It's been an interesting few months since my last entry. KC and I have gone through some very difficult relationship type "stuff" since my visit to him in November. Nothing suitable for sharing, even through this anonymous Internet forum. But it sure has gotten me to think...Think about what my life would be like without him in it. Think about if this is really possible. And if it is possible, is it still a good thing that I want. At the very real prospect of us walking away from each other, it turns out that some things we need to work to maintain. And wouldn't you know it, a relationship is one of those things. While most of my family doesn't know of KC, I am no stranger to what "people" think of women dating men in prison and it leaves me chuckling thinking how wrong these people are. What do "people" think, you're asking? Well, quite simply that women that engage in these types of relationships must be incapable of having a "normal" relationship. Turns out, the jokes on them. The past two months have made me realize that no relationship, weather one of those people is incarcerated or both are out in the "free world" is without problems.
The easy way to deal with any situation in a relationship is to walk away from it. Or at least that's how I've always handled things in the past. I've lived my entire life, until I met KC, as a free agent. A free spirited girl. So, during the tough times that KC and I have faced, I have to be honest, my gut reaction has been to walk away from it all. It's what I do. At the core of any potential breakup is the underlying notion that on one, or both parties involved, believes that their life will inherently be better without the other person in it. So, would my life be better without KC in it? Would his life be better without me in it? It didn't take either of us very long to see that the answer for both of us is no. So what now? Uncharted territory for me, for sure. I realized that for the first time in my life I didn't want to be single. I didn't want a life without him in it. I also came to the realization that I would rather put everything I have into "us" than to walk away, go through the pain and loss of losing him, and start over with another guy. His feelings on this were that if we broke up he would never pursue another relationship in prison (in his nearly two decades in prison I am the first "relationship" he's had) because of how difficult they are. Not that he doesn't love me, and being in a relationship with me, but if we weren't together he would resist any type of romantic involvement. And I both believe him and can understand his point of view on that. So, I'll cut to the chase. The bottom line is we both realize that relationships take work, and we both have work to do to get us back on track. I remain very hopeful in this. I see good things happening already.
But, back to the point of this blog entry...many unenlightened people have the misconception that women engaging in these types of relationships can't "cut it" in a "real" relationship. While, in actuality, the truth is the polar opposite. On the best of days, being a "prison wife" is a challenge. Communicating with the man you love requires phone calls (that aren't free), emails (yes, some prisons get quasi emails), and lots of letter writing. Not the ideal way to communication with the man you love, but if you've stacked up any time in the relationship, you've come to accept this is how it is. And truth be told, there is something so intimate about a letter. You have the luxury of time to express your thoughts and words. Now, when it's a challenging day in the life of a "prison wife", this is what separates the girls from the true prison wives. Having a fight/argument with the man you love who is in prison is problematic, at best. You learn how to ask yourself BEFORE sending a letter/email "Will I still feel this way in a week? Would I still say this to him in a week?" Because a man out here can take harsh words from his lady hard, but in prison thoughtless words can have far more dire consequences. It's not feasible to not assume you will have hard times with the man you love, weather he is in prison or not. And I find it laughable that somehow a prison wife is labeled "weak" for choosing to be in love with a man in prison. I can assure you one thing that ALL prison wives are not is weak. It takes strength to love him, support him, and fight fairly with him.
And the last thing I will say on this subject for now is this: To hell with the people who think a woman's inability to maintain a relationship with an unincarcerated man has driven them into the arms of an inmate. We are all brought into our significant other's lives in many different ways, sometimes beautiful, sad, cute, funny and normal ways, and sometimes in very unconventional ways. It doesn't make the love less real, or the relationship less than when of the people in the relationship is incarcerated. Most people probably will never understand this, as it takes a truly non judgemental mind to understand this type of relationship.