Well, if it helps, I certainly don't think any of us can do a good job deciding that a serious, long-term and/or committed relationship is right for us without already knowing who we're in one with and having a good deal of experience in a less "serious" relationship with them first. Casual dating or at least casual-getting-to-know-each-other is basically the healthy way we get to the other thing (if and when we even want to), excluding relationships that start when people meet or get to know one another in crises like natural disasters.
Too, getting more experience with something is usually how we increase our confidence with it.
But most of all, if I have this right, I hear you saying that you'd like to try dating, and that right there makes it okay for you to try. If dating is something you want to do, it's something okay for you to do.
How can we help from here?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead