Dear Sugars-logo

Dear Sugars


Radically empathic advice. Produced by WBUR.


United States


Radically empathic advice. Produced by WBUR.




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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.