Historically, marriages in most societies were arranged by parents and older relatives with the goal not being love but legacy and "economic stability and political alliances", according to anthropologists.[5] Accordingly, there was little need for a temporary trial period such as dating before a permanent community-recognized union was formed between a man and a woman. 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"[6] 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.
Singapore's largest dating service, SDU, Social Development Unit, is a government-run dating system. The original SDU, which controversially promoted marriages among university graduate singles, no longer exists today. On 28 January 2009, it was merged with SDS [Social Development Services], which just as controversially promoted marriages among non-graduate singles. The merged unit, SDN Social Development Network seeks to promote meaningful relationships, with marriage touted as a top life goal, among all resident [Singapore] singles within a conducive network environment of singles, relevant commercial and public entities.
I never thought that the cultural background of a dating prospect would make much of a difference when it came to relationships. However, since living in New York, I’ve had the opportunity to meet many different people from various backgrounds and it’s become clear that there are definite cultural norms specific to European men versus American men (especially New Yorkers).  I’m not to judge that one is better than the other, and mind you, my observations are based on my own experiences as well as a group of women I’ve interviewed in the last two years. The below is a list of some of the themes and commonalities observed. Now, when I discuss the differences between European and American, I’m referring to a mindset. You can very well be born in America but have a more “European” mindset and vice versa.
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