Dating and prison are words that do not seem to go together.
Prison is not typically a place we think of when we imagine a date. And yet, many women find themselves “dating” men who are in prison.
There are a lot of things to consider before you should commit to dating someone who is in prison. So, before I share some tips on dating someone in prison, I am going to spend a little time blogging about how to decide if this is the right decision for your life.
Finding your prince charming
No little girl ever imagines her prince charming as a man who is in prison. We imagine a man who is strong, honorable, kind, brave, courageous, loving, and gentle who adores us. Unfortunately, sometimes, that man is in prison.
I know many men who have transformed their lives and are amazing men of honor who are still in prison. I also know many men who are in prison who have NOT transformed their lives who prey on women so they have someone on the outside to provide money, material things, and a connection to the outside world. So how do you know who this man is that your friend is trying to set you up with?
Me and my husband with our baby daughter
Keep in mind that loving a man who is in prison is full of heartache.
You cannot spend time together whenever you want to. You do not get to see how he interacts with his friends and family, nor how he acts with your friends. Prison visiting rooms, phone calls, and letters will be the way you communicate and date. You will never, ever, ever be alone until he comes home.
My most important advice here: If you know you do not want to spend the rest of your life with this man, do not date him. Do not waste your time, and his. If, however, you think this man could possibly be someone you could imagine spending the rest of your life with, take the time to get to know him better. Write letters, ask a lot of questions, check out his answers to be sure he is who he says he is BEFORE you start visiting him.
Handpicked Related Content: Married to an Inmate
I am married to an inmate. Wow. I kept saying that in my head over and over again. I am married to a convict! How in the world did this happen? I never imagined that I would marry a man who was in prison. I was in shock that my husband was in prison.
Note: The women I know who have dated men in prison and it has worked out really well have all been Christians who have prayed and sought wisdom from the Lord before agreeing to make a relationship romantic with someone in prison. I personally believe this is the best way to make any decision about dating anyone.
If you have decided to go ahead and date someone who is in prison, it is really important to set some boundaries and stick to them. Remember that prison culture is completely different than our world out here. There will be some strange rules and also a strange curiosity you may experience that drives you to find out more about the world of prison. Establish your interest in the man; not just the culture of prison nor the safety of dating someone who doesn’t have much access to other women. Sometimes, that seems safer than dating someone on the outside. This is especially true for you if you have been hurt by someone who found another woman.
If you are still sure—here are some tips to dating someone who is in prison:
- Write a lot of letters to get to know him. If he doesn’t write back, do not continue the relationship.
- Do NOT send him any money or purchase food/sundry boxes for him. Tell him you are not going to spend any money on him except for collect calls and eventually visits. This important boundary will avoid being taken advantage of. Wait at least 6 months before you spend any money on him. If he loses interest, he wasn’t really interested in YOU – just in what he could get from you.
- Do not take your children to a prison visit unless/until you are engaged. Then, let them decide if they WANT to meet him in person. A phone call may be enough.
- The first couple of months, write letters more than you plan visits. After several months of getting to know him via letters, schedule visits.
- Once you are visiting, plan a surprise visit or two. You will learn a lot about his temperament by surprising him with a visit.
- Do not kiss him until you have been visiting him for at least 6 months. This may seem like a long time out here—but remember that you will only have very limited time together during those six months. Don’t rush into kissing because it can cloud your judgement and you need that time to really get to know him.
- After you decide you are officially dating, take your best friend with you to visit him. Her opinion is important AND it is good to see how he interacts with your friend. Plus, if it goes well, you will have extra support.
- Spend a lot of time sharing your dreams and goals and find out what his dreams are. Can you both achieve your goals if you continue in this relationship? If yes, keep going.
- If you both decide this relationship is getting serious, get involved with support groups and courses that teach healthy relationship skills. Hopefully, there is a class you can take together with him (or each of you take and talk about together)
- If you have children living with you, do not live with him for at least one year after his release. This will give both of you time to get to know each other on the outside.
I am rooting for you-
For 5 more awesome tips on dating a prisoner click here
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