If you're looking for more than a fling or a dead end relationship, ask this question early on!
There you are. on your very first date with someone new. Whether or not this is a regular occurrence for you, first dates are important and necessary.
Those of us who are seeking a relationship realize this and try to make a good first impression, especially if we are excited about the person sitting across from us. By all means, have fun, flirt a little and enjoy the date but make good use of your time.
One of the main reasons you are there is to find out if this person shares your vision for the kind of relationship you hope to have. The only way to know for sure is to ask him what kind of relationship he is looking for.
Is it unromantic? Maybe, but so is getting your heart drop-kicked after you've spent six months with this person and found out that he's moving to Thailand, pining for his ex or has no intention of having a committed relationship.
Find out what you need to know now. You're much more likely to get an honest answer on the first date because there is much less at stake now than there will be later on. It's also easier for you to ask this question early on.
Ask nicely. You can just weave it into the conversation. Somewhere near the middle of the date when you've established a friendly exchange just say "So, what kind of relationship are you looking for?" and listen very carefully to the answer.
Even if you have decided that you don't want to see this person again, ask anyway. It's great practice. Make sure that you are clear about what you want and own it. Be prepared to give an honest answer to this question as well if you are asked.
Be willing to walk away if his answer is not compatible with yours. No matter how charming, handsome or successful he is, if he does not want the same things you do, move on quickly. As tempting as it may be to believe that he did not really mean what he said or may change his mind, don't do it.
Instead, have the courage to walk away and find someone who wants what you do. Again, this is easier now than it will be in six months. We all have a right to be happy and to go for the things we want in life. Go for yours.
The dating process can and should be enjoyable. It's great to have the opportunity to meet new people and step out of your comfort zone. If the reason you are dating is to find someone to have a relationship with, it just makes sense to ask this question early on.
Being willing to do this also establishes you as a person who is taking charge of your life instead of just waiting and hoping that things work out the way you want them to.