I spend a lot of time counseling women who have committed their lives to standing by you. These women are the very embodiment of unconditional love. I often see many women hurt, mistreated and devastated by partners whose idea of love differs from theirs. You don’t have a choice to do this time, but we do.
Here are a few things you should know:
You should know that we really love you. We love you with two years. We love you with life sentences. Some of us even love you with death. You should know that if a woman is willing to love you at all during a prison sentence, she is someone worth respecting and hanging on to.
You should know it’s not game to ‘play the field’ behind bars. In fact, it’s lame and tacky. Take a look around. You ain’t ballin’. If you are using someone for comfort and commissary under the guise of love and romance, you should know it’s not kind. It takes more strength of character to tell the truth about your intentions. You may be surprised to learn that some are still willing to support you.
Many of us give up everything to take care of you. We lose jobs, friends, homes, sanity and in extreme cases, children. You should know it’s not right to ask and/or guilt your woman into believing or feeling that she must give up everything because you sit in prison. Losing one’s livelihood is too high a price to pay for love because at the end of the day, you have accommodations.
You should know life goes on. To demand that she not go out and enjoy the world she is a part of is selfish. There are two lives dealing with this situation. Don’t make her a pseudo prisoner by sentencing her to house arrest. You should know it doesn’t have to be hard time for both for you.
Bottom line, don’t be a cliché. Don’t spend your time there being about nothing. Prove society wrong (that prisoners are the lowest form of life) but above all, respect the work and sacrifice we put in to not only keep you relevant to the world, but to rehabilitate your image. This is a tough crowd.
You should know that ain’t nobody got time for foolishness.
p.s. You should know that if you love and respect your partner with everything you have, this note is not for you. Refer back to first line of paragraph two.
What would you say in your open letter?
What else do the incarcerated need to know?
When people find out how long I have been married to someone incarcerated, one of the quickest questions I receive is “What about sex?” I respond “What about it?” It is completely inappropriate to inquire about another person’s sex life, which is why I ask the person why and how this is their business. However, the question of sex is a revealing look at the mentality of people when it comes to prison, relationships, sex and (the piece they don’t consider)…intimacy, as it often leads my inquisitor to respond with “I don’t see how you do it.” And, this is where I educate them.
We live in such a sexualized world. Sex permeates every aspect of our lives, from direct references to the slightest innuendo. Some say sex is the most important part of a relationship. If that were true, relationships separated by distance and time would be flaccid, but that is not the case. When you are in a relationship removed from sex, thoughts and urges wane.
Intimacy is not a function of the anatomy. It is a function of the heart and at the center of that heart is communication. Communication is the tool by which intimacy enters. In this type of relationship, you can’t use sex to fix an argument or pass the time, you have to communicate. Intimacy is the ability to connect on a level so deep it transcends physicality and understanding. Intimacy is the by-product of communicating with love.
I’m able to be with my husband because we have true intimacy. I hear his heartbeat from the inside. I read the sound of his voice. I know the wounds and hurts before the words are spoken. I see the weariness that hides behind his eyes. I possess powers no other woman has because he only communicates with me, as in he allows me to see him stripped-down naked without masks, presumptions, or ego. Sex is fleeting, a moment in time, or a washed-off action in jest. Intimacy is a fingerprint on the soul. His hand print is on my heart. This is how I do it. Education complete.[rft]
Do you have true intimacy with your partner?
What’s the difference between sex and intimacy for you?