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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 about 1700 a worldwide movement perhaps described as the "empowerment of the individual" took hold, leading towards greater emancipation of women and equality of individuals.
One of the numerous benefits of online dating is that many of the communication and even location barriers are playing less and less of a role in people's relationships.
We live in a world that is ever evolving and using dating websites to develop relationships is becoming increasingly common.
Humans have been compared to other species in terms of sexual behavior.
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Men and women became more equal politically, financially, and socially in many nations.
Women eventually won the right to vote in many countries and own property and receive equal treatment by the law, and these changes had profound impacts on the relationships between men and women. In many societies, individuals could decide—on their own—whether they should marry, whom they should marry, and when they should marry.
This period of courtship is sometimes seen as a precursor to engagement.
Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.