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Met While Incarcerated Were you introduced by a friend or family member after he/she was incarcerated? Did you meet as Pen Pals? This Forum is for you!

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Old 07-17-2017, 12:41 PM
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Default MWI: The Homecoming

This space is to share stories of homecoming specific to MWI. While there are challenges all relationships face at the end of a prison sentence, MWI have a unique path to take. Please use this thread to share your joys, fears, struggles, successes and helpful advice for transitioning from incarceration to free world living.

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Old 07-17-2017, 02:11 PM
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I've known my MWI for 20 months now, we have 18 more months to go until his homecoming. We've talked about it some and we both have fears and concerns about the transition. He has spent most of the last decade incarcerated and is a recovering addict. I know it won't be easy and there is a lot of unknown. We both still have so much to learn about each other. He has already asked me if I would be willing to attend couples counselling with him when he gets out, so he already seems to be proactive about our relationship which is a good sign. Right now I'm looking forward to the day when I can share our homecoming story, both the joys and challenges.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:35 PM
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We both still have so much to learn about each other. He has already asked me if I would be willing to attend couples counselling with him when he gets out, so he already seems to be proactive about our relationship which is a good sign.
That's terrific. I foresee us attending counseling, as well. I look forward to reading your updates after he's home.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:38 PM
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So, J and I have talked about the fact that there just isn't much information out there to help couples like us deal with everything that comes with a MWI relationship. I mean, think about it... We met someone in prison, fell in love, maybe we married or maybe we're waiting until they come home. We have never spent any time with this person in the real world. We don't know their annoying little habits, or what annoys them, for that matter. Heck, we don't even know if they drink out of the milk/oj container or leave the toilet seat up. Yet, here we are...bringing this person who is just getting out of prison, sometimes after rather long bids, home to live with us. We have no point of reference for their behavior... Is it better? Is it worse? We don't know...we didn't know them before their incarceration. Were they honest and sincere about loving us or were they full of crap? The one thing we honestly don't know, is what we just got ourselves into.

When our MWI love comes home...well, that's when we find out who they really are. There are a lot of adjustments going on. We're adjusting to them... They're adjusting to us... And they're adjusting to bring out of prison to a world that may be nothing at all like the one they left. They may have had a problem with drugs and/or alcohol. Oh boy.

So, when J and I had our talk about all this, we decided I should share our experience with his homecoming...both the first and the second. The thought was that maybe we could give someone an idea if what they may be facing. Cause let me tell you, things we're rough. It was a rocky, bumpy, crazy ride. I love my husband dearly, but at the time, I wanted to trade him in for a Kitty. Seriously.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:44 PM
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We don't know their annoying little habits, or what annoys them, for that matter. Heck, we don't even know if they drink out of the milk/oj container or leave the toilet seat up. Yet, here we are...bringing this person who is just getting out of prison, sometimes after rather long bids, home to live with us.
This! What I'm finding is that my husband doesn't know much of those answers because he's been in so long. So I can ask all day long "Do you like to sleep in on your days off? Do you prefer to eat dinner in or do you like to eat at restaurants?" and he has no idea. There's a barrier there that can't be breached until he's home. There's the new that's us as a couple and the new that's entirely him. He's pretty aware and will say things like, "I think I like this..." but he seems open to that changing.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:52 PM
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This! What I'm finding is that my husband doesn't know much of those answers because he's been in so long. So I can ask all day long "Do you like to sleep in on your days off? Do you prefer to eat dinner in or do you like to eat at restaurants?" and he has no idea. There's a barrier there that can't be breached until he's home. There's the new that's us as a couple and the new that's entirely him. He's pretty aware and will say things like, "I think I like this..." but he seems open to that changing.
J was only in for 8 years when we met. We met with close to two years let on it. There we're things he knew and things he thought he knew because he didn't realize it had changed. He had little, if any concept of what things cost... He still kinda has that problem. He'll tell me something should be x amount and I'll tell him that it isn't. He has to freaking argue with me because that's what he remembers it costing. He would want to go to a store or to go eat somewhere and didn't know that they had closed. It was very frustrating for him... And for me, because he would get rather upset.
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Old 07-17-2017, 02:57 PM
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Which leads me to ask, for those already home:

I do not want to control his money. I want him to learn to manage his funds, but he went in at 19/20 and has been in almost 16 years. He says he wants me to manage the money. I know why, he's afraid he'll blow through it and he probably will. But I don't want to set up a power struggle between his wants and my need to keep us on budget. I've never co-mingled funds with my exes. We each chipped in our share for household costs and then spent according to our incomes for everything else. He doesn't understand that.

How do you do it?
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:18 PM
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Which leads me to ask, for those already home:

I do not want to control his money. I want him to learn to manage his funds, but he went in at 19/20 and has been in almost 16 years. He says he wants me to manage the money. I know why, he's afraid he'll blow through it and he probably will. But I don't want to set up a power struggle between his wants and my need to keep us on budget. I've never co-mingled funds with my exes. We each chipped in our share for household costs and then spent according to our incomes for everything else. He doesn't understand that.

How do you do it?
You guys can keep it separate, but you can sit down bimonthly to monthly and create budgets together. Or you do it and review it with him.

Maybe overtime he will get the hang of it and trust himself more.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:19 PM
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Which leads me to ask, for those already home:

I do not want to control his money. I want him to learn to manage his funds, but he went in at 19/20 and has been in almost 16 years. He says he wants me to manage the money. I know why, he's afraid he'll blow through it and he probably will. But I don't want to set up a power struggle between his wants and my need to keep us on budget. I've never co-mingled funds with my exes. We each chipped in our share for household costs and then spent according to our incomes for everything else. He doesn't understand that.

How do you do it?

That's a great question and i don't have experience in this area, but wanted to share some ideas : ) Wonder if he has a job in prison and if so, he's already had to manage his money, so he's had that experience. Wonder if instead of "controlling" his money-being aware of what he has and what he's spending-so helping and teaching him to track and budget, til he gets the hang of it and feels comfortable doing it on his own. There's also many different worksheets and aps to help with budgeting and tracking your money-these may help...Think it'll be good for you both, for him to learn to manage his own. Then again, i know some couples do decide that just one handles all the financial stuff and that works for them... hope this gives some ideas and think this is how i would address this situation. Def keep feeling it out with him and allowing him to take baby steps.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:22 PM
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Which leads me to ask, for those already home:

I do not want to control his money. I want him to learn to manage his funds, but he went in at 19/20 and has been in almost 16 years. He says he wants me to manage the money. I know why, he's afraid he'll blow through it and he probably will. But I don't want to set up a power struggle between his wants and my need to keep us on budget. I've never co-mingled funds with my exes. We each chipped in our share for household costs and then spent according to our incomes for everything else. He doesn't understand that.

How do you do it?
We talk through it. Go over what we have... What bills have to come out if each of his checks. Well... His checks pay the rent. But...we do it together. I had a little spending episode, so my mother told him to take my debit card. Since he's been responsible for that, there hasn't been a problem with him wanting to buy whatever. He's trying to be responsible for the money. He even handles me quite well in stores, which surprised me. I let him do the figuring as to can we buy something or not, but we discuss it. Occasionally he will get testy because I have a few bills that come out automatically that he says he didn't know about, but when I wanted to go over bills with him, he wasn't interested.

There is always the option of giving him a prepaid debit card with money on it that he can manage on his own. It might be an easier way to ease him into managing his money.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:24 PM
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That's a great question and i don't have experience in this area, but wanted to share some ideas : ) Wonder if he has a job in prison and if so, he's already had to manage his money, so he's had that experience.
Yes, he has a job and has had for a while. But it's very low pay and he owes restitution and medical fees, so he's "managing" about $5-6 a month. It's not enough to cover anything but some extras from the store. So yes he has, but really, no. He hasn't had to.

We did talk about me giving him control over the amount of money I set aside for phone calls, mail and visit. He could decide how much we spend on calls/vending machines, ect. He had a meltdown. I've actually never seen him so anxious. It never wound up happening because I moved states and he moved prisons and it got lost in the mix.

I don't mind paying our household bills, not at all. But I don't want control of his discretionary money. Nope.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:26 PM
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There is always the option of giving him a prepaid debit card with money on it that he can manage on his own. It might be an easier way to ease him into managing his money.
That's a fantastic idea. I was to the point of thinking it would be trial by fire. If he blows all his "extra" money before the next paycheck is here, then he'd learn. Sort of like letting your kid stick the fork in the socket.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:28 PM
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That's a fantastic idea. I was to the point of thinking it would be trial by fire. If he blows all his "extra" money before the next paycheck is here, then he'd learn. Sort of like letting your kid stick the fork in the socket.
I mean, you could take the amount he has for the month, split it into four. Put a little on the card each week... Or tell him to let you know when he needs more, but this is what he has for the month and when it's gone, he's broke.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:43 PM
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I mean, you could take the amount he has for the month, split it into four. Put a little on the card each week... Or tell him to let you know when he needs more, but this is what he has for the month and when it's gone, he's broke.
I really like that idea. Then it's still up to him, but I can perhaps help him pump the brakes a little.

The last time this came up he told me, "I'll give you my check and you give me like $60 a week." Gas back and forth to work will eat up more than half of that. It's going to be a learning curve, for sure.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:55 PM
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Also see if he can get a secured credit card. Some are prepaid, so he learns how to manage money.

You can also try two separate bank accounts. One put his check in and the other for spending money. They can both be checking accts. I really like capital One 360. No fees and low balances to start. There are physical branches, but most is done online.

Also, if he is a reader maybe send him some financial books that he can read now.
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Old 07-17-2017, 03:56 PM
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My guy and I are not MWI, but he is not great with money either. We are doing the talks now and I ask his advice to keep him in the loop and such. He says the same thing about giving him money every month from his check, but he still needs to learn
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Old 07-17-2017, 04:14 PM
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I really like that idea. Then it's still up to him, but I can perhaps help him pump the brakes a little.

The last time this came up he told me, "I'll give you my check and you give me like $60 a week." Gas back and forth to work will eat up more than half of that. It's going to be a learning curve, for sure.
Yeah. It is. Its a lot of trial and error. Does this work? Nope... Let's try this... Oh that was worse... It will eventually smooth out. It just takes a bit of patience and a good sense of humor.
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Old 07-18-2017, 05:24 PM
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My MWI came home today. Exciting time . We met in 2011 . I want to thank PTO for all the support.
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Old 07-18-2017, 05:45 PM
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My MWI came home today. Exciting time . We met in 2011 . I want to thank PTO for all the support.
Congrats!! How exciting and so glad you let us know. I'm sure things will be a whirlwind for a while but I do hope you'll update us in a little while.
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