My husband always says that I’m talking to other guys. He’s in jail, and when I say I’m not, I’m not lying. I’m always with our three kids.
Sometimes I want to give up because he’s in jail and not here helping me. I feel that way whenever he says that I’m cheating by talking to other men.
We fight on the phone daily. I have Crohn’s disease and sometimes feel he doesn’t care about my health. The more stressed I get, I can end up in hospital.
I wish we could be happy again like when we started seeing each other. I love him, but I don’t know if I can go on with all the fighting.
I don’t have friends, I’m not a people person. I talk to no one, just my three children.
Fed Up and Stressed
It’s not easy to be a prison spouse, and not easy either for the one doing time.
Sure, if a crime’s been committed, jail time is the price paid by the inmate. And few outsiders realize the emotional toll on the spouse and children left behind.
Yet every website for helping the spouse at home will tell you that providing love and support during your partner’s incarceration, is crucial.
Your guy’s not making it easy for you. He’s jealous and suspicious, worried that you’re cheating. Even though you’ve done nothing wrong, he may be being wound up by mean taunts from other inmates – an emotional form of prison bullying.
Meanwhile, you have to try to reassure him and carry on being a strong woman and mother.
Some resources: 1.The Prison Wives Diary - an inexpensive paperback by Theresa Zollicoffer, based on women experiencing the difficulties of being married or involved with men in the prison system and how they remain strong when it comes to being faithful, keeping sane and making ends meet. Order online from Amazon, new or used (cheaper).
- Log onto www.facebook.com/Wives-of-Inmates-253750617968585.. It’s a support group for wives/girlfriends.
You don’t have to be an outgoing “people person” to read about others in a similar situation, and to learn about how some prison wives handle the difficulties they face.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the woman who feared that a man with whom she had a one-night stand was stalking her (Oct. 20):
“I’m a counter-violence and advocacy trainer. I would characterize this man as escalating (his pursuit).
“Escalation point: 1) He’s willing to take just a little bit of information said in a chance meeting after nearly two decades, and act on it to be near his target. 2) at the bar and fuelled by drink, he spent a lot of time with his target… he’s “persistent.”
3) he had drunken sex with someone he hadn’t seen since his teens (Ellie – as did she). 4) he communicated with his target in ways that contact became undesirable. This is where he needs to stop. 5) when told to “back off” he “angrily” lays blame for “emotional abuse” on her “leading (him) on.” This is a serious red flag. It speaks of entitlement to someone’s romantic and sexual attention. 6) he’s “repeatedly messaging and phoning daily.”
“Forced contact like this is abusive behaviour, regardless of intent or impact.
“Best practices for dealing with an escalating man: I advise speaking directly to the issue of his behaviour while taking any steps toward securing your safety that you feel necessary.”
ELLIE – See Part Two tomorrow, November 16.
FEEDBACK Regarding the woman who’s receiving anonymous nasty notes about her lessened lawn care while she’s caring for an ill husband and a mother who’s lost a second leg to diabetes (October 22):
Reader – “Home surveillance cameras don’t cost much. People will think twice about leaving nasty notes if they know it's no longer anonymous. This could help identify perpetrators, if the police need to be involved.”
Ellie – This woman who formerly kept a well-tended garden, gave vegetables to her neighbours, and let them swim in her pool, explained her busy situation to her neighbours (including no time to lifeguard the pool). No one offered help.
It’s not extreme to suggest that she call the police and show them the notes, which may qualify as harassment or hate mail.
One shocking note expressed the wish that her husband would lose his battle with cancer and die so she and her seven-year-old son would move.
Tip of the day:
When someone goes to jail, the spouse and children also live a form of hard time, emotionally.