No time for love? Have a ‘sugar relationship’

Sugar relationships are catching on in Bengaluru; This arrangement, between an older person and a much younger one, benefits both materially; but can give rise to emotional complications

Published: 17th April 2018 03:01 AM  |   Last Updated: 17th April 2018 07:21 PM   |  A+A-

Illustration | Soumyadip Sinha

Express News Service

BENGALURU: Dating is constantly changing. Committed partners are hard to find, and many are looking for arrangements that have no strings attached. The latest in city’s romantic scene is a ‘sugar relationship’.A popular dating website, in a study done over 2017, found that for every ‘sugar daddy’ in the city, there are three ‘sugar babies’ in Bengaluru. So what is a sugar relationship? “It is defined by a Sugar Daddy who provides financial assistance to a Sugar Baby,” the website states.The relationship hinges on how much a sugar daddy can provide for his baby, which is proportional to how much he earns and how often he wants to see the sugar baby. Just like any other relationship, the duration of a relationship, number and frequency of dates, and expectations can vary.

A counsellor who has helped couples negotiate its complexities says that usually the sugar babies are between 21 and 29 years, and are those who have migrated to the city from rural areas.Nikita (name changed), a 21-year-old college student in the city turned into a sugar baby six months ago. She learnt about this dynamic relationship through the internet and decided to give it a shot. “I met the sugar daddy on Tinder. I didn’t start out looking for this, but we chatted for a while and knew that we didn’t want a casual relationship like others,” she says.

Alike several college-goers, Nikita was living on a tight budget but wanted to try out all that the city had to offer. “Sometimes it is hard to ask parents for more money and here, all I have to give is my company in return for some fancy dinners and financial help for my insane shopping sprees,” she adds. However, she insists that a physical relationship is not part of the deal.

Nikita’s sugar daddy, a 39-year-old who is a manager at an IT firm says that this is his second sugar baby and this relationship takes away many awkward complexities of dating. “Work is stressful. Also, if you are in a position where you need to look good in front of others, a young good-looking woman by your side takes the heat off of you,” he says. He says that he is also willing to help Nikita advance her career.
But, it may not be as easy to manage as it sounds. Dr Naveen Jayaram, psychiatrist at Sakra World Hospital, has come across four such cases this year where the sugar relationship has gone awry and ended up as an extra-marital affair. 

“Most of these relationships are seen in the IT industry where the young girl is usually an intern or is at the initial stages of her career and the man, a middle-aged manager or boss, usually married, support the girl through various means such as a job promotion, accommodation, money and so on,” he says.A 24-year-old girl, who was just starting out in an IT company, found a mentor in her manager. Later, this developed into a sugar relationship. The sugar daddy paid for her daily expenses and accommodation, and arranged for her to travel outstation on a project.

Naveen says that there would be many more than what he has seen, but the partners rarely open up about it. “They tend to keep the relationship very discrete and only open up when the man’s wife finds out about the relationship and comes for counseling. They also come when the young girl gets emotionally attached to the man, and goes into depression when he ends the arrangement,” Dr Naveen adds.There is the instance of a girl who self-harmed after the man was unwilling to marry her. The couple went in for counselling.A wife once approached him about her husband’s relationship with a much younger girl. “But the man said he was going to continue his relationship with the girl, though he had a 17-year-old daughter,” he says.

How healthy is this relationship?
■ It is very important for these couples to draw the line to maintain a healthy relationship and not cross over into an extra-marital affair, says Dr Naveen.
■  Do not stress over the relationship. Stay calm to handle every crisis better
■ Communication is key. If there is any issue, both parties must be willing to resolve it

Sugar Baby Summit in New York 
In the west, sugar relationships are so mainstream that annually, Sugar Baby Summit is organised in New York. The event features talks and panel discussions about how to meet sugar daddies and teaches you tricks of the trade in the intriguing world of 'sugar'. The platform also can help connect with fellow sugar seekers. The theme of this year's summit was empowerment and sugar positivity. The event saw participation of 200 delegates, mostly in their late twenties, who also travelled from far and wide for the 
summit including Britain.

Why be a sugar daddy?
(According to Dr Naveen)
■ Middle-aged men get carried away seeing a young woman
■ Hormonal changes during middle age
■  They want to be seen at work with young women
■ They want to help young women because they are new to the job

Why be a sugar baby?
(According to Dr Naveen)
■  Promotion, foreign travel, outstation jobs, financial help
■  Not much effort required to keep the relationship
■  Can reach a good position in their career easily.

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