Dear Level

Are You Her Partner or Her Sugar Daddy?

Seven ways to tell if your relationship is primarily financial

Elisabeth Ovesen | NYT Bestselling Author
LEVEL
Published in
5 min readNov 5, 2021

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Photo Illustration: Save As/Medium; Source: Getty Images

Congratulations! You’ve been dating a wonderful woman for some time now. You really like her! Things have been going well and you’ve become increasingly generous with her. Naturally, you pay for date nights and date days. On special occasions, your Amex does the electric slide in exchange for designer purses, shoes, clothing, and even cars or property for your beloved girlfriend. In the words of T-Pain, you’re willing to give “anything she wants for some kisses.” So you don’t hesitate to take her on trips and extended vacations. You even foot the bill for her nights out with the girls or every time she treats her mother to brunch.

She used to work when you two first got together, but now she tells you she’s taking classes online while you pay the mortgage on the condo you bought her. And that’s fine because now she has more time to spend with you, even though a lot of it is spent with her friends and family. She tells you you’re the very best boyfriend in the whole wide world because she doesn’t want to vocalize the truth: You’re actually her sugar daddy.

I once dated a man who, for this anecdote’s purposes, we’ll call Benjamin. I had absolutely no attraction to this dude, but he wanted to get to know me. Benjamin figured a $50,000 monthly allowance would be the perfect gateway into my life. He was right.

Benjamin served as my sugar daddy for more than a decade, but the whole time I always had a boyfriend and/or husband. Still, he was happy to take whatever time I was willing to give him. Naturally, he had other relationships, too. He eventually became engaged to Luz, a beautiful swimsuit model living in Miami who was at least 20 years his junior.

Over time, my allowances shrunk below $10,000, as Benjamin spent more money on Luz. Strangely enough, she continued living on the opposite coast eight years into their relationship-turned-engagement…

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Elisabeth Ovesen | NYT Bestselling Author
LEVEL
Writer for

3x New York Times bestselling author, art enthusiast, and design girlie living between Los Angeles and New York City