This may sound crazy at first, but hear me out. The whole ordeal of having my other half in prison is pretty crap. There are a long list of negatives which I have written about previously. If I were to focus on these things, I would always be down. However, if I look hard enough I am actually able to see some benefits too and if I focus on those, it is all more bareable.
We have learnt how to communicate better
Having to communicate through written letters and very short phone calls and the occasional visit has taken some getting used to. It’s shown me how much of what we feel about each other previously went unsaid. I don’t mean that in a bad way but I would be able to tell he cared about me because he would take me out for dinner or buy me my favourite chocolate bar without asking. With him in prison though, all of the things he would do to show me he cared are gone. Now all we have is words. We’ve learnt to have to communicate how we feel verbally which I think has been really good for us.
We don’t argue
With such little time, the last thing we want to do is argue. Of course sometimes there are moments where we wind each other up but we have had to learn how to deal with that in a way that doesn’t lead to an argument. If we’re on the phone and we start shouting at each other, the phone may beep at any minute to tell us we only have one minute left. Once that minute is over I don’t know when I’ll hear from him again next. It could be a week, maybe longer. For that reason, arguing is something we have learnt to avoid.
I have become confident in my relationship
I have always been quite wary of relationships, worried they might end or that I might get hurt. For that reason whenever I was seeing someone I would keep it to myself and not really want to talk to anyone about it. Now, that’s a little different. I still don’t publicise my relationship on social media but with the negative opinions I’ve received about him and our relationship, I’ve grown some thick skin. I’ve had to stand up for him and us to so many people that I’ve got to the stage where I am proud to say I am with him and I don’t care what anyone thinks about it.
We’ve shown each other how much we want this
It’s not easy for me to be in a relationship where I am basically on my own all the time. It’s not easy that I have no one to talk to, no one to cheer me up when I’m down, no one to share happy times with. I’ve spent a lot of time and money visiting him in prison and communicating with his family. Equally, it’s not easy for him to be in there and feeling like he’s missing out on time with me, feeling guilty for the money I’m spending to visit him, feeling bad for holding me back. In theory, it would be easier for us both to be single through this whole process. The fact that despite all that, we continue to do it anyway has shown us how much we care about each other.
We’re still at the exciting stage
In most relationships, the start is super exciting. You get nervous before seeing each other and kiss as slow as you can to appreciate every second. It is perfectly normal that this excitement slows down after a while (to an extent). However, for us it’s probably more exciting than it ever has been. It’s been years but because we see each other so rarely, I feel sick with butterflies before every visit and I’m practically glowing after every phone call. We have so much we want to do that we aren’t able to at the minute and so we’ve got a long list of things to look forward to when he’s out. It’s slowed our relationship down but I’m trying to see that as a good thing rather than a bad thing!
I’ve learnt to be independent
If I want to go out for dinner, I have to find friends to go with. If I want to go on holiday, I have to do it alone. If I’m upset, I have to handle it by myself. All of this is hard in the moment but looking back I have become so much more independent and strong within myself. I have had to be. I have had to do everything for me and put myself first and that has been really good for me in every aspect of my life, not just my relationship.
What positives have you guys taken from the experience?