By: Cassandra Edwards
It may be a fantasy to some but for me it was a ten year reality. Loving an inmate is a task many can’t imagine for anyone outside their family or close friends, but to be in love with and also marry an inmate is a task within itself. No parent dreams of giving permission to someone behind bars to spend happily ever after with their child. As a young girl myself I fantasized of my dream weeding. I had planned my bridal party and some of my groomsmen, leaving a few slots for whoever my spouse was to be to fill in with his family and friends.
I envisioned the decorations and had planned to walk down the aisle to my mother’s favorite song by Jesse Powell. And then I grew up, allowed myself to be seduced by the charm and wit of my soon to be inmate lover turned husband, and accepted the fact that my fairytale wedding may be only a figment of my imagination. My visions did not consist of an hour long drive with my best friend to a small congested courthouse to obtain a marriage license or stamp of approval by some unknown judge. Nor did it include a minister who could not even pronounce my name marrying me in the presence of three witnesses, whom I also barely knew.
Quality time was not envisioned as time restricted visits sneaking prohibited touches while armed guards circulated the room. When I planned to prepare lavish meals for my husband as he returned from work I did not think of traveling to an overpriced vending machine, selecting his favorite sandwich, and warming it in the microwave to the appropriate temperature.
When I thought of taking family pictures every year I did not imagine they would be prison polaroids captured in three seconds with my husband in the same bland outfit. The one thing that those pictures did capture was my happiness. I was generally happy and content with the man I had chosen to spend the rest of my life with, despite what others thought of him as they pulled up the charges he was faced with on the Department of Corrections website.
My happiness began to quickly fade away as I watched my friends with their boyfriends and became envious of their relationship. I was not able to showcase my spouse at family events, school functions, or even take birthday and holiday vacations. Being married I had to carry myself a certain way or so I thought even though my husband was miles away. I did not want to bring shame to his name as I had to walk the streets and attend the same events as his family members who were itching to report back to him any of my wrong doings.
It became stressful trying to manage a social life with my single friends and be at his every beckon and call every time my phone rang. Lord forbid I was out enjoying my favorite past time at a comedy show and missed or declined his call. I realized that this was the life I chose. The life I signed up for and committed myself to.
I have heard so many people talk about falling in love with inmates because they are so attentive and affectionate. When you are competing with no one else for attention except other prisoners it is easy to win. Investing in a relationship takes time and definitely takes money when dealing with an inmate. I do not believe when women claim to not send any money or do anything for the men behind bars because at some point you are going to load money to their books to buy food, phone minutes, and anything else they want to keep them happy.
If not the investment of money in maintaining the relationship should be a tax deduction itself. In the beginning of our relationship on average I visited my husband at least twice sometimes three times a week, each time I had to fill up my tank and took at least twenty five dollars in the visiting room for snacks and pictures. Rarely did I leave with any change.
Looking back there were many things I could have done with that one hundred dollars every week, not mentioning the money to get commissary, pay off gambling debts, support habits, etc. In return I received a phone call multiple times a day, to the point they became overwhelming and very expensive. I received letters, and handmade cards on the regular, as well as an occasional green check to do whatever I wanted with, knowing next week I would need to replenish his inmate account.
The mental and emotional stress of loving an inmate is overwhelming. The smallest misunderstanding led to an argument and accusations of unfaithfulness. If I were unavailable due to work, church, or even attending a recreational event where my background may have been too loud to answer the phone, I was assumed to have been out doing something I had no business doing. He attempted to cut me off from my friends by down talking them because they were single and enjoyed going out and partying, but thought I should hook them up with his new found inmate friends.
He even tried selecting friends for me by asking me to carpool with women who were coming to visit their men but it was not a carpool because they never had a vehicle to drive. What I did not know in the beginning was that every time I let someone ride to the jail with me he received funds from their lover or family member. The manipulation tactics did not stop there as he often tried to make me feel guilty about wanting to do anything besides sit in the visiting room. He calculated my every visit to the exact time he wanted me to come.
Years later I found out it was not because he cared about me being on that highway late or leaving work early but because he has other females, he had previously dated who were visiting him as well. I did not discover this reality until he came home ten years later with a shoe box of photos that I happened to go through one day. Many women fall victim to these men thinking they will be faithful. Just because a man is not sleeping with another woman does not mean he is being faithful.
I found out years later my husband was in relationships by mail with women he met through other inmates, had been writing his ex-girlfriends and promising them a life of happiness once he came home, and was spending countless hours on the phone with them during my work and church hours. Perhaps if I knew all these things I would have ended the relationship juts as soon as I started it. Though I was not naïve, I did not have any proof of anything besides the distance that was growing between us.
If you ask my now ex-husband he will tell you things changed when I cheated on him. And yes I did go through a period of unfaithfulness, with his permission under the stipulation I did not come up pregnant or with any disease. He fails to tell that portion of the story even today. Things actually changed when I began to see him for the manipulator he was.
When I began to question his need for more money and extra deposits on other inmates account. He brushed it off as debts from gambling and playing poker when in actuality he had begun using the same drugs he would try to have me bring into the facility for him. Once I stopped supplying his habit there became a distance between us. However I remained optimistic that things would be different once he came home. After all the man would not turn his back on the one person who was in his corner the entire time right?
I stopped going to the comedy clubs, remained faithful to my marriage, and threw myself into church. I would now visit probably once a month if that. I never stopped sending money on his book to make sure he was taken care of but the phone calls were now very strained and awkward silence filled the lines. We talked of plans once he came home as he went up for his parole hearing and with less than a year til his release date I began planning for the life with my husband I had always dreamed of. Fast forward to his release from prison……
The ride home was sketchy. Not because of the fact my plates were expired and I was worried about the police but because I was worried of what was to come in the days, months, and years ahead. I was nervous about sleeping with a man who I had never been intimate with and worried that he would fall back into the streets if he could not secure a job. These thoughts rambled as he called everyone who he claimed he would never talk to again since they abandoned him while in jail and let them know he was on his way home.
The first week was great but then the built up anger and frustration began to overtake him. His jealous roots began to show if I were anywhere but in his presence. His lavish spending habits became a problem even with the part time job he secured. The need to prove to everyone he was back on the scene proved destructive after he went out partying one night and totaled the only vehicle we had. His open ended promises of giving me the world were not satisfying enough when the bills were due and gas was needed for the car.
The man who had lived with a designated bedtime and curfew for ten years of his adult life now felt the need to walk in the doors at sometimes five in the morning because he did not have to answer to anyone o his whereabouts. The same lifestyle he left behind he now revisited as he was not going to keep working for pennies.
I threw myself closer to God and further away from him. If things were not as he wanted them I could expect him to flip over TVs or try to pick a fist fight with me. My final straw was when he jumped in my vehicle as I was driving and began to beat me in the face because he felt as if I were taking him for a joke.
In my childhood dreams, my perfect marriage never ended in divorce but that was the reality I was living in. I never imagined loving an inmate but that had become my reality. The fantasy that some see or hear about is so much more than just what a phone call and a letter can do. Be prepared for the mental, emotional, and maybe physical abuse that comes along with dealing with someone who has been programmed and institutionalized. I am sure this is not true of every relationship but this was my reality.
Continue to write & speak your truths because you are empowering others.
Arnette Mondaine she is speaking some real shit, but this new generation of females, gonna let this fly clean over their head, because they think their cat is better than the next female, oh he wouldn’t do that to me, so then they fall for the okie doke, then they end up looking like the an ass
Thanks for sharing your story. You’ve given an insight to what it is like for some. God Bless
I am currently involved with an inmate and trust me….its not easy! That emotional and mental toll aint no joke, but at the end of the day, you have to take it one day at a time. That’s what i am learning. I have my hesistations at times and you have to deal with the stigmas of the situation, but everyone’s situation is different.
You’re right…. Every situation is different and all u can do is take it one day at a time. I pray you’re relationship works out . god bless
Your story has open many eyes, appreciate you keeping it real.
But it takes a strong woman to hold him down, but don’t sell yourself short, they do change when they come home. Wish you the best.
And he did make a change when he came home… He just allowed himself to be drawn back because of outside influences… Thank you!
Lol bye with that one. My brother done been 2 times and my ex 3 doing almost 22 years total and that nigga got worst not changed a thing. My brother got worst also n he only did 5 total. He hasn’t went back but he thinks like he still in there.
I disagree with you. They all start out different but they end up the same. Get out while you can. #Iamstilldeeplyinlovewithmines #ifyoudontfeelmypainyouwillsoon
Love your #ifyoudontfeelmypainyousoonwill. right on. still in love with my soon to be ex husband. divorce killing me.hes home in march. but i have to run.
Woow! That was deep! True life situations.
I am frreman
Thank you for the reality check
Thanks for being transparent. God bless you on your healing journey.
Like she said this is her story not all stories end like hers…
And I don’t want people to believe they all end like this. I wrote this article to shed light because so many women think this is just a hobby to pick up writing inmates and there is so much more to experience.
This man sounds like my ex. I didn’t know he had been to prison let along just gotten out when I met him. I didn’t find out he had been locked up till after he went back some 4 months after he had went and got locked up again. I EVER have sent him anything. I refused to because he would flip the script so much and act like this dude you speak of and be the guy I first met. From accusing me that I was the reason he had a drug habit. Because I could not love him… Read more »
There’s so much more I could have input but I just touched the surface of some of the things… I have ten years worth of stories good, bad, and ridiculous…. Yes the man you speak of sounds like my ex husband. I have a ton of brothers and male cousins locked up as well so I was very knowledgeable of the games and all but I guess thought I wouldn’t have to go through that since we had a relationship before he went to jail or maybe just too blinded by young love. Thank you for your comment!!
Girl young love I know of that. I think my ex was an pedophile. As I said above he “tried” to put me through it. He been chasing me since I was 15 and he 27… I been knowing him for 11 years and he Been locked up all up 3 months of thoses 11 years. So yes maam I have more stories myself hun. Your very welcome for the comment
? Thank you for sharing your story.
I am glad that you had the strength and the courage to leave your ex husband. That can be a very difficult task. However, I don’t think that him being a prisoner was the reason for the demise of your marriage or had anything to do with why it did not work. It sounds like he was already showing signs of not being the right one prior to his incarceration and while being incarcerated (no judgment). The reason I say this is because my husband did a 2 year bid, and our marriage is working out well. Not because he… Read more »
Thank you! And yes you’re absolutely right just him being in prison was not his only issue or ours…. this article was written to just shed light on life with men behind bars and I didn’t even touch every aspect but I’ve read so many stories about women writing these men in prison and falling for them or claim it’s just a hobby and I wanted to give insight before dime take that step so that they’re aware of what to expect outside that first phone call …. I too was not just a desperate woman with low self esteem.… Read more »
I love your story. I’m currently in the same situation and this has truly opened my eyes. I have one question. Did u meet him while already incarcerated?
Wow!! Cassandra my guy is in prison now for 7years this is his first year!! You have said a mouthful lol I would love to talk to you more because you seemed experienced !!!will that be possible?
Thank you for your story…. I am currently in the process to marry an inmate. I can say God is in the mix of this relationship and nobody but God from the beginning to now I haven’t had any doubts or needs to worry, our communication is 100% 1 visit out the month we have free talk get whatever is on our chest OFF we both are very upfront and I’m a very spirit led woman of God and I know when it’s right not saying there is going to always be good times but keeping God first, having faith,… Read more »
I read your story and oh my! It reminded me of the situation I’m in right now but my man has not gotten out yet. He gets out in one year. I have been having second thoughts about this relationship for the past eight months. We’ve been together for 4 years, all while he is in prisons. I am having a serious struggle between my heart and my mind. Somehow I felt as though I was the only one and I would be his pick of the litter no matter what. But the reality is, is that he is in… Read more »
im feeling your pain. husband out in march. we are divorcing. lost my job. and according to him, ( i had to move in with my momto save $) kerry,” YOU LOST THE ONLY PLACE I HAD TO COME HOME TO. NOW I HAVE TO GO TO PLAN B!” At the time of his statement he had 1.5 years left. I dont know why he he wasnt smart enough to know, i will have another house before he comes home. but he showed me right there. just who he was. plan b. i wasnt awarw he had one. that cost… Read more »
Omg, please email me CASSIE, im looking to share my story but read yours and it is, i mean , it is my story.Please contact me if you can, i really wanna speak with someone that would understand what im going through, other than JUDGING ME.firstname.lastname@example.org
Sigh I’m so sorry , I just recently ended things with my inmate . But he told me he couldn’t move forward if he still have feelings for his ex from middle school ,who is now in a relationship with another man . After 10 years of being in there … he still have endless love for her . So we remain friends but I’m just glad he told me . He tried to pull through but she still on his mind .
Thank you so much for writing this. I am currently married to a lifer, who owns my heart but our relationship is very dysfunctional. I do love him and want him home but I am in the situation where I have to decide whether I throw all caution tot he wind, hiring him yet another lawyer, spending the inheritance I received from my mother. it is a large amount of money and I have been on the fence about what to do because regardless of our issues, I do love him, but I am so scared. After reading this, the… Read more »
My life with my husband in prison is different thank God. I wrk 2 jobs give him what is reasonable and I dont feel guilty about anything. I love him its rough but God is w us both.
I am going through the same exact situation except my husband will be home in 10 months. I see all the signs is almost scary the way you described everything it gave me chills. God bless you for telling your story…. you truly have inspired me. It’s time for me to make a move.
I waited on my husband for 5 yrs, I married him while he was in prison. He got out Sept. 2016 help him get a job, driving licence and being there in every way wife suppose to be for her husband. Well my daughter got very sick so when to help her out with the kids for 20 days May 2017 came back feeling something was not right. In June my daughter had another sezuies so I packing up go help her out he said to me I NO LONGER WANT TO BE IN A COMMITTED RELATIONSHIP!WHAT@#$%!! So I left… Read more »
I’m now married to the father of my two kids who i love so much.Before all these sudden happiness took place in my life i went through hell.I dated my husband for 8years with little breakup’s between until a whore came into our life who was my best friend.When i discovered my husband was cheating on me with her i was so mad at him that i could not even look at him anymore.As time went on i and my husband was trying to fix things but my best friend wanted us to be apart from each other in other… Read more »
I read enough of your story but mine is the total opposite because my inmate boyfriend/lover was once an ex boyfriend/friend of mine prior to going his charge and going to jail. Our love is true and our loyalty never is uncertain. He provides for me and never ask for me to use my money for anything. He takes care of my bills and also helps tremenduously with my kids due to the absences of the actual dad. Times have changed with inmates since your relationship. They making hell of money doing what they do which is how the survive… Read more »
I keep hearing people say that every situation is different. However I would bet that there are more alike than different. As I read this story I could have erased her name and put mine. When I married my still incarated husband after 19yrs, I just knew he’d be out my now. But he has lied and cheated and played pentatitary games until his two possible parole opportunities just passed on by. Five back twice in a roll. I was in my forties when we married now I am an old sick foolish woman. He certainly don’t need me now… Read more »
First of all, I appreciate your story. What do you think some of the red flags were in his behavior? My bf is in prison, almost 2 years now. He wants to get married but I’m hesitant. He’s not jealous at all. When I’m at the club and miss his calls, I just tell him and he says he trusts me. But I usually tell him ahead of time not to call because I’ll be out. I want to trust him too, but this is new to me and not how I imagined I’d ever fall in love. He was… Read more »
I feel your story @anonymous. It is currently my story. My bf is also very open with his all of his childhood & adult past. He always builds me up & wants better for me than I have ever wanted for myself. He is also more emotionally mature and connected than me. Yes I have helped with money but if I ever can’t afford to he does not get mad or irritated. He either goes without or finds a hustle to make money. He calls on & off all day, every day but if there’s ever a time I don’t… Read more »
I’m so excited my broken Marriage has been restored & my husband is back after he left me and our 3 kids for another woman. After 12 years of marriage, me and my husband has been into one quarrel or the other until he finally left me and moved to California to be with another woman. i felt my life was over and my kids thought they would never see their father again. i tried to be strong just for the kids but i could not control the pains that torments my heart, my heart was filled with sorrows and… Read more »
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Wow!! I feel for women who get dogged, period. My fiance is in we are about to get married, but here is my take which is the antithesis. First off he was disrespectful to have you bring in stuff, he is selfish for gambling, and was basically doing much too much!! The signs were there, but you were blinded by love and what he told you. No way I would’ve tolerated any of that nonsense. Girl you should’ve left him a loooooong time ago. A relationship on the streets is really no different other than he can’t sleep with you… Read more »
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Cassandra, thanks for this! i have a weird question: where did you get that photo (of the bars)? i’m working on a prison project and it would be perfect….
I married an inmate in prison. I was very lucky. His mother told me things about him and so did the Victims Advicates. I was in shock. He has a girlfriend but he married me. He got in a lot of trouble in prison. He said no one told him why he was put into segregation. Everything all came a month after we were married. Why his mother didn’t tell me these things before we were married. I asked him if he had a girl friend and he said so what!! Up to this day 4 months later I don’t… Read more »
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