If you want to date an ex-convict, you have to know what you’re getting yourself into. Things aren’t as bad as they sound, but you’ll need a lot of patience in this kind of romantic relationship. Your new partner will need a lot of support in his transition from his inmate life, so let’s see what you can do for him.
Patience Is Important
Being in prison can really change the way you operate altogether. Different laws and societies exist there, so you need to learn how to adapt to them, first and foremost. Whether he’s been in prison many times or just a long time, this is guaranteed to leave a mark on him and his mental health.
That means he’ll probably struggle with things we consider to be the most basic, such as forming connections, being able to express himself the right way, meeting your needs, getting to know your family members and friends, etc. All of this together can make you really frustrated because it will feel like you’re trying to teach a child all of these things. It kind of is like that because your partner will lack the emotional maturity you’ll expect of him.
Because of those issues, patience is of utmost importance. Patience is essential for any healthy relationship, no matter where your partner has been. In your case, however, you might want to invest more into being patient and understanding.
Provide Security and Comfort
The normal life-prison-normal life transition is hard on everyone. Once you’re incarcerated, you have a certain routine to follow. That means you’re not making any decisions for yourself. In general, prisons limit the inmates severely. Once they’re out, acclimating back to normal life will be a struggle. Luckily for your guy, you’ll be there to help him get back on his feet.
This doesn’t mean you should immediately show him how things should be. He knows what he was missing out on. Instead, keep up with his routine, but give him some freedom as well. Dumping responsibilities and decisions on him immediately can overwhelm him. That’s not the direction you want to go.
Having the same routine will make him feel safe and comfortable. He will not be seeing the same people he’s used to see day to day, but he will have you to help him through his transition. Through this time, don’t forget to stay patient because things won’t always be easy.
Consider Mental Health
When you’re dating an ex-convict, mental health is always something you should keep in mind. It’s only natural that staying in prison will change a lot in your head. There’s a lot of stress and anxiety, countless sleepless nights spent not knowing what tomorrow might bring, etc. That surely leaves people with depression, PTSD, anxiety disorders, and more. In fact, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, around 56% of prisoners end up with undiagnosed mental health issues. We don’t really know how and if they receive any treatment while they’re in prison either.
So, the best you can do is keep that in mind. Your partner might often be depressed, not want to socialize or go out, act odd, etc. Don’t take any of those things personally. Instead, you should try getting him the help that he needs and deserves.
Of course, you can’t force anybody into treatment, but we’re sure he’ll realize that getting better will benefit him long term. Not only will he be able to stay in a healthy relationship, but he’ll be able to go through life so much easier too.
Don’t Take Manipulation Personally
Speaking of things you shouldn’t take personally, manipulation is one of them. If you think your partner isn’t manipulating you, he might just be too good at it. That’s totally okay, and you shouldn’t wonder if he has bad intentions. We assure you that he doesn’t — he just doesn’t know any better.
This manipulation will manifest itself through the simplest of things. Maybe he’ll try to manipulate you for a bigger portion of food, watching what he wants, going to shower before you, etc. Through these examples, you can see that he doesn’t have bad intentions. Manipulation has been a part of his inmate life, so now he needs to unlearn it.
Of course, this isn’t as easy as we all might think. Thankfully, you can help him with that as well. The best you can do is not take offense and guide him through what’s right or wrong. Making him feel safe and comfortable will help, too, because it will make him realize that there’s nothing he should be manipulating you for. Through good communication, he can get whatever he wants.
One of the best pieces of relationship tips advice we can give you is to be patient with your partner. It will be hard to keep up with all of his needs at times, but it’s all going to be worth it in the end. Of course, you should never sacrifice your own mental health for the sake of someone else. Take things one step at a time.
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