I just watched an episode of Secret Lives of Women on the We Network that really hit home for me. I had seen it before, but not in a long time. The episode was titled “Women Who Love Bad Men” and profiled women who were married to or in relationships with men who were incarcerated.

The first time I saw the episode, I have to admit that I judged these women a little bit. How could these women stay in relationships with these men? Why would they want to? But after I dated someone while he was incarcerated, I saw the episode in a completely different light. It’s not something that you really understand or relate to unless you are in that situation. It was one of the hardest things that I have ever had to go through, and I only had to do it for three months. I can’t even imagine doing it for years.
When you love someone, you put up with a lot. I was home at 6 PM every day to wait for his phone call. The phone bill ended up being hundreds of dollars because it costs $2.65 for every call. You get 30 minutes a day to talk to him and that’s it. Once a week, I drove half an hour to go visit him. I had to stare at my boyfriend through bulletproof glass and talk to him through a phone. I had 2 hours to spend with him, and then I had to leave. You never want to see someone you love in a situation like that.
Visiting him in jail broke my heart. He looked dirty and tired and beaten. All I wanted to do was make it better, and I couldn’t. He got arrested on Valentine’s Day and had to spend his birthday behind bars. We had all these plans that he missed out on. His lease ended while he was incarcerated and it fell on me to move all his stuff. Watching his daughter hurt hurt me. 
But I would do it all over again. I loved that man, and therefore I refused to abandon him. I stayed by his side when he needed it most because I believed in him and I cared about him. He had a great heart, and I can’t imagine how much harder it would have been if I would have left him at a time when he needed support the most. If you had asked me beforehand if I would have ever stayed with someone who was in jail, I would have laughed at you. If you had asked me if I would have stayed with someone who was sentenced to a year of house arrest, let alone drive them to probation every week, I would have laughed at you.
But the truth is, you can’t judge another person until you’ve walked a mile in their shoes. You never know what you would do or how you would act until you are in a situation yourself. What breaks my heart is that he is back in jail now. And I know that he has no one on the outside writing to him or visiting him. Part of me wants to send him a letter just so that he has something to open and to read, but part of me isn’t sure if it’s a good idea. He is so much better than that and I wish that he would realize that he doesn’t have to live his life this way.
If you would like to watch the episode, it’s here: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5.
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  1. April
    Posted January 15, 2009 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    Before I met my husband, he had gotten a ticket for reckless driving. He was racing his Mustang on the interstate and got clocked going 146. About a month after we got together he had his court date and was sentenced to 3 months in jail. I was devastated! Our relationship was still fresh and new and wonderful. He too asked me if I would wait for him, but he didn't expect me to. I did. I went to visit him every Sunday. After a 2 weeks he got put on work release. I would get up early (4:30) every single morning and drive by his work at our meeting spot. I didn't get to see him in the afternoon b/c I had to work. He celebrated his birthday while he was there. I baked a shitload of cupcakes and brought them and his presents to his work. So yeah, I know what it's like. Now, I don't know that I could do that for a year or more and to me a woman who would is crazy. Doing that only keeps her from living her life the way she should. In my opinion, anyway.

    Anyway, why is he back in jail?

  2. Nolens Volens
    Posted January 15, 2009 at 10:27 am | Permalink

    At least you know how to "stand by your man". How much longer will he be staying in there?

  3. Britni TheVadgeWig
    Posted January 15, 2009 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    April: Violation of probation. That's all I know. My guess is he went out while on house arrest or he failed a drug test (he never could stop smoking weed).

    NV: It looks like about a year.

  4. The Promo Homo
    Posted January 15, 2009 at 8:39 pm | Permalink

    Brit, I hear what you are saying, but the women in the videos are in a different situation than the one you described.

    You met him before his jail sentence and fell in love with him… they all met and courted and MARRIED(??) unavailable men who had already committed crimes, some of them heinous.

    I think those women in the film are a bit off… but I don't think that about you at all. It's kind of like apples and oranges… they are both fruit… but totally different.

    Ya dig?

  5. Red
    Posted January 16, 2009 at 2:16 am | Permalink

    Being with a guy while he's in jail for a crime he was guilty of goes against the fibers of my being. I don't care if its drugs, driving, drinking…murder…rape?! I'm not down.

    Then again, I wouldn't date someone who acted so recklessly in the first place. I dig the nice guys…a lot.

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