While traditional courtship had its own set of rules and rituals, dating, as it evolved, became less structured.
Courtship was seen as a fundamental part of a well-functioning society.
However, couples would form after several dates if they were interested in having more exclusive relationships." This starts to resemble what we would now conceive of as modern dating, and the ritual of courtship was left in the dust.
With the introduction of dating also came the focus on falling in love, rather than finding a society-approved match.
Young courting couples chose their own partners, and their letters focused on romance rather than on the practical matters that had dominated the correspondence of earlier generations." The desire to climb the social ladder or to secure one's place in society fell by the wayside, and the desire to find a favorable longterm partner took its place.
In the 1950s, "going steady" was the term for being in an exclusive relationship.
Others think that with all of the online apps and matchmaking websites we have today, it's never been easier to play the field.