Relationships are wonderful when they are healthy!
There is nothing more satisfying than a deep connection between 2 people who care about each other. Sadly, there are times people ignore warning signs that their relationship is not healthy because they so desperately want that connection. If you are in a relationship with someone who is in prison, you must know what the warning signs are that your relationship is toxic!
First, let me be clear, I am a strong advocate of healthy marriage.
I believe that couples can work through almost any problem or issue together. Couples who are dedicated to making their marriage work can overcome anything. But, with this in mind, it takes both partners committed to making that change for it to happen. Whenever it is possible, couples should stay together and work at growing their relationship to last a lifetime. When it is not possible, individuals need to recognize when their relationship is toxic and they need to get out. Frankly, I see the unhealthiest relationships between unmarried partners. Whether you are married, or dating, you need to know what to watch for in your prison relationship.
I have seen many toxic relationships in prison visiting rooms.
It is so obvious from the outside looking in, but so hard to see when you are in the middle of it. If you are dating a prisoner, don’t ignore warning signs. Unhealthy relationships are occurring everywhere. Don’t assume that it is a “safe” relationship just because he is locked up. Emotional, mental, psychological, and financial abuse happens all the time. He can be locked up and still hurt you—and you can still hurt him. Bars don’t keep hurt out.
Here are the top 4 things to watch for that are warning signs that your relationship is dangerous:
- Control. If your partner is controlling your life from inside the walls, you need to take a giant step back. Talk about healthy boundaries and trust together. If he still tries to dictate your friends, your activities, and your lifestyle it may be a sign that it is time to get out.
- Anger. When a person gets angry about everything, there is a problem. If your partner is angry often, or blows up easily then you need to address it as a serious problem in your relationship. Watch for cycles of domestic violence where he is angry, blows up and says and does hurtful things and then becomes very contrite. If he continues to circle around this cycle of angry and hurtful, then kind, loving and apologetic this is a serious warning sign that he has some unresolved anger issues and could be dangerous. It might be time to stop the cycle by ending the relationship.
- Manipulation. Convincing others that they are always wrong, or to do things that they don’t really want to do is manipulation. As human beings, we are all capable of manipulation. What you need to watch for is a pattern of manipulation—when you are always being discounted and doing only what he wants for him. This is especially concerning if it puts you in harm’s way or causes you to do things you are not comfortable doing. If your partner constantly uses manipulation to get his way, then this is NOT a healthy or desirable relationship. You need to be able to think for yourself and deserve to have your opinions valued. Take a long look at this and ask yourself if you want to be discounted for the rest of your life. The answer should be, “NO!”
- Money. It is expensive to be in a relationship with a prisoner. Calls, visits, emails—they all cost money. But if he is pressing you for money or things all the time, he is probably using you to get the things he wants. He doesn’t care about you if he is putting you in distress financially. Even if you can afford to constantly shell out money, you should not be doing it. If your relationship is not getting stronger without your having to buy him things all the time, you are being used. You are worth so much more than your money.
If you see these warning signs in your relationship, talk about them with your partner. If he isn’t willing to talk about it and to change, he isn’t the one for you. Relationships are partnerships and should, therefore, be collaborative. Controlling behavior, consistent anger, manipulation, and constant requests for money or things are in fact major warning signs. Pay attention and maintain healthy boundaries to ensure you and your family are hence safe in your relationship.
I am rooting for you!