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Dear Sugars

Author: WBUR and The New York Times

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Radically empathic advice
184 Episodes
On November 9th, 2016 -- the day after Donald Trump became America's President-elect -- the Dear Sugar inbox was flooded with emails asking some version of the question, "How do we move forward as a nation from here?" In this episode, the Sugars bring that question before an audience at The Aladdin Theater in Portland, Oregon. This episode was originally released on January 20th, 2017.
Redux: Friendships

Redux: Friendships


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.
The Sugars often discuss letters dealing with very specific problems or struggles. This week, they take on a broader, more existential question -- how to follow your heart. This episode was originally released July 28th, 2016.
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? The Sugars respond with an episode devoted to the other side of the story. They're joined by Jane Alison, author of the memoir "The Sisters Antipodes," which tells the story of how her parents swapped spouses with another couple when she was 4 years old. This episode was originally published on November 18th, 2016.
Age is just a number in many contexts, but when it comes to finding long-lasting love, an age gap between partners can greatly impact the course of the relationship — both in positive and challenging ways.
"Madness" is a new investigative series from our fellow WBUR podcast, Endless Thread. Told in 5 parts, "Madness" unravels the shocking history of CIA-funded mind-control experiments. In the first episode, Endless Thread presents powerful accounts of abuse at a psychiatric hospital in Montreal, and introduces the renowned doctor who conducted these disturbing experiments on his unwitting patients.
We find out what happened to two letter writers who let self-image sabotage their love lives. The Sugars find out if “Scared to Choose Wrong” married her fiancé, and they give “Aspiring Warrior for Love” a call to see how he’s changed since hearing the Sugars’ advice more than a year ago. The episode was originally released on February 3rd, 2018.
In today’s update episode, we check in with some of our most memorable letter writers from previous episodes. The Sugars find out if “Struggling” was kicked out of his mother’s house, and they give “Bad Mom” a call to see if and how her views of motherhood have changed since hearing the Sugars’ advice more than two years ago. This episode was originally published on January 27th, 2018.
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. 
It's never easy saying goodbye to our loved ones, but it can be especially painful when a goodbye is drawn out by illness. This week, the Sugars answer two letters dealing with the guilt and heartache involved in a long goodbye to a parent. They're joined by Robin Romm, author of the memoir "The Mercy Papers," which tells the story of her mother's death from cancer. This episode was originally published on September 16th, 2016.
Hear the first episode of the New York Times podcast “Sugar Calling,” featuring our own Cheryl Strayed.
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.
Every week, the Good Life Project podcast from Jonathan Fields and Wondery shares inspirational, intimate and unfiltered conversations about what it really takes to live a good life. Host Jonathan Fields chats with world-shakers like Elizabeth Gilbert, Brene Brown, Cleo Wade, Adam Grant, Glennon Doyle, and Gretchen Rubin as well as everyday guests. Subscribe today.
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 released on August 4th, 2018.
Take a listen to our sister podcast, Kind World.
Dear Sugars wants to tell you about another great podcast: Family Ghosts, a show where people tell stories about experiences that transform their understanding of familial legacy. On this recent episode, a storyteller named David Crabb took a unique approach to that concept, telling the story of three dogs in his life and how they've shaped his perception of what it means to start a family and be a part of one.
Dear Sugars wants to tell you about another great podcast:  WorkLife with Adam Grant from TED. In the episode, Adam Grant speaks with Cheryl Strayed about getting and giving advice about our work lives. Season 3 launches next week, so get ready for ideas about how to procrastinate less, fight burnout, fix broken job interviews, and negotiate better.
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.
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.
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 capacity for change and transformation.” This episode was originally published on April 12th, 2018.
Comments (50)

Cristina Rios

Go to 30:36 for practical advice on healing your relationship with your body

May 30th


This goes out to the girl in a rut; I wish u the best of luck with trying to find yourself. I can totally relate to your letter and the advice given to you from dear sugars- guess it’s good to know you aren’t alone.

May 2nd

Emily Wallace

Hi Sugars! I was wondering what the name of the theme song for this podcast song was? I love the tune and would love the opportunity to listen to the full song. Thanks!

Mar 26th

Robin Miller

For six months I have scoured the podcast universe seeking some words of solace to help me recover from the most severe heartbreak I've experienced to date. It was the kind of breakup compounded by the fact that it triggered so many losses and traumas that preceded it. Alas, I have found what I was looking for! Maybe I was just ready to hear it, or maybe this is one of the most insightful podcasts on the loss and grief of the end of a dream of love. Or, it was a perfect storm of catharsis and I've stumbled on a little of both. Bravo! Brava!

Mar 10th

Alaina Zulli

this episode appears to be mislabelled?

Jan 19th

Kelsey Barros

This episode was SO great 💯💯💯

Jan 18th

Beth Sykes

you are setting that poor child.up for horrible feelings. I've read from adults saying how they felt being raised under their dead siblings memory. mentu9ng the dead child so much to the living child, ti the point the poor toddler mentions the dead baby is abusive

Nov 7th
Reply (1)

Beth Sykes

a Landscape Architect is not a landscaper. a landscaper installs plants. A Landscape Architect is a licensed professional who engineers and designs roadways, site plans, decks, master plans, grading and urban planning projects.

Nov 2nd

Kim Sanders

This episode really hit it home. It doesn't matter what kind of addiction you are dealing with in a relationship, the symptoms are the same. In my particular situation, it is online sites porn and dating sites that my husband cannot seem to stop. We are currently separated after battling this for 8 years. Thank you for some eye opening 'ah ha' advice. Ariel really hit it on the head, we may not have chose their addiction but as she said, it is our choice to accept it or not. You all are also right; unless they are actively seeking and engaging in recovery, they are not and it will not stick. I needed this.

Oct 13th

Molly Doyle

Ah!! Why does the episode end before it's supposed to?

Oct 10th

James Green

Am a supplier of loud⛽,carts and blunts ready to go 📦 add me up on snapchat👻: theplugsplug04 to secure your order🔥

Oct 2nd

Samantha Green

The other OTHER half of sexless relationships is probably suprising to a lot of ppl but there are lots of ppl in outright abusive or borderline abusive relationships that simply refuse to reward bad behavior w/good sex. Cuz if ur partner is treating u bad, in any way, or if they're controlling or possessive, the last thing u want to do w/them is "it" Specially since they REALLY won't have a reason to act right then! Some men should ask themselves if their wife could be not doing the deed because of his behaviors during the week....

Aug 12th
Reply (2)

Alanna M thanks. where are ya sugars?

Feb 20th

Lisa Lawson

10 NEON 20.18. GOD

Jan 18th


a day q,., ñl ..

Dec 4th

Amir Hosseinpour

such a wonderful story ... learn a lot from her👌

Sep 29th


“You don’t take on stress by suppressing your feelings and what you struggle with” ❤️❤️❤️❤️

Sep 29th

Jean Jay

I'm going to miss this podcast, but I'm so very grateful.

Sep 25th

Ali Jones Jones

I am ten years out from an abusive man and have been miserable every single day missing him, crying, praying, my life is really bad because if this. I know it's crazy but I have tried everything. I just want him back and have never had one date w another guy since we split. I never see anyone who I am attracted to. My kids are grown and I'm alone and am very depressed. I wish someone could make this pain go away. Please pray for me. I just want to be happy again!

Sep 25th
Reply (4)

Virginia Morgan

Miss you guys!

Sep 24th
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