WOULD YOU MARRY A CONVICTED FELON
After being dispatched on an emergency situation, here I stand, in the middle of a Walgreens aisle looking for the correct tampon to purchase for my wife. Aside from trying to not look creepy, I’m also trying extremely hard to not screw this up. What did she say? Extra absorbent? The one with pearls? Who the hell knows.
This must be payback for all that she’s gone through (and continues to go through) cause of little old me. Ugh, the things we do for love. Anyways, here I am, being a good husband – doing what good husbands all across the land do.
With all that said, if you were to ask my wife, would she marry me all over again, knowing all the headaches, turmoil, and stress she would be put through due to the fact that I am a convicted felon, would she?
(I would venture to say absolutely YES, but then again, I’m a tad bit biased)
Would you marry a convicted felon?
Allow me to state the obvious in saying that marrying a felon comes with a great deal of responsibilities and challenges. Like any relationship, it will require a considerable amount of love, understanding, optimism, and above all else: the ability to endure endless amounts of bullshit while still keeping a smile on your face.
You see, despite the tough exterior facade, many convicted felons are fragile creatures. Meaning, we are emotionally cognizant and unaccepting of our shortcomings. To have someone other than a probation officer, prison guard, or our mother point out these defects on a continual basis and remind us of our mistakes and makes us extremely upset and rather insecure.
Many things are said and done in the heated throws of an argument, and oftentimes there are certain things that cannot be taken back. The last thing any man wants is be made to feel emasculated or demeaned, so as a partner you will need the restraint and patience of a holy saint from up above in order to not allow things in escalating to these points.
You will also have to play motivator, cheerleader, and personal therapist all rolled into one, as rejection and shame accompany your partner in a cold, harsh world they must participate in. Fun times.
A heavy burden is placed on the shoulders of the person who decides that they are in love with someone who has a criminal record, as the challenges are constant, and come in many different forms and fashion.
What are the disadvantages to marrying a convicted felon?
Not exactly everyone is accepting of someone with a criminal record (shocker). Your family, friends, co-workers and society at large will cast aspersions and frown upon your professed love for one another, with the lukewarm reception shown by others wearing you out and getting old rather quick.
By and far the biggest challenge facing anyone who’s been in touch with the criminal justice system is securing employment and housing.
Both these factors carry a significant bearing on the quality of life for not only the ex-offender, but their relationship by default, as a partner must also adhere to and overcome the complications that arise from your felony conviction.
It can prevent them from getting a job, renting an apartment, applying for financial aid, and put tremendous pressure on both people not only financially, but physically and emotionally, all of which can put strain and really damage a relationship.
A felony on one’s record follows them for the rest of their life. It has a tendency to come up again and again, and it is really up to all parties in the relationship to find solutions to the everyday challenges in order to make things work.
What are the consequences of marrying a convicted felon and how does it affect me?
At this point, you may be asking yourself what the upside is to fall for, and eventually marry someone who was or is legally challenged. I mean, there seems to be an extensive list of drawbacks that would make one extremely apprehensive and run in the opposite direction when finding out someone has a felony conviction on their record.
The good news is that you would not lose any rights in any state in this country if you married a convicted felon under all state and federal law. The bad news is that your partner is still subject to certain terms and conditions that must be complied with when involved with the criminal justice system, thus affecting you and the relationship both directly and indirectly.
Case in point, if you were to marry a convicted felon, your ex-partner could potentially file a petition to request custody of your child, based on a claim that your new partner displays bad judgment and is a danger to the welfare of any children.
Of course, your ex would need to produce concrete evidence to support this petition, however you would also need to produce evidence that your new partner is NOT a threat to any child. Based off this example, the mass effect of a felony conviction runs deep, and its affect certainly will apply to you, as you are in a partnership.
Unfortunately, this is a package deal so to say, and one inherits these problems when marrying, or even getting romantically involved with someone convicted of a felony. As mentioned before, friends and family can often make you feel like crap by not being supportive or understanding, however, they could also be seeing something you may not, as you are blinded by love.
The stigma and stereotypes attached to someone convicted of a felony is something that must be accepted. Even the word “felon” has been known to strike fear or nervousness by the public at large, but not all felons are bank robbers and murderers.
Many ex-cons are good people who have made bad or even terrible decisions, as once convicted, a moment of stupidity will punish a felon for life.
How do you make a relationship with a felon work?
Once again, like any ordinary relationship, it will require lots of work, patience, and understanding. However, to be noted also once again, this is anything but an ordinary relationship. This relationship comes with an extraordinary set of circumstances and restrictions that are imposed on your life just as much as your partner.
Things have a tendency to get “complicated” to put it mildly. Part of what defines a healthy relationship is a mutual sharing of what you want out of the relationship and where you want it to go. This is something you will only know by talking openly and honestly with your partner.
Good communication is key
When you experience a positive emotional connection with your partner, you feel safe and happy, and as a result, are inclined to be much more intimate.
When people stop communicating well, they stop relating well, and times of challenge or stress (and there will be plenty) will really bring out the disconnect. There’s a difference between being loved and feeling loved.
When you feel loved, it makes you feel accepted and valued by your partner, and like someone truly gets you (felon or not).
TIP: Find something that you both enjoy doing together, whether it’s a watching a show, taking a dance class, daily walk, or even sitting over a cup of coffee in the morning. The point being that this is something you bond over and has nothing to do with felonies or legal problems.
Take note of your partner’s nonverbal cues
For a relationship to work well, each person has to understand their own and their partner’s nonverbal cues. Your partner’s responses may be different from yours, and when you can pick up on your partner’s body language, you will be able to tell how they really feel and are able to respond swiftly and accordingly.
Remember, a convicted felon deals with many frustrations and injustices on a day-to-day basis and can often find themselves despondent with a growing sense of depression stemming from this. They need their partner to be there for them, and it helps when you learn to pick up on this and uplift their mood.
Learn how to respectfully resolve conflict
Disagreements are a normal thing in every relationship, but to keep this relationship strong, both people must feel like they have both been heard. The goal is not to win but to maintain and strengthen the relationship.
Learn to give and take
If you expect to get what you want 100% of the time in a relationship, you are setting yourself up for disappointment as relationships do not work this way (if that’s the case, you should be single). Relationships are built on compromise, however, it takes work on each person’s part to make sure that there is a reasonable exchange.
Keep it together
If you can learn to manage your emotions and stress, and return to a calm state, you will not only avoid saying regretful words, but you will also help to avoid conflict and misunderstandings, even helping to calm your partner when tempers flare.
Get it on
Have sex. Lots and lots of it. Please. That said, there are definite pros and cons of dating and even marrying someone with a felony, as it evokes a sense of danger and a bit of a forbidden vibe when being with the bad boy/bad girl, as many people find this to be a turn on (just saying).
While sex is often a cornerstone of any committed relationship, it should not be the only method of physical intimacy. Frequent, affectionate touch—holding hands, hugging, kissing—is equally important. Of course, it’s important to be sensitive to what your partner likes.
Unwanted touching or inappropriate overtures can make the other person tense up and retreat—exactly what you don’t want. As with so many other aspects of a healthy relationship, this can come down to how well you communicate your needs and intentions with your partner.
Focus on having fun together
Couples are often more fun and playful in the early stages of a relationship; however, this playful attitude can sometimes be forgotten as the real-life challenges of a felony conviction start getting in the way or keeps posing more problems. It is having a sense of humor that will actually get you through the tough times, reduce stress and work through issues more easily.
Do not be ashamed to ask for help
Life is challenging as it is, let alone adding a felony to the equation. With that, sometimes problems in a relationship can seem too complex or overwhelming for you to handle as a couple. Counseling, or talking together with a trusted friend or religious figure can help. If you need outside help for your relationship, reach out together.
Everyone has a past, good, bad, or indifferent – and it’s not easy to date a felon, but when you are able to look past the charges you might find that you have found someone who is grateful for a second chance at life and all the opportunities it offers.
For most people, falling in love (even with a felon) usually seems to just happen. It’s staying in love—or preserving that “falling in love” experience—that requires commitment and work. Given its rewards, though, it’s well worth the effort.
A healthy, secure romantic relationship no matter what the background of the individual can serve as an ongoing source of support and happiness in your life, through good times and bad, strengthening all aspects of your wellbeing.
By taking steps now to preserve or rekindle your falling in love experience, you can build a meaningful relationship that lasts—even for a lifetime.
–The Educated Felon