The positives of my boyfriend being in prison

Image result for prison relationshipsThis 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?

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What’s the hardest thing about your boyfriend or husband being in prison?

Image result for prison relationships

Something I am often asked about is how difficult it is to be in a relationship where one half is in prison. People often ask, “how do you do it?” and often my answer is along the lines of “I have no idea.” It’s not always easy, that’s for sure. Here are some of the things I find particularly difficult:

Not being able to share the little details about my life

When I only get a short amount of time to see him or speak to him on the phone, it feels silly to talk about the mundane things. I might tell him how much you miss him or plan talk about our future together but I don’t have chance to tell him I bumped into an old friend the other day or that I have a new favourite cocktail. Little as it may seem, it does get to me. As people, we change every single day. I feel that he still knows the me that I was when he went inside and he’s missing out on my daily growth.

The worry about him

There is no shortage of prison related TV or newspaper articles and they are excellent and making me worry about my other half. “ANOTHER INMATE STABBED” is absolutely the last thing you want to wake up to. The thought of him in there is awful and it’s better to try not to think about – although that is easier said than done. There are so many horror stories that I simply can’t help but worry.

Not knowing what to tell the kids

Depending on the age of your children will depend on how much you may tell them about their dad being in prison. No matter the age though, it’s never easy. For me, my kids thought their dad had left them. They thought they were to blame to some extent which of course isn’t true. But what if the truth of him not being around is even worse?

The Miscommunication

Writing things in a letter is beautiful at times and I would say that being forced to learn to communicate in what can be such a romantic way has been a blessing in disguise. HOWEVER, you can never tell how something is meant when it’s written down. Things tend to come across more abrupt and more serious which can lead to misinterpreting something that has been said. The amount of times I’ve read too much into something he has said and assumed the relationship is over when he meant nothing but good things is ridiculous!

The judgement from other people

“You’re going to be a criminal too!”

“Were you involved?”

“Why would you want to be with someone like that?”

“He’s going to bring you down!”

Need I go on?

What do you guys find difficult about the whole process? Let me know in the comments!

Valentine’s Day

This is just a quick post to say that I hope all you lovely ladies have a happy Valentine’s Day. I hope you get visits or a phone call. I hope you get a card or a present. Most importantly, I hope you treat yourselves! And don’t forget to stock up on lots of cute cards whilst the shops are full of them that you can send throughout the year. 

HMP Birmingham

Today is one of those days where lots of people are making lots of comments on something they know nothing about. Winson Green, a category B prison in Birmingham has been on lockdown since this morning when prisoners started rioting. At this point, all anyone can rely on is media coverage which as we all know, isn’t always the most accurate of information. Did the keys get taken from a prison officer? Are prisoners spraying staff with paint? Are the pictures emerging even from today?
Many people are quick to start talking about the prisoners rioting because they don’t have a play station for Christmas and “what do they expect?” but this is NOT what this is about. These prisoners have had their freedom taken away from them and I am not saying that they shouldn’t have, they are all in there for a reason at the end of the day, but an event like today makes people sit up and listen so whilst people may say this will get them nowhere – actually, it already has. It’s in the news. People are listening. Maybe a majority of people will sit up, listen, and judge them on the basis of incorrect information and prejudices. However, there will also be some people who will sit up, listen, and realise that actually there is the need for prison reform because something isn’t working and to the prisoners, maybe that will make all this worth it. Sure, there will be those innmates who jump on the bandwagon of a riot without knowing why they are even rioting like with any other riot, but some will also be doing this because it’s the only way they feel they can have a voice.

This is not about a lack of play station or ‘fun’. This is about being treated humanely. There are many flaws with prisons and the whole prison system (as there is with most things) and this is about those flaws. The poor treatment by staff. The lack of access to the gym and library which some may see as a luxury they don’t deserve but wouldn’t you need some kind of outlet if you were locked up for 23 hours a day? If someone wants to progress in terms of learning and fitness – they should not be deprived of this. This is about much more than prisoners wanting luxury items. Prisons are supposed to be about rehabilitation. Being treated like shit for no reason by a prison guard and being denied access to the library does nothing in terms of rehabilitation.

And yes these people ARE prisoners, they HAVE done something wrong but don’t forget this is a category B prison. When talking of prisoners people often think of rapists and murderers and whilst I’m sure there are some of those offenders in there, there will also be those with drug possession charges and ABH charges for example. And don’t we all know someone who does drugs? Don’t we all know someone who has been in a fight? We all make mistakes and we should all be given the chance to change.

Whilst this ongoing riot has brought out the usual commentators who have no knowledge of what the prison system is like and those with closed minded views, it has also emphasised the need for change. It has shown that something needs to be done. Rehabilitation is what prevents future offending. Rehabilitation is not happening.