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Struggling to maintain a healthy relationship with my loved one in prison
12

Evan39 · 06/08/2022 01:07

Hi all, I know maybe here is not the best place for advice on such personal matters so I will keep is short. I’m in a relationship with someone who has been in prison for around 1 year now. Won’t be mentioning how long left, but a good while. No violence & non sexual crime. I have been battening with how I feel about how my partner made such bad choices knowingly taking risks. I have became guarded & he senses this. He no longer calls me because he says I don’t put in enough effort or seem that enthusiastic when we talk. We had a couple of weeks without speaking recently, after he said he never wanted to speak to me again due to how upset he felt by my disconnection or lack of interest perhaps. Although I would visit weekly. We have a long term relationship before he went to prison. He then asked if he hadn’t reached out would I have written to get in touch with him. My answer was, no I wasn’t chasing him & was respecting myself after he said he no longer wanted to talk due to feeling like i don’t care about him enough with my emotions/words expressed during phone calls. He says this confirms that I don’t care, if I really loved him I would never just give up and would surely reach out after some time if he hadn’t, and hung up. I’m not sure how to feel. I’ve adjusted to life without him, even started my own little business (very little currently) I have dreamed of for many years. I do feel lonely without his communication & do miss him phoning but I feel he’s now waiting to see if I do reach out via email/post if he doesn’t phone me again, like he questioned. I just feel like it sounds very immature and almost game playing and I don’t feel I will reach out due to this. Am I wrong?

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GerronBuzanDoThaWomwok · 06/08/2022 01:55

He's building an emotional wall to protect himself from what he fears will be your rejection of him. Prison is notoriously hard for men - tenderness is discouraged, and the loneliness, fear and shame can be corroding. Visits can be much, much harder than 'phone calls, as there isn't the same spontaneity. Prisoners tend to live for their 'phone calls and letters
If the relationship is over, so be it, but please tell him. That will free him to face life realistically, and find a way to face his future without you. It's not easy, I wish you both well 😥

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Evan39 · 06/08/2022 02:01

Thank you. I love him very much and he does know this. He had put us and all those close by through a lot of trauma before he went to prison. So much has happened that it’s hard to know how to view him yet. He has a lot of changing to do but can’t demonstrate this until he is in the world again. I have always told him that I just don’t know how I will feel in however many years but take each piece of time as it comes with no pressure & he’s always had my full loyalty and even if we don’t speak will continue to do so. It’s just a hard emotional place for me & I don’t wish to be fake with him about how I feel. I care a lot and I don’t know exactly why he thinks I do not simply based on not making enough effort on phone calls but I have never missed a single call and always have spoken to him day & night. Thank you for your advice, I’m now going to do some reflection a little deeper on this.

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scarletisjustred · 06/08/2022 02:55

I admire your loyalty but you need to put yourself first. You say he gave you a hard time before he went to prison and he'd need to demonstrate he can do better. Now he's in prison for years and you are meant to stay loyal and not meet anybody new. I mean why are you wasting years of your life on this unsatisfactory man who may be just as unsatisfactory once he's out of prison as he was before he went to prison.

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Kerrrmieee · 06/08/2022 03:01

Something very serious if he's looking at years.

I think it's best to let him know now, how you feel. Don't be guilt tripped into serving this sentence with him. I'm sure he feels afraid and very alone, but he committed the crime not you. You do not have to go through this with him.

Be strong.

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YoSofi · 06/08/2022 09:44

I assume the sentence is drugs related, so I can only imagine the trauma and lies before he went to prison.

I agree with the other posters, this is not your sentence. If the relationship is over then tell him, and focus on building your new life.

Lots of luck to you x

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Leafy3 · 06/08/2022 10:08

I'm very sorry for what you're going through. However hard it might be for him inside, there's little acknowledge or understanding of what it's like to the be the one left at home.

In some ways, you might have more to deal with than him.

It's normal to be struggling with your feelings and relationship. Not only because you have to come to terms with his actions and choices- and the consequences of them - but because you also have to learn to live with a level of independence you may not be used to.

I urge you to reach out and seek support from groups and charities that support wives and families left behind. The only others who I think could relate to the practicalities are the wives of military men (although they may not welcome the comparison).

You should know you don't have to stay in the relationship if it's too much, there's no guilt with that. Likewise, taking time to yourself is fine.

His emotional demands on you at this time are selfish, however difficult it is for him right now, and demonstrate a lack of understanding and sympathy - and regret - for what you've been put through. It might come from a place of fear and insecurity, which is to be pitied, but your relationship needs more than that to survive. Im sure its hard for him to see you being successful without him, but you are not selfish or uncaring for looking after your needs.

It might help to write a letter, which you can draft as many times as needed, to set out your perspective and give him time to re read and respond to without a knee jerk reaction.

There are no easy answers and the continuation of your relationship will need a lot from both of you (he must realise this - the emotional sacrifice can not all be on your part).

You are not wrong. I cannot comment on how much of his behaviour is ingrained manipulation because I don't know what he was like before his incarceration. If there were elements of control beforehand then you may wish to rethink your relationship. If its new behaviour, then I think you have more chance of coming back from this.

There will be be adjustments to make when he comes out as well and it won't be easy. You're right to take it one bit at a time.

You can be sympathetic, understanding and care while deciding that the relationship is no longer right for you, that's OK. You can also be angry. It will be hard for him to understand the emotional toll on you, but he will need to come to terms with it at some point.

Just continue to take it a bit at a time and don't be guilt tripped. You're doing brilliantly.

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PaterPower · 06/08/2022 10:13

Agree with PP, particularly with years left on his sentence.

Perhaps you’ll eventually get back together when he comes out, but you shouldn’t put your emotional life on hold for that nor let it prevent you being open to a much healthier relationship whilst he’s locked up.

Prison is going to brutalise him. He would be a very strong willed man, or in a very low category prison, not to be negatively impacted by this experience and he’s going to bring that back into your life, if you let him.

What’ve you done to deserve that? And what’s he done to deserve your loyalty?

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EmmaH2022 · 06/08/2022 10:33

Leave him. It can only be good for you.

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AgentJohnson · 06/08/2022 10:35

You’re wrong, there are changes to his attitude that he can make right now but chooses not. His current behaviour is just an extension of his selfish and entitled behaviour before he was convicted.

The man you love and all his positive attributes is also selfish, entitled and immature. There’s a very good chance that the version of him that you desperately want him to be never existed or is far from reappearing. If you don’t want to play games, then don’t play. Given what he’s put you through he should be making more of an effort but isn’t, which tells you a lot about him and your future with him, if you stay in a relationship with him.

My advice, stop putting your life on hold for someone who treats you as an option. You deserve better, which begs the question, why aren’t you aiming higher?

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rumplestiltskinp · 06/08/2022 11:03

A life with someone who spent a long time in prison is no fun. It's unfortunate but you don't come out from prison better and with more opportunities. You come out with fewer opportunities and a black mark, bitter, unable to be around crowds, possibly medicated disjointedly, meaning they give you a prescription one week and the next you don't get it, in short your mental state and ability to live effectively in society is all out of whack. If you're young maybe you have time to ensure he's going to be a good father and husband before you take those plunges, but if your biological clock is ticking then taking this time could mean you miss out on children.

That's preferable to having them with someone mentally unstable and unable to make a proper living or life for themselves, but it's not preferable to having them with someone good prospects instead.

These are just unfortunate realities for you to consider.

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MinorWomensWhiplash1 · 06/08/2022 13:11

Jesus raise your standards OP, surely you can find a man who isn’t a convicted criminal to share your life with.

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EmmaH2022 · 06/08/2022 13:15

MinorWomensWhiplash1 · 06/08/2022 13:11

Jesus raise your standards OP, surely you can find a man who isn’t a convicted criminal to share your life with.

Indeed....mostly it's a dealbreaker, surely? And it sounds like he was an arse before!

or you could be single and happy.

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