Dating is a phase of social relations practised in Western cultures throughout which two persons meet socially almost without the purpose of each evaluating the other’s suitability as an eventual partner in a hopefully romantic relationship in the near future. This process of evaluating potential partners and the associated criteria for choosing them has become an integral part of our social behaviour and is often referred to as dating. Dating in the United States is probably best described as the conscious effort to find a partner for marriage or another form of intimate relationship such as an engagement, marriage or even a fling. Dating can be broadly divided into two major categories: pre-wedding and post-wedding.
Pre-Wedding dating is the process of discovering another person for a possible commitment and it usually involves casual acquaintances and is not regarded as being particularly emotional in nature. Post-Wedding dating is the process of an individual entering into a more committed relationship involving more emotional intimacy. The difference between the two types of dating can be boiled down to the social expectations that underlie each.
In short, the process of dating is a very broad one and the criteria for finding a potential partner and then entering into a dating relationship are totally different from those that underlie other forms. It would be erroneous to assume that every potential dating relationship will be in a romantic relationship in its purest form. True love does not simply wait for romance to appear before it is revealed! However, in many cases true love will be revealed at some point in the relationship, leading to a more satisfying and long term relationship.