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. 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%.
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. Similarly, a news report in MK Daily showed that the primary reasons for dating for workers of around ages 20-30 are "emotional stability," "marriage," "someone to spend time with," etc. 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.
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. 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. 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." 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." 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. She wrote: "Dating rules almost always cast the man as aggressor, and the woman as prey, which frankly makes me feel nauseous." 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:
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". 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.
Chinese-style flirtatiousness is termed sajiao (Chinese: 撒娇; pinyin: sājiāo), best described as "to unleash coquettishness" with feminine voice, tender gestures, and girlish protestations. Chinese women expect to be taken care of (Chinese: 照顾; pinyin: zhàogu) by men like a baby girl is doted on by an attentive and admiring father. They wish to be almost "spoiled" (Chinese: 惯; pinyin: guàn) by a man buying gifts, entertainment, and other indulgences. It's a positive sign of heartache (Chinese: 心疼; pinyin: xīnténg) 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." These are signs of love and accepted romantic notions in China, according to one source.
It’s not to say that something not-so-serious cannot turn into dating, but you most definitely can’t assume it will. You also can’t assume that dating will turn into an exclusive and committed relationship. If you’re foggy about what you’re doing with someone, it’s always best to have a terribly awkward chat with them. I give you permission to have a glass or three of wine first if you’d like. It tends to make things easier. But just like most issues in the world of relationships, communication is almost always guaranteed to clear up any confusion.
In the twentieth century, dating was sometimes seen as a precursor to marriage but it could also be considered as an end-in-itself, that is, an informal social activity akin to friendship. It generally happened in that portion of a person's life before the age of marriage, but as marriage became less permanent with the advent of divorce, dating could happen at other times in peoples lives as well. People became more mobile. Rapidly developing technology played a huge role: new communication technology such as the telephone, Internet and text messaging enabled dates to be arranged without face-to-face contact. Cars extended the range of dating as well as enabled back-seat sexual exploration. In the mid-twentieth century, the advent of birth control as well as safer procedures for abortion changed the equation considerably, and there was less pressure to marry as a means for satisfying sexual urges. New types of relationships formed; it was possible for people to live together without marrying and without children. Information about human sexuality grew, and with it an acceptance of all types of sexual orientations is becoming more common. Today, the institution of dating continues to evolve at a rapid rate with new possibilities and choices opening up particularly through online dating.