Do we have the right to ask this question in a relationship and will it put him/her off?
My answer to this question is that if someone has a big problem with the answer then I would imagine that they don't know. In general if people want a loving committed relationship which is about give and take, then why would this be a problem? It could be that they need a little longer but how long we wait for answers is very individual and if you need to know now, then nothing is going to take that feeling away, short of asking.
I often say that you have to be honest with yourself. Do you want a relationship with someone and does he/she really want a relationship? How do we know this? I know this seems rather obvious but we have to ask? Perhaps they just want a bit of fun and don't do serious!!
Why do we have a problem with asking?
I myself have had huge problems with asking the relevant questions in the past but I now know that this came from a place of fear. Fear that the relationship may not actually be a relationship! Fear that it may fall below my expectations, being scared to admit that it may be less than I really want. Fear that by asking these questions, I may have ruined it. All of this is about fear, fear, fear but I would blame myself for the things I was quite justified in asking, yet another fear!
So what is the matter with being honest and up front? If you went for a certain type of job, you wouldn't just be crossing your fingers and hoping that it would be the job description you applied for would you? You would be a little annoyed if it did not live up to your expectations and your experience was entirely different. If after three months or so of doing the job, you were extremely unhappy you might say well, I sort of thought this and that and you would maybe go and have a chat with someone about it?
To ask where a relationship where it is headed, to me, shows that you don't want to waste your time in something that may not be right for you. Of course it is not the other person's sole responsibility to take the relationship where it is headed it is also up to you. I do however think that people have to be singing from the same hymn sheet. How do we know that? We have to ask. Is their map or view of what a relationship is about, the same as yours?
A friend of mine who is a life coach says that people build a candy floss tree. This basically means that they believe the relationship is getting sweeter and sweeter but they may never reap the rewards, if they only had thought to ask. If your fear asking where is it headed but you know in your heart that is what you really want to do but the only thing that is stopping you is worry of his or her insecurity, then part of you already knows where it is headed. You fear the truth. This is what I call moving out of illusion or not allowing the candy floss tree to develop. If relationships are going to work it is about taking responsibility for you. You cannot take responsibility for the other person that is their job, they are not a child which has to be watched out in case they fall and bruise. What about their responsibility for their own actions? They need to take that also.
Without boundaries and a sense of equality, it is unlikely that a relationship will ultimately work out. Work out to me means getting it "off the ground" into a love and respectful situation. We can only bring about love and respect through honesty and integrity rather than guess work and assumptions.
If you have said something that you don't like in a relationship but you were just being you, try not to beat yourself up over it. If you are you, then the other person gets a chance to love and respect the person you really are, instead of the illusion of you. I cannot tell you the times when personally people have said "I love you" and then later they found out they didn't love me when they saw the real me! If you would like your partner to see the real you, and love you for who you are then it has to be out of illusion and questions have to be asked. I do not suggest that you ask questions every time you meet because a person has to "be emotionally ready for a serious relationship". It is more about being honest with you.
Being honest with you is looking at what you want, what your expectations are and your own values. You cannot change someone when half way in they are not measuring up, you can however be you. You have the chance to say how you feel and walk away if necessary. Hopefully then the other person will also wake up and take responsibility and it moves into a relationship with both eyes open.
If however you are not looking for full on love and it is your intention to just have a bit of company, then say it! That way it doesn't lead people up the garden path or let them project their expectations on to you. It could just be that their reply is "I don't really know yet, but I do really like you and I would like to get to know you a little more." If someone says this to you, it is reassuring that they still want to know you but it also tells you that at the moment they have no long term vision. However the fact that they are listening and acknowledging your need for this confirmation, might well be enough for you to give it a bit longer.
Love, luck and happiness