You wanna know what dating is like in Iraq? Well, I'm from Iraq and I'm here to tell you.
Well, there isn't any. If you have a girlfriend, you have to marry her. (Sure, some guys do keep girlfriends for long, but it's usually frowned upon.) And the only time you'll have a chance to interact with girls a lot is in college. Unless you have girls in your work place. But if don't like them, that's pretty much it. No online dating, no pick ups, none of that. Again, if you're any good with girls, college is your only shot.
Marriage costs money for the man. In addition to "Mahr," (which is something of value that must be given to the bride for example an amount of money) the man is expected to provide. It's not 50/50. If you don't have a job that pays well, good luck! That's why some families encourage cousin marriage and I'm not about that at all. So yeah, shi**y society. If the girl doesn't get the approval of her parents, there's no marriage. Also, there's the issue of intersect and interfaith marriages in some families when the parents reject the guy for his different sect (i.e Shia/Sunni) or different religion with no account for genuine love at all.
Marriage here doesn't feel like a genuine exchange of feelings in my opinion, it feels like a trade.
Regardless of how relationships go in countries where dating is a thing, I say it's a valuable experience whether it was good or bad. It's part of the exploration for both parties. You don't have to commit on paper or give money to show love. Love is most valuable when the thing that's holding it together is trust and honesty.
Thanks for reading!