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Loving a Lifer For those whose loved one is serving a life sentence.

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  #1  
Old 11-04-2017, 03:26 PM
TreeGrl72 TreeGrl72 is offline
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Hi all,

So, I learned a lot from my last thread and I'm feeling more comfortable in the Loving a Lifer community than I have in others on PTO, so I thought I'd try again!

As I've mentioned, I'm just beginning this journey as a LO of an LWOP prisoner. We met in person WHILE he was already incarcerated (gasp!). If you are interested in the details of our meeting or want to do some bashing of staff-inmate relationships, please feel free to either PM me or keep your comments to yourself. I don't find them useful for anyone.

Anyway, so it's been about eight months and we have been doing a lot of talking about what this means and processing fears/concerns. I'm noticing my main fear is that I will wake up one day as an older lady, like in twenty years, and regret my decision to be with him. Like, I will have "lost my youth" so to speak and be resentful that I had been physically alone for that long....and then it will somehow be too late. I know this sounds ridiculous and I am having a hard time even putting it out there...but I'm struggling with it and would love feedback.

Can anyone who has traveled this journey with their LO's for years and years tell me about their experiences of living alone physically for decades? Do resentments come up for you or do the joys outweigh them? Did you have concerns like this at the beginning?

I am well aware of all of the blessings and joys of being with our men (otherwise I wouldn't be choosing this life at all), but I would like some help working through this fear from people who understand, if at all possible.

Thank you in advance.
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Old 11-06-2017, 12:48 PM
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Not sure if I will be helpful, but will share a little in hopes that it will be..and no bashing in regards to how you met/started your relationship-there's no telling how/when/where we will meet one that we connect with like this.. You ask good introspective questions, that ultimately only you can answer..it's a tough, long road, but amazing how worth it it is to continue on this journey with the one you love. My situation is kinda different, so I can't completely speak to what your asking, but there will be days when you long for his presence, and to just be with him, but other days where you will be ok with the way things are and other days when you don't think you can take it any more..I think it is a day by day existence...If you truly love this person though, you will fight through every up and down and it will be worth it. You'll find enjoyment in the simplest things and not take anything for granted. You will miss out on a lot of things in a relationship like this, but experience so much that many 'traditional' couples have forgotten or never had...not sure where you're at in your relationship with him, but take it slow, take your time getting to know him and feeling out the situation and if you can be good with sacrificing those traditional things most normal couples have... It's a long road but well worth it...
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Old 11-07-2017, 04:14 PM
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I don't think this is an unreasonable thought. You are entering into a committed relationship wherein you are going to sacrifice quite a bit more than what would be expected in a traditional relationship.

You need to decide for yourself what you are willing and/or unwilling to sacrifice for the relationship and still be able to maintain a level of happiness and satisfaction with your life. Then you have to get right with it because having feelings of resentment later on down the line will destroy your relationship and it wouldn't be fair to your partner who has little control over many of those things you are sacrificing to be with him. No relationship comes with a guarantee for success, but openly discussing your fears, needs and goals can help navigate the rough waters.

I have been in this relationship for almost seven years, married to him for five. I had those fears in the beginning. I wondered if I could maintain happiness whilst giving up various aspects of the relationship. I have a level of happiness that satisfies me. If at some point things were to go south, I would be broken hearted, but not resentful, because I am not sacrificing anything I was not okay with sacrificing from day one. Does that make sense?

There are many other ladies who have been at this way longer than I have and I am sure they will have their own words of wisdom for you. I just didn't want you to think you are the only one having those thoughts and asking these questions.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:16 PM
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Originally Posted by smiles844 View Post
Not sure if I will be helpful, but will share a little in hopes that it will be..and no bashing in regards to how you met/started your relationship-there's no telling how/when/where we will meet one that we connect with like this.. You ask good introspective questions, that ultimately only you can answer..it's a tough, long road, but amazing how worth it it is to continue on this journey with the one you love. My situation is kinda different, so I can't completely speak to what your asking, but there will be days when you long for his presence, and to just be with him, but other days where you will be ok with the way things are and other days when you don't think you can take it any more..I think it is a day by day existence...If you truly love this person though, you will fight through every up and down and it will be worth it. You'll find enjoyment in the simplest things and not take anything for granted. You will miss out on a lot of things in a relationship like this, but experience so much that many 'traditional' couples have forgotten or never had...not sure where you're at in your relationship with him, but take it slow, take your time getting to know him and feeling out the situation and if you can be good with sacrificing those traditional things most normal couples have... It's a long road but well worth it...
Wow. That was so thoughtful and well said. i love how you talked about the day to day existence. That is so true. This morning, I was able to nail down my first appointment to go visit him. I was so excited to tell him during our phone call and then...no call. This happens a lot. So, I try to breathe through the disappointment and the fear that he's not okay. I can be blessed out one moment and heartbroken the next. But maybe that's life...I think everything is just more heightened in this kind of relationship. Anyway, I appreciate your words immensely. Thanks.
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Old 11-08-2017, 11:22 PM
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I don't think this is an unreasonable thought. You are entering into a committed relationship wherein you are going to sacrifice quite a bit more than what would be expected in a traditional relationship.

You need to decide for yourself what you are willing and/or unwilling to sacrifice for the relationship and still be able to maintain a level of happiness and satisfaction with your life. Then you have to get right with it because having feelings of resentment later on down the line will destroy your relationship and it wouldn't be fair to your partner who has little control over many of those things you are sacrificing to be with him. No relationship comes with a guarantee for success, but openly discussing your fears, needs and goals can help navigate the rough waters.

I have been in this relationship for almost seven years, married to him for five. I had those fears in the beginning. I wondered if I could maintain happiness whilst giving up various aspects of the relationship. I have a level of happiness that satisfies me. If at some point things were to go south, I would be broken hearted, but not resentful, because I am not sacrificing anything I was not okay with sacrificing from day one. Does that make sense?

There are many other ladies who have been at this way longer than I have and I am sure they will have their own words of wisdom for you. I just didn't want you to think you are the only one having those thoughts and asking these questions.
Thank you for taking the time to respond to me. Yes, this makes total sense...I like how you said you would be broken hearted but not resentful if it ended because you entered into it with eyes wide open. That's what I'm trying to do here...not sugar coat the situation and just be present and aware of all the inevitable downsides and good aspects. I am in awe of the seven years. What a roller coaster to ride...does it get easier? There are so many obstacles to have to navigate with prison life. But, I can't imagine life without him and I'm ready to face these nights of no calls and these weeks of lock downs...it sucks at times but then there are those amazing moments. Anyway, thank you for this. My best to you and your guy.
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Old 11-09-2017, 10:46 AM
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You asked if it gets easier. I'm not sure if easier is the term I would use, but it does become tolerable. You develop a routine, an understanding of what to expect and you build up a thick skin along the way that helps you when dealing with the ups and downs associated with this type of relationship. People often have a hard time believing that I am happy in this relationship, but I am. Obviously I would love my husband to be home so that we could share life together to a greater degree, but I am happy with what we do have together. It is enough for me as we have built our relationship on what we have rather than what we do not have. I wish you all the best on your journey.

Remember that there are many of us traveling this road and we are here if you need us. =)
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Old 11-09-2017, 11:10 PM
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You asked if it gets easier. I'm not sure if easier is the term I would use, but it does become tolerable. You develop a routine, an understanding of what to expect and you build up a thick skin along the way that helps you when dealing with the ups and downs associated with this type of relationship. People often have a hard time believing that I am happy in this relationship, but I am. Obviously I would love my husband to be home so that we could share life together to a greater degree, but I am happy with what we do have together. It is enough for me as we have built our relationship on what we have rather than what we do not have. I wish you all the best on your journey.

Remember that there are many of us traveling this road and we are here if you need us. =)

Wow, thank you so much! You words really fit my experience thus far. I even used those words the other day...that I was developing a thicker skin. The days without hearing from them are hard--but I'm learning that I can get through it and it makes it that much sweeter when I do hear from him again. Thank you for your kind words and compassion. I am grateful to hear from supportive people like you.
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Old 11-10-2017, 12:39 AM
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I don't believe anyone can predict success or failure trying to sustain these relationships......too many I believe live in this fantasy of what could or might be...me included in the first few years, caught up in the drama for lack of a better word of this prison life. 13 years down the road and I'm over it....and have been for some time. We are MBI, known each other for 41 years now....reunited 13 years ago after he had been inside for 26 years.

Don't get me wrong, I still love him very much, but life has caught up with me....I have grown children, a granddaughter, and the care of my now widowed mother and I simply don't have the time I once did to invest in this relationship. We still talk several times a week, but I no longer visit every weekend, we no longer write.....I'm tired. I want more for my life than spending every weekend in the visiting room longing for what in reality will probably never be. Life for me is too short (or in this case too long) to pin all my hopes on a "maybe".

I hope to see him someday walk outside those gates, not for me, but for him. I think his punishment for his crime was met long ago.....he will never have a child of his own, he has missed out on what could have been shared with me had he never gone to prison, experiences that cannot truly be shared in a 15 minute phone call, in letters, pictures or a 6-8 hour visit in a crowded visiting room. Things like cuddling together on a couch while it snows outside, going on vacations with my granddaughter, shopping together for Christmas presents, preparing meals together, going to sporting events, enjoying the warmth of his touch every day after a long hard day at work.....things you cannot get back. You only go through life once....this is reality with a lifer.

I have learned so much through this walk, I have grown in ways that I never would have had we not reconnected. I have seen his spirit shine despite his circumstances or the harshness that he has endured, but I would be blind to also not see what the years behind those fences has done to him.....institutionalized even though he doesn't truly see it.....yet I am still here....

I am not trying to rain on your parade....this is my reality. I will say this though, I would never ever recommend a young person enter into a relationship like this. There is a short period of time where you can experience motherhood and I for one would never sacrifice that for any man.

Most on here will not agree with this and that's okay, its important for me to keep my feet on the ground, to recognize things for what they are, and what they are not. Should he ever be granted his freedom he will have so much on his plate at the beginning that I would not want to add to that an expectation of being able to walk into a full time relationship with me, but until that time I strive to be his friend in as full a capacity as I can be. We are both okay with this. I just wanted to give you another view.
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Old 11-10-2017, 12:50 AM
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I don't really count I guess because I'm only doing this for the past almost 3 years (MWI) but I remember when I first saw his profile and read TWO life sentences served CONSECUTIVELY I was floored...
Now the light at the end of that tunnel is getting so bright, a little more patience, perseverance and faith and he might be home sooner than we think...
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Old 11-11-2017, 01:18 PM
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I think there are many ways to live a life... If choosing this particular path, personallly, I feel it's essential to let go of any kind of comparisons with what an average day's satisfactions look like. Also -- and I realize my view differs from others on this -- it's just as important not to pin one's hopes on a future posssibility of radical change (i.e, an overturned sentence, a law changing, etc.). While that is always within the realm of possibility, it isn't within the realm of probability. I'd find this journey much too hard if I 'tempted' myself with these fantasies.

We are by no means the only ones living an unusual life. Sometimes people are 'denied' a regular life with the usual milestones and routines and satisfactions for reasons completely outside their control, and some of them still find ways to be happy. I'm willing to bet they do it by finding the things in their circumstances that bring them joy, and they don't let themselves dwell on what they're denied. That calls for a radical acceptance of the situaiton exactly as it is, though.
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Old 11-11-2017, 10:09 PM
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I think there are many ways to live a life... If choosing this particular path, personallly, I feel it's essential to let go of any kind of comparisons with what an average day's satisfactions look like. Also -- and I realize my view differs from others on this -- it's just as important not to pin one's hopes on a future posssibility of radical change (i.e, an overturned sentence, a law changing, etc.). While that is always within the realm of possibility, it isn't within the realm of probability. I'd find this journey much too hard if I 'tempted' myself with these fantasies.

We are by no means the only ones living an unusual life. Sometimes people are 'denied' a regular life with the usual milestones and routines and satisfactions for reasons completely outside their control, and some of them still find ways to be happy. I'm willing to bet they do it by finding the things in their circumstances that bring them joy, and they don't let themselves dwell on what they're denied. That calls for a radical acceptance of the situaiton exactly as it is, though.
I agree with most of this, however this is such a blanket statement to make not knowing what all someone has been thru in this walk. I could go into detail but it doesn’t really matter. It doesn’t change the difficulty or realities we all have to deal with when involved with a lifer. We can try to color it with the “love conquers everything” statement that i see over and over again on here but if we are honest and i mean truly honest, then we should be able to talk about those things, experiences that will be sacrificed and not recovered.

Do those that are younger truly understand what this means? Will they be able to wake up at 40 or 50 years of age or older and be okay with the sacrifice made? I’ve been on this site since 2004 and can most assuredly tell you that I’m one of the few on the lifers forum to remain and I believe that this is because i entered this walk in my mid 40s after experiencing most of what I am speaking of and this walk has not become easier.
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Old 11-12-2017, 04:54 PM
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I don't believe anyone can predict success or failure trying to sustain these relationships......too many I believe live in this fantasy of what could or might be...me included in the first few years, caught up in the drama for lack of a better word of this prison life. 13 years down the road and I'm over it....and have been for some time. We are MBI, known each other for 41 years now....reunited 13 years ago after he had been inside for 26 years.

Don't get me wrong, I still love him very much, but life has caught up with me....I have grown children, a granddaughter, and the care of my now widowed mother and I simply don't have the time I once did to invest in this relationship. We still talk several times a week, but I no longer visit every weekend, we no longer write.....I'm tired. I want more for my life than spending every weekend in the visiting room longing for what in reality will probably never be. Life for me is too short (or in this case too long) to pin all my hopes on a "maybe".

I hope to see him someday walk outside those gates, not for me, but for him. I think his punishment for his crime was met long ago.....he will never have a child of his own, he has missed out on what could have been shared with me had he never gone to prison, experiences that cannot truly be shared in a 15 minute phone call, in letters, pictures or a 6-8 hour visit in a crowded visiting room. Things like cuddling together on a couch while it snows outside, going on vacations with my granddaughter, shopping together for Christmas presents, preparing meals together, going to sporting events, enjoying the warmth of his touch every day after a long hard day at work.....things you cannot get back. You only go through life once....this is reality with a lifer.

I have learned so much through this walk, I have grown in ways that I never would have had we not reconnected. I have seen his spirit shine despite his circumstances or the harshness that he has endured, but I would be blind to also not see what the years behind those fences has done to him.....institutionalized even though he doesn't truly see it.....yet I am still here....

I am not trying to rain on your parade....this is my reality. I will say this though, I would never ever recommend a young person enter into a relationship like this. There is a short period of time where you can experience motherhood and I for one would never sacrifice that for any man.

Most on here will not agree with this and that's okay, its important for me to keep my feet on the ground, to recognize things for what they are, and what they are not. Should he ever be granted his freedom he will have so much on his plate at the beginning that I would not want to add to that an expectation of being able to walk into a full time relationship with me, but until that time I strive to be his friend in as full a capacity as I can be. We are both okay with this. I just wanted to give you another view.
Thank you for sharing your experience with me. I think you are speaking to the many sacrifices that have to be made to be with a lifer. This is reality and there is no getting around it. I'm in my mid-30's and have been married and divorced, as well as in a difficult relationship for years with my daughter's father. I was just speaking to my LO last night about wishing that my daughter could have a step-father in her daily life. I think she could use a positive male role model, other than her father. That is a very real downside...I also agree that not being able to spend time together doing daily things brings up this terrible loneliness. Weekends have been hard for me. It helps to get phone calls from him and I feel better for a bit, but it still hurts, of course.

I guess the point is, I wouldn't have chosen this life on purpose but since I met him and we fell in love, I am unable to NOT be in love with him so...I mean, as lonely as I get, my life would feel downright empty without him. And I guess that's what it comes down to. We each have to make a choice. I appreciate you sharing your experience of going through this for years. I know you've gotten a lot out it your relationship, but things change and we change. You seem like a very strong, thoughtful person. Wishing you the best.
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