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Variations And Changes

Not all traditionalist societies subscribe to arranged marriages in which there is no parallel to "free choice" dating systems. In some (e.g., Borneo, and among the Tepoztlan of Mexico), young men initiate relationships themselves (Ramu 1989). However, contacts that follow are, as in China, not dating but courtship. Among second generation immigrants to the West from collectivist societies, customs may be changing—more or less rapidly depending on the culture of origin and certain other factors such as education. Muslim Arab Americans, for instance, see western dating practices as threatening to several requirements of their patrilineal families. However, their boys are given more latitude to date than are their girls, and in general, group dating is preferred (DeGenova 1997).

In individualist societies, certain aspects of dating are changing. Forms of meeting and getting acquainted now include "video dating services, introduction services, computer bulletin boards, and 900 party line services" (Strong et al. 2001, p. 229)—often called cyberdating. What their effect will be is not clear, but certain changes can already be seen. For instance, in face-to-face meetings, physical appearance is the initial basis of attraction while in cyberdating, face-to-face contact is replaced by conversational skill as the basis for the initial impression. The consequence of this and other changes, however, is as yet unknown.


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Additional topics

Marriage and Family EncyclopediaRelationshipsDating - Competitiveness, Sexuality, Delights And Discontents, Communication And Deception, Making Initial Contact, Dating Scripts