The Needy Side of Love. ~ Dawn Cartwright

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I reserve the right to remain reliant.

While basking in the newly summer sun last weekend, an epiphany crash-landed in the middle of our relationship. Things haven’t been the same since.

I can’t take any credit for the brilliant realization, it was all his. Things were perfectly quiet, we weren’t even talking about anything, and so far the day had been super standard in a great sort of way. Suddenly, he laid it on me (the wisdom) then stood there looking at me and the oak tree we were sitting under with a gaze that, if I’m perfectly honest, looked a little feral.

He proclaimed. It’s okay for you to want me, but it’s not okay for you to need me.


Now, I didn’t just fall off the heirloom tomato truck yesterday, I’m no fool, I’ve traveled this long and winding conversation many times before and so this time I just shut up. And listened.

He continued. When you want me, that means you’re happy when you’re with me. When you need me, that means me not being here makes you unhappy.

Feral stare.

It was too late. He’d seen me looking at him. I couldn’t feign spontaneous samadhi brought about by this lightning bolt of truth. I was going to have to talk about it. Gack.

(And me here out in the wilderness without a Venus-Mars dictionary.)

He was just getting warmed up. When you want me, that works for me, that feels good. When you need me, that feels like pressure and gives me the idea there are things that are expected from me—need doesn’t feel good.

And then he asks me. Does that make sense?

Uh oh.

That’s when I really knew I was in trouble. Thought I might get by with head nods and an “Aho” or two, but no, I was invited to contribute or at least respond.

I wish I could say I kept my wits about me. I wish I could say I came back with something like, “It sounds like want feels good to you and need feels bad?” But I didn’t, I tripped on the expectation word, slipped down the slippery slope of panic, and began to feel, in this very conversation, yes, that’s right you guessed it—needy.

How in god’s name does this happen?

I was now under the influence of that special kind of needy that lives in the primal regions of the brain. You know, the one that screams—I am in mortal danger, who is this man, why is he using double negatives and could I please get some context here.

So, there I was, way down deep in the hole, while he, in his enlightened state, smelled needy on me so quick and so bad his nostrils were flaring like bat wings on fire. All before I could even open my mouth.

Feral stare intensifies.

Seeing me frozen with fear, he went on. Saturday morning, after we made love, I had to run, I had a meeting, remember? When I left, you looked sad and disappointed, probably because I couldn’t spend more time with you. That look on your face stayed with me all through the meeting. I felt pressured, I felt that what I do isn’t enough, that you have expectations on my time and even though you never complain, I can see I’m making you unhappy.


Time for me to leaf back through the files of time (lucky for me, I have the relationship play-by-play memory of a woman), back to yesterday morning, and what I was thinking as he ran out the door.

Oh yeah, Saturday morning, after making love, while he was on his way out the door, I was thinking whether I should ask him to pick up the dry cleaning on his way home, or just go out to get it myself. And then I was trying to remember where I put the receipt and calculating how long it would take me to find it, while wondering if I would ever wear the dress I’d taken to dry cleaning ever again since I’ve gained weight recently and I need a new dress anyway, and wow, the sex was exceptional this morning and I’m feeling sort of slinky and . . . . I digress, what can I tell you, I have the mind of a woman.


As much as I’d have loved extra pillow time with this man among men on Saturday, I was deep in a mind cramp about the dry cleaning as he rushing out the door to his meeting.

Back to our current reality.

Needy, god yes, I was feeling the intense, insane need to be understood right now and that wasn’t going to cut it. I had one choice, I had to pull myself together, meet my neediness straight on, deal with it within myself and forge ahead. This wasn’t about me being understood or the two of us working anything out. He and I, we’d been around this hay bale many times before. I knew enough to know that he knows me and he knows I know him. Want and need, we’re pretty clear on. We have a solid respect for one another and, though I’m being a little tongue-in-cheek in how I tell this story, our way of communicating is something extraordinary that we cherish.

He was feeling tender. He regretted rushing out the door on that splendid morning. He was feeling that feeling of love breaking open, running over.

He wasn’t looking for understanding and he didn’t want to hear my story about the dry cleaning. He needed (or was it wanted) to know he mattered to me and that I knew I mattered to him.

I took one long, loving breath and then I told him what was surging through my body right there and then.

I’m going to be needy sometimes, lover man.

That’s the way love goes.

PostScript:  I asked him, moments later, “How did that feel, when I replied just now?”

He said. Honey, it felt like love.



Editor: Lori Lothian


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anonymous Jul 20, 2012 7:50pm

[…] […]

anonymous Jul 1, 2012 6:43pm

[…] The Needy Side of Love. ~ Dawn Cartwright ( […]

anonymous Jun 29, 2012 8:26am

Am I the only one laughing? I mean, yeah, I understand the lesson and it's a timely one for me and I am really taking it to heart. But the paragraph about the dry cleaning? This is CLASSIC! This is the way we humans are, and it's hilarious when we stop to notice it.

    Dawn Cartwright Jul 2, 2012 12:53pm

    SO TOTALLY classic. Thanks, Denise!

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 8:16pm

Oh, this article was RIGHT. ON. TIME. for me today!! Thank you!! 🙂

    Dawn Cartwright Jul 2, 2012 12:52pm

    Great to hear that Doc – thanks for reading and commenting!

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 6:51pm

I had a talk the other day with a friend about love and need….it goes something like this. A DEPENDENT relationship is founded on NEED (often called co-dependent); and INDEPENDENT relationship is founded on a FEAR of being NEEDED (and is often a disconnected relationship).

And INTER-DEPENDENT relationship is one in which both partners know and allow that there will be times of need/neediness and times of the distancing of INDEPENDENCE, and yet are able to be with this dance, between closeness and distance.

I loved this piece Dawn.

    Dawn Cartwright Jul 2, 2012 12:51pm

    Super cool Lori – I love this definition, it gives me a feeling of spaciousness. Inter-dependence WOW. Thanks for ALL your love, support, vision and editing inspiration. xo

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 11:10am

What a great article, totally spoke to me in regard to my behavior abd akso how lovely it us to have that kind of communication with someone. Not to mention the wonderful value if a man who can bring up difficult subjects, remain calm and kind and continue to deepen a relationship.

Finally the reminder that I am just a woman,

    Dawn Cartwright Jul 2, 2012 12:50pm

    Oh god yes, Denise – I am GRATEFUL to be surrounded by men who are sort of emotional extreme sports lovers. Nothing like digging deep into the heart. Thanks for being a woman who feels.

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 9:06am

Woahh!! Thank you so much. The voice you wrote this with is my own voice as it sounds in my head, and the situation is my own situation of the past few months which unfortunately, in the end, did not feel like love to my man among men. Thank you for this validation that I am just a girl. I feel pretty emotional after reading it. xx

    Dawn Cartwright Jul 2, 2012 12:48pm

    Hey Cristyn, Love that we've got that same voice playing inside our heads. Here's hoping love blooms. xo

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 8:10am

Want – need – really what is the difference except in the definitions demanded by a boyfriend or girlfriend? I want to meet the needs of my lover. I want my lover to meet my needs. I even need my lover to want to meet my needs. That is what l love is (or one of the many things love is) between two people.

rest in what arises

    Dawn Cartwright Jul 2, 2012 12:47pm

    Wow, Larry, it feels amazing to read this. How amazing to be able to BE in relationship rather than feeling as if one is walking through a mine field – want and need – YES! Thanks for chiming in.

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 7:41am

Beautiful story, beautiful example of knowing the truth, not needing to be right by slamming it into someone's face and sharing instead, the Truth!

    Dawn Cartwright Jul 2, 2012 12:46pm

    It was definitely a process – pays to stay calm. Thanks, Adam!

anonymous Jun 28, 2012 7:27am

beautiful. honest. <3

Dawn Cartwright Jul 10, 2012 8:56pm

Hey, Geoffrey – needy IS. Thanks for reading and feeling.

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Dawn Cartwright

Dawn Cartwright is a Tantric visionary, sacred writer, world traveler, and innovator in bio-energetic Tantra fusion. She discovered the path of Tantra by accident shortly after a period of life-changing mystical experiences in lovemaking. During her 20 years of teaching, she has integrated the Vigyan Bhairav roots of Tantra, Alexander Lowen’s teachings, the wisdom of Osho, and a microcosm-macrocosm approach to the body. Founder of the Chandra Bindu Tantra Institute in Santa Monica, California. You can also find Dawn on Facebook and Twitter. Dawn lives in Santa Monica, California.