The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time.
Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.
From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine.
As humans have evolved from hunter-gatherers into civilized societies and more recently into modern societies, there have been substantial changes in the relationship between men and women, with perhaps one of a few remaining biological constants being that both adult women and men must have sexual intercourse for human procreation to happen.
Because marriage represents the union of two families, the choice of spouse is usually arranged by the families, although individuals have some say in the decision. The Amharic family is strongly patriarchal, a pattern typical throughout Ethiopia.
Sons usually bring their brides to live with or near their fathers family, and three or more generations in the male line frequently live under one roof.
Age is highly respected in Ethiopia, and the elderly are cared for by their children.
Womens duties and privileges are clearly defined both within the home and elsewhere, and most women lead sheltered lives.
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Dating is a stage of sexual selection in humans whereby two people meet socially, possibly as friends or possibly with the aim of each assessing the other's suitability as a partner in an intimate relationship or marriage.
It can be a form of courtship consisting of social activities done by the couple.