Sixth-graders claim to be dating when, after extensive negotiations conducted by third parties, two of them go out for ice cream.
Many college students and 20‑somethings don’t start dating until after they’ve had sex.
In 2000, Jeffrey Arnett, a developmental psychologist at Clark University, coined the term emerging adulthood to describe the long phase of experimentation that precedes settling down.
Dating used to be a time-limited means to an end; today, it’s often an end in itself.
For an activity undertaken over such a long period of time, dating is remarkably difficult to characterize.