Dear Miss Emily:

I'm not entirely new to dating, but I am new to dating a mature man.  All the other guys I've dated have acted like I'm sort of weird version of their mother, that is, they expect me to take care of them and such. The guy I'm dating right now does not treat me that way.  He is very independent, in fact.  He's so independent that there are times when I feel like my presence may be annoying him, that I'm intruding on his space.  I've asked about this and he says he's fine with how often we see each other.  What I would really like from him is to know that he does need me.  Not in the sense that he can't live without me, but that life wouldn't be the same without me.  That he considers me to be a part of his life. Am I asking for too much?  I don't want to say anything as then it's his response and not his initiative.  So, I'm not interested in getting him to say it, I just need to know if I need to change my viewpoint.

------------------------Miss Emily’s advice------------------
Dear Insecure:

Any man is capable of wanting a “mommy” aspect to a relationship with a woman.  In fact, old widowers are notorious for finding a new wife before the old one is even cool in the grave, because they just lost their domestic slave!  Your new man is used to independence and that’s not a bad thing, but I think you like him enough to want to nudge him toward a commitment and that’s what you are not getting from him and, possibly, never will.  Therefore, I agree that you need to change your viewpoint.  He obviously considers you a part of his life or you wouldn’t be in it!  I never liked the word “need,” in a relationship sense, because it smacks of fulfilling a deficit rather than being a complement to the individual.  Follow his lead, keep your own independence, and don’t always be available when he calls.  This isn’t game playing, it’s just letting him know that you are not “in need” of his presence, but want to be with him when the two of you agree that the time is right.  Otherwise, whether you ask him for a verbal “my life wouldn’t be the same without you” or not, his independent spirit can probably sense you are primed to be at his beck-and-call.  Again, make him want to be with you if you let him know that you are truly aware of the type of relationship you have, understand it, and you are capable of deciding if it’s good for you when and if the thought crosses your mind.