"True, your family/friends etc are not there, but this is where you get a chance to talk to the guy and get to know him."
It has not been my experience, or what I've observed with others' situations, that spending time alone with somebody of the opposite sex in a date setting really provides a more accurate way to get to know them than seeing how they interract with others in real life settings. Also, far too many people unfortunately interpret time spent alone with somebody of the opposite sex as equating opportunity for physical intimacy and/or as 'going steady'. I am not interested in that level of involvment, or even giving the impression of that, with a man I don't already know quite well AND know we both are interested in taking the friendhsip to the committment level.
"It is a natural progression from what you describe meeting men in groups."
I agree that it is a natural progression. However maybe where some are comfortable with using the group setting just to initially meet, and then quickly advancing away from group settings to one-on-one dates to get to know each other, I think it makes more sense to stay in the group setting AS you get to know each other better. It's maybe just a difference of pacing and volume? I really have no desire to spend a lot of time alone with a lot of men only to learn they aren't the sort of guy I would want to spend time alone with LOL. Especially since I could have just as easily learned that about them without spednign time alone with them. Getting to spend time alone with me is not something very many men have gotten to do and I'd like to keep it that way. Men who are interested enough in me to stick around long anough for me to get to know them in a group setting are the only type of men I'm interested in anyway.
"But surely wouldn't you want to spend an evening/day with a man in a safe setting where you can talk alone, yet still in public BEFORE you agreed to a long term commitment with him?"
It is not at all difficult to have private conversations with somebody while still being in a group. It happens all the time. Also, there seems to be this popular myth that the only way somebody can tell whether or not the other person is really interested in making a commitment is to start pretending some sort of committment has already been made - to start behaving in ways that normally would only be reserved for somebody you already are in a committed relationship with.
And I'm not saying that I would be willing to get engaged to a man quickly, to go from meeting him in a group setting and then shortly thereafter get engaged ao we could start dating one-on-one! I do know some people who did that version of the "I kissed Dating Good-Bye"... That's not what I'm talking about and I would not reccommend that either. I'm talking about both meeting and getting to know men in group non-date situations over an adequate period of time to really get to know them, and whether or not they even want to be in a committed marriage with any woman, let alone specifically me, before going any further.
There was a book that came out a few years ago called 'He's Not That Into You'. The author revealed that it doesn't really take a man a long time, or one-on-one dating, to decide whether or not he is interested in making a committment to a woman. Also, that book and many others I have read addressed the false assumption that many males are so afraid of committment that the woman needs to date them for a long time, keeping her expectations of committment hidden, or she will scare him away before he is 'ready to commit'. Apparently men usually do make up their minds pretty early which women they just want to date and which ones they would be willing to make a committment to. So contrary to popular opinion, it's neither necessary nor advisable to use one-on-one dating if your goal is to meet somebody to have a committed marriage with.
I know it may sound strange, because there is this presumption that one-on-one dating is the way it's done, maybe even the only way some people can even imagine getting to know somebody well enough to make a committment.
I currently know several single males, that I've gotten to know pretty well in fact, without having to spend any time alone with them. Many of them seemed initially interested in me and even wanted to date. Some of them have even indicated they wodl like to get married. It wasn't necessary for me to date them for them to reveal that level of interest.
Of course sometimes since I don't accept an invitation to date, they just move on to some other woman, which is BTW fine with me. It actually serves as a way to filter out the men who aren't that interested in me specifically. If some other woman would do, I'm not interested anyway. I am glad I didn't date them because after observing them further I saw they were not so much interested in me specifically, or in getting married. They just want to date women, lots of different women LOL. I'm not at all disappointed that I'm not just one of the many women they've dated LOL.
Besides, until my divorce was final AND any hope for reconciliation with my WXH was over, AND my personal recovery from the divorce is complete, it would be not only wrong but unwise to get involved with a new man. So meanwhile I have been getting to know several different single men naturally through my normal activities. It's given me the opportunity to see that it really isn't necessary to date men in order to get to know them well and to find out if they really are interested in making a committment. I really can just relax and be myself, going about my usual business, living my life, and when/if I want to remarry I can get engaged and start dating my fiance. If I had started dating soon after my divorce I would still be under the false impression that I would have to date in order to find and get to know a man well enough to remarry someday.