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Dear Sugars

WBUR

Society & Culture, Relationships, Advice, Dear, Cheryl Strayed, Steve Almond, Wbur, Sugar, Boston

4.65.8K Ratings

Overview

Radically empathic advice. Produced by WBUR.

321 Episodes

Episodes We Love: 'Head Or The Heart' Update

This episode was originally published on August 12th, 2016. The Sugars hear the latest from "Head or the Heart" -- a woman who'd fallen head over heels for a man with a troubled childhood. Everything seemed perfect, and yet, she couldn't help but wonder if the traumas of her love's past would surface at some point in their relationship. "Head or the Heart" became the first letter-writer ever to join the Sugars on the show. The Sugars asked her to write to them in six months to let them know how -- and if -- things were going with her boyfriend. Nine months letter, she sent an update. So, are they still together? Have any of his past traumas manifested in their relationship? The Sugars find out.

Transcribed - Published: 13 April 2024

Redux: Body Weight and Romance

This episode was originally released on August 19, 2017. It’s never easy to talk to our romantic partners about their bodies, especially when it’s about weight. The Sugars, along with writer Ashley C. Ford, answer letters from people questioning their relationships because of major changes in their partners’ bodies.

Transcribed - Published: 30 March 2024

Dear Sugars Presents: "Beyond All Repair", a new murder mystery podcast

Introducing Beyond All Repair, a new WBUR podcast from producer emeritus of Dear Sugars, Amory Sivertson. This series tells the story of a murder, but also the woman who was accused of that murder, Sophia. Sophia was newly married and 6 months pregnant when she was charged with murdering her mother-in-law in 2002. She gave birth to a son in jail that she hasn’t seen since, and for the last three years, she’s been telling me her story in hopes of getting justice for her mother-in-law, of having a chance of meeting her son, and of finally being believed. This is the first chapter of Beyond All Repair. Episode 2 is already waiting for you. Listen on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you get your podcasts.

Transcribed - Published: 9 March 2024

Archive: When Your Loved Ones Just Don't 'Get It'

Our loved ones are the people who are supposed to understand us. But what if they just...can't? Where do we turn then, and how do we fight the feelings of resentment that this lack of understanding can stir up? This episode was originally released November 11th, 2016.

Transcribed - Published: 17 February 2024

(Encore) Rapid Fire: Friendship, Part 2 - Male-Female Friendships

The Sugars' conversation on friendship continues with a handful of letters concerning male-female friendships. Is there such a thing as a platonic relationship between a heterosexual man and woman? Can male-female friendships be as emotionally satisfying as same-gender relationships? What do you do when a friend crosses a romantic line? The Sugars discuss it all in rapid-fire fashion.

Transcribed - Published: 27 January 2024

(Redux) Rapid Fire: Friendship, Part 1 - FAQs

Everyone has had a friendship quandary of some sort in the past, right? This week, the Sugars take on frequently asked questions in "rapid fire" fashion – from hating your best friend's significant other, to hating her politics.

Transcribed - Published: 13 January 2024

Redux: The Stepchild's Dilemma

Whether you’re 5, 15, or 50 years old, it can be difficult to usher a stepparent in and out of the family unit. In today’s episode, the Sugars answer letters from stepchildren who have fraught relationships with their stepparents. What is a stepparent’s responsibility to a stepchild after divorce? And what can be done if you don’t like the person your parent chooses to marry? This episode was originally released on April 28th, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 30 December 2023

Encore: Buyer's Remorse

Buzz Bissinger owns more than 100 pairs of leather pants and over 200 pairs of leather gloves, having spent more than $600,000 on leather goods in the span of three years. Mr. Bissinger has a spending addiction, and he joins the Sugars to offer guidance to a letter-writer whose therapist and family don’t take her spending seriously. This episode was originally published on April 14th, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 16 December 2023

Redux: Love In Doubt

How many times have you heard this: "I love him, we're great together, but..."? There's always room for doubt, even in the happiest of relationships. So this week, the Sugars take on some of those doubts in rapid-fire fashion. This episode was originally published on January 5th, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 25 November 2023

Redux: The Ugly Truth

Most of us have days when we don’t feel attractive. But in this episode, the Sugars read letters from people whose faces are at odds with conventional ideas of beauty. Writer Ariel Henley joins to talk about her own facial differences. Henley was born with Crouzon Syndrome, and underwent dozens of surgeries that changed the shape of her face.

Transcribed - Published: 8 November 2023

Redux: Talking About Privilege

Privilege comes in many forms: socio-economic privilege, gender privilege, heterosexual privilege, to name a few. In this episode, the Sugars reply to two letter writers who are facing different forms of privilege. They discuss with Catrice M. Jackson, a leading voice for racial justice. This episode was originally published on August 11th, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 21 October 2023

Encore: Cutting The Financial Cord

At age 18, we are granted the rights and responsibilities of adulthood in the eyes of the law. But for parents of young adults, it’s not so clear cut. When is the right time to wean your children off the family payroll? The Sugars tackle this question with the help of Dr. Kate Gale. This episode was originally released on December 23rd, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 7 October 2023

Introducing ‘The Gun Machine’, a podcast about how America was forged by the gun industry

Produced by WBUR, Boston’s NPR, in partnership with The Trace, The Gun Machine looks into the past to bring you a story that most Americans never learned in history class: how early partnerships between mad scientist gunsmiths and a fledgling U.S. government created the gun industry in the Northeast, and how that industry has been partners with the government ever since. Host Alain Stephens examines how this 250-year relationship underpins all Americans’ interactions with guns — including our failures in dealing with the fallout of gun violence. The Gun Machine episodes drop every Wednesday, starting Oct. 4, 2023. Listen and follow on Apple, Spotify, Amazon Music and wherever you get your podcasts. https://link.chtbl.com/thegunmachine

Transcribed - Published: 6 October 2023

Redux: A Spy In The House Of Love

Snooping on your spouse is generally ill-advised, but what if he or she has an addiction and is constantly lying about it? The Sugars and writer Ariel Levy answer this question in this episode, originally released on December 2, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 23 September 2023

Redux: The Empty Chair, Part 2

This is part two of the series on early childhood death. The Sugars read letters from parents who worry that their grief may overshadow their surviving children. They are joined by the writer Emily Rapp Black, who decided to have another child after learning that her son had a fatal congenital disorder.

Transcribed - Published: 9 September 2023

Redux: Trust Your Body

Her grandmother always introduced her as the “chubby one.” Now, she vacillates between moderation and binge-eating. “It’s only when my pants are nearly impossible to button that I force myself to lose weight,” writes the letter-writer who calls herself Body Negative. “And then the pattern starts all over again.” The Sugars discuss and share their own struggles with body image.

Transcribed - Published: 25 August 2023

Episodes We Love: The Power Of No, Part 2: Oprah Winfrey

"What do I want?" This is the question Oprah Winfrey finally asked herself, after years of struggling to say "no" to people in her life. In the second of this two-part series, the Sugars continue their conversation with Oprah Winfrey on when, why and how to say "no."

Transcribed - Published: 12 August 2023

Redux: The Other Half of Sexless Relationships

In this episode, the Sugars answer letters from letter writers who want to have sex less frequently than their partners do.

Transcribed - Published: 29 July 2023

Encore: What About The Stepchildren?

When the Sugars answered a letter from a woman who felt trapped in the role of "wicked stepmother," dozens of listeners wrote in asking the same question: what about the stepchildren, who have no control over the restructuring of their family? This episode, the Sugars respond with an episode devoted to the other side of the story.

Transcribed - Published: 1 July 2023

Encore: I Divorced My Spouse, And My Child Divorced Me

Divorce is always a painful process, but it's especially so when there are children in the middle. In this favorite episode from the archives, the Sugars discuss situations of parental alienation caused by divorce. They answer letters from a mother and a father whose daughters have cut off all communication with them after taking the other parent's side. This episode was originally released October 14th, 2016.

Transcribed - Published: 17 June 2023

Dear Sugars introduces Love Letters

Dear Sugars fans: We wanted to share with you an episode from Love Letters, hosted by Boston Globe advice columnist Meredith Goldstein, that we think you'll enjoy.

Transcribed - Published: 10 June 2023

Encore: The Power of No, Part 1

There’s incredible power in saying “yes.” It opens up avenues and allows us to be brave. In Cheryl's case, it’s what led to her becoming Sugar. But saying yes to life's opportunities can also have its risks. In this favorite episode from the archives, The Sugars are joined by Oprah Winfrey to discuss when to say no, how to say no, and what happens in the wake of that. This episode was originally released July 15th, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 3 June 2023

Encore: In the Shadow of Damaged Parents

A damaged parent can cast a dark shadow over our lives, especially when we inherit some of that damage. In this favorite episode from the archives, Steve’s father, the psychoanalyst Dr. Richard Almond, joins the Sugars to answer letters and offer a way out.

Transcribed - Published: 20 May 2023

Encore: The Price Of Our Dreams

In this favorite episode from the archives, the Sugars, along with fiction writer George Saunders, field letters from people who are chasing their creative dreams but frightened by the practical and financial risks that come with that pursuit. This episode was originally released on August 5th, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 6 May 2023

Encore: Sexual Fluidity

"Whatever" -- that's how the actress Maria Bello describes her sexual orientation. Her "love who you love" attitude toward sexuality, regardless of gender, is often referred to as fluidity. In this favorite episode from the archives, Maria joins the Sugars to discuss a couple of letters having to do with the confusion and complications that can accompany a shift in one's sexual preferences and partnerships. This episode was originally published on March 3rd, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 25 April 2023

Encore: When Your Loved Ones Just Don't 'Get It'

Our loved ones are the people who are supposed to understand us. But what if they just...can't? Where do we turn then, and how do we fight the feelings of resentment that this lack of understanding can stir up? This episode was originally released November 11th, 2016.

Transcribed - Published: 8 April 2023

Encore: Career Vs. Love

You love your partner, you love your career... but they're pulling you in different directions. What do you do? In this favorite episode from the archives, The Sugars have help from psychotherapist and sociologist Leslie Bell, author of Hard to Get: 20-Something Women and the Paradox of Sexual Freedom. This episode was originally released on April 13th, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 24 March 2023

Dear Sugars introduces Violation, a new podcast about who pulls the levers of power in the justice system

Dear Sugars fans: We wanted to share with you a new podcast we're working on at WBUR. Violation tells the story of two families bound together by an unthinkable crime. It explores America's opaque parole system and asks: How much time in prison is enough? Who gets to decide? And, when someone commits a terrible crime, what does redemption look like? Listen to the trailer and if you like what you hear, head over to the Violation feed wherever you get your podcasts and hit subscribe so you'll get new episodes when they drop, beginning March 22.

Transcribed - Published: 15 March 2023

Encore: Baby or Bust

You wants kids; your partner doesn't. Or your partner wants kids, and you don't. Whatever the scenario, few subjects are as emotionally charged and potentially deal-breaking in a relationship as a disagreement over the decision to become parents. In this favorite episode from the archives, The Sugars take on this tricky topic with the help of the writer Danielle Herzog, who's written in the past about ending her own marriage to become a mother. This episode was originally published on March 22nd, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 11 March 2023

Encore: Emotional Labor

Remembering the grocery list, coordinating with the babysitter, scheduling a get-together with the in-laws: These are some of the invisible tasks that (most) women exclusively do in their romantic relationships — and the list goes on and on. In this favorite episode from the archives, The Sugars commiserate with Gemma Hartley, the writer who set off a national conversation about emotional labor with her viral article in Harper’s Bazaar, “Women Aren’t Nags — We’re Just Fed Up.”

Transcribed - Published: 25 February 2023

Encore: May-December Romances

In this favorite episode from the archives, The Sugars discuss relationships with big age gaps, so-called "May-December" romances with the help of Lucinda Franks, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of the memoir Timeless: Love, Morgenthau, and Me, which tells the story of her marriage to New York District Attorney Robert Morgenthau, who's 27 years her senior. This episode was originally released October 20th, 2016.

Transcribed - Published: 11 February 2023

Encore: Should I Stay Or Go?

In this favorite episode from the archives, The Sugars bring you another "Rapid Fire" episode, where they give brief answers to a handful of letters that are all centered around a theme. The theme for this episode is "stay or go" -- people who have a voice in their head telling them to leave their relationship, but who aren't sure it's the right move. This episode was originally released on September 9, 2016.

Transcribed - Published: 28 January 2023

Encore: How Do I Find The Courage To Be My Own Guide?

The Sugars often discuss letters dealing with very specific problems or struggles. In this encore episode, they take on a broader, more existential question: how to follow your heart. The Sugars discuss with the GRAMMY-winning singer/songwriter India Arie, who shares how she learned to be her own guide. This episode was originally released September 23rd, 2016.

Transcribed - Published: 31 December 2022

Encore: Pet Dilemmas

This encore episode is all about adventures in animal ownership! The Sugars, along with Julie Barton — author of the memoir "Dog Medicine: How My Dog Saved Me From Myself" — answer letters about pet dilemmas and the ways these creatures affect human relationships. This episode was originally published on August 26th, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 17 December 2022

Encore: I'm A Transgender Man, Seeking Acceptance

The Sugars read the letters of two transgender men who are struggling to find love and acceptance. They discuss with Cooper Lee Bombardier, a visual artist, writer and transgender man. This episode was originally aired on September 2, 2016.

Transcribed - Published: 3 December 2022

Encore: Who's Your Daddy?

When Steve Lickteig turned 18, he learned that his mother and father, who he thought were his adoptive parents, are in fact his biological grandparents. With the advent of affordable DNA testing and companies like 23andMe, more and more people are having revelations like Mr. Lickteig’s. For some, these revelations can be a welcome and exciting discovery process. For others, they’re shocking and unwanted. In today’s episode, Mr. Lickteig shares his story and helps the Sugars advise letter writers who are still reeling from their genetic discoveries. This episode was originally aired on June 16, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 19 November 2022

Encore: I'm In Love With My Abuser

For the first time on the podcast, the Sugars answer a voice mail message from the Dear Sugars hotline. The message comes from a woman who reunited with her ex-boyfriend, who once assaulted her. Wracked with shame, she wonders if reconciling with him is acceptable and if it’s possible he’ll change. Esta Soler, president and founder of Futures Without Violence, joins the Sugars to help answer the question: Is it O.K. to love someone who abused you? This episode was originally released on April 21, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 3 November 2022

Encore: Moving On, Part 2

In this second part of our series on moving on, the Sugars discuss how we can release ourselves from our past mistakes. Dr. Harriet Lerner drops in to answer a letter from a woman who calls herself a "serial codependent," as well as a woman who is haunted by her abortion. This episode was originally published on August 25th, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 22 October 2022

Encore: Moving On, Part 1

The Sugars have been thinking about what it means to say goodbye and let go. In this first episode of their two-part series on moving on, the Sugars and Claire Bidwell Smith answer two letters from people struggling to move past their grief after the death of their loved ones. This episode was originally released on August 18th, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 8 October 2022

Encore: Emotional Abuse

Reema Zaman, our guest in this week’s episode, was in an emotionally abusive marriage. Although her husband’s abuses never left any physical mark, it took her years to repair the damage he inflicted upon her. Ms. Zaman describes some of the telltale signs of an emotionally abusive relationship and helps the Sugars answer two painful letters from women who are struggling to disentangle themselves from their abusive partners. This episode was originally aired on August 4th, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 24 September 2022

Encore: The Great Reckoning

Dear Sugars returns to Portland, Oregon, for another epic live show. Special guests Mitchell S. Jackson and Rebecca Skloot share the stage with the Sugars to tell stories of personal reckoning and answer letters from the audience. This episode was originally published on July 28th, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 10 September 2022

Encore: Haunted by Ghosting

The term "ghosting" may be relatively new, but the concept -- someone suddenly and inexplicably disappearing from your life -- is not. In the past, a total halt to communication with a friend might leave you feeling concerned that something bad happened to him/her. But in a time where our devices have made us more accessible than ever, it can leave the person who's been ghosted feeling rejected or unworthy. This episode was originally published on March 16th, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 29 August 2022

Encore: Do I Follow My Head or My Heart?

The Sugars get a letter from a young woman who has fallen head over heels in love. She and her boyfriend only met a month ago, but are already in deep. Everything seems perfect, and yet the letter writer can't help but wonder if the traumas of her new love's past are hiding somewhere under the surface, threatening to resurface. This episode originally aired Nov. 6, 2015.

Transcribed - Published: 13 August 2022

Encore: Location, Location, Location

Location, location, location. It makes all the difference in real estate, and it can make all the difference to one's happiness. But finding a place that really feels like home can be tricky.

Transcribed - Published: 29 July 2022

Encore: Rapid Fire Letters

In a heated moment, a mother reveals a dark chapter from her childhood to her daughter, then immediately regrets it. What now? In this week’s episode, the Sugars tackle this and several other questions, including how to handle a brother-in-law who treats your vacation as his own free childcare; what to do when your best friend’s husband asks you to lie; and why we sometimes recoil at very public displays of grief. This episode was originally released July 29th, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 15 July 2022

Encore: Talking About Privilege

Privilege comes in many forms: socio-economic privilege, gender privilege, heterosexual privilege, to name a few. In this episode, the Sugars reply to two letter writers who are facing different forms of privilege. They discuss with Catrice M. Jackson, a leading voice for racial justice. This episode was originally published on August 11th, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 2 July 2022

Encore: Sex & Aging

The erotic lives of senior citizens are typically made invisible by our culture, which can lead to confusion and misinformation. Dr. Pepper Schwartz, the love and relationship columnist for AARP, joins the Sugars to dispel certain myths about sex and aging: Do libidos change after menopause? How does the aging body affect the way we feel about sex? Should medical interventions be considered for a declining sex drive? This episode was originally released on May 25, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 18 June 2022

Encore: The Stepchild's Dilemma

Whether you’re 5, 15, or 50 years old, it can be difficult to usher a stepparent in and out of the family unit. In today’s episode, the Sugars answer letters from stepchildren who have fraught relationships with their stepparents. What is a stepparent’s responsibility to a stepchild after divorce? And what can be done if you don’t like the person your parent chooses to marry? This episode was originally released on April 28th, 2018.

Transcribed - Published: 4 June 2022

Encore: The Empty Chair, Part 2

The Sugars conclude a two-part series on early childhood death. In Part 2, they read letters from parents who worry that their grief may overshadow their surviving children. They are joined by the writer Emily Rapp Black, who decided to have another child after learning that her son had a fatal congenital disorder. This episode was originally released on November 11th, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 21 May 2022

Encore: The Empty Chair, Part 1

In the Empty Chair series, the Sugars discuss early childhood death, an absence that can be ever-present. In Part 1, they read letters from siblings who live in the the shadow of their parents’ grief. This episode was originally released on November 4th, 2017.

Transcribed - Published: 7 May 2022

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