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Seeking Arrangements/Sugar Baby/Sugar Daddy

Although in theory two sober and well adults can enter into whatever financial and sexual agreements they wish, in practice however, Sugar Daddy behavior is a financially as well as emotionally dangerous choice.

Sugaring may be the very emotionally and intellectually confusing practice it is, because it blurs romantic, social, sexual, and financial boundaries.

It is often the sugar daddy who is ignoring all his emotions driving this, and focusing on the obvious physical affection, and sex, and not seeing he is going further down a rabbit hole of emotional attachment and self deception.

These deals are often rationalized by the man / Sugar Daddy as a quick, easy, and simple solution, although it can turn out in practice to be far more emotionally complicated, and costly, than he ever would have expected.

It is not just the obvious danger of one’s spouse finding out about this behavior. For some, although not all, there is the somewhat unique to Sugar Daddy risk of the Sugar Daddy entering this arrangement thinking it will afford him an outsize level of control, when in reality it may be that he that ends up in an almost powerless position.

Professional Sexual Misconduct

This powerlessness will be experienced by the Sugar Daddy when the dynamics of his own unresolved emotional issues are intuitively, subtly, quietly, but mercilessly exploited by the Sugar Baby, who needs only to plug into those.

This “affair” makes that plug in easy, low effort, and almost certain for the Sugar Baby. He now is very confused, he is feeling stuck in this situation, and at a complete loss as to how he cannot simply exit this situation, one that was supposed to be “so simple and easy” when he rationalized this choice at the start.

Although the many unqualified persons such as “coach’s”, or “betrayal coach’s” you will see all over social media only speak to the sex, and the betrayal in these situations, actual professionals can see much more going on with this man than just sex and betrayal. The sex and money involved in sugaring can make it easy for both the Sugar Daddy and his loved ones to not notice that underneath it all there may be a lonely, or hurting in some silent way man (lonely in a crowd, subjective lonely, self made sense of unhappiness) creating all this, combined with an ambitious young woman.

The sexual desire by the Sugar Daddy, and the sexual desirability of the Sugar Baby, along with an age difference, wealth difference, social class difference, education and functioning level difference, is often a massive distraction to everyone watching. The mental image of all this is all very tacky, visually loud, and very off putting, and the subject of “sex” between these two is makes it very difficult to read the situation objectively, and therefore it has people in the story miss that this choice by him is about many more things than simply sex.

These other issues can be such things as family of origin based wounds from shortcomings of childhood, now turned into unconscious emotional wants today, and the similar idea of the kid he was back then, not the man he is now, unconsciously “needing” the silly and fictional “affirmation” one gets from the Hallmark card sounding language in these paid for interactions. The gratuitous, over the top, approval a Sugar Daddy gets in the language and interactions of these interactions speaks directly to something emotional that he is seeking, but may not even know he is seeking.

Professional Sexual Misconduct

Men generally do not have “permission”, both internally and in our culture, to ask for “affirmation”, and or this gratuitous approval, or anything in that arena at all, but men in this situation can temporarily get this approval in these Sugar Daddy behaviors, all while pretending to themselves they are only there for the sex and companionship of a beautiful young women.

Sometimes the childhood that man experienced will have him enter the adult world with his emotional / self love/ self acceptance cup “half full”, rather than full. These behaviors can medicate that deficit created by his childhood. That deficit needs to be corrected by psychotherapy with a clinician.

He needs to work on himself with a licensed mental health professional, as this internal deficit can never be corrected with external things such as affairs, achievements, buying high status items like property or expensive cars. Internal issues need to be corrected internally, as there are no external solutions to internal problems.

One of the many ways things can get more complicated in these situations is that some men can develop a savior complex, or the smaller version of this is his having the illusion that he is helping this particular woman, and that there is a net positive effect of his engaging in this paid behavior. The Sugar Daddy may feel that they are helping this woman’s future, when he is not. He may be in reality, or just being told so untruthfully, that his payments are putting her through some type of schooling or starting a business. This self imposed mental manipulation on him, really by himself, tries to make a self destructive choice that needs to end, into a good deed that should not stop.

Some men involved in these activities feel they were, or in fact were, previously left out of the romantic / sexual world in an earlier part of their life. They might have related insecurities, resentments, or longings about the past that fuel this choice. Unbeknownst to him, he is not actually in the romantic world when engaging in Sugar Daddy behavior, he is paying for an experience that is not real. To be specific, not real other than the negative consequences, as those are real. As described earlier, internal issues need to be resolved internally, with a trained and licensed clinician.

In this Sugar Daddy behavior there may be a $8,000 a month fee, but many Sugar Babies push for expensive high end shopping such as Hermès, Chanel, and Louis Vuitton bags, vacations to the very best rooms in the very best hotels at the most exotic locals, rent, and expensive schooling. Often this level of payment for all this is progressive, the further into his self deception the Sugar Daddy slides, the more numerous and steep the bills pushed onto him by his Sugar Baby he will tolerate. I have met men who burned through their entire retirement account, thinking some Sugar Baby is their “friend”, only to be broke, lonely, feeling very foolish and completely heartbroken.

These men will rationalize this with clichés, such as speaking as if they are spending their children’s inheritance, when in fact it will be they who will have the financial rude awakening, sooner than they imagine, when the money for this behavior runs out long before their actual life does.

They often have massive shame when this financial reality hits, and their Sugar Baby has immediately moved on to greener pastures.

This artificial “relationship” has a somewhat unique quality where other than the destructive financial qualities progressively getting worse, and the Sugar Daddy progressively losing autonomy through his emotional dependence on this self medication, the “relationship” exists in a state of suspended progress, where paradoxically, no matter how absurd and destructive this gets over time, no matter how much money is burned through, no how many real, actual, meaningful relationships are destroyed for the sake of this, the “relationship” never actually graduates up and becomes a real relationship.

It often exists in what could be described as an “aquarium”, where this “couple” do not actually as a couple get integrated into the greater world, and this artificial relationship held in this conceptually speaking “tank” stays this fake thing no matter how real the consequences become.

When these “relationships” are discovered by his wife and she makes contact with the Sugar Baby (with the electronic trail all this money and behavior creates, it is not that difficult) many of the illusions by the Sugar Daddy of this Sugar Baby being on his team are quickly erased.

Professional Sexual Misconduct

In my experience, Sugar Baby’s confronted with this behavior by the wife of her “Sugar Daddy” immediately speak in ways which reveal that all the partnership talk was an act, and that all this was just a game at his expense.

It is not easy to help these men exit these arrangements. These men have a massive amount of self deception around this issue, and buy in to the illusions. What is helpful is there is often a part of these men that does want to exit, so skill in these matters, a non-judgmental approach towards this arrangement, and understanding their emotional needs, can go a long way to helping these men evaluate what course of action is in their longer term well being.

If you or someone you love is engaging in this behavior, my suggestion is to avoid “coach’s” and other untrained persons, instead seek a licensed mental health professional experienced in this specific matter, who can help correct the distorted thinking, and thus end this behavior.

The goal of treatment in this cases, at least when done by a trained clinician expert in this, is to have the Sugar Daddy free of the self deception that helps rationalize this behavior, correct the “half empty cup” type feelings and views of self that contributed to the “need” for this, and restore him to his appropriate and peaceful place in the functioning of his particular family system.

I have these cases all the time, so give me a ring if this Sugar Daddy behavior is an issue is in your life.

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Certified Sex Offender Treatment Specialist Ohio University

Certified Juvenile Sexual Offender Counselor University of Louisville

Full Clinical Member (National) Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers

Full Clinical Member NY Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers

Full Clinical Member NJ Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers

Master’s Degree, Clinical Social Work, Fordham University

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James Foley LCSW-R