There are varried opinions on what dating means to people today. Some people are very casual in their definitions while others fall to another extreme and think that just because you go out once or twice you're going to get married.
in my opinion, dating is like a trial run to a relationship. You get to figure out the quirks/traits you like about each other, the quirks/traits you don't, and whether or not the combo is suitable for a long-term relationship. You iron out the details of how a relationship *might* work with each other, then move on to the next level (or declare a "game over" status and try again with someone more suitable). Do I have it all wrong?
As a man, my personal opinion is that dating is a really tedious, time consuming process. Too much efforts for too little returns, especially for men. It's just a numbers game for us. Keep asking women out until the 10th, 20th or 50th woman eventually says 'yes' for a date, which can also be due to sympathy.
I just don't like playing this stupid numbers game, and iterate over women to get a yes. That's the reason I haven't even attempted to date too much over the last 5 years. Unfortunately (or fortunately), my skin isn't thick enough to keep shrugging off rejections until someone says yes.
To me dating exclusively is like seeing someone, not yet have I defined the relationship but I'm seeing where it is going and if it will progress into calling them my boyfriend. Otherise, just means going on dates etc.