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Warning Signs in your Prison Relationship – Part 1

warning signs in your prison relationship

If you have a romantic relationship with a prisoner, you need to know what I am about to share!  I spent 15 years visiting my husband in prison and during that time I witnessed a lot of crazy relationships.  You need to know what the warning signs are so you can protect yourself, your family and your marriage.

There are two different types of warning signs that I am going to share with you. 

First, in this blog, I am going to talk about the warning signs that tell you that your relationship is in trouble.  In my next blog, I am going to share with you the signs that YOU are in trouble and need to get out of an unhealthy prison relationship.  You need to know what warning signs to watch for, and what to do when you see these signs.  Remember, signs and symbols are for the conscious. Do not ignore important warnings in your relationship!

Maintaining a healthy relationship while your husband/partner is in prison is hard work. 

I know I say that a lot—because it is true.  You cannot imagine that having a relationship with someone who is in prison will be a piece of cake.  It isn’t. In order to keep your relationship strong and thriving, you will need to stay awake and be aware of signs when your marriage is growing stale or your relationship is getting distant.

prison relationships tyro

Warning Signs

There are four warning signs that things are not well with your relationship:

  1. Boredom – if you are feeling bored and uninterested in what your partner is saying or doing- or if he seems to be bored with you, then there is a problem.  Call it out, talk about it, and get to work fixing it.
  2. Communication – If letters, emails, calls, or talking together is becoming a chore so you are doing it less and less often, your relationship is in trouble.  You need to invest MORE time connecting to each other.  Don’t let the distance suffocate your commitment to each other.  Invest more time and energy in finding things you can enjoy sharing with each other.
  3. Fights – if everything turns into an argument or fight, then you are headed for big trouble. Constant fighting further indicates unresolved issues or a power struggle.  Identify what is triggering the animosity between you and start resolving the conflict so you can move beyond it.
  4. Secrets – if either of you starts keeping secrets from the other one, you are growing apart.  Secrets have no place in a healthy relationship (except for surprises!)  If you are battling sharing something with your partner, then you need to ask yourself why you are keeping this secret. Withholding information from each other consequently breeds and feeds mistrust, jealousy, and anger.  Find ways to rebuild your emotional connection and resist the urge to keep things from each other.

Warning Signs

Again, if you notice ANY of these signs over the course of 3 weeks or more, then you need to get busy working on reconnecting with your loved one!  There are lot of distractions that can cause distance in your relationship.  If you are not diligent in identifying when things are starting to come between you, prison will steal your relationship. 

Check out my other blogs on what you can do to strengthen your relationship if you recognize that things are going south. Ultimately, keeping your relationship strong indeed requires commitment, diligence, and effort. As you work together to keep your relationship healthy, you are in fact building the foundation for your successful future together!

I am rooting for you!



  • Angie
    Posted April 24, 2021 at 3:54 pm

    My husband is accusing me left and right, he has two months left, he doesn’t want me to full out another visitation form, says it takes a month to get aootived. He’s so angry..
    Sometimes I think he is in there sometimes he just seems like a whole other person.

    • Catherine Tijerina
      Posted April 29, 2021 at 9:59 am

      Hi Angie-
      This is can be a signal that all is not well with your relationship. I would offer as my suggestion that you begin to set boundaries and solicit support now in preparation for his release. Find a counselor and encourage your husband to make counseling a priority as he returns home. Talk openly with him about your concerns and put an alternate plan for his housing in place as an option. Sometimes slow reintegration is the best way to proceed. Consider having him live somewhere else for the first 6 months as you both readjust to having him out of prison again. Open and honest communication is extremely important.
      I am rooting for you!

  • Chrissy
    Posted June 2, 2021 at 5:44 am

    Hi, my husband of 5 years is incarcerated and have been for 4 years now! Since he been locked up I visited often ,wrote letters, send packages, and we talked on the phone twice a day! Since December 2020 he has been very argumentative and always every other week accusing me that I’m doing something? Which I’m NOT! I’m tired of it and ready to call it quits?

    • Catherine Tijerina
      Posted June 7, 2021 at 5:54 pm

      Hi Chrissy!
      I am so sorry to hear of all you are going through right now. Have you talked with him about your concerns and frustrations? Have you been able to have an in-person visit since COVID? I know tensions are high with all the restricted visits and movements so your man may be struggling with everything going on inside and then displacing his anger. If you have already talked with him about his behavior and attitude, talk with him again and let him know how hurt and angry his accusations make you feel. Try writing a letter and including some possible solutions to resolving this issue. Praying for clear direction and protection for you. I am rooting for you!

  • Stephnie Branton
    Posted January 6, 2022 at 11:57 pm

    My husband is locked up and has been for almost 2 years. We argue like any normal couple of course. So, he has asked me to try and contact lawyers to try and get his time reduced and I have not received any calls or emails back. He also keeps telling me that I need to get a second job so I’m not just sitting around all the time. Today, he began telling me about needing an IPod or whatever it is they have in the prison after he said he has to buy a new radio, one that don’t take batteries because they do not have them in commissary anymore, then he started saying how broke he was and how $50 a week isn’t enough to make it in there. I said “I’m sorry, I can’t afford to send you more than that” because it costs me more to live out here. And from that point he started getting mad and arguing with me and then started telling me that I always turn everything into an argument. I guess I don’t know what I said or did to make him do this.

  • Catherine Tijerina
    Posted January 7, 2022 at 5:16 pm

    Hi Stephanie-
    A lot of couples disagree over money. It is even more difficult to navigate financial issues in the middle of incarceration.
    My advice is to set a time to talk about your financial struggles together and share your concerns and the difficulties you face every day trying to support yourself outside of the gates. Also, listen for understanding as he shares his own experience. Then, work on putting a plan together that you can both live with. If you are comfortable continuing to send $50 a week, state that. If you need to decrease the amount or can increase it, share that information as well. But focus on what you can do now, not how you could send more money.
    In the end, you must do what you are at peace with. You are right when you say that the cost of survival is much higher out here. Hearing you say no might be triggering rejection thoughts for him. Try to communicate that you love him, but you must manage your budget the best you know how until he comes home.
    No matter what you decide, refuse to argue about money in the future. By coming into agreement, you can minimize future disagreements.
    This is normal, it is difficult to navigate through, but it can de done through clear communication and mutual respect.
    Let me know how your conversation goes and please check out my other blogs on communication and navigating finances. While your husband is in prison.
    I am rooting for you!

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