These species-particular behavior patterns provide a context for aspects of human reproduction, including dating.
While pair-bonds of varying forms were recognized by most societies as acceptable social arrangements, marriage was reserved for heterosexual pairings and had a transactional nature, where wives were in many cases a form of property being exchanged between father and husband, and who would have to serve the function of reproduction.
Communities exerted pressure on people to form pair-bonds in places such as Europe; in China, society "demanded people get married before having a sexual relationship" and many societies found that some formally recognized bond between a man and a woman was the best way of rearing and educating children as well as helping to avoid conflicts and misunderstandings regarding competition for mates.
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.
‘It’s left men and women on a never-ending hunt for the perfect partner, thinking: “A few more dates and I’ll find The One.” In my work, I’ve met plenty of women who think there’s always a better guy out there.‘The danger is that it results in a string of meaningless flings.
Apart from the risk of sexually transmitted disease, ultimately a never-ending quest for grass that’s greener means that women (and men) don’t face the realities of relationships.
While she had plenty of male friends, nothing developed romantically, so she signed up to a dating site. But they got back together, probably when he first disappeared, and later he wanted a bit on the side.‘Some are upfront, but many are not honest.
There are men who say they’re looking for a serious relationship, but when you chat online it becomes clear they don’t or they’ve already got a partner.
They’ll write anything women want to hear on their profile.’ She admits she found internet dating addictive.‘It’s exciting when you get an email in the morning that says you’ve had 20 views. Unfortunately, you then look at who’s shown interest and your heart sinks.
But it still encourages you to think that if you keep going, there’s got to be someone better next time.’‘The websites ask for your preferences on height, weight, hair colour and even eye colour.
‘I’ve met some lovely men, but I’ve also met many who lied about themselves and their intentions.’Her experiences are mirrored by many women, who find that internet dating is great if you want a casual fling, but not for anything longer lasting because there are so many dishonest men seeking cheap thrills.