The Sugars discuss a letter from a survivor of sexual assault who has just been told by her long-time partner that he raped someone when he was in high school. The writer wonders how she, as a survivor and self-proclaimed feminist, can justify loving a rapist.
The Sugars take a question from a young woman who takes great pleasure in socializing. Her fiance, on the other hand, dreads group settings and gets very agitated every time she wants to go to an event together. She wonders what is so unpleasant for him about spending time with her and her friends.
The Sugars record the show in front of a live audience at Revolution Hall in Portland, OR. In Part 2, they take on alcohol addiction with Sarah Hepola, author of the memoir, "Blackout: Remembering The Things I Drank To Forget." She talks about her years of heavy drinking and denial, and helps take on a question from a letter writer who is earlier on her journey.
The Sugars record the show in front of a live audience at Revolution Hall in Portland, OR. In Part 1, they talk reinvention with the writer Lidia Yuknavitch, asking: "How can we treat our mistakes as opportunities for growth, rather than moments of total self-destruction?"
In Part 2, the Sugars turn from the holding of a secret to its discovery. What happens within a family when a secret is revealed? They take a letter from a woman who is reeling after learning that the two men she trusts and adores — her father and her husband — have both been keeping big secrets.
Every family has its secrets, but it's how those secrets are dealt with that determines the power they hold. In Part 1, the Sugars consider the implications of keeping a secret within a family system. They take a letter from a woman who, since her early teens, has kept a dark and powerful secret from her mother about her stepfather.
Father's Day is a fraught and complicated day. In this episode, the Sugars take two questions on fatherhood — from a new father who fears that his depression will be felt by his baby daughter, and from a young woman who yearns for a deeper connection with her distant father.
Most of the questions the Sugars receive about weddings are about the drama that precedes them — the expectations in the build up to the big day. But that doesn't mean Wedding Day is drama-free. There just isn't much to be done about it at that point. As Cheryl says, it's like a ball rolling down a hill. The Sugars bring in the ultimate witness to wedding-day drama: Lois Smith Brady, the founding columnist of the Vows section in The New York Times.
It's wedding season, and the Sugars have been getting all kinds of letters that reflect the anxiety and expectation that accompany preparations for the big day. They take on all forms of wedding drama — from a difficult in-law demanding extra invitations to a homophobic mom at a gay wedding to a dramatic friend of the bride who's making it all about herself.
The Sugars take a letter from a 62-year-old divorced woman who is shocked to find herself considering a reconciliation with her ex-husband, after years of unhappiness inside the marriage. The situation is further complicated by the fact that he is engaged to another woman.
Hosted by the original Sugars, Cheryl Strayed and Steve Almond, Dear Sugar Radio fields all your questions — no matter how deep or dark — and offers radical empathy in return.
The Sugars wonder if romantic relationships can survive profound political differences. They take a question from a young woman who prides herself on being a strong feminist, and worries her boyfriend doesn't share her views. They also hear from a progressive Democrat who has married into a conservative Oklahoma family and is finding it increasingly difficult to stay silent about her true beliefs.
It's election season, and while politics may not seem like the domain of Dear Sugar Radio, it can become deeply personal. In Part 1, the Sugars look at how politics can get in between our relationships with friends and family—whether it be our parents voting for a candidate we despise, or our friends sharing views we find abhorrent on social media.
Being a mother means feeling conflicted in some way about the balance between raising one's children and the rest of life. The Sugars take two letters from women in the midst of such conflicts—one from a career-driven young woman who cannot fathom going back to work after the birth of her son, the other from a daughter who feels caught between the needs of her dying mother and her newborn baby girl.
The Sugars return with another installment in the Infidelity Episodes — looking at the often-overlooked experience of the other woman. After the Sugars had taken on the Betrayed and the Betrayers, they received dozens of letters from women struggling to make sense of what it means to be involved in a cheating situation, while being neither the one who cheats nor the one who is cheated upon.
The Sugars take on jealousy — the fiery, irrational kind we feel toward our lovers and friends. They read a letter from a woman struggling with her competitive instincts toward an attractive new friend of hers, and from a man having trouble with his wife's close friendship with an old lover.
The Sugars take a letter from a young woman who was raised in a deeply Christian household. As she has grown older, her beliefs and values have become increasingly at odds with those of her parents. She loves and respects her mom and dad, and doesn't know how to tell them that she is no longer a Christian — which to them will mean her eternal damnation.
What if the man you love wants to break up but keep hooking up? What if he wants to see other people? How should you handle your jealousy toward a long-distance lover's friend of the opposite sex? What happens when a foursome between couples reveals hidden feelings? If someone isn't over an ex, should you stay close or walk away?
There's a long tradition in fairy tales of the wicked stepmother. And the archetype endures in contemporary life. The Sugars take on two real-life versions of the tale — a mother whose ex-husband's new wife wants the children to call her "mom," and a stepmom who feels trapped in the role of the storybook villain.
The Sugars take a question from a newly married woman who is facing a nightmare — the man of her dreams has turned out to be someone else entirely. They are joined by the writer Julie Metz, who tells the story of discovering her own husband's double life following his unexpected death. She helps in answering the letter writer's ultimate question: do I stay and make a life with a man who is not the person I thought I married?