He is in prison, and you are out here facing the world on your own. It is difficult, scary, and lonely to pick up all of the shattered pieces of your life after he is locked up. Every day is a new challenge you are forced to face. Why does it seem to be getting harder to face life instead of easier? You may even feel like giving up, but you do not know if that is best for your family. Confusion, fear, and grief consume your energy and cloud your thinking. If this sounds familiar, this blog is for you.
I am often asked whether someone should wait for their partner while they are in prison.
Thousands of people face this incredibly challenging decision every day. Will you wait? Can you imagine a life together after incarceration? Unless you have gone through it, you cannot understand the trauma a family endures when a loved one goes to prison. It is not something that you get over. It is a pain that accompanies your entire journey. Every day the agony of facing life alone tries to stop you in your tracks. You have to fight self-pity and fear every single step you take. In the middle of the battle, you will ask yourself hundreds of times whether you should stay or go.
Should I move on?
My answer is, “you already know what to do.” People leave their loved ones for one of two reasons; 1. The relationship is so dysfunctional and unhealthy that you must get out, 2. You think you can escape the loneliness and grief it if you leave.
If unsure about what to do with your relationship, look closely at these two reasons. Which one is tugging at you? Thus if this is you, here are six questions you need to answer to make the best decision for your future.
- Is your relationship toxic despite your best efforts to build a healthy relationship together?
- Do you feel safe in your relationship with him? (physically, mentally, emotionally….)
- Are you just feeling overwhelmed right now?
- Is the fear of missing out driving you to leave?
- What are you doing to surely build a better life for yourself and your family?
- If prison was not an issue, would you stay in this relationship?
Although it is hard to hold a relationship together while someone is in prison, prison alone is not a good enough reason to end the relationship.
The same reasoning is true for staying in a relationship – don’t do it just because you feel guilty he is in prison. If he were not in jail, would you work on building your life together? If this is true, don’t let prison steal your relationship! Doing time together is not easy, but it can be an incredible opportunity to create an amazing closeness between you. Your relationship can be beautiful and fulfilling even without sex or face to face contact. Love transcends distance when you put in the work to connect with each other.
Take time to think through the pros and cons of staying and leaving. Be honest with yourself about the reasons you are considering leaving. If they are things you can work on together to overcome—STAY and enjoy the benefits of building a legacy together. There are programs available to help you improve your communication skills, strengthen your relationship, and help you prepare for his homecoming. Surely take advantage of every single one.
I cannot tell you how glad I am that I did not let the hard days, nor the haters, stop me from fighting for my marriage and my family. Our love and legacy are worth every battle we fought!
I am rooting for you!