While there have always been scoundrels who would deceive women for romantic favors, society did not condone it. It warned both men and women to beware of such flatterers who promise much and deliver heartbreak. To past generations, the notion of using deception to attain true love was fascinating because it was so unusual and so universally condemned. Deceptive men could be sued for "the broken promise of marriage" in American courts until the 1950s. Thanks to a century of media promotion, creating a mirage relationship is now the culturally sanctioned way to the altar.

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