Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Real Talk With Rachel: Don't Fear the Sugar Daddy

by Rachel Kurzius

Happy holidays, everyone!

Dear Rachel,

I am the mother of a daughter who is now halfway through her junior year in college. My husband and I are very concerned because she has no one focus or interest. She is very smart and she excels at everything she puts her mind to. The problem is that she doesn’t seem to put her mind to anything beyond spending time with her friends and especially her boyfriend. She has never held a job. She has no interest in internships or anything like that.

She has been dating this boy for more than a year and he is very wealthy. My husband and I think that my daughter assumes that her boyfriend will provide for her, and this is leading to her lack of drive.

What do we do to get her on the right track?

Worried About Her Dependency Issues

Dear Worried About Her Dependency Issues,

Do you remember being a junior in college? I do. If my parents had asked me what my driving interest was, I think I would have either had a panic attack or given them utter B.S. as an answer. Frankly, if someone asked me this instant what my driving interest is, I’m not sure I could come up with an answer that’s entirely truthful. I had a few friends who knew what they wanted to do and worked throughout school to pursue their goals. Some of them are still on that track today, while others have switched gears.

It doesn’t really matter if your daughter can use a single word to define herself. Having one focus or interest might not lead directly to success. In fact, it seems like these days job seekers benefit from having a slew of different talents and interests.

I sense that your concern over your daughter has more to do with wanting to be able to categorize her, whether as a “math person” or a “photography lover” or whatever else might quell your fears. But even the “math people” of the world have more interests than the quadratic equation. Stop trying to fit her into a box. It won’t contain her, especially if she is as smart and sociable as you say.

But the boyfriend! -- you surely protest. Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the wealthy boyfriend who might turn into a sugar daddy. Do you have any indication your daughter actually thinks her boyfriend will support her, or that she wants him to do so? Having her tag along on family vacations is one thing, but supporting a 22-year-old woman’s entire post-grad lifestyle is completely different. Moreover, while young love feels stronger than anything, it doesn’t always last. Since your daughter still has more than a year until her graduation, I would wait before worrying too much about this.

However, the boyfriend isn’t the only sugar daddy in town. If your daughter has never held a job, that means you must be providing her with money. Tell her that she needs to get a job this summer, or that you’ll only support her if she gets an internship. See what happens. It might surprise you.

I still remember the sense of paranoia that gripped me when people asked me, “So, what do you want to do?” during my college years. I didn’t have an answer. That didn’t mean that I wasn’t thinking about my future, or that I was disengaged. I just didn’t know. Sometimes I still don’t know. Avoid asking your daughter that question. It will just alienate her while feeding your husband’s and your deepest concerns.

Instead, encourage her. Tell her she’s smart, because she is. Go places with her, like museums and movies, and see what kind of conversations blossom as a result. You never know what kind of inspiration it will bring.

All the best,


Rachel Kurzius revels in giving advice, and has provided counsel both as a columnist and a friend. She lives in Washington DC, where she works as a news producer. Real Talk with Rachel is published on All Life is Local and the Cleveland Park Listserv,, on Wednesdays. Need advice? You can write to Rachel via or advice @

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