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Margaret 09-25-2003 09:32 PM

Dating an inmate/ex-con vs. a 'regular' guy?
Hi, I'm Margaret, and this is my first post here, so please don't think I'm strange, but, I have been doing a lot of thinking lately and being 34 years old and not in a relatioship for many years (which was my preference back then), however, now that I'd like to find someone and settle, I'm finding that the pool of available single male candidates gets smaller as you get older, especially if I want someone who is willing to relocate with me, and give up all their previous commitments to start a brand new life with me, and so on.

Anyway, lately I was thinking, especially after seeing on here how many released convicts want to start a new life somewhere else with someone else afterwards, that maybe I was overlooking a potentially attractive market, and maybe I should start considering the inmate dating market, as more suitable candidates, becuase, they seem more willing to relocate, give up their previous lives, their previous commitments, make the new girlfriend come first, and drop their past to come start a new life with her, right where she'd prefer to be.

As opposed to the non-convict "free" men who are tied, comfortable and committed to their current ways in life and are unwilling to give up their current ways, and creature comforts to take a risk and start a new life with someone new.

I don't know. What do you all think? What should I do? Should Ireally start looking for someone who is incarerated and maybe get out in next yr or so, and is willing to start anew? I'm tired of not finding someone (I prefer a 40-something man) who wants to relocate with me and start a new life with me.

Also, isn't is also better to start a relationship by writing, visiting, using your head, taking your time, courting the traditional old-fashion slower way, as opposed to the modern comtemporary 'rush everything all at once and just jump right in without having any time to think about it' the 'regular' way?

Any thoughts, anyone? Any and all feedback is very much appreciated. Thank you.

flygirlaa2 09-25-2003 09:58 PM

Margaret, welcome to PTO. Well, I guess i will be the first to jump right in. LOL

There are a FEW advantages to dating an inmate. (very limited few) Yes, you get to know him thru his letters first. You also have time to really talk to him before sex is added to the mix. You are also dealing with someone who is going to get out and come into your life without asking you to adapt to his career or location. I am sure there are more advantages, but I cannot think of any more right now. I am sure someone will come along with more.

Now for disadvantages. You are dealing with someone who will have to go thru a major adjustment period. Most relationships do not survive a major crisis. I know of few (actually do not know any) pen pal relationships that work long term once he is released. The correctional system can be VERY stressful to deal with. Once he is out, he will still have to most likely be on some form of parole or supervised release and my well be violated and sent back. I am sure there are more cons but I cant think of any more right now.

Some inmates are decent, warm, caring people. Some are full of games and heartbreak. If you do decide to explore this realm, keep an open mind and a watchful eye. If you need anymore advice, just ask. I have been thru a few games so I can tell you what to look out for.

Good luck and god bless. If you have any questions, pm me.

ToughTimes 09-25-2003 09:59 PM

I personally would not go looking for an inmate, although I love one very much. I didn't expect to love him, but it happened. There is a guy out in the free world for you - they will come when you aren't looking. Some inmates are willing to start over with a good woman, but unfortuantly, there aren't many "success stories" about inmates coming home. We have members who wait for their men, and then come home and leave the woman who gave so much to them (this happened to me). Or they go back to jail again, back to their old ways (this also happened to me). Of course, there are going to be good stories, but this is not something to take lightly. If you decide to write inmates (which they would LOVE), think of it only as friendship and move on from there. Just my opinion.

MRSLMW 09-25-2003 10:03 PM

Hmmm, interesting concept. I've also never heard of the term inmate dating market :), though I guess that's what the pen pal thing is (sorta) about.

I guess it wouldn't hurt you to start a friendship with someone, (or two, three, etc), and see what develops.

I know excatly what you mean about people and their creature comforts. It amazes me sometimes how "settled" people can get.

I can see where you say the convicted person seems eager to relocate and start new, but beware, that "inmate dating market" is full of men who once were in the freeworld, and they may or may not make the girlfriend their top priortiy.

Some are just there for game, lonely inside, no letters, no visits, etc., but only want that compainonship until they get out, then it's back to the old habits.

Some have "relationships" with more than one free world pen pal, again, want letters, visits, money, etc., the more the better, but again, back to the old habits upon release, and they weren't even committed to you.

Of course there is that small percentage who would be faithful and grateful for you and your support.

Yes, I think it is better to start a relationship slow, but isn't this a little extreme if they only reason you are considering this is because you want a man to relocate with you?

Why not move, then start meeting people, or do you move around that much?

If you "found" someone you liked writing to and a relationship did develop, what would you do if he gets out and you move away together and he gets in trouble again?

Are you willing to committ to someone, to stand by them if they slip up? What if something happened and he had to do more time than you expected? How much time can you do?

Would you wait, or move on to the next name on the list?

Would you put conditions on it from the beginning?

Like a said, it's an interesting concept.

Chevygal55 09-25-2003 10:08 PM

Both Ladies have good points here. Personally I believe if you go looking for love you will never find it. It's when you are not looking when Love will find you! I met Trav thru a friend of a friend. Little did I know we would fall in love. I think being pen pals first is the way to go. And if you don't find love you just might find a great friend.

I really can't say Trav and I are a success story cuz he has only been home for a month and one week. But so far all is good. We have had our moments but that is all they are...moments. We work them out real quick. Most of all we love one another.

Best of luck to you!

flygirlaa2 09-25-2003 10:12 PM

Oh, Chevy, can you forgive me? I forgot about you and Travis. Definately a success story in the writing.

varsgrrrl 09-25-2003 10:16 PM

I think this is a very difficult life to choose. From what I read most of us were involved with our loved ones prior to them going in. In a sense your life is on hold, the life you share with him anyway. There are the letters , calls and visits but nothing can replace an person's physical presence. It may seem like you're getting a "clean slate" with someone just gettin out and looking for a new life but nobody's slate is clean. Inmates continue to have life experiences inside and they bring all that with them when they come home. The convict you meet on paper may be a totally different man when he gets into your everyday world. Plus you really don't want to be someone's "ticket" to a better life. I mean it's wonderful to want to encourage people to change and stay on the right path. But if you put yourself out there the way you've said you'd like to, I'd be afraid that you're opening yourself up to be used. There are some great stories about pen pals finding true love here BUT from what I understand these people went into it not looking for love. Don't give up on the men out here and don't sell yourself short. You sound like a loving person and I'm sure you'll find someone that will appreciate you without the added heartache.

Graciella 09-25-2003 10:31 PM

Yes, I agree with 'varsgrrrl', although inmates/ ex-cons are just 'regular guys' who just happen to be incacerated.... I don't think it is a very good idea. I don't think any of the 'success stories' went looking for love in the first place, it just happens....and yes, maybe they may sound fantastic on paper etc. the fact is, how can you really know anyone until you have been together for awhile first...anyone can say anything in a yeah, don't sell yourself short, there are plenty of great guys out here, who have alot more to offer will find that when you stop looking for love, that is when you will find it, it will come to you. Anyway, GOOD LUCK, hope you find what you are looking for....and who says you need a man to be happy anyways?

Chevygal55 09-25-2003 10:33 PM

Ha Fly no problem! NO need to forgive! You summed it up correctly.. We (Trav and I) are still a success story in the working... :D Hopefully God Willing we "will" be a true success story!

Margaret 09-26-2003 12:39 AM

Wow, you guys are great, thanks for all the very intelligent and thought provoking responses. It seems as though majority of responses were saying: 'warning: proceed with caution', in particular 'do not look for love'.

So, given that message, that is, the most likely case being that love is not possible, how about the next reason, that is isn't it still better to have a relationship if not for love, but of convenience, mutually beneficial convenience, one specified and agreed upon ahead of time that lays out the terms and conditions of how the two of you will proceed to make arrangements that provides ways to meet your each of your needs? isn't that still better to do with a convict than a free man? (sorry Graciella, I said 'regular' guys, I didn't know what terminology to use, but now I think I learned they're supposed to be called 'free' men)
And the biggest reason why my questions is wouldn't it be easier to have a convenience (mutually beneficial) relationship with a guy on parole or with a criminal record than one without, is because doesn't the one without the record have greater bargaining power?

And the one on parole, and/or with a record has less bargaining power, and isn't especially in regards to arranging matters of convenience between two people, bargaining power relative to increasing your odds of being able to attain what your want?

In other words, these guys who come out of prison, have less bargaining power due to fewer options, therefore are less likely to walk away to what a woman has to offer, as opposed to the free guys with greater bargaining power due to having greater number of options (can get employment anywhere, can open bank/trust accounts, good interest rate on mortgage, get a loan, credit lines anywhere, live with any landlord, any neighborhood, pass all security checks, literally can do many things, even get off speeding tickets w/ lighter sentence, and so on).

I mean your bargaining power overall is pretty limited with a record, you are excluded from many things, have much less options, employment, credit lending, real estate options, etc.

And therefore a guy who has all these obstacles in front of him will be more 'open' to listening to you if you have the ability to to do all the things a free man can, and needs you to 'assist' him with until he gets to slowly on his own through time, becuase he can't on his own without you for the time being.

This puts the woman in a much greater bargaining position comparable to the ex-con - he needs her more than she needs him. She can drop the relationship as soon as he stops meeting her needs, as soon as he stops fixing her house, her car, running her errands, etc, whatever she needs him to do, and find someone else. How likely is he to drop her for someone else, when he is practially dependant on her?

So as long she needs his help, and he needs her help, and they both agree to help each other in the other peron's area of weakness, complementing each other's ability to live in the world, I don't see much wrong with that.

There is actually a guy who said when he gets out he wanted to relocate, build a log home and a couple custom bikes, and I was thinking, if he could build me those things and take me out on rides and take care of me in the areas I need help with, I could offer to help support him where he needs help, but if he were to stop doing his share, then why couldn't we just shake hands amicably and move on to someone else, right? I mean if not for love, for convenience, not too bad a reason, so long as both people are adults, agree to mutual beneficial terms, and abide by them, till agreed no longer then case, therefore reasonable grounds to terminate the relationship and amicably at that, could be easier to find with an ex-con then a free guy w/ no record due to his having less abundance of immediately available options? That is my question.

As to finding a free man to do this for/with me, where I want to move is rural and jobs scarce, can't find anyone so far.

asia619 09-26-2003 04:12 AM


Originally posted by Margaret
[Bthe biggest reason why my questions is wouldn't it be easier to have a convenience (mutually beneficial) relationship with a guy on parole or with a criminal record than one without, is because doesn't the one without the record have greater bargaining power?
In other words, these guys who come out of prison, have less bargaining power due to fewer options, therefore are less likely to walk away to what a woman has to offer, as opposed to the free guys with greater bargaining power due to having greater number of options I mean your bargaining power overall is pretty limited with a record, you are excluded from many things, have much less options, employment, credit lending, real estate options, etc.
This puts the woman in a much greater bargaining position comparable to the ex-con - he needs her more than she needs him. She can drop the relationship as soon as he stops meeting her needs, as soon as he stops fixing her house, her car, running her errands, etc, whatever she needs him to do, and find someone else. How likely is he to drop her for someone else, when he is practially dependant on her?

As to finding a free man to do this for/with me, where I want to move is rural and jobs scarce, can't find anyone so far. [/b]
I'm sorry here I go with my big mouth again so if I offend anyone I that is not my intentions.....Well, from what you have told us and from my own opinion I think that if these are your reasons for "looking for love" from an inmate then these are the wrong reasons. It sounds to me as if the men you meet in the "real world" do not "need" you enough so you figure maybe if you find a guy who "needs" you he will love you. That's not how it works sweetheart........You say that these men have less bargaining power because they have less options...well, you are very right in that case but that does not necessarily mean that they will "love" you because they "need" you. I don't know if I'm making any sense here but it sounds to me as if you are loooking for a guy in prison because you want to be the one in the relationship with the "power". If that is true then I think those ae toatally wrong reasons to look for a penpal in prison.....Now, if things happen and you ahppen to fall in love then you are in love but you cannot push or expect something like this to happen. Just because they are locked up does not mean they will marry any girl that offers to be with them. When my husband got out we fought so much and I took care of him but he would still threaten to leave me! just be careful and do not LOOK for love for the wrong reasons. Good luck to you in whatever you do decide to do!

tropical1 09-26-2003 05:00 AM

when my guy and i met where we worked i had no idea that he was on parole for absconding, never in my life have i set out to LOOK for a inmate and really any man to offer me something. if a man is going to leave he is going to leave inmate or not. all men inmate or not can be needy. as far as the "inmate market" thats a bit much for me to handle. looking for a man who has credit or can buy real estate or move freely about is not on my resume for love. i believe it takes a special type of woman to handle a inmate relationship and it is not for the weak hearted. if whats important to you is "good credit" or "real estate" then perhaps you should make sure you have "good credit" or "real estate" and then it wont be a issue. i do not believe you should expect something from a man that you dont have. I was married to "not a inmate" for a long time and wanted for nothing, we had all material things you could think of and the result was divorce, best thing i have ever done. then i met my "inmate" who for the first time in years made me feel alive and in love again and he has "nothing" in the free world but in the "heart and soul" world he has everything!!!


RaW-Raswifey 09-26-2003 06:09 AM

Listen, I wouldnt go looking for an inmate boyfriend or husband unless it comes naturally. You say youd like to relocate and start over... I'm guessing you want a nice easy going life... Any life with a prison ex-inmate is not going to be easy. You have to be willing to understand and go through the consequences that come along with having been in prison. Money will be an issue, a job for him will probably be an issue too. I dont suggest that. Why dont you relocate and meet someone or at least try to meet someone in the area youd like to live. Its a little different if you met him previously, or maybe through someone. But dont search out for it. This prison wifey thing is not an easy road and its not for everyone. Try doing the "regular guy" thing as long as you can. I'm not saying prison relationships are all bad. I'm happy ive been with my wonderful boyfriend for his entire incarceration and previously. But its been a struggle. Good luck, i hope i helped in some strange way

samiam158 09-26-2003 06:27 AM

i know this is a place for support but i just cant help myself...are you looking for love or a slave......sorry...but no real man is going to do all this ...for what ??? and if i had a man that did .....well.....i wouldn't have much respect for him...but good luck in finding a man that would be happy with these circumstances....sorry again

StacysWar030 09-26-2003 10:29 AM

WOW!! What I just read i almost can't believe!! This sounds more like a "business" deal then a relationship you are looking for. I kno when I met my husband I sure wasn't trying to put down on paper how the whole relationship would go. Sure we all look for a certain kind of companion, but it seems to me you are missing the point here. I wanted a man who wouldn't cheat on me , lie to me, abuse me or my children, or use me. I wanted a man who was my best friend who I could share my life with. My inner fears without worry of judgement. That is the REAL point of a relationship. Not somebody I would "BARGAIN" with. "Hey guy, you take out my garbage and I'll bye your smokes" What the hell is that? I'm not trying to criticize you in your efforts to find companionship. It just sounds to me that you've missed the boat on what REAL Love and relationships are all about! You need someone to fix your furnace? Call the furnace guy. You need someone to bargain with....go to an auction. Praying on the lonely inmate to get what you want out of a man is WRONG. You sound like men are only good for one thing and that's to be your "trophy" and say "yeah I have an 'ol man who jumps when I snap my fingers"


sfveggie 09-26-2003 10:40 AM


you want rural? you want men?
move to alaska.

everyone's advice is right.

Don't even think about it.

BryansGRRL 09-26-2003 11:41 AM

If you know you want a relationship for "convienience" then great look for that :) it can be hard to find w/and man though so that its truly compatible. I know when I wasn't looking for love that's when it hit me and it was BEST that way! i've had gf's LOOK for it and they too found it when they "gave up" and stopped looking! If you choose to seek out an inmate some post on penpals sites they want a "special somone" but if you do this keep your eyes WIDE open!Ortherwise i would just start off as friends.

flygirlaa2 09-26-2003 11:44 AM

Well, I am not going to tell you how wrong you are. But, I will tell you that I found your post a little strange. Who am I to say you are wrong.

Now, if you are serious and not pulling our leg, I will tell you I think you are off base. These guys that get out are notorious for jumping from one gal to the next. I can tell you from first hand experience that offering money, stability, good credit, love, support, ect. just isnt enough if he doesnt love you or have the emotional maturity to control himself.

It sounds as if you have given plenty of thought into this and have already made your mind up. If you do decided this is for you, then why not ask some of us to see if we know a decent AVAILABLE guy rather than rely on these pen pal ads. I am very skeptical of them. Too many lies, too many games.

toi_ama 09-26-2003 12:58 PM

Asia and Stacy said it very well. Flygirl made great points too. Now I'll add my two cents worth.

Aside from the small number of "regular guys" who are just nice fellas who got wrongly convicted, the prisons are also full of guys who aren't so "regular", who have personality disorders, serious drug addictions, and not so harmless tendencies. There are far more of those in there than just regular nice guys. Pick the wrong silver-tongued devil and you could put yourself six feet under in a nice coffin instead of living happily ever after in a nice log home. Most of the women here have spouses, boyfriends, kids and other loved ones inside that they knew before they got put into prison. To just pick someone because you see them as being more needy than free men so you can easily get them to do for you in return for what you can do for them is, bottom line, a very cold attitude and also a very naive one. Don't kid yourself that you're a good enough judge of character to pick the "right" one. You're not, and you could put yourself in a lot of danger that way.

If you want someone who can do for you in the manner you suggest, it would be safer to put an ad in the paper.

angelmuffin 09-26-2003 01:41 PM

It would be far better to work yourself and be alone than to consider incarcerated men as a dating market. Surely you see the enormous stress these women write about their day to day lives. It's one thing to already love someone who finds himself in this position. Why seek it out like you are going shopping with a list at the inmate discount store? As if some may be scratched and dented but you will get a more adaptable product? I would feel better supporting you by discouraging this plan.

myolflame 09-26-2003 02:16 PM

You're still a young woman !!!
Hello and holly cow. You sound like you think your life is over at the ripe old age of 34. You're still a young woman with a future, why would you be so desperate? Why not join an online dating service and find someone that way? I liked the Alaska suggestion too. These posters are all right in their warnings to you, I hope you listen to their wisdom.

Yasmeen 09-26-2003 03:28 PM

I'll tread carefully with this one...I met my fiancee in Prison, but if something were to happen to him, I wouldn't do this again. You find love in the strangest places and I truly believe that I got lucky. A prison is not a place to "meet" people and if you go into this thinking of this as a dating scene, you might get more than you bargained for. I wrote my fiancee for awhile before meeting him...but, I was listed in the Prison directory for months and some of the letters I received from these incarcerated men were gruesome, a handful of them terrorizing, while others were very nice and respectful. You never know what you're going to get! You cant "weed out" the good from the bad because the fact is, these men were put in prison for a reason. Some have rehabilitated themselves through years of incarceration, some havent learned a damn thing and will go back to their life of crime after being paroled, which makes it harder for those who really want to be home and make a brand new life with someone. My final thought is this: There are good men out there...some are incarcerated yes, but there are many who are not incarcerated. Love will come to you when you least expect it.

Preciousrain 09-26-2003 03:53 PM

I cant even believe half of what I've read here. Why would you consider going after an inmate to use as a convience in a relationship? I'm sorry, but I know the inmates I am friends with and my man are all pretty much under a great deal of stress and they don't need that. Most of the inmates I know have been convicted for drug dealing and I know that they are pretty decent guys. However, they are also vulnerable right now. Even though they are in prison for a reason, they are emotionally wired and vulnerable. If you want to be someones friend for the sole purpose of being their FRIEND, then by all means seek out an inmate. But please don't use people for your own purposes. I knew my man before he went in. I have loved him for 9 years and this is his first incarceration. Its very tough.

bcm 09-26-2003 04:31 PM

I would never look for an inmate to have a relationship with. I was with my boyfriend before he became an inmate and as much as I love him I doubt I would've started a relationship with him once he was already in prison. You shouldn't be "looking" for someone to settle down with in the first place because that's what makes them impossible to find. I was friends with my boyfriend when I was 12, i deffinately wasn't thinking about marrying him then. It's very true as well that a relationship with an inmate is not easy. The only way I can see one working is if you are truely in love with each other or just close friends because there are a lot of sacrafices to be made and many, many hard times. From my own personal experience I would never recomend a relationship of any kind with an inmate but I love my boyfriend too much to ever leave him. However I will agree that inmates are "regular guys" who happen to be in prison. That's whole seperate topic but I hate it when people automatically assume that someone isn't a good person because they are in prison. Sorry for blabbering but that's my opinion on the issue :)

KTC 09-26-2003 05:19 PM

I feel just to go out and look for a inmate to date is kinda not the best thing maybe to do. Now there is LOTS of men locked up who are awesome, kindhearted people, but then u get some who arnt and jus could possible use you. See i knew my man before he went in so i didnt go looking for a inmate, he jus became one hehe, but if i was to start all over i would NOT pen pal to hook up with a inmate jus because after dealing with him in thier its so friggin hard and u get so stressed and upset and lonley, its a pain in the butt. When they get out thats true, that u dont have to relocate or go with thier carrer sends them, but u do have to deal with parole, a person who had been incarcerated for the last how many years and has to readjust, someone who has diff. views on thing than most becuz of prison life and by the time he gets out might not be with u long becuz he wasnt with u before he got in, u understand?

I pen pal 2 guys as friends and they are GREAT guys but i just would never pursure a raltiongahip with them, unless they got out and came to my door and was ready for one and no games. So its up to u, thiers good sides, like u dont have to worry about MOST cheating ot hitten on another women haha, but outside world u dont all the tim either, u always know where there at hehe, um u get to know them on a one to one personal basis and learn more about them, before u kiss, hug, sex, ANYTHING. You fall in love im assuming with thier personality. Inmates are good people in bad situations and can be good husbands im sure when they get out, but if your willing to deal with all that then go for it, but if your not then i wouldnt reccommend it at all.

Maybe u can try to find a decent man not locked up oneday, theres ways to get a man, where u hang out at? I know alot of marines, ill send some your way haha;), girl they are HOT:P. But nah, for real its up to u and your life, if your willing to deal with the harships that come along with it and the times when u wanna flip out on people and u fight with him and cant resolve it good cuz hes in there and everyone gets mad at each other then go for it. Us women who stay with a inmate are one of the toughest women out there cuz we go through so much, not as much as them, our loves, but were doin time with them to and puttin up with the crappy system treating US the not guilty party like S**t. Anywayz, i say try it if u like but make sure its what u want and always be on the guard with a pen pal, i havent got with one ever and dont plan on it, but the stuff i hear u gotta keep ya guard up. And if u decided to go with a free man, more power to u also, dont worry the right guy will come along soon, locked up or not, youll know when u have him. good luck. ktc:)

PS- let us know what ya do and how it works out!

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