Dating as an institution is a relatively recent phenomenon which has mainly emerged in the last few centuries.
From the standpoint of anthropology and sociology, dating is linked with other institutions such as marriage and the family which have also been changing rapidly and which have been subject to many forces, including advances in technology and medicine.
There's still the matter of erasing "those recordings that play in your head about men and relationships," Palmer said.
"'Men only want sex, men don't want relationships...' It's about getting past your limiting beliefs." Palmer acknowledges that these beliefs can become as automatic as "blinking," but said it's a matter of first recognizing that those beliefs exist and working through why you feel that way. "Make a plan of where and how you're going to meet the right men and how to get a date," Palmer advised.
The protocols and practices of dating, and the terms used to describe it, vary considerably from country to country and over time.
While the term has several meanings, the most frequent usage refers to two people exploring whether they are romantically or sexually compatible by participating in dates with the other.
Compassion is the key to having an enjoyable time when you're dating. "Rendezvous to romance." So you've fallen in love with yourself, created a more realistic and flexible list of the traits you'd like in a partner, broadened your social circle and got the date with a man you're attracted to... "On a first and second date you're not trying to figure out if you're going to marry him," Palmer said with a chuckle. " Fast forward to a future version of yourself who's a few dates in with this new man.
"You want to put your best foot forward [and] you want to show personality." And putting your best foot forward means knowing what "baggage" needs to be checked at the door. You've reached the final step of dating like a grown-up: after all the self-reflection and open conversation "[apply] that to making the decision if they're still a good partner," Palmer said.
It is a form of courtship, consisting of social activities done by the couple, either alone or with others.
"You're really special and you have a lot to give," Palmer said.
"The right man will totally dig it and the wrong man won't but that's ok." It'll be easier this time around -- now that you know how to date like a grown-up.
With the use of modern technology, people can date via telephone or computer or meet in person.
Dating may also involve two or more people who have already decided that they share romantic or sexual feelings toward each other.
"It's about reacquainting yourself with who you are today and what value you hold in a partnership," she said. The internal list we all have that makes finding your perfect partner as hard as lassoing a unicorn.