Some couples will introduce each other to the important people in their life: parents, family, friends, mentors, spiritual community, etc. Some couples may travel together. Some couples will try living together (the pros and cons of doing this are an entirely different blog post, and we are looking for someone to write intelligently about this so if you are interested in doing this, please let us know). Some couples find it helpful to go to pre-engagement counselling.
Dating people with differing personalities gives you criteria for making wise judgments. One who has limited dating experience may after marriage be plagued by the thoughts, "What would someone else be like?" "Would I have had a better marriage with another type of mate?" Those questions may come to many couples, especially when there is trouble in the marriage. But, the individual who looks back on a well-rounded social life before marriage is better equipped to answer the question. What could be more difficult than finding someone with whom we can live with in harmony and fulfillment for the next fifty years?
There's a ridiculous amount of social pressure in North America to have sex, for men to have "more" partners, and for women to detach emotionally and make it "okay." Almost everyone I met in Europe in their mid 20s to 30s had had one, maybe two, very long term partnerships, and perhaps one casual, one night stand. Everyone I know in North America? Um... I've lost count.
While some of what happens on a date is guided by an understanding of basic, unspoken rules, there is considerable room to experiment, and there are numerous sources of advice available. Sources of advice include magazine articles, self-help books, dating coaches, friends, and many other sources. And the advice given can pertain to all facets of dating, including such aspects as where to go, what to say, what not to say, what to wear, how to end a date, how to flirt, and differing approaches regarding first dates versus subsequent dates. In addition, advice can apply to periods before a date, such as how to meet prospective partners, as well as after a date, such as how to break off a relationship.
The prospect of love often entails anxiety, sometimes with a fear of commitment  and a fear of intimacy for persons of both sexes. One woman said "being really intimate with someone in a committed sense is kind of threatening" and described love as "the most terrifying thing." In her Psychology Today column, research scientist, columnist, and author Debby Herbenick compared it to a roller coaster:
^ Jump up to: a b c d e f g Abigail Goldman (Winter 2010). "The Heart of the Matter: Online or off, couples still have to click". California Magazine. Retrieved 2010-12-28. New Berkeley research shows that online daters like each other more before they actually meet in person—it's that first face-to-face where things slide downhill, and average daters report disappointment across the board, let down on everything from looks to personality.
Humans have been compared to other species in terms of sexual behavior. Neurobiologist Robert Sapolsky constructed a reproductive spectrum with opposite poles being tournament species, in which males compete fiercely for reproductive privileges with females, and pair bond arrangements, in which a male and female will bond for life. According to Sapolsky, humans are somewhat in the middle of this spectrum, in the sense that humans form pair bonds, but there is the possibility of cheating or changing partners. These species-particular behavior patterns provide a context for aspects of human reproduction, including dating. However, one particularity of the human species is that pair bonds are often formed without necessarily having the intention of reproduction. In modern times, emphasis on the institution of marriage, generally described as a male-female bond, has obscured pair bonds formed by same-sex and transgender couples, and that many heterosexual couples also bond for life without offspring, or that often pairs that do have offspring separate. Thus, the concept of marriage is changing widely in many countries.