Love on Lock-down: I am in Love with a Prisoner

“We talk everyday. He’s so sweet, kind and really cares about me”. “We’re in love and have talked about about marriage, the only problem is that HE’S LOCKED UP”! I’m sure that many of us either have someone in our families or know of someone who has been locked up before or is currently still there. In the Black community, this statement applies even more since Black and Hispanic males make up the majority of the prison population in America. Most of the people in jail have left loved ones behind. Wives, girlfriends, kids parents, and friends, are left wondering and waiting for their inmate to come back home. But how long should they wait?

Having a significant other that’s absent in your life can take a serious toll on the relationship, and the main issue is the fact that that loved one isn’t physically/emotionally here for you. Think about this. Your fiance got his last strike and was busted six months ago. The two of you have two kids together, were living together and were paying the bills together. Now it’s coming up on month seven since he’s been gone and you’re tired. You told him that you would wait for him, but he’s not up for parole for at least another two years. It’s too much of a hassle with the kids and distance involved to go and see him as much as you would like and you barely get 30 minutes together when you do. You’ve been faithful, steadfast and understanding but now you’re starting to doubt how much longer you can keep this up. Will you still be willing to marry when he gets out? Possibly 5-10 years from now?

I’ve heard of people putting their lives on hold once their significant other has to do time. They say that they’ll wait for them and some of them do but others realize the magnitude of the situation and move on. While I can’t encourage my readers who have significant others in the prison/jail system to quit them cold turkey, I can advise you to do what’s best for you and or your family regarding the situation. Remember, life still goes on while they’re locked up. Your spouse/lover may feel like they’re at a standstill being that their incarcerated but your children will keep growing, you’ll still have to work and pay the bills, the seasons will keep changing, your birthdays will still come and when you come home at night, he/she still won’t be there. And you have to decide if you want to spend time waiting for them or moving on from them.

I see it like this, your loved one knew right from wrong. Committing a crime is a conscious decision. They knew that they had a family to care for and life with you before they decided to wreck it, so why should you have to suffer for someone else’s choices? (I’d like to note that parties involved should also consider the amount of sentencing given. You can most likely hold out for a 30 day jail stay but once the years start being added, that might change your tune). I know this may be a bit hard to swallow for my ride or die audience but it’s still the truth and ultimately, it depends on you whether you want to wait or start over.

If you chose to hold out, here are some tips from Livestrong to help you along the way

  • Contact the facility to arrange a phone call schedule with your incarcerated love.
  • Get a support system. Your significant other is not longer there for you to lean on, so make sure you have someone that can encourage you along the way.
  • Write letters. This is personable way to make your presence known to them
  • Make sure you visit as much as possible
  • Keep living your life, because the world will continue to turn no matter how long they’re in there.
  • If you have kids, encourage them to keep doing what kids do. Playing games, hanging out , going to school, playing sports etc.


If you chose to leave…

  • Decide that it’s definitely over between the two of you and communicate that fact properly, so there is no expectation upon their release.
  • Don’t contact them unless children are involved. If kids are in the mix, you may still have to arrange visitation but that’s up to you.
  • This is a break up, so don’t try to move on too quickly. Don’t do things that remind you of them like listening to yall’s favorite song or keeping their pictures around. Move their things out of your space to begin your fresh start.
  • Be open to love again. It may not have worked this time but that doesn’t mean it won’t work with the next one.

Thanks for stopping by and if you haven’t already purchased it, get my book “Am I in a Bad Relationship?”

Dr. O

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