Episodes
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.
Published 09/24/22
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.
Published 09/10/22
Published 09/10/22
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.
Published 08/29/22
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.
Published 08/13/22
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.
Published 07/29/22
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.
Published 07/15/22
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.
Published 07/02/22
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.
Published 06/18/22
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.
Published 06/04/22
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.
Published 05/21/22
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.
Published 05/07/22
Words can be wielded like weapons. On today’s episode, the Sugars hear from people who have something to confess but are afraid to hurt others with the power of their words. This episode was originally released on December 9th, 2017.
Published 04/22/22
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.
Published 04/09/22
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.
Published 03/26/22
When it comes to love, money is supposed to be no object. But there’s no disentangling love from anything in our lives, and income is no exception. So how do you assess the role money should play in a relationship, and what happens when your desires and means change over time? The Sugars take on 5 letters in this rapid-fire episode.
Published 03/12/22
In part two of our Dark Fantasies series, Dr. Ian Kerner returns to help the Sugars answer questions about where our central ideas about sex and eroticism come from, and delve deeper into the world of sexual fantasy. This episode was originally released on January 20, 2018. 
Published 02/26/22
Orgies. Sex in public. Incest. These are the things that some of us think about in the dark. Taboo fantasies can be exciting, but they can also be the source of our deepest shame. In this two-part series on sexual fantasies, the Sugars read letters from people who want to turn off the thoughts that turn them on. This episode was originally released on January 13, 2018.
Published 02/12/22
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.
Published 01/27/22
In this encore "rapid fire" episode, the Sugars give brief answers to a handful of letters. This time, they challenge each other to make the call -- one way or the other -- on the questions they're discussing, rather than offer open-ended guidance.
Published 01/14/22
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.
Published 12/21/21
In this "rapid fire" episode, the Sugars read letters from four women who each have one not-so-tiny reservation about the men they’re dating. A Black woman is dating a white man who is unwilling to talk about race issues, claiming that she’s “too sensitive.” Another woman’s boyfriend, a Christian, is having second thoughts about dating her because she’s an atheist. The Sugars tackle these issues and more, and weigh in on which can be ironed out and which should be deal breakers.
Published 12/17/21
The Sugars are joined by the therapist Esther Perel to discuss a letter from a husband who is in a sexless marriage and is looking for a way to help his wife heal from trauma.
Published 12/03/21
This week, we're sharing an episode of another WBUR podcast, Endless Thread.The show is in the middle of a series all about internet memes, and they recently featured the woman at the center of the popular "Woman Yelling at a Cat" meme, Taylor Armstrong from the original cast of The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. The story behind the image featured in this meme is surprising and painful, so please take care when listening. 
Published 11/19/21
Dear Sugars returns to Portland, Oregon, for another raucous and uplifting live show. The Sugars get a surprising update from a letter writer from their past; discuss a new letter with a special guest, Omar El Akkad; and ask the audience, “What’s the ‘bad story’ you tell yourself?” “Bad Stories,” the title of Steve Almond’s new book, are the false narratives we tell ourselves that undermine our happiness. “You’ve got to revise those narratives,” encourages Cheryl Strayed. “You have the...
Published 11/05/21