I don’t know how many of you have been faced with heavy debt, but it’s terrifying. By the time I was 20, I had finished two years of college and it had gotten me — aside from a lot of knowledge about basic psychology — a serious amount of money that I would one day have to pay back. Just half of the university experience had already put me in the mid-five figures with debt, and I wasn’t stupid enough to think that I was going to walk into a high-paying job on graduation day. So when the option came to sign up for the same thing my junior year, I knew I had to look for alternatives. There were a lot of things that I wasn’t willing to do for money, but there were some jobs that had more appeal than others. Signing up at Seeking Arrangement was just easy enough, just innocent enough, that I thought I would give it a try. I risked nothing by putting up a profile, by browsing my options, and doing a few small calculations to see how much I would need to get out of debt and pay for the last two years with actual money. I wouldn’t tell my friends about it, of course, but it wouldn’t even really be like having a job. I was just looking around, I told myself, and whatever happened would just be a bonus.
I’m lucky, in that I’m good looking. I’m not a beauty queen, but I have enough natural cuteness (coupled with being 20 at the time) that I had a very wide selection of Daddies to choose from. It became clear, when I looked at the profiles of women I was competing with, that I was in a pretty good percentile. It was no surprise, then, when I was approached by my current Daddy, a businessman in his mid-40s who was, by the standards of the site, pretty handsome. He is definitely the kind of man who could get a “real” girlfriend (some of the guys on the site are so clearly hopeless that even offering to pay for a woman’s whole life isn’t enough). When talking to him, it never felt like a business deal of any kind. It was just a natural thing — he had a lot of money, no children, and very little free time. I was a student with no money, no children, and free time that I could mold completely to his schedule. When he was available, I could be, too, and when he didn’t have time for a “relationship,” I didn’t need one.
The first few months of our arrangement were perfect. We would go out to incredibly fancy restaurants, bars (the kind that never carded anyone, even someone like me who clearly looked uner 21), and hotels. He was constantly offering to get me new things, asking what he could do more of, and surprising me with little treats that I never would have thought of myself. When it came to the hard details of my financial situation, he never made me feel weird about it. I told him I was in debt, he gave me a blank check. I told him I had tuition, books, rent, whatever — he gave me his card. It was never a problem, never a question, and it still isn’t. Now that I’m entering my senior year, I am no longer in debt, and actually have managed to put a little bit into savings. I never want for anything, and have no concerns about how the rest of my degree is going to be paid for. My parents think I got a scholarship, and they don’t ask too many difficult questions about the whole thing. (I was such a financial burden on them before this that I think even finding out what my real source of income was would still be better than having to pay for things like before.)
But money is not the only element in these kinds of relationships. There are also emotions, and jealousy, and natural human error. And while I was able to completely remove myself from the sex and the dating — he is simply someone that I never saw as a potential real relationship — he has not been so neutral. He started making little comments, asking about the guys I was texting with, telling me that he liked it when I did something this way or that way. Eventually, he all-out told me that he couldn’t stand the thought of me being with someone else, or doing things that he thought were “beneath me,” or not being loyal to him. He didn’t just want me physically, or on his arm at a special event, he wanted to own me. He forbade me from seeing other guys, and asked me, point-blank, if I loved him.
Not wanting to lose his financial stability, I told him I did. I told him that I didn’t see him as a Sugar Daddy, but as a boyfriend, and that I wanted to live with him when I graduated and got settled into my life. All of these ridiculous things just kind of poured out of my mouth, and by the time I realized what I was saying, he was already grabbing me close in his arms and telling me how glad he was to know that I felt the same way. Of course, as soon as I get out of college and get a job of any kind, I’m going to leave him. I might get another Daddy, who knows, but I’m certainly not going to stay with someone that expects me to be something much more than a business exchange when that is all it is for me. If I wanted a boyfriend, I would get a boyfriend, not a middle-aged executive with ex-wife problems and serious insecurity. For now, to lose his support for even a few months would be devastating, but now it’s just about running down the clock until I can leave him.
Here’s to hoping that I can pretend to love him for the next nine months — and suppress that gag reflex when he insists that we “just cuddle” during one of our dates.