By Jody Valley
Sugar Mama for you or them?
Q: I have a problem that I have no idea how to handle, and my friends are divided on the solution, so I thought I would write to you.
The problem is that I was at a party and a friend – or more like an acquaintance whom I’ll call “Annie” – told me that the reason she, Annie, was in a relationship with a closer friend of mine, whom I will call “Sandy,” was so that Annie would have a “Sugar Mama.” Sandy is about 20 years older than Annie and has had a good career that has given her a great lifestyle. Annie, on the other hand, is uneducated and has a nowhere job that pays just a bit more than minimum wage. Annie told me that she is tired of struggling and that Sandy is her ticket out of poverty. (Annie had been drinking quite a bit so I think this is why she let this out – otherwise I am sure she wouldn’t ever have said this to me.)
I was just astonished by her admission. I asked her if she loved Sandy at all. She said that she did, but somehow as she talked about things, I was more convinced that it was about being taken care of, and not love. But I’m not sure just what the ratio of “love” to “being-taken-care-of” is – maybe 30 percent “love” to 70 percent “being taken-care-of.”
I do know that it ended up making me feel sick to my stomach and worried that Sandy is being taken advantage of. I know that Annie is a real charmer and a great looking woman, and it would be easy for Sandy to be taken in by that. As I said, Sandy is my friend and I just met Annie through Sandy’s being involved with her, so have known her for only about 10 months. Maybe she was putting me on, but I don’t think so.
My question to you is whether or not I should tell Sandy about the conversation that I had with Annie. Sandy is crazy about Annie! They are about to set up house any day now, and I hate to see Sandy taken advantage of. If this were your dilemma, what would you do?
To Tell or Not to Tell
A: This is always a tricky situation. All too often, the person who “tells” is not appreciated by either person in the relationship, and is at risk of becoming a scapegoat.
Having said that, if I were in your shoes, I would want to know if Sandy were someone who would “want to know.” Some would, others wouldn’t. You’d have to know Sandy pretty well and be a good friend to know that about her, as well as have her accept your “telling” her about Annie. Then again, you can’t always know what Sandy’s willing to accept in a person in order to get what she wants, so she might know this about Annie.
I can’t tell you what to do, here, other than to warn you of the dangers. So, tread carefully; you’ll have to swim at your own risk!
Me, me, me
Q: I love my boyfriend, “John.” But, when it comes to his comfort, it tends to be at my expense. Let me give you some examples:
He loves a good massage by me. That’s okay with me, but when I ask for a massage, he’s too tired or something hurts or he has a headache.
We both wear the same size shirts, so when John runs out of shirts, he has no problem taking mine, but when I run out of shirts, he doesn’t want me to wear his. He says that I’m too hard on shirts; get stains on them, etc. This is not true, but he keeps me from wearing them because of that.
When there is one piece of the pie left, John takes it, doesn’t offer to share it. That pretty much sums up anything in which there is a limited supply, he gets it… or takes it.
I could go on and on, but just thought I would give you a few samples. It isn’t any one thing, it’s that it is many things and is an everyday thing. He just seems to think only of his own comfort and needs. I have brought this up to him on numerous occasions, but he doesn’t get it. How do I get him to get it? I don’t know how much longer I can take it.
A: Doesn’t sound like he wants to hear you. I’ve also not heard what you love about him, but given that this behavior is so prevalent in your relationship and he doesn’t want to acknowledge or change it, I have to wonder what you are getting out of it; what allows you to love him. If you think this relationship has value in other ways and worth saving, I would suggest couple’s counseling.