Usually you will not have to worry too much about your goals because you will be dating someone whose character you already like. Herein the point of dating is to have an opportunity to better explore one another's character. Of course, there are two ways in which you should go about this. First of all, you should take this time seriously. It is better to learn that you are making a mistake now then to wait until you are married and finding yourself in divorce court. Secondly, you need to make sure that you want someone in your life. If you do not want this, then the time is now to decide that dating simply is not for you.
To begin with, a dating relationship should be based upon common interests and a common goal as well. This is important because you want to be sure to be headed in the same direction. After all, you do not want to be looking for a short term relationship with someone who is searching for a spouse.
There is no requirement as far as time length whenever it comes to a dating relationship. Such a relationship can be as long or as short as you and the person whom you are dating desire. However long it takes the two of you to get to know one another is up to the both of you. Once you do get to know each other well, you will be able to move onto the next faze of your relationship.
Once you are ready to move past the dating relationship, ask the person to officially be yours. This will provide you with a feeling of love and stability while leading you down a new path altogether.