Is He My Boyfriend or My Sugar Daddy?

QUESTION: I finally intro­duced my new man to my friends this past week­end. He’s 18 years older than me, and much, much wealth­ier. He’s bought me plenty of gifts already, and he never lets me pay for the bill when we’re out together. My friends are prob­a­bly blunter than they should be, but they’re say­ing he’s a sugar daddy, not a boyfriend. I think he and I have a con­nec­tion, but now I’m start­ing to see how they could get that impres­sion. How do I know if I have a sugar daddy or a boyfriend? Is there really a difference?

CHELSEA SAYS: There’s def­i­nitely a dif­fer­ence between hav­ing a sugar daddy and hav­ing a boyfriend. A sugar daddy has one key func­tion in the rela­tion­ship: money. There may be sex, and there may even be some feel­ings, but there’s always, always money. And if he’s throw­ing money your way in the form of expen­sive gifts and fancy din­ners, but expects noth­ing in return, there’s a good chance he’s not look­ing to get seri­ous with you. He’s just look­ing for a hot younger woman to have some fun with.

On the other hand, just because he’s spoil­ing you, it doesn’t nec­es­sar­ily mean that he isn’t boyfriend mate­r­ial. Doesn’t every girl want her boyfriend, regard­less of how old he is, to treat her like a princess? There’s noth­ing wrong with that. There are a few things you need to ask yourself:

• Is he see­ing any­one else? Unlike boyfriends, sugar dad­dies and monogamy don’t always go hand in hand.

• Is he insist­ing on hop­ping into bed together? Sugar dad­dies often want sex out of the rela­tion­ship, whereas boyfriends are more will­ing to wait if they’re gen­uinely inter­ested in you.

• What kinds of things do you talk about when you’re together? If he’s only inter­ested in being a sugar daddy, the con­ver­sa­tion will usu­ally always revolve around sex and money, but if he sees him­self as your boyfriend, you should be able to talk about other things, like your careers, goals, and future plans.

• What kinds of activ­i­ties do you usu­ally do together? If you’re always going out on extrav­a­gant, expen­sive dates that involve spend­ing money, you’re more of a sugar baby than his girl­friend. Sug­gest doing low-key, inex­pen­sive activ­i­ties like watch­ing a movie at home or going for a walk through the park. If he’s gen­uinely inter­ested in a rela­tion­ship, he’ll be down for any­thing as long as it’s time spent with you.

If you’re still unsure about whether he’s your sugar daddy or your boyfriend, just talk to him. Ask him how he thinks your rela­tion­ship is going and if he’s happy being with you. You can usu­ally gage his feel­ings by how he talks about you and your relationship.