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 could hardly breathe as I continued kicking and struggling against him. Suddenly there was loud persistent knocking on the door. “Let us in,” my daughter screamed. Sam whirled around acknowledging the banging and slowly let go of his grip.
I jumped up and ran to open the door and nearly collapsed into my daughter’s arms. Still brandishing the knife, my son reminded Sam that surely, he didn’t want to be convicted of murder. He calmed down and we were able to call the police. “You’ll pay for this” he barked as police lead him away to prison again. “I’ll never let you go,” he threatened.
And with that introduction, my new friend Jamie related how she ended up married to a prisoner and how she got involved with inmate dating and the mind manipulation employed on innocent lonely women.
“The tears I have shed; the nightmares I have relived; the anxieties, the confusion and utter embarrassment of my decision can be unbearable at times.” 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,” she said, “become masters of manipulation. They’ve learned how to control a woman’s mind—especially if she is lonely and vulnerable. I started corresponding with Sam, particularly because I knew his parents and had known him briefly as a young teen many years before. I inquired about him one day and began to write.
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 the companionship; it eased my loneliness.
It started slowly. In addition to writing, he began calling 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 be privileged to enjoy my love … were like magical 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, of course, that there is a four-step plan to prey upon the innocence of the vulnerable. The plan was to:
- Ascertain Weaknesses
- Gain Trust
- Initiate Control
- 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 a very decent and loving family. Sam had just made a mistake and had to pay the consequences. Right?
As we talked over a period of 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.
With his tool bag full of my weaknesses he was now in a position to 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 that 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 so deeply with concern and kindness. His eyes convinced me he was declaring love from a man to a woman.
How could I resist? I longed to be loved and so I began to trust that he could and would fulfill that desire. He had totally convinced me that all my faults were simply cries for love. The love that he alone could provide. The kind of love that I deserved—someone to take care of me–someone to be there for me in good times and in bad times.
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 the trap was set …
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 and he was so restricted, couldn’t I spend a little to comfort him as he had comforted me?
“Where’ve you been?” he asked if I wasn’t available to answer his calls. He would question me as to where I had been and who I was with. After all, he was worried. He didn’t want any harm to come to me. Couldn’t I tell he really 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 weekly. In course of time, he asked me to do things for him that maybe a rational woman wouldn’t do like drive down on a weather alert blizzard day — that 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 that I would do that for YOU!”
I’m thinking: Oh, he cares so much for me. He just can’t wait to see me.
He’s thinking: Control.
The final step for me was isolation. This is when he manipulates you into cutting off friends and family. After all, why do you need them when you have him?
“Why do you go shopping with your daughters all the time? Don’t you know you need time to meditate and think about our life together?” In course of time, I stopped associating with everyone from my life on a regular basis.
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 eagerly agreed. After all, he was my soul mate 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. After all, he had been behind bars for eight long years. Now it was the time that he needed me to help him make that adjustment.
Instead, it was time for him to completely dominate me. He used all my weaknesses to relegate me to a lower than subservient position. I was nothing. Nobody. Only he could save me in any way 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 our Sex Life. One word to describe: Non-existent. After years of male companionship, I found out later, he could not perform for me. Nothing worked. Needless to say, this added great consternation and stress to our situation. The marriage was never consummated.
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 a couple months, my daughters began to be suspicious because I was a nervous wreck around them. Cried easily. And showed visible fear when he called while in their presence. Finally, 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, Kim.
Evidently, Kim did not buy my story. She called her sister and they made a surprise visit. She knew I was home because we had talked just 15 minutes earlier, and had suspected something wrong by the fear in my voice. Sam was angry again after learning he had been denied another 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 began banging on the door as explained above. They were in the right place, at the right time to save their mother’s life.
Comments from some who have experienced inmate dating:
- Any life with a prison ex-inmate is not going to be easy. You have to be willing to understand and go through the consequences that come along with having been in prison. Money will be an issue, a job for him will probably be an issue too. This prison wifey thing is not an easy road and its not for everyone.
- these men were put in prison for a reason. Some have rehabilitated themselves through years of incarceration, some haven’t learned a damn thing and will go back to their life of crime after being paroled, which makes it harder for those who really want to be home and make a brand new life with someone.
- Even though they are in prison for a reason, they are emotionally wired and vulnerable. u do have to deal with parole, a person who had been incarcerated for the last how many years and has to readjust, I think this is a very difficult life to choose.
- Inmates continue to have life experiences inside and they bring all that with them when they come home. The convict you meet on paper may be a totally different man when he gets into your everyday world. Plus you really don’t want to be someone’s “ticket” to a better life. I mean it’s wonderful to want to encourage people to change and stay on the right path. But if you put yourself out there the way you’ve said you’d like to, I’d be afraid that you’re opening yourself up to be used.
- how can you really know anyone until you have been together for awhile first…anyone can say anything in a letter.
A good resource for prison love and inmate dating is: Prisonwriters.com
- Do You Understand What a Prison relationship Entails?
- Discover What They Are Convicted Of.
- Are Your Expectations Realistic?
- What Do They Do With Free Time?
- Who Is On Their Visiting List?
- Are Their Family Ties Intact?
- What Are They Committed To?
- Jamie did not explore answers to ANY of the above. She went solely with her heart. Mature people know that the heart can be treacherous. Never depend on it alone.
- Find resources to help build your self-esteem.
- Don’t isolate yourself when contemplating writing prisoners, seek advice.
- Find out what they’re convicted of. Sam was convicted of assault. Hey? Clue!
- And definitely, don’t marry someone you have not dated for at least a year to fully understand the inner man
- Never marry an ex-con BEFORE he is released!!!
Until next time,
For further information on all subjects relating to love, dating, and marriage, check out these pages and posts: