS [Social Development Services], which just as controversially promoted marriages among non-graduate singles. The merged unit, SDN Social Development Network seeks to promote meaningful relationships, with marriage touted as a top life goal, among all resident [Singapore] singles within a conducive network environment of singles, relevant commercial and public entities.

Taiwan

Survey of Taiwan students
Statement Agree
Hopeful they'll find a relationship 37%
Have no clear idea how to approach someone who interested them 90%
"Changes of heart" and "cheating" cause breakups 60%
Willing to resume relationship if problems are resolved 31%
Having more than one relationship at a time isn't good 70%
Women who won't enter a relationship if man lives too far away 70%
Women who believe height in men matters 96%
....source: China Daily[127]

One report suggested that in southern Taiwan, "traditional rules of courtship" still apply despite the influence of popular culture; for example, men continue to take the initiative in forming relationships.[127] A poll in 2009 of students at high schools and vocational schools found that over 90% admitted that they had "no clear idea of how to approach someone of the opposite sex who interested them". What caused relationships to break up? 60% said "changes of heart" or "cheating". Dating more than one person at a time was not permissible, agreed 70%.

Europe

Britain

Flirting, aristocratic-style
Painting by Frédéric Soulacroix (1858–1933)

In Britain, the term dating bears similarity to the American sense of the tentative exploratory part of a relationship. If two people are going out together, it may mean they're dating but that their relationship has advanced to a relatively long-standing and sexual boyfriend-girlfriend relationship although they're not cohabiting. Although Britons are familiar with the term dating, the rituals surrounding courtship are somewhat different from those commonly found in North America. Writer Kira Cochrane advises daters to "get out there and meet people" while noting a trend of temporary suspension of marriage until an individual reaches his or her thirties.[15] She sees a trend for developing new ways of meeting people.[15] In contrast, writer Bibi van der Zee found dating etiquette rules to be helpful, and found that supposedly liberated advice such as "just be yourself" to be the "most useless advice in history."[128] She expresses frustration following fruitless sexual relationships, and that her mid twenties saw dating relationships with partners who were less willing to return phone calls or display interest in long-term commitment. She felt "clueless and unwanted", she wrote, and found advice books such as The Rules helpful.[129] British writer Henry Castiglione signed up for a "weekend flirting course" and found the experience helpful; he was advised to talk to and smile at everyone he met.[130] Emailing back-and-forth, after meeting on a dating website, is one way to get to know people in Britain, and elsewhere.[34] In the UK, one estimate from 2009 is that 15 million people are single, and half of these are seeking a long-term relationship; three-quarters of them have not been in a relationship for more than 18 months.[131] In a twelve-month period, the average number of dates that a single person will have is four.[131] When dating, 43% of people google their dates ahead of time.[132] Almost five million Britons visited a dating website in the past twelve months.[131] A third admitting to lying on their profile.[131] A fifth of married individuals between 19 and 25 met their spouse online.[131] One poll in 2009 of 3,000 couples suggested that the average duration of their courtship period, between first meeting to the acceptance of a marriage proposal, was three years.[133] In 2017 Britain online dating fraud victim numbers at record high. According to the National Fraud Intelligence Bureau, there were 3,889 victims of so-called romance fraud last year[134] who handed over a record £39m. Online dating safety in the UK is a concern for authorities and individuals.

German-speaking countries

Ball of City of Vienna (1900)

While analysts such as Harald Martenstein and others suggest that it is easier for persons to initiate contact in America, many Germans view the American dating habits as "unspontaneous", "ridiculous" and "rigid".[citation needed] Until the 1960s, countries such as Germany, Switzerland and Austria had a more formal approach for first contacts that was eased during seasonal festivals like carnival and festivals and funfairs like the Oktoberfest, which allowed for more casual flirts.[135]

Membership in voluntary associations is relatively high in German-speaking countries and these provided further chances for possible partners to meet. Strolling on Esplanades and Promenade walkways such as the one in Hamburg called the Jungfernstieg (maidens way), have been another venue for introductions as early as the 19th century. Analyst Geoffrey Gorer described dating as an American idiosyncrasy focusing on youth of college age and expressed in activities such as American proms. In contrast German speaking countries and the longstanding musical tradition there provided ample opportunity of persons of varying ages enjoying social dances, such as the Vienna Opera Ball and other occasions.

Romantic encounters were often described with French terms like rendezvous or tête-à-tête. The German term of Stelldichein (as translated by Joachim Heinrich Campes) is used to signify dating when the age of consent to marriage was relatively high. German traditions to signify lovers who met in hiding were described with terms like Fensterln (windowing) or Kiltgang (dawn stroll) used in Bavaria and Switzerland.[136] Analyst Sebastian Heinzel sees a major cultural divide between American dating habits and European informality, and leads to instances in which European expatriates in cities such as New York keep to themselves.[137]

Today, most German couples in long-term relationships get to know each other through mutual friends, at work or while going out at night; the first few months of dating often involve sexual intercourse, but are still rather casual and do not imply a serious wish to get married.[138]

Italy

Italians maintain a conservative approach to dating. Also, inviting friends or relatives during a date is not uncommon. More modern approaches such as blind dates, speed dating and dating websites are not as popular as abroad, and are not considered very effective by the majority of the population. However, social network members outnumber the European average,[139] and they may use Facebook for dating purposes too.

Spain

One report suggested Spanish women were the "greatest flirts", based on an unofficial study by a dating website which ranked countries based on initiations of contact.[140]

North Africa

In North Africa like in many parts of the Middle East, sex without marriage is considered unacceptable. Dating in North Africa is predominantly done under family supervision, usually in a public place.[citation needed]

Middle East

Iran

People of different sexes are not allowed to "mix freely" in public.[141] Since 1979, the state has become a religious autocracy, and imposes Islamic edicts on matters such as dating. Clerics run officially sanctioned internet dating agencies with strict rules.[141] Prospective couples can have three meetings: two with strict supervision inside the center, and the third being a "brief encounter on their own"; afterwards, they can either (1) choose to marry or (2) agree to never see each other again.[141] This has become the subject of a film by Iranian filmmaker Leila Lak.[141] Iran has a large population of young people with sixty percent of the 70-million population being under the age of thirty.[142] However, economic hardship discourages marriage, and divorce rates have increased in Tehran to around a quarter of marriages,[142] even though divorce is taboo.[142] While the Iranian government "condemns dating and relationships", it promotes marriage with (1) online courses (2) "courtship classes" where students can "earn a diploma" after sitting through weekly tests and "hundreds of hours of education" (3) "marriage diplomas" (4) matchmaking and arranged marriages.[142] Authorities push a conservative approach and shun unmarried romantic relationships and encourage "traditional match-making".[142] But young people have disobeyed the restrictions; one said "It is wiser to have different relationships" and believed in defying religious rules which suggest "short-term illegitimate relationships harm dignity."[142] Adultery can be punished by death.[142] While youths can flout selected restrictions, there are almost no instances in which unmarried people move in together.[142] There have been efforts to promote Sigheh (temporary marriage).[142]

Israel

In Israel, in the secular community, dating is very common amongst both heterosexual and homosexual couples. However, because of the religious community, there are some religious exceptions to the dating process. In the Haredi and Chasidic communities (Ultra-Orthodox Judaism) most couples are paired through a matchmaker. In this arranged marriage system, young adults meet a couple times under the supervision of their parents, and after they meet, the two are asked whether they will agree to be married.

Furthermore, in terms of marriage, because the state religion is essentially Orthodox-Judaism, Conservative and Reform (Liberal denominations of Judaism) Jews cannot get married through a Conservative or Reform Rabbi without the approval of the State's Orthodox Head Rabbi.

There are similar problems in Israel for people of different denominations of other religions as well. Essentially, if you live in Israel, and the head of your religion doesn't want you to get married, you can't get religiously married.

Because people of two different religions or people of the same sex cannot get married in Israel, people in these situations oftentimes have to go overseas to get married since Israel does recognize overseas marriages.

Lebanon

One report suggests the Lebanese dating game is hampered by "the weight of family demands upon individual choice" and that there were difficulties, particularly for people seeking to marry across religious lines, such as a Christian seeking to marry a Muslim.[143]

Saudi Arabia

The Saudi Gazette quoted a Wikipedia article on domestic violence, suggesting it was an issue for Saudis, including abusive behavior while dating by one or both partners.[69]

North America

An American Family

In many cultures around the world, dating is a serious family matter, which is based on its culture and social values. Parents in said cultures believe in arranged marriage, or at least make sure that their children get married at a certain age. However, in the United States, independency plays an important role in how singles value and date others. In America, dating is mostly a personal decision rather than based off the influence of parents. However, parents still usually expect their children to get married, but is still their son or daughter’s choice between whom they want to date or marry. Middle class tend to prioritize other things that are more important to them, such as get a college degree, a job, and then date their future spouse to settle down. Before the internet era, some Americans would meet their prospective husband or wife in college, through friends, at work, etc. But now is very popular that singles are trying to meet people on websites and from cell phone applications. Dating people online can create other social issues. For example, some individuals might get in the illusion that there are so many singles looking for your mate, therefore some can get into a bad habit of constantly meet new people, but do not want to get in a meaningful relationship and they may spend years dating looking for a perfect mate when in reality that does not exist. [2] Online dating might add up the number of single people who are looking for a mate or a relationship that can lead them to a courtship since having so many choices can be difficult to make up your mind. http://library.cqpress.com/cqresearcher/document.php?id=cqresrre2015032000

Meeting people from social sites might isolate us even more due to lack of communication face to face with friends and interact with new people on public places.

Canada and United States

Ernie Kovacs and Edie Adams from his television show, Take a Good Look.

One report suggested the United States as well as other western-oriented countries were different from the rest of the world because "love is the reason for mating," as opposed to marriages being arranged to cement economic and class ties between families and promote political stability.[5] Dating, by mutual consent of two single people, is the norm. British writer Kira Cochrane, after moving to the U.S., found herself grappling with the American approach to dating.[144] She wondered why it was acceptable to juggle "10 potential partners" while weighing different attributes; she found American-style dating to be "exhausting and strange."[144] She found dating in America to be "organized in a fairly formal fashion" with men approaching women and asking point blank for a date; she found this to be "awkward."[144] She described the "third date rule" which was that women weren't supposed to have sex until the third date even if they desired it, although men were supposed to try for sex.[145] She wrote: "Dating rules almost always cast the man as aggressor, and the woman as prey, which frankly makes me feel nauseous."[145] Canadian writer Danielle Crittenden, however, chronicling female angst, criticized a tendency not to take dating seriously and suggested that postponing marriage into one's thirties was problematic:[146]

By waiting and waiting and waiting to commit to someone, our capacity for love shrinks and withers. This doesn't mean that women or men should marry the first reasonable person to come along, or someone with whom they are not in love. But we should, at a much earlier age than we do now, take a serious attitude toward dating and begin preparing ourselves to settle down. For it's in the act of taking up the roles we've been taught to avoid or postpone––wife, husband, mother, father––that we build our identities, expand our lives, and achieve the fullness of character we desire.

— Danielle Crittenden, 1999, [146]

Journalist Emily Witt in 2016 wrote that while "social mores had changed to accept a wider range of sexual practices", there was still much "loneliness and anxiety".[147] She traveled to San Francisco and began dating a lot, using Internet dating services and apps, and sometimes going to singles' bars alone, only to find that the "romantic-comedy concept of love" with a "perfect, permanent, tea-for-two ending" was not going to happen to her.[147]

There is evidence that couples differ in the pace and timing with which they initiate sex in their relationships. Studies show that approximately 50% of premarital young adult couples become sexually involved within the first month of dating, while 25% initiate sex one to three months after beginning to date and a small proportion of couples wait until marriage before initiating sexual relations.[148]

Teenagers and college-aged students tend to avoid the more formal activity of dating, and prefer casual no-strings-attached experiments sometimes described as hookups. It permits young women to "go out and fit into the social scene, get attention from young men, and learn about sexuality", according to one report by sociologists.[149] The term hookup can describe a wide variety of behavior ranging from kissing to non-genital touching to make-out sessions; according to one report, only about one third of people had sexual intercourse.[149] A contrary report, however, suggested there has been no "sea change" in sexual behavior regarding college students from 1988 onwards, and that the term hookup itself continued to be used to describe a variety of relationships, including merely socializing or passionate kissing as well as sexual intercourse.[150]

Muslims living in the United States can choose whether to use traditional Islamic methods, or date American-style; Muslims choosing to stick to Islamic tradition can "only marry another Muslim", according to one Malaysian account. Mosques have been known to try to bring people together––one in California has a dating service for Muslims.[151]

Oceania

Australia

In Australia, men typically ask out women for dates by text messaging.[14] A recent study revealed that 50% of Australians agreed it was permissible to request a date via a text message but not acceptable to break up with them this way.[14] Flirting while texting, dubbed flirtext, was more likely to be done by girls after a relationship was started.[14] A survey of newspaper readers suggested it was time to abandon the "old fashioned rule" of men paying for the first date, based on women's greater earning capacity.[152] A dating show on TV features three couples who live under one roof, but who can only have contact in a "specially created dark room", and the show is scheduled to be hosted by Miss Australia model Laura Dundovic.[153]

South America

Brazil

In Brazil there's a longer time interval before children move out of the house, which affects dating.[154] As a result, parents offer advice about dating although it may not be heeded.[154]

LGBT Community

A report in Psychology Today found that homosexual men were attracted to men in their late teens and early twenties and didn't care much about the status of a prospective partner; rather, physical attractiveness was the key.[155] Gay men, on average, tend to have more sexual partners, while lesbians tended to form steadier one-on-one relationships, and tend to be less promiscuous than heterosexual women.[155]

In India, transgender individuals and eunuchs have used Internet dating to help them find partners, but there continue to be strong societal pressures which marginalize these groups.[108]

Matchmakers

Main article: Matchmaking
The Matchmaker
painting by Gerard van Honthorst (1590–1656)

People can meet other people on their own or the get-together can be arranged by someone else. Matchmaking is an art based entirely on hunches, since it is impossible to predict with certainty whether two people will like each other or not. "All you should ever try and do is make two people be in the same room at the same time," advised matchmaker Sarah Beeny in 2009, and the only rule is to make sure the people involved want to be set up.[156] One matchmaker advised it was good to match "brains as well as beauty" and try to find people with similar religious and political viewpoints and thinks that like-minded people result in more matches, although acknowledging that opposites sometimes attract.[157] It is easier to put several people together at the same time, so there are other candidates possible if one doesn't work out.[157] And, after introducing people, don't meddle.[157]

Friends as matchmakers

Friends remain an extremely common way for people to meet[158] However, the Internet promises to overtake friends in the future, if present trends continue.[42][158] A friend can introduce two people who don't know each other, and the friend may play matchmaker and send them on a blind date. In The Guardian, British writer Hannah Pool was cynical about being set up on a blind date; she was told "basically he's you but in a male form" by the mutual friend.[159] She googled her blind date's name along with the words "wife" and "girlfriend" and "partner" and "boyfriend" to see whether her prospective date was in any kind of relationship or gay; he wasn't any of these things.[159] She met him for coffee in London and she now lives with him, sharing a home and business.[159] When friends introduce two people who do not know each other, it is often called a blind date.

Family as matchmakers

Parents, via their contacts with associates or neighbors or friends, can introduce their children to each other. In India, parents often place matrimonial ads in newspapers or online, and may post the resumes of the prospective bride or groom.[160]

Matchmaking systems and services

Dating systems can be systematic and organized ways to improve matchmaking by using rules or technology. The meeting can be in-person or live as well as separated by time or space such as by telephone or email or chat-based. The purpose of the meeting is for the two persons to decide whether to go on a date in the future.

(Speed dating is) a fast and comfortable way to meet people. It helps enlarge my social contacts. I don't care if I can't find a girlfriend there. I just want to try my luck, and if she is there, then that will be a big bonus.

— Huang Xiao, salesman, age 27, [85]

Very attractive translates as big-headed ... Average build means a bit paunchy ... 5ft 10 is actually 5ft 7 and a half ... The picture is always taken from the best, most flattering angle ... Black and white photos mean I am pretentious or I've something to hide ... Anyone who writes in text speak or says I heart instead of I like should be avoided ... Ditto for people whose interests include feet.

— [162]

The deception got worse. When he met his date who he had befriended online who he dubbed Facebook Guy for the first time, he wrote:

Facebook guy arrived on time. Facially, he looked the same as his picture. And his arms were as "worked out" as he promised. But he was lacking in the leg department. Quite literally. Facebook Guy had failed to mention that he had no legs.

— [163]

Computers as matchmakers

Software entrepreneur Gary Robinson developed a now-defunct online dating service called 212-Romance in New York City in the 1980s which used complex computer algorithms to guess who'd like whom.

Computer dating systems of the later 20th century, especially popular in the 1960s and 1970s, before the rise of sophisticated phone and computer systems, gave customers forms that they filled out with important tolerances and preferences, which were "matched by computer" to determine "compatibility" of the two customers. The history of dating systems is closely tied to the history of technologies that support them, although a statistics-based dating service that used data from forms filled out by customers opened in Newark, New Jersey in 1941.[164] The first large-scale computer dating system, The Scientific Marriage Foundation, was established in 1957 by Dr. George W. Crane.[165] In this system, forms that applicants filled out were processed by an IBM card sorting machine. The earliest commercially successfully computerized dating service in either the US or UK was Com-Pat, started by Joan Ball in 1964.[166] Operation Match, started by Harvard University students a year later is often erroneously claimed to be the "first computerized dating service."[167] In actuality, both Com-Pat and Operation Match were preceded by other computerized dating services in Europe--the founders of Operation Match and Joan Ball of Com-Pat both stated they had heard about these European computer dating services and that those served as the inspiration for their respective ideas to create computer dating businesses.[168][169] The longest running and most successful early computer dating business, both in terms of numbers of users and in terms of profits, was Dateline, which was started in the UK in 1965 by John Patterson. Patterson's business model was not fully legal, however. He was charged with fraud on several occasions for selling lists of the women who signed up for his service to men who were looking for prostitutes.[170] Dateline existed until Patterson's death from alcoholism in 1997, and during the early 1990s it was reported to be the most profitable computer dating company in the world.[171] In the early 1980s in New York City, software developer Gary Robinson developed a now–defunct dating service called 212-Romance which used computer algorithms to match singles romantically, using a voice–mail based interface backed by community-based automated recommendations enhanced by collaborative filtering technologies.[172] Compatibility algorithms and matching software are becoming increasingly sophisticated.[22]

Online dating services are becoming increasingly prevalent worldwide. They charge a fee to enable a user to post a profile of himself or herself, perhaps using video or still images as well as descriptive data and personal preferences for dating, such as age range, hobbies, and so forth. Online dating is a $2 billion per year business, as of 2014, with an annual growth rate of 5%. The industry is dominated by a few large companies, such as EHarmony, Zoosk and InterActiveCorp, or IAC, which owns several brands including Match.com and OKCupid. However new entrants continue to emerge.[167]

An earlier report suggested that online dating businesses were thriving financially, with growth in members, service offerings, membership fees and with many users renewing their accounts, although the overall share of Internet traffic using online dating services in the U.S. has declined somewhat, from 2003 (21% of all Internet users) to 2006 (10%), and that dating sites must work to convince users that they're safe places having quality members.[173] While online dating has become more accepted, it retains a slight negative stigma.[174] There is widespread evidence that online dating has increased rapidly and is becoming "mainstream" with new websites appearing regularly.[175] One study suggested that 18% of single persons had used the Internet for dating purposes.[176] Reports vary about the effectiveness of dating web sites to result in marriages or long–term relationships. Pew Research, based on a 2005 survey of 3,215 adults, estimated that three million Americans had entered into long-term relationships or marriage as a result of meeting on a dating web site.[177] While sites have touted marriage rates from 10% to 25%, sociologists and marriage researchers are highly skeptical that valid statistics underlie any such claims.[177] The Pew study (see table) suggested the Internet was becoming increasingly prominent and accepted as a way to meet people for dates, although there were cautions about deception, the risk of violence,[178] and some concerns about stigmas.[179] The report suggested most people had positive experiences with online dating websites and felt they were excellent ways to meet more people.[179] The report also said that online daters tend to have more liberal social attitudes compared to the general population.[180] In India, parents sometimes participate in websites designed to match couples.[160] Some online dating sites can organize double dates or group dates.[181] Research from Berkeley suggests there's a dropoff in interest after online daters meet face–to–face.[22] It's a lean medium not offering standard cues such as tone of voice, gestures, and facial expressions.[22] There is substantial data about online dating habits; for example, researchers believe that "the likelihood of a reply to a message sent by one online dater to another drops roughly 0.7 percent with every day that goes by".[22] Psychologist Lindsay Shaw Taylor found that even though people said they'd be willing to date someone of a different race, that people tend to choose dates similar to themselves.[22]

Internet "QQ" chat rooms. This type of dating approach, cheaper than traditional websites and agencies, is gaining ground in China.[83]

Online website usage survey[179]
Estimate  %
Internet users who've used it romantically 74%
Know somebody who found long-term partner via Internet 15%
Know someone who's used a dating website 31%
Know someone who's gone on a date after visiting a website 26%
Agree online dating can be dangerous 66%
Don't think online dating is dangerous 25%
Believe online dating is for those in "dire straits" 29%
Gone on a dating website 10%

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