Prison Love Pitfalls

Sam, my prison lover, with one hand, held a knife to my neck, his other arm held me down ready to slit my throat. I gasped for breath as I continued kicking and struggling against him. Suddenly there was pounding on the door. “Let us in,” my daughter and son screamed. Sam whirled around acknowledging the banging and let go of his grip.

Prison lover assaults me

I jumped up and ran to open the door collapsing into my daughter’s arms. Sam was still brandishing the knife. My son pleaded with Sam that surely, he didn’t want to return to jail as a murderer. He calmed down, and we called the police. “You’ll pay for this” he barked as police lead him away in handcuffs. “I’ll never let you go,” he threatened.

With that introduction, my friend Jamie relates why she married to a prisoner,  how she initially got involved with inmate dating, and the mind manipulation used on innocent lonely women.

“The tears I have shed; the nightmares I have relived; the anxieties, the confusion and utter embarrassment of my decision are sometimes unbearable.” I continued to listen. “The marriage to a prison lover was a roller-coaster ride through Hell.”

I looked at her hear-drenched face and wondered how such a beautiful, warm, giving and loving woman could have got caught up into prisoner love. How does that happen?

“How”? I pleaded to know.

“These men, become masters of manipulation. They’ve learned how to control a woman’s mind—especially if she is lonely and vulnerable. In my case, I knew Sam’s parents and had known him briefly as a young teen many years before. I inquired about him one day and began to correspond. 

I had recently ended a bad relationship and was despondent. Sam seemed so nice and kind. He read my letters and empathized with me on so many levels—even offering advice on how to muddle through the recovery process. He was a shoulder to lean on. A rock of support. And he became my treasured confidant.

Friendship, sure. However, I never intended to become romantically involved with a prisoner. I simply welcomed his companionship; it eased my loneliness.

in serious thought
I didn’t intend to get involved

It started low-key. Besides writing, he called once a week. Just to hear a man’s voice on the other end telling me how wonderful I was; that I deserved so much more; that any man would beg to enjoy my love … sang like musical notes to my ears.

These words. This attention. The anticipation. I became addicted to his letters and longed for his phone calls. Yes, I was falling in love. But little did I know about prisoner manipulation for selfish purposes. I was his prey. And how smoothly he performed!

I learned afterward that there is a four-step plan to prey upon the innocence of the vulnerable. The plan was to:

  1. Determine Weaknesses
  2. Gain Trust
  3. Start Control
  4. Promote Isolation

Determine her Weaknesses

It started so innocently for me. Through sharing our thoughts and laugher, I relaxed and let my guard down. After all, I knew his family. He came from an honest, decent and loving family. Sam had just made one mistake and had to pay the consequences. Right?

As we talked over time, he asked many questions to get to know the depth of me down deep inside. I revealed everything—the good, bad, and the ugly as they say. As I talked, he listened to my every concern. At last, I thought. I have someone who cares, someone who understands, someone who could become my soul mate. That’s what I’m thinking.

I’m thinking: At last I can talk and someone listens and understands. I can reveal the depths of my heart because he cares and only wants what’s best for me.

He’s thinking: Ah, now I know all her weaknesses.

Do you think he I told him enough to move on to step two? You betcha.

Gain Trust

With his tool bag packed full of my weaknesses, he could now exploit and lead me wherever he wanted me to go. Like a lamb to the slaughter. If I questioned anything at all; he reminded me I had trusted him so far and convinced me my well-being was his well-being. During prison visits, he would look into my eyes with deep concern and kindness. His eyes convinced me he was declaring heart-felt love from this man to this woman. I fell hook line and sinker.

How could I resist? I longed for the love of a man and so I trusted he could and would fulfill that desire. He had convinced me that all my faults were cries for love. The love he alone could provide. The love I deserved—someone to take care of me——someone to be there for me in good times and in bad times.

happy married couple
He loves me

“If only I were free, I’d take care of you emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I would turn every stone to care for you. You need a strong man to give you the love you deserve, and I would conquer the world to be that man.”

Those words sent shivers through my body. Tears of joy radiated in my eyes. This man loves me. He loves everything about me. I would feel complete with him in my life.

And he had set the trap… 

Start Control

He had my cell number and the phone calls escalated to numerous times every day. Over time, I racked up $3,000 in phone bills, but he convinced me it was worth it. After all, I was free to do what I wanted, anytime I wanted, but he was so restricted, couldn’t I spend a little to comfort him as he had comforted me?

Oh, swoon.

“Where’ve you been?” he asked if I wasn’t available to answer his calls. He would question me. Where had I been and who I was with? He was worried. He didn’t want me to experience any harm. Couldn’t I tell he genuinely loved me? Soon I was accountable to him for every move I made. (Just so he wouldn’t worry). That’s control.

I drove 85 miles round trip to visit him every week. In course of time, he asked me to do things for him that a rational woman wouldn’t —like drive down on a weather alert blizzard day—which meant a 3-hour drive in a whiteout endangering my life. “Why won’t you come, don’t you trust me?” he cried. “Don’t you trust I would do that for YOU!”

I’m thinking: Oh, he cares so much for me. He can’t wait to see me.

He’s thinking: Control.

Promote Isolation

The final step for me was isolation. This is when he manipulates you into cutting off friends and family. The reasoning—why do you need them when you have him?

“Why do you go shopping with your daughters so often? Don’t you know you need time to meditate and think about our life together?” In course of time, I stopped associating regularly with everyone but him, from my life.

I didn’t confide in anyone about this situation. Therefore, without counsel from others, I was under his complete control. The art of manipulation had worked. That’s when he asked me to marry him—while he was still in prison to get a favorable review from the parole board, I jumped for joy. Now he was my soulmate lover, wasn’t he?

Marriage to My Prison Love

Disaster! From the moment I said, “I do,” and he left prison, he changed overnight like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. At first, I thought it was just a matter of him getting adjusted to outside life. He had been incarcerated for eight long years. Now he needed me to help him make the necessary outside adjustments.


Instead, it was time for him to dominate me completely.

He used all my weaknesses to relegate me to a lower than subservient position. I was nothing. Nobody. Only he could save me by directing all activities in my life. First, isolation again. I could make brief visits with my mother; sometimes with my kids. Go grocery shopping and that was pretty much it.

Now, let’s talk about Sex Life. One word to describe: Non-existent. After years of male companionship, he could not perform for me. Nothing worked. This added great consternation and stress to our situation. We never consummated the marriage.

From all our earlier discussions, he knew I had a substantial amount of money. Now, my husband, he had access to my bank account—and you can imagine what that meant. Yes, a loss of more than $65,000.

After two months, my daughter was suspicious because I was a nervous wreck around her. Cried easily. And showed visible fear when Sam called while in her presence. Then after one brutal beating that left an eye black and blue, I could no longer hide the abuse. I canceled an important event with my daughter faking a bad cold.

Kim did not buy my story. She called her brother, and they made a surprise visit. Kim knew I was home because we had talked just 15 minutes earlier. She had suspected something wrong by the fear in my voice. 

Sam was angry again after learning another company had denied him a job because of his background.

So who was he going to take the anger out on?

I was struggling hard and pleading for my life. They could hear the commotion and banged on the door as explained above. They were in the right place, at the right time to save their mother’s life.

 A good resource for prison love and inmate dating is:

Don’t believe him



Comments from some who have experienced inmate dating: