Maintaining Loving Relationships While in Prison

By · Friday, December 26th, 2008

I recently received a question from a reader who wrote that her childhood sweetheart was serving a life sentence and he suddenly broke off their relationship. She worried that her sweetheart may be breaking off the relationship as a consequence of something going on inside the prison.

As a long-term prisoner, I value my relationship with my wife, Carole, more than life itself. She has been serving this sentence alongside me for many years, and I could not imagine a more loving partner. I long for her kisses, for her loving letters, for her every breath.

That said, I know that other long-term prisoners sometimes find it easier to shut off the outside world. For them, connections to those on the outside remind them of all they are missing. In my article entitled Facing Long-term Incarceration, I wrote about the perceptions I had much earlier in my sentence. Other prisoners could benefit from finding the same hope that guided my decisions. When prisoners give up on the world, they doom themselves to difficult adjustments. If the reader who emailed her question has the same strength and commitment as does my wife, then she should continue supporting her love with letters and visit again when he expresses the need. Loving a man in prison is not easy, as family members suffer much more than those of inside who can adjust.

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