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.
Online dating does work — it did for us :)» more John & Christie: «It still gets better every day! We have never imagined dating online could be this great and lead to a long-lasting relationship.
But now I have someone care about me and look out for my well being as much as I do for her — this is much more than we both hoped for!
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.
A few centuries ago, dating was sometimes described as a "courtship ritual where young women entertained gentleman callers, usually in the home, under the watchful eye of a chaperone," but increasingly, in many Western countries, it became a self-initiated activity with two young people going out as a couple in public together.
These people will have dates on a regular basis, and they may or may not be having sexual relations.