Getting Personal: “My Life as a Prison Wife”

Today’s guest essay is written by Nicki Stapleton (honeybeenicki), who is a contributing writer in the new music magazine The Blacktooth and has a music blog called For The Love of Rock and Metal.

My husband and I wrote our own vows for our wedding. In mine, I didn’t say: “I take you for better or for worse,” but instead said: “We will confront challenges head on and we will overcome them as a team — big challenges, little challenges, difficult or easy,” and I meant it. I stood up in front of our friends and family and pledged myself to my husband for life and never allowed myself to believe that divorce was ever an option. When I wrote those vows, I didn’t realize how quickly those big challenges would come or how hard it would really be to face them.

We got married on April 4th and just over a month later, on May 13th, my husband was arrested for armed robbery of two pharmacies. He didn’t take any money — just pills (and he didn’t actually have a weapon). I knew that he had a prescription drug problem but had been clean for over three years (he got clean about six months before we started dating) and I thought he was still clean. I was livid that he broke the law. I was livid that he didn’t come to me for help, but he said he was worried I would leave him because three things I don’t tolerate are abuse, cheating, and drugs.

I was a criminal justice professional (I lost my job because of my husband’s arrest and conviction) and have a Master’s degree in criminal behavior. In four years of working with offenders, I have seen relationships survive prison but I have seen many more fall apart. If I had known that he was going to be arrested a month after our wedding (or at any point), I wouldn’t have married him. I love him, but love isn’t always enough. Less than nine months after he was arrested, and eleven months after we were married, my husband was sentenced to prison.

The nine months between my husband’s arrest and his incarceration created many struggles for us personally and for our relationship. Right away we had to deal with a custody battle with his ex-wife, which was stressful but by far the easiest part. We started counseling individually and together and started an intensive outpatient treatment program. We prepared ourselves and his children for what might happen when he went back to court. When the Judge handed down the sentence, it became reality that our lives had changed forever. My husband was sentenced to five years in prison and 15 years of probation.

It has been more than two years since my husband began his sentence. Many people ask me what it’s like to be married to someone in prison. The most common things people ask me are about visits, phone calls and faithfulness. As far as visits go, it changes from facility to facility. He was originally a six-hour round trip drive away. In his current facility, he is only 45 minutes away and can have four visits weekly for three hours at a time. I go a minimum of once a week to see him. The visiting rooms don’t have glass booths, but instead resemble school cafeterias. There is a hug and kiss allowed at the beginning and end of the visits and we are allowed to hold hands, but that is the extent of our physical contact. To answer a common question: No, we don’t get conjugal visits. And that means what you think it means as far as our (and my) sex life goes.

We can speak as often as we’d like on the phone. He can call as many times a day as he wants for 15 minute calls, but we have settled on a phone call every two days because the calls are very expensive. I put money on an account in order for him to be able to call me. It is approximately $4 for a 15 minute phone call and that adds up very quickly. I can’t call him and he isn’t allowed to have a cell phone or use the internet. Our entire relationship revolves around these short calls and weekly visits as well as the occasional letters and cards. But, to be honest, it’s been something of a blessing for honing our communication skills. When you only have a few hours a week to maintain a relationship, you make the most of it.

The main question I get all of the time is “How do you remain faithful?” I used to take offense to this question, but I realize people are just curious. The answer is simple for me: I meant my vows. Being unfaithful is not an option in our marriage. It’s not easy to be alone when you aren’t really single. I get angry and sad and frustrated and not just because of the lack of sex. It happens when I have to do all of the work around the house, take care of our pets, can’t see my stepkids, and when I’m just having a bad day. It even happens during great times that I think to myself “he should be here to see this,” like when I graduated from graduate school.

Whenever someone mentions that her boyfriend is going to prison, I just want to shake her and tell her it’s so much harder than it seems and it can easily tear people apart. I know my husband and I are the exception to the rule. When we were in counseling we explored why I stayed with him after his arrest. Yes, it’s because I love him and knew I wanted to be with him, but it was mainly influenced by the fact that I had made that lifelong commitment to him. If he had been arrested a month before instead of a month after our wedding, I can’t honestly say if I still would have married him.

I learned a lot about our families and friends during this experience, but I have one friend who has been there for me through everything. She is a true blessing and appointed herself as my stand-in spouse when my husband was sent to prison. We go on “dates,” celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, talk every day and have become extremely close. I don’t think I would have survived without her. She has also acted as a sort of liaison for my husband when he needs to get me a gift or send me flowers. Between her and my wonderful mom, I have managed to maintain a semblance of normalcy in my life.

My husband will be entering an earned release program in the next two or three months, which will last for 6 months. Following the program, he will be released within 30 days. That means he will be home this year. It is weird and exciting and wonderful to think that there is an end in sight. If all goes as planned, I will have my husband back before Thanksgiving.

We think a lot about what will happen when he comes home and where we will go from there. While he’s been gone, I have still continued my life, including vacations, working, and even buying a duplex with my mom. I have included him in the steps of buying the duplex by sending him pictures and describing the ones we looked at. By the time he gets home, we will have closed and moved into it. One of our dreams was to be able to own a home and that is coming true.

Another plan we had for our future was to adopt a child. Because he now has a felony conviction and will be on supervision, it will be nearly impossible to adopt. I am likely unable to have children biologically, or at least will have a very difficult time conceiving naturally, due to a medical condition and my husband had a vasectomy in his first marriage. We have discussed the possibility of using artificial insemination with a donor to get pregnant.

Many of the dreams I had for our future are now impossible. My husband won’t be able to leave the state, much less the country, without permission for the next 18 years. We were supposed to go to Ireland for our one-year anniversary and now we don’t know if that will ever happen. The money earmarked for that trip went to pay for a lawyer after his arrest. But I know we can make do with what we have and the most important thing is for him to come home so we can continue to build our relationship and bring my stepkids back into our lives.

I often wonder what will happen if he relapses or if he is ever sent back to prison. I know — and he knows — what my reaction to any situation like that will be because I’ve been open about it. I won’t stay with him again. It’s not fair to me, it’s not fair to him, and it’s not good for our marriage. But for now I focus on the positives. He will be back with his family, we will have a new home, his kids will resume their regular visitation and rebuild their relationship with their dad, and we can start our life as a family again.

An update to this essay can be read here.

* Nicki Stapleton (honeybeenicki) is a state civil servant and contributing writer in the new music magazine The Blacktooth and has a music blog called For The Love of Rock and Metal. She lives in Wisconsin with her two dogs, two cats and various other small animals and enjoys live music, reading, writing, and true crime.





  1. Honeybeenicki,
    Thanks for sharing such a personal essay. Your loyalty and fidelity are inspiring, and I hope for very good things for you and your family this year.

    1. Stephanie M Brooks says:

      My husband of almost 2, years just relapsed and broke the law and he’s been sentenced to 37 months and I have no idea how I am going to get through this….he’s my bff and I am so lost without him…any chance you could give me some advice?

      1. My husband of 15 years just recently went to jail for. Failing a drug test for probation. 2 and time in jail they put him in the rehab part of jail. Still jail ) i feel so lost all i do is cry and its only been 4 days. We have never been apart longernthan a month when he was in jail for drugs for 45days at Same jail a year later he’s back were he started. Idk if i can make it through this time im living with my mother and she is absolutely crazy. Yells at me and my kids all the time throws thing and i can’t even visit or talk to him idk what to do im so lost and lonely and hurt by that and my mom having no sympathy for what i feel. I don’t know if i will be alive when he gets home. In a Mont if he comes home then. May serve a 2 yr sentence. If that happens im scared for my self. I feel i could. Hurt my self if i can’t see him that long. Idk. Just don’t know if im strong enough to get through this again.

  2. kerrycontrary says:

    This is so brave and honest I love it. I love how you explained that if this had happened before you got married you may have not married him. It’s clear how seriously you take the institution of marriage and I wish more people were like that. I wish you and your husband well on his recovery process.

    1. So much too say needing so much help don’t know where to go for advice on what I too do. I luv him very much and want us to b happy and enjoy our life together. He needs help and it’s killing me because I don’t know how. Where do I turn to get answers on how to save my relationship. I love him. I believe in my heart this relationship will not survive if I don’t have somewhere to go where my questions can b answered. We meet in a restaurant bar. I went with a bunch of friends after I ate I kinda left my friends at the table and went to where the music was coming from and there he was singing. Omg so handsome , tall , very nice build and beautiful hair pulled back in a ponytail of silvery gray color. I had to meet him so I got on the dance floor and dance to the song lamalama ding dong that he was singing. What a beautiful voice and smile was contagious. After the song I walked over to his table where I introduced myself. He bought me a drink. We chated for awhile and then my friends that I came with was ready to go. So we exchanged phone# and I said goodbye. The next day a bunch of my friends were getting together for a beach day and cookout, I called an invited him. He came. Omg it was awesome I had a great day. We have been together for a year but the relationship is struggling. I don’t want to loose him I love, and want to b here for him. In went to prison in his late 20’s early 30’s. He was in prison for 35 yrs, attempted murder. His life is prison he hasn’t been anywhere else and has only been out 2 yrs , and 1 of those years is us together. I have never actually gotten the story of what exactly happened that put him away for 35 years. There is also an ex wife and 2 children both whom r adults now and he hasn’t seen them or heard from them at all. I have no knowledge of the relationship doesn’t talk about it. He lives in a house that has 8 men in it all been in prison. 2 2 room and a overseerer. I’m disabled so on fixed income. I’m aloud to have him here overnight 4 nights a week. I’m 58 yrs old. He has a PO and a physic doctor. I’m not sure what they do when they get together but I feel he isn’t getting what he needs to survive on the outside. I also am unaware of weather he’s being honest about what his needs r. There r problems medical, his head is messed up. I believe he may need medication bi-polar, depression. He goes in and out. With me talking 1 minute gone the next. Just loose him like spaces out. Difficult to communicate, sex is very much lacking. He hardly ever touches me. He cannot get it up. He’s only brought to climax once and we’ve mayb had sex 4-5 times in the year we’ve been together. He drinks all 4 evenings that he stays at my house not allowed to drink were he lives against house rules. He has gotten so drunk doesn’t even remember events but will tell u he wasn’t drunk. He has threatened me with a knife, he calls me all kinds of names. He accusing me of making things up, he laughs in my face, tells me that I better knock it off quit being stupid, ignores me he play the I no can hear card a lot and to his advantage. He really cannot hear it’s bad I’m constantly having to repeat myself it’s get frustrating don’t even want to talk anymore cause it’s so stressful or he,ll go the other way and say I heard u. How do u know that when he doesn’t look at me doesn’t answer me nothing just nothing. He will continually use up all my time baby this baby that baby look baby take me here baby I think we should do this.he will tap me on the arm the leg totally interrupt me haveing a conversation with some1. Gets mad if I don’t answer him immediately, constantly telling me to hurry up, calls me a 100 times a day. Doesn’t lift a figure to help me with anything, takes me know where, lives off me. Never says thank u. I receive nothing and give everything. I don’t even get sex. What do I do.? I feel that he loves me his way. I feel I’m being used for my home food laundry running him around giving him money deal with outburst and mood swings with his drinking. I ask him to not do something he just ignores what I say and does it anyway regardless of what could happen and the consequences that it could bring on me. Ask him not to feed dog does it anyway. Goes through things of mine don’t belong to him. I just feel alone and really hurting. What am I doing? I have lost me the smile has disappeared I’m angry all the time. What am I doing? There is so much more, I’m treated like shit HELP

  3. Wow. Just, wow. I’m so amazed at your strength. I couldn’t do it, give up so much now and in the future. He is a lucky guy and I’m excited for you that your family will be back together pretty soon.

    1. I’m sorry I didn’t believwhatever you do e most of what your saying that’s just my opinion cuz I was locked up for32years and I had a (co) correction officer and since I was also raped by my mom’s husband for four years and he fuckin made me like it any way I had a female co on my team then another female approached me and told me she would let me do whatever I want five times bring me dope and all I had to do was let her fix me up wait in the room for co and whe he walk in put up little fight but as soon as her finds the right place to touch me or kiss me give in well this blonda hair blue eyed white boy had the biggest thickest cock I ever seen and he kiss me and omg i couldn’t believe how I was reacting yes i was on a very good high cuz my sick ass thought about what if every guy on my run came to my area one at a time and each and everyone of them fuck me and two them told me they would let me fuck them to i whisper in there ear oh if you only knew that very night I wish you guys would do this but theco beat ya,llt to punch there where five co that fuck Everytime they worked the build hell two of them work the building one night and they both raped me over and over what i got in return was a oz of meth the mother of one the wife and sister of theotherand a video of one them couion she is 14and laid in her bed and protend that a convicted fenn excaped and her mother and her got raped by him but while he was fucking me he tells me he want to fuckme at the same time his family dude was loking at her while fuck me and tellingher that he wanted me to fuck him and as ametter of fact he meaning me rape him one night then we took trun and i lost it cuz he was so fucking that the third time he was moanig and was slaming in and out of me i couldent stand it and heard myself omg no one has ever fucked me like yhis he said i know cuz im gonna make you tell me you love me now say it bitch that hurt but i got even hotter and was throwit backand then hekissed me i moaned arch my back rapped my arm around him as soon as his toungepulledout of my mouth i said omg i love you please dont please fuck me i belong to you i will anything u say fill pussy with aall your cum please pump a baby into me he gran and i felt his cum and I came harder then I ever did in my life he said tell me you love i put my arms around and said no matter what never forget this pussy belongs to you and all you got to do is force me and the say u love white cock and this man is fuck now not as much as he did when i was in but still butdamn near every friend he has has raped me at least once

  4. Love this essay, and I really appreciate your openness. You have alluded to your situation before in comments, and it was awesome for you to finally share the whole story, so thank you!

  5. Thank you for this essay. I love your openness and appreciate your honesty. I hope for the best for you two!

  6. Seriously, thank you so much for sharing your story and opening up, being truly honest about the struggles you have faced. It was a very excellent read and your dedication is nothing short of inspiring.

  7. Great essay, Nicki! You’re clearly a very loyal and brave person!
    A very close friend of mine is dating someone who has a very similar history to your husband, however he’s been out for over a year. He seems to have really grown and learned from the experience. He’s an amazing guy, and I’ve never seen her happier, or treated better than he treats her, but a part of me is very scared for her, because I know that it could happen again.
    Do you have any advice for me as to how to support her as a friend and as someone who wants the best for her?

    1. The best I can really tell you is to support her in her decisions and be a shoulder to lean on if anything happens. I can’t count the number of people who basically told me straight out to just leave and when I didn’t take their (unsolicited) advice, a lot of them abandoned me. And if he were to be incarcerated again, just make sure she knows you’re there. The one things that’s gotten me through (as I mentioned) is a really good friend of mine who is my “stand-in-husband” and she is there if I need someone to go to the movies with me or if I’m having a bad day and need to vent. She even goes to the prison for visits with me sometimes and is now friends with my husband. So, I’d say be that person for your friend.

      1. I’m sorry some people suck, but I’m glad you do have what sounds like a great, supportive friend and your mom.

        I’m also quite amazed by your dedication to your husband. It’s awesome. I wish you both lots and lots of happiness now and when your husband is released. You deserve it!

      2. I don’t know if you can honestly say “some people suck”. I do not know if I would keep my mouth shut if that happened to a friend of mine. Honestly, her husband has major problems and the fact that such a thing happened, it does mean that he was hiding a lot of things from her.

  8. Avatar photo Addie Pray says:

    People can learn a thing or two about loyalty from you, Nicki!

  9. ReginaRey says:

    Wow Nicki, I’m simply blown away! It’s heartening to know someone so strong, brave and loyal. Honestly, I don’t know if I could have done what you’ve done. Your respect for the institution is really admirable; I may have given up on it in your position.

  10. lets_be_honest says:

    Seems like everyone has had the same reaction to this as I did. Simply incredible.
    I had commented a while back on how I thought it was sad marriage is not “for better or worse, til death…” anymore. I admire your loyalty and respect for your marriage so much. I can’t even imagine what I’d do in your position. I just hope that your husband will forever treat you with the amount of love and loyalty you have given him. Best wishes to you both!

  11. Jluvly613 says:

    wow. what an incredible story. i commend you for your bravery and honesty. i wish you and your husband lots of love, happiness, and many blessings for the future 🙂

    PS: good things come to those who wait so don’t completely give up on that trip to ireland!

  12. Thank you for writing this. I see the other side of this all the time. From the side of the treatment providers. Good luck.

    1. Funny thing about love. Unconditional love would be nice in a marriage. I don’t think alot of people know what that means or have been challenged to truely know. If you love someone who cheats on you or steals from you maybe even spits in your face and your love does not change even when you look like a fool. It’s that love that has value it’s a godly love.

  13. I’ll probably get a lot of thumbs down but I don’t think it would have been disloyal if she had gotten divorced,IMO her husband was not upholding their vows when he committed a crime that affected both of their lives. However, its not my choice to make, and my opinion doesnt matter. maybe I am extra sensitive because one of the reasons I didn’t leave my abusive husband sooner was because I had made vows. Divorce is a very personal decision and I think it’s judgemental to praise someone’s loyalty for staying when someone else might see the situation differently. I am not saying this to put the author down, it’s just some of the comments about taking marriage vows seriously and loyalty rubbed me the wrong way. If drugs are a deal breaker for you, I don’t think it is disloyal to break the deal if your partner does that. If the author had chosen to get divorced, I don’t think people would be criticizing her for being disloyal; so why praise her loyalty for not divorcing? She is obviously a strong person who is admirable in a lot of ways and has had to make some tough choices, and I’m not trying to put any of that down. it’s the implication in the comments that someone who would have chosen differently doesn’t take their vows seriously that bothers me.

    1. I actually agree with you. If I had chosen to get divorced, I don’t think I would have seen myself as disloyal. I didn’t choose to do so because I believed we could get through it. It wasn’t the piece of paper that says we’re married that did that – it was the fact that I was willing to take those vows (until I met my husband, I didn’t ever want to get married) and I decided that someone I was that devoted to was worth me trying to maintain the relationship. If someone had asked me before this happened how I would have reacted, I probably would have said that I would have been right out the door, but thats not how it played out when it did happen. However, had he been abusive… well, that would have been the end of that. And if it happens again, I won’t stick around. And he knows that. We have very clear ground rules set now.

      1. Thank you, I really didn’t want to come off like I was criticizing you in any way, its just any marriage is so complicated, and nobody really knows for sure what choices they’re going to make until they have to make them. I just meant that whichever decision you made was right for you, and one wasn’t “better” than the other. You have a great voice as a writer btw, I really liked the essay!

      2. I think a lot of people could stand to read this sentace again:
        “and nobody really knows for sure what choices they’re going to make until they have to make them.”

        This applies in SO many situations, and to so many of the LW’s here. It’s a good reminder for us to think before we judge.

      3. Thank you 🙂 I know some people thought I was crazy for staying, but I put a lot of thought into that decision. And I remind my husband often how lucky he is to have me. 😉 I get a lot of questions about what its like to be the wife of an inmate and since I’ve seen it from the side of a CJ professional, it was an adjustment for me and that’s why I decided to write this. I wanted to be able to voice what it was like and answer any questions people had.

      4. If its not too personal, may I ask more about your job loss connected to his conviction? LIke, how does that work/happen?

      5. I worked in a halfway house for sex offenders and had worked there for over 4 years. After he was convicted, I filed a fraternization exemption request (one of our policies was no one was allowed to be in a relationship with/live with/be involved with anyone who was under the supervision of the Department of Corrections) and they basically told me that they refuse to make any exception to the rule and told me either I had to not live with or speak to my husband or I had to leave. Thankfully I was already working elsewhere full time and was only working there on weekends. I did pursue a complaint, but am not allowed to disclose the outcome of that.

      6. Got it. Thanks for sharing! It really seems messy being involved with someone with a record 🙁 You have my respect!

    2. Amybelle I really appreciated your insight about loyalty and how you stayed with your abuser longer because of it. First of all, I’m really sorry that you were in that situation. I hate how abusers manipulate a person’s dedication to loyalty with all their tactics. All these stories of abuse and its ties to ‘loyalty’ make it harder for people to really define a clear cut view of when its being loyal and when its just plain harmful to ones self to stay.

      Personally, just based on what was said here I don’t think I would have stayed as honeybee did, but I can respect and appreciate her decision to do so. Her essay was so frank and open, It conveyed exactly how she has managed to make it bearable for her. What I think I also really admired was her ability to re-write her dealbreakers once the marriage aspect came into play.

    3. This is my take on vows too, it is for better or for worse but there are many things that constitute breaking ones vows and for me, of course not for others, this would be one of those examples. I really applaud honeybee for sharing her story and being so honest and open, but my first reaction to this was anger, not at her for staying but towards her husband for doing this to her. I would have a really hard time with the acceptance part of this situation, feeling like my life was so affected and limited by the choices of another, even if that other person was my husband. I’m not sure I could continue to love a person who I felt had harmed me in so many ways. I do very much appreciate the ways in which honeybee shows the ways in which peoples relationships and boundaries must become flexible if they are to survive.

  14. If you don’t mind my asking, how did he end up with an armed robbery charge is he didn’t have a weapon?

    1. There were 2 separate events. In the first, he had his hands in his pockets, which made the pharmacist think he had a weapon and in this state that is enough to warrant armed robbery. In the second, he had a note (apparently he learne to be a criminal from watching movies) and indicated that he had a weapon, which is also enough to warrant an armed robbery charge even though he didn’t actually have one.

      1. Guy Friday says:

        Leroy: Specifically, the case law in Wisconsin stands for the proposition that it’s based on the victim’s “reasonable belief.” So it would be on the defense to argue at trial that there’s no way it would have been reasonable to believe the defendant had a weapon, which would never have come up if Nicki’s husband pled out instead of going to trial. Also, the maximum penalty for Armed Robbery — a class C felony in Wisconsin — is 20 years of Initial Confinement and 20 years of Extended Supervision (i.e., parole), so two counts means a max of 40 years in and 40 years out. In light of that, you could see how someone might want to accept a DA recommendation of 5 in and 15 out and not push the issue.

      2. And he seems to be getting out in about 2.5+ so ya…not sure how I feel about the justice system right now (not connected to Nicki’s husband, but other criminals…)

      3. If that worries you, you should see some of the sex offender cases I saw (actually most of them) working in the field. One that comes to mind is a person with 1 prior sex offense, 2 other criminal offenses (one felony, one misdemeanor), and he was arrested for repeatedly assaulting his 3 year old daughter. He got a total sentence of 4 years (2 in, 2 out). As someone who has been part of the system and is now experiencing it from a whole different angle, I can say that the system isn’t great. When I started school, I decided I was going to single-handedly fix the system but haven’t succeeded yet.

      4. Yes, that exactly. Although, one of the crimes was attempted, which lessens the total maximum to 60 not 80. But at that point, its all pretty much the same.

      5. I’ve read about similar approaches by other states (e.g. toy guns being treated like real guns), which is why I asked. You’d think that the state would see an incentive to maintaining the distinction – that feigning the possession of a weapon is still a lesser charge than actually having a weapon. Otherwise what’s the incentive for a criminal not to use a weapon?

      6. Hi Honeybeenicki~
        I just want to say that I too am in the same circumstance as you have been. I have had several friends tell me to get out of my marriage. I strongly disagree, I love my husband and what he has done does not make him the man he is. I know him much different than this. He will serve possibly 3 years, maybe less, (God willing). Doing these things alone has not been easy, or fun on many occassions, but I know I have plenty to take care of while he is in, so this time shall pass as needed. I jsut want to say great job for making a stand and standing like a rock in your commitment to your marriage. May you be blessed for a job well done in the eyes of the Lord! Your husband is a fortunate man to have a women of great faith and honor such as yourself.

  15. Something More says:

    Great story. Thank you for sharing. If I had been in your shoes, I don’t think I could’ve stayed; that’s a huge commitment. Good for you guys.

    On a side note, it might be just me since no one has mentioned it, but… 2.5-ish years served for convicted armed robbery seems a little light to me. I mean, for the sake of his kids and marriage I’m glad he’s getting out soon, but… I don’t know. Obviously, I am not privy to the details of the evidence and trial, so I don’t know what other factors, if any, contributed towards such a sentence, but is this the normal going rate for convicted armed robbery? If so, yikes.

    1. Actually, the average total sentence for similar crimes (even people who have prior convictions, which my husband does not) in this area at least is under 6 months in jail and approximately 6 years probation, so his sentence (5 years incarceration, 15 years probation, 20 years total) was actually much longer than it usually would have been. The judge told us straight out that he was making an example of my husband because pharmacy robberies are becoming more common. He didn’t actually go to trial because he ultimately pled guilty.

      1. Guy Friday says:

        I’m not going to ask you what county you’re in (though you’re certainly welcome to tell me if you want), but I’m a little surprised that they’re only handing out averages of 6 months in and 6 years out. Did his lawyer tell you that, or are you saying that based on statistics you saw? I ask only because I practice down around one of the more major metropolitan areas in the state, and even the nicest judges here wouldn’t give only 6 months in on those counts unless we were talking about a minor or someone who just turned 18 or so. At best, they’d give a LONG sentence imposed and stayed for probation.

      2. I spoke with a lawyer friend of mine and a few probation agents here in Dane Co about it and they pulled a bunch of info on “similar crimes” (one armed robbery, one attempted, no priors) and thats the average we came up with. His crimes were actually in Rock Co though.

      3. I should also qualify this with the fact that the sample size was pretty small since most people don’t jump straight into armed robbery with no priors.

    2. Guy Friday says:

      Let me just respond to your concern. I appreciate how it looks, but there’s been a big move in the Wisconsin criminal justice system — one I’m proud to say I’ve helped with — toward focusing less on deterrence and more on rehabilitation as the goals of sentencing when dealing with crimes related to addiction. Because, really, the goal of a sentence shouldn’t be “how hard can we slap a guy on the wrist”, but “how can we make sure he doesn’t ever do this again?” Believe me when I say that if there was actually a gun involved, you’d be looking at TONS more time regardless of his lack of record. Keep in mind, though, that Wisconsin parole has some of the most restrictive (and in some cases, ridiculous) rules ever thought up; despite this having absolutely nothing to do with the crime, they could, for example, deny their approval of his living with Nicki for some arbitrary reason, and then they’d either have to move or he’d have to live somewhere else, or he’d have to go back to prison. And if he violates ANY rule of supervision — even if it’s as simple as missing one monthly payment on his restitution or even getting a speeding ticket — the agent can put a Violation of Parole hold on him, call him in, arrest him, and have him sit pending the results of a revocation hearing. And if he doesn’t get an Alternative to Revocation agreement — which some agents openly refuse to do — they’d score him on what’s called a Plotkin analysis (named after a court case) and rank him Category I, II, or III, with one being the lowest and mandating a recommendation of 1/3 of his remaining time (so, in this case, a shade under 6 years). And if he goes to a revocation hearing, the Administrative Law Judge — read: not an actual judge, but a lawyer who handles this stuff part-time — could, in theory, give him less time than that, but most don’t deviate too much from the agent’s recommendation. So, frankly, if this guy can jump through 17 and a half years of hoops with not a single violation, I think he deserves not to sit for any longer, you know what I mean?

      1. Yes, all that. One thing that’s been bugging me since he went in over two years ago is that he has not seen one bit of treatment for drug addiction. He sought treatment prior to being sentenced on his own, but what about people who didn’t have that option? (We had insurance that covered most of it)

      2. This is a huge problem. When they get there, they say there are other priority people to get the AODA or whatever other programming. They get deferred longer and longer until all of a sudden- oops! now your time is too short for us to put you in a program and you hit the streets with no rehab. What do they expect to happen when people hit the streets? I’d guess the majority don’t have insurance. there are some treatment programs out there and a little county funding (at least in Dane) but they are hard to find. You might see if RECAP is an option for him. I don’t know what you think of that having been inside the DOC, but it looks pretty good from here.

  16. honeybeenicki,

    I’ve found your posts to be thoughtful, compassionate and enlightened. Thank you for writing about this very personal topic with equal grace and honesty. I wish the best for both you and your husband.

  17. Oh and I just wanted to add that I REALLY appreciated seeing this side of the story because one of my friends is a pharmacist and her pharmacy has been robbed. Seeing how shaken up she was after the incident, I know I mentally pictured the criminal as a ‘horrible person’ but after reading your essay I’m realizing that its a complex situation and there are REAL people on all sides. Thanks again for this honest essay Honeybee!

    1. I don’t know about other people in the situation, but I know after the fact (and after he was clean again) my husband felt really bad about any trauma he caused the pharmacists. He actually offered to pay extra restitution (he only had to pay the cost of the pills he took in the first robbery and he didn’t get anything in the second attempt) but the judge wouldn’t let him.

  18. Honeybee, I hope this isn’t too personal of a question (feel free to yell at me if it is) but it’s driving me crazy – how come you didn’t get conjugal visits? I was under the impression that anyone who was married (and not just bf/gf) was entitled to them. You learn something every day.

    1. Guy Friday says:

      My understanding is that the Wisconsin Department of Corrections doesn’t allow conjugal visits at ANY institution it runs for a number of reasons (primarily budgetary; they don’t have the staff to keep things safe). I can say that as an attorney they pretty heavily regulate the amount of time I’m allowed to visit with my clients at actual prisons around here, so I can only imagine how regulated it is for family members. Hell, at one of the places up north they actually almost refused to allow me in because I had a wireless USB mouse in my briefcase and that constituted an “electrical device.”

      1. For some reason I’m sad about that 🙁 I had to look it up to make sure I wasn’t confused, but the reason I thought that is because that’s the way it is in Canada…all inmates are entitled to one conjugal visit every two months with a spouse or common-law partner. It always throws me when I learn how different our laws are, because it feels like we’re such close neighbours. And you guys have so many states!

        You’re strong, Honeybee. 🙂 And soon it’ll all be worth it and he’ll be home. Hugs!

      2. I actually did one of my large theses in graduate school as a pro-conjugal visit point of view.

  19. Guy Friday says:

    So, I feel like you sent a DW letter in around the time this site first started up (or maybe it’s just the similar stock photo up top?), and as I was reading your post I kept thinking to myself, “Man! This sounds like Wisconsin!” It’s when I got to the ERP reference that I knew I was right 🙂

    I don’t know exactly what to write, beyond that from a professional standpoint I wish I had more wives/girlfriends/SOs of my clients willing to do what you’re doing. While I’m by no means quoting statistics, as a general rule of my practice I’ve found that the better my clients’ support systems are, the less likely they are to reoffend while out on parole. It seems like such a simple comment, I know, but even the probation agents I’ve worked with admit that they take it easier on people who they know have family members watching their parolees, since they know they don’t have to catch every violation to prevent it from becoming an avalanche toward serious reoffending. So on behalf of all of us Wisconsin criminal attorneys out here, thanks for making our jobs easier 🙂

    (Side note: I did manage to find the cases on CCAP, and I’m not 100% sure that the way they did his sentence is actually legit. If you have lawyer friends who do criminal appeals, you may want to see if one of them might be willing to research the concept of starting a consecutive probation term after a period of parole. I’m not fully sure there’s an appealable issue there, but I think I recall a colleague winning a case and forcing the DoC to run it concurrent. Hey, every little bit helps, right?)

    1. I think you’re right – the more support someone has, the less likely they are to reoffend. I learned that throughout grad school (thus my pro-conjugal visit stance) and saw it first hand in my time working in the halfway house. I’m actually anxious to find out who his PO will be because I know many of them in the area and most of them like me professionally and personally.
      I had actually wondered about the sentencing structure since I do have school/professional experience in it. I will definitely look into it. Our lawyer was ok, but not great. I knew who I wanted, but he refused to practice in Rock Co (apparently a lot of lawyers don’t like it there?). I don’t know if any of the lawyers I know deal with criminal appeals, but I will definitely look into it.
      I do like to make jobs easier for lawyers, agents, etc 🙂 My husband is quite clear in the fact that if I know he is violating his parole, then his agent will know too.
      And I think it was a different person who sent that other letter, but same stock photo. I have written to DW, but it was about my sister’s marriage.

      1. Guy Friday says:

        Rock County is rough. I myself don’t practice there for pragmatic reasons; I live down in Milwaukee County, and it’s too long of a drive to take the $40/hour SPD rates you get for cases there. But those I know who do practice around there don’t much care for it. Then again, I think it’s the same gripe as it is in every smallish county: too few judges, too much familiarity, and WAY too much ignorance of the way the law is supposed to be applied.

        I don’t know if many of the agents you know will be able to handle your husband’s case; I was under the impression there was some kind of “conflict of interest” checking the Probation office does. I may be wrong. It would definitely be easier if it was someone you knew, because, as you well know, a lot of agents would much prefer being able to go to someone they trust and say, “Ok, so what’s the deal with this situation? What do you know about it?”

      2. Guy Friday says:

        Oh, and also, I’d offer to help with the appeal, because that IS something I do, but I’m getting married in a month or two, so I’m trying to trim down my case load, not fatten it up. Besides, I’m kind of pricey for private clients 😉

  20. Thanks so much for writing this. You have a wonderful voice and I love the way you describe your experiences – honestly, confidently and also compassionately. Your husband is a lucky man, and thank you for following up on the questions asked above.
    I hope that you can use this experience in your professional life at some stage (if you want to, I am assuming because of your degree and past work that you mention) because with your attitude and knowledge you would surely be a huge help to many people.

  21. I made all my comments / questions in the open thread the other day, but I just wanted to say I think it’s great that you wrote this, I liked it a lot and I hope everything gets better soon.

  22. jessiebelle says:

    honeybeenicki, thank you so much for sharing your story. I really hope things work out well for you and your husband and he’s able to come home later this year.

  23. Wow. God bless you. I am amazed and impressed by the fact that you took your vows so seriously. I am not passing judgment on those who couldn’t be able to do what you’ve done… but it is so rare these days to find people with that level of commitment. While I am sure there are those that look down on you for the situation you’re in, I am really impressed by you! I don’t know that I’d be able to do the same. Good luck! I hope the road ahead is a little easier. And thanks so much for sharing!

  24. Jess of CGW says:

    What a brave and honest article. I feel really honored that you shared it with us. You are inspiring for anyone that faces crisis in their marriage and the hard reality that our partners have flaws –sometimes deep and heartbreaking ones.

  25. honeybeenicki, how have you dealt with the career/education aspect of this? Have you been able to get back into the CJ/LE field? I’m trying to get into it myself at the moment and I worry about my step-brother and uncles having criminal records. If my husband had done this to me, leaving my bachelors degree and many many thousands of dollars in student loans down the drain, I’d be white-hot with fury, just to start with.

  26. Thanks for sharing. You obviously must love him, to not leave him over this. I hope he can show the reciprocal steadfastness to you now he is getting out. I understand that drug dependency is extremely hard to over come, but I imagine so is prison time. And not just on him, but you and everyone else in his life.

    Good luck to you both.

  27. Speaking as a guy, I was honestly surprised that you didn’t divorce him; a drug problem is an INCREDIBLE burden on a marriage, and few people would want to put themselves through something like that, if an “out” was available. But you are a woman who takes her vows seriously – and I really admire you for that. It seems to be more and more rare these days … as people seem to tend to move the fact that they’ve taken vows with a spouse further and further down on the list of important things in their marriage.

    Thank you for being one of the few who places it right up there with love.

  28. What really made me mad about that story is that it failed to discuss how Bush and the Republicans’ war on drugs and desire to incarcerate as many people as possible to satisfy the bigoted hypocrites on the Religious Right, who are some of the biggest pill abusers in the world. Instead of jail, and instead of ruining his life, he should have been put into rehab. Bush and the criminal Republicans won’t be happy until half the country is in jail on minor drug charges. While this guy wasn’t a minority, that of course is a huge bonus to Republicans. Yet, when they are called out on it, they point to Obama and say. “it’s the black president’s fault” because that is all they can say.

    1. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

      Look, I fully and unapologetically believe that the primary goal of the criminal justice system is/should be rehabilitation rather than deterrence/punishment. Hell, my entire job IS defending criminals. And were this merely a possession case I’d agree that prison was too harsh for a guy with no record. But Jesus, Brian, the guy robbed two pharmacies (or did one and attempted to do another, though it’s a legal technicality), both with at the very least the premise of being armed with a weapon, if not an actual weapon on at least one occasion. It’s not about the drugs; it’s about the threat to people in the store, the pharmacist, etc. What if the pharmacist had stood his ground and refused to give up the drugs, or some other person in the store tried to take Nicki’s husband down, and he had injured or killed them? Would you seriously be sitting here arguing that it’s all a Republican conspiracy?

      I practice in Milwaukee County, which is either the most liberal or second-most liberal county in the entire State (depending on your belief as to whether Dane County — where Madison is — is more liberal; I don’t think it is). I regularly handle these kinds of cases, and most of the judges here give, in my opinion, incredibly favorable sentences for defendants. And I am telling you without a single doubt in my mind that there is literally NO WAY he just gets probation and rehab, even in Milwaukee. Johnny Freaking Cochran could be resurrected to defend this guy at his sentencing hearing, and at BEST he’d have maybe gotten a total of 3-4 years of prison and 6-8 years of parole, if the judge was having a great day that day. And I’d bet dollars to donuts that Nicki — though obviously she loves her husband more than anything and would never want him away from her in prison — would agree that he needed some prison time. Hell, I’m fairly certain Nicki’s husband would agree too.

      It’s not a political issue, no matter how much you wish it could be so you could spew rhetoric. It’s a safety of the community issue. Should rehab be an important component of his parole? Absolutely, and I can guarantee you it’s part of it. But, no, you don’t get to just get probation if you walk into a pharmacy and stick up the place. And while I have concerns about the structure of the sentence that I alluded to in an earlier post, if I got my client 5 in and 15 out total on a armed robbery and an attempted armed robbery, I’m sleeping fine at night. That’s not an unfair sentence by any means.

      1. Really? Let’s not forget how the courts up there force criminals into religious rehab programs. The Freedom From Religion Foundation tried to put a stop to that barbaric practice and they lost in court, letting judges force Jesus on those with a sickness. I forget the name of the case, it has been a while.

        I hope this man is getting help while being a political prisoner, a slave to those who want to look tough on crime to their Republican Religious Right lapdogs, who hate Obama, women, and gays.

      2. I think that Brian G is having some fun with you.

  29. Is he still getting to do the ERP? I thought Walker killed those? I appreciate your story. I have been a prison girlfriend and have also endured a revocation and 2nd release, 2 rehab programs. It’s really hard after release, especially considering lack of treatment, and POs can be manipulative. With support it’s much easier, but be careful about reporting if he violates. Sometimes it’s more effective to use your support system first. Only report if it’s your only option. Just my opinion and experience. You’ll be in my prayers tonight.

    1. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

      Walker didn’t kill ERP; he just limited it to alcohol and drug-related offenses, for which this would qualify under the standards set by the Department of Corrections.

  30. Dear Nicki,

    What you have shared is not just confined to marriages with prison issues. What I mean is, all marriages have challenges, and many are just as big, if in different ways.

    Your approach is solid-state, spot on. I have tremendous admiration for you as a person and as a wife.

    What you said is something I wish could be shouted to the skies: When you commit, you COMMIT. Thanks so much for reminding people that marriage is an infinity more than a pretty dress and a fun party.

    Advice to your man, if I could: You don’t have to tread around on eggshells. Yeah, you screwed up. Now’s your time to man up — decide what’s important, really important, in life, and know your woman is right there by your side. If that’s not something you think you can do, then set her free. If it IS something you want, then me, and MANY others, have got your back.

    Thanks again — and God bless!

  31. Reminding your partner of the debt he owes you is just going to breed resentment, which will lead to guilt, then rationalization to get around the guilt, then probably more bad stuff. Debts are hard to live with as it is. It is obvious he owes you so rather than reminding him of it, come up with something that you owe him, make him feel like he is giving you something. Giving makes for stronger and healthier bonds than getting.

  32. Anonymous says:

    As a soldier, I wish my ex-wife had had that kind of commitment.

  33. I agree that the actual sentence seems light, but 15 years probation?? That seems really really excessive to me. At a certain point a person should have paid enough dues to be free from surveillance and behave like a responsible grown-up.

    1. Avatar photo Guy Friday says:

      Well, keep in mind that:

      (a) the probation department can (and in longer periods like this, often does) petition courts to terminate the Extended Supervision period early if it feels the conditions have all been met. They don’t keep people on there for the sake of keeping them on there; there’s not enough money in their budget to do it.

      (b) It’s technically 5 in and 10 out on the full robbery and 5 years of probation consecutive to the first one on the attempted robbery. Is 10 on the full robbery a bit high? Yeah, maybe, but if you’re not giving him as much prison, I suppose you kind of have to make up for it by giving him longer parole.

      (c) Prescription drug crimes are a big problem in Wisconsin (well, outside of the I-94 drug corridor running north from Chicago to Green Bay, where cocaine is the big problem), so there’s pressure on the judicial community to punish more harshly on these kinds of crimes.

      I’m not saying that parole is a cake walk, but I’ll say what I say to my clients: “If you’re not capable of generally living a law-abiding lifestyle out in the community, it’s on you.” I’ve had clients who have completed 10, 15, even 20 years of parole successfully, so it can be done.

  34. In 1994 I accidently shot someone and the died. It was one of the horrendous accidents you sometimes read about in the paper. I was convicted of manslaughter by culpable negligence…a “non-violent” crime (in prison that’s very important). I served 5 years of an 8 years sentence.

    My relationship with my fiance didn’t last the distance…but then, I didn’t think it would. Other than my mother, I got zero family visits. That was pretty hard to bare. Most of my friends fell away…

    Not a day goes by that I don’t think about Chris (my victim) and wish that it had been me. The nightmares are the worst. Chris’ world ended, and mine was turned upside down. It took me the better part of a decade to get things straight.

    Good luck with yours.

  35. wife of an alleged perv says:

    My husband is under investigation for possession of child porn, so I face the prospect of being a prison wife. He hasn’t been charged yet but if he is charged and convicted, he faces a mandatory minimum of five years in federal prison. Am I divorcing him? Nope. I have enough going on already, trying to keep him from killing himself, trying to keep things normal for the kids. A divorce wouldn’t remove me from the worry, nor from the public humiliation I expect when it finally shows up in the paper. Neither would a divorce improve anything for our kids.

    It also helps that I think the punishments meted out for merely looking at pictures are completely wack. I hate that he looked at those pictures, and went back for more. But you know what really pisses me off? That someone actually abused a child and took pictures of it. THAT is what really pisses me off. My husband can get–and is getting–treatment for sex addiction. The cops go after people like my husband because then they can crow about how many child porn arrests/convictions they’ve made…and all without catching very many of the people who perpetrated the actual abuse. I blog about my experience at handbasketnotes.blogspot.com.

    1. Something More says:

      If there wasn’t a demand for such pictures, in my opinion there wouldn’t be so many taken in the first place.

    2. What really pisses ME off is that not only are there people that abuse kids to get pics/video, but that there are sickos that get off on that.

    3. Witchmom3 says:

      @ wife of an alleged perv —- Wow! That’s one BIG deal breaker for me. Don’t care how long I’ve been married, I’d divorce him in a second for having watched, and gone back for more, child porn. No excuse for that. Good luck to you and your kids.

    4. dirtorsoil says:

      You are naïve. First off, your husband fuels the problem. Secondly, “just looking at pictures” is the tip of the iceberg. He’s likely a kid toucher too, or was working his way up to it. Its a reflection on you as a mother that you don’t divorce him and run for the hills. You know what people say when the find out child sexual abuse happened in their family, “I had no idea, how could I have known?”. Well you do. Do something about it as an adult with autonomy. Your kids can’t protect themselves. Even if he does not molest them their lives will be poisoned by living in a home with a registered sex offender. I cannot wrap my head around why you would remain loyal to this man. What is wrong with you where your loyal to him supercedes your loyalty to your kids? For real. Selfish, gross and wrong. Also, don’t have more kids. You are clearly unfit to be a mother. These are words your kids will hear when they are finally old enough to understand how you fucked up their lives and get into therapy to _try_ to undo the damage. TRY. Pro-tip: they will forever be fucked up by your selfishness.

  36. Thank you for posting your essay. Your story is encouraging. I am currently in an undesireable situation and have found no one with a similar circumstance. 32 days ago my husband came home late from work and told me he had been arrested and fired for stealing from his job (driver/ package delivery). I asked him to leave for a while so I could process what he just told me. Over the next week or so I was made aware by others (friends, family, people he had conned) that he had been stealing since he was a child- mostly stealing things and then selling them. He had been lying to me since we met, which was almost 13 years ago (married 9.5 years), about many things. He had actually lost other jobs for similar reasons and told be he was “let go”. He lied about having a high school education… lots of things. We struggled financially, however he aways seemed to have cash when he wanted something or wanted to go out to eat. I would often ask about these times when he had money and he would always have a reason like he had done some extra deliveries, washed trucks, etc. We have 3 amazing children all under 8. We live in an awsome community with a sweet little home and perfect neighborhood. We were involved in church and our life seemed “normal”. A friend actually said our marriage seemed “perfect”. I had worked full-time most of our marriage but about a year ago had become a stay at home mom. We have been separated for a month now. He says he is changing and seeking God and reading the Bible. I don’t know if he is really changing or just trying to get back home.We are both getting counseling separately. He has his first court appearance in 3 days. I have been told that he will be charged with a felony. I do not know if he will have jail time. Trust has been thrown out the window. I have strong faith in God, but still feeling so unsure of how to move forward. I had no clue he would do things like this. I never thought I would be faced with the decision about divorce or be married to a felon. I love him and believe God can change him. I just don’t know if he really wants to change or if I have anything to do with that process.

    1. Witchmom3 says:

      What a difficult situation you and your children have been placed in. What’s important right now are your amazing children and the care and guidance YOU can give them. Good luck and may you and your family find the strength and support you need through your faith, family and friends.

  37. I want to be honest and say that I would normally judge someone who stayed married to a person who was incarcerated, but this article really made me think twice. You have sacrificed so much to honor your vows, even in a time and culture when it’s common for people to give up at the first signs of trouble. I admire your honesty in saying that you would not have stayed if you hadn’t already been married, but I think it says a lot that you were able to put your trust in someone whom you knew had problems in the past. People who are good a heart deserve a second chance, and you gave one to your husband. I wish you all the best and I hope he gets home to you soon.

  38. christina says:

    I completely can relate to this story 100%. My boyfriend and I have been together for 5+ years. In November, he was sent to prison for 18 months-5 years and it’s the hardest thing I have ever been through. At the time he left, I was 4 months pregnant with our second baby. Not having him there was beyond disappointing and hurt more than I could ever begin to say. He has a huge wrap sheet as far as being unfaithful, so even while he’s gone, we still somehow argue about past situations that we will never meet eye to eye with. Having him gone is hard enough, let alone fighting all the time. I don’t think it’s fair that because he decided to be unfaithful and by doing so got in trouble with the law, that I have to pick up the pieces he left behind. I take care of 2 kids alone which at the time he left, I wasn’t fully employed; only a stay at home mom while he worked. When he gets home, he is going to have to pay triple digits in restitution and have no idea how he is then going to provide for himself and the kids. I worry all the time about everything, that is consumes my life and thoughts. I want what’s best for my kids and I hope that when he comes home, he will be that person. Anyone that is in a similar situation, please stay strong. Know that you are not alone.

  39. Stephanie says:

    All I have to say is thank you.. My soon to be husband is in prison and will be there for the next 5years of our lifes but in reading this it just makes me know that im not crazy for waiting for him after all im only 20 but this articale really opened my eyes thank you very much..

  40. Brendamae says:

    Your story has reached so many hearts out here in the world. It is because everyday people have baggage they carry around everyday. Along with the baggage, comes along shame. Society has this annoying habit of being harsh and printing labels for those who make poor choices and baggage. Which then causes fear in those who want help not to seek help because they are afraid. So, the individual continues on. Some, maybe hoping they will get caught because maybe they might get the help they need if they are lucky.
    I am a prisoners wife as well. I married my husband May 7, 2011 and he was sentenced to 5 years in Federal prison on May 25th, 2011. We have children from our 1st marriages. Although, visiting time looks a little different for us. My husband is place over 800 miles away and it is a 30 hour drive round trip with visiting hours from 8 am to 3 pm. For us it is about a 5-6 days trip and hotel expense. Our children miss there dad and step dad a lot. The prison system has a policy that all prisoners will be place within 500 miles of their residing location, to ensure family preservation and unification and promotes how important this is to the State and
    Federal Governmental Prison System. Although i beg to differ. I have gone as far as talking to our Congressman and Senator’s regarding this matter and they have no interest in preservation and unification at all. They pass the buck because it is not an issue they care about, yet. It won’t be until it hits home to some one that matters in Washington D.C., then it will grab the attention of those who can make changes.
    Our children have been able to visit their (step)dad twice now. Our family has had to adjust especially our children with the thoughts of not being able to visit as much as they would like too. It is proven that when family preservation if kept in place, rates of recidivism is lower.
    We communicate via phone, mail and pictures. It is very expensive.
    I pray for our society , our prisons and our government everyday that changes are made to be a more preventative and preservation type of society, prisons and government rather than fearful, making labels and punitive like it is now.
    maybe I am dreaming of a world that doesn’t exist… but than again maybe someday it might turn around, right….because as of January 2012 today, the U.S. has the highest incarceration rate of any country in the world. With over 2.3 million men and women living behind bars, our imprisonment rate is the highest it’s ever been in U.S. history.
    Thank you for sharing your story and I encourage you to keep telling it. Because other wives like myself often feel left standing alone and forgotten because we have chosen to ride the wave and not jump overboard when the storm gets rough. May God Bless you, your husband and your family.

  41. What a dedicated woman you are. I,m from Ireland and my partner is being released in one week. I too have step children. I could not talk to anyone either, Although my darling did not hurt anyone he was sentenced and so were we. I hope you enjoy your time together now he is out. If in Ireland give me a shout. xxx

  42. in the same boat says:

    Wow I read your story and it felt like your words were those of my own. I am a criminal justice professional. In short: My husband was injured in the oil field was given prescription medication just after we married they became a problem. He tried to get help ended up robbing a store with the assumption he had a weapon (hands in pocket) took the money to buy pills on the streets. Sentenced to 5 years we have 2 kids he has completed 2 years and I just totally know and understand your complete essay. I too have chosen to stay married, stay true to my marriage, feel your emotions, understand you worries upon release, I just in all understand your entire situation the only difference is we do have kids. Kids are what make it even harder to explain to them and see their heart break, their sadness, their anger when they have a bad day. I was having a (bad night) and came upon this post and to know that someone else is out there with my similar situation, similar beliefs, and knows what I feel like and understands and has made the similar choices makes me feel a little less crazy right now. There are not many people that understand or that have stood by me on my choice. I have had many people leave my life because I chose to stay married. My husband just entered a 6 month program that guarantees parole upon completion but my journey will not stop there because I was forced to move across the united states to start my life over and I do not got to see him it has been over 2 years and once he is paroled we will still be separated by over 1600 miles. I am hoping for an interstate compact so that my family can be together again. I wish you the best of luck and thank you for your essay.

  43. I was on the Web searching for stories for women who are marry to men in prison and I came across your essay and your story is phenomenal!! My husband is currently in prison, his sentence was very harsh and he was convicted for first degree assault. I have good faith in God that he will be granted a lower sentence and a chance to come home soon. My husband been in prison for a 1 year and 1/2 now and we had been marry for two. I never new I was going to go through such a challenge like this my life. In the beginning of my husband time, my household went threw such a traumatizing stage. I had to explain to my 4 year old that daddy will be gone for a while and my other son was just a baby, so he didn’t really understand. Beside that my husband was and is a good man, he had a good job and truly respect me in every aspect. I would never ever think i would be sitting going through this. I love my husband unconditional and I made a commitment to him. Me and my husband have spiritual counseling together once a month, this help us to cope with our situation. I will be a loyal wife and stick by my husband side until he comes home. My husband was always and has truly been sooo supportive of me whatever decision I decide to make in life, thanks to him and God, I am successful and a strong women. I get lonely sometimes, it’s not easy, but life can be a lot worse. I keep my kids in a lot of activities and i make sure i spend a lot of quality time with them and i keep my kids spiritual grounded. My family is very supportive of me and they love my husband to death and they are in his corner as well, so I have a lot to be grateful for. What kind of wife I will be to kick him while he is down! I have patients, because I know when that day comes when my house is complete again it will be all worth it. I can say to the women that decide to stick by they husband, Stay Strong! and do not listen to everybody who try to think negative about the situation, that’s if he is worth it. Being Married to someone who is lock up is sometimes just as worst as these marriage that are together in society!

    P.S. I am a Successful women and I am not vain but I am gorgeous and i am well grounded with good morals. The reason why i mention this, because a lot of people stereotype women who are prison wives…I hear it all the time.

  44. Mrs. Scott says:

    I am so glad I found your article. I thought there is something wrong with me for staying with my newly wed husband whose facing 4 years for Robbery. He too has a drug habit and his offenses were not with a weapon. Reading your story made me feel like its ok to give him one more chance even though I am scared of him relapsing just like you are your husband. I’ll keep you both in my prayers and heavy in my heart. I wish the best for you both and hope he is able to find the help he needs for full rehabilitation so you two can have your happy ever after!

  45. I met my husband while he was incarcerated, and nothing was suppose to come of it. After almost a year of talking, our relationship had blossomed and become something very beautiful. I fell madly inlove with him, and he in return fell in love with me. It is the kind of love that you dream about, but not necessarily a fairytale. After making it official he told me he did not want to spend a single day without me and wanted me to marry him, i did not even have to think twice for i knew he is my soul mate. Here is what i am facing today. I have some major trust issues due to a lot of abuse growing up, and the men i have dated in the past. I can’t seem to get past it all. I know deep down in my heart that he loves me and would never hurt me, but my brain is sending all kinds of mixed signals. A lot of people say “Well how can he cheat when he is in Jail?” my response being “He met me while incarcerated, so it is possible.” I dont want to not believe him, because i love him with all fo my heart and soul. I need a little advice from anyone who can help me. I dont want to push him away, even though he assures me i can’t. Everything i have ever loved has left, or hurt me. I want so badly to believe him! HELP!!!

  46. Camisha S. says:

    Such a wonderful story, glad I stumbled upon it! For me, the key component is “marriage.” As a very young woman, I once supported & dedicated myself to my child’s father while he served time. We were not married. Now as a mature adult, I would never do such a thing. Not because it didnt work out. Simply because it wasnt my duty to do so. Now that I sadly have a son serving 19yrs, I totally feel what you’re saying when you say “it’s not easy.” Any type of relationship….friendship, family, or romantic….suffers tremendously when going thru this sort of thing. I hope & pray that you and your family are much better now. Thanks so much for sharing!!!

    1. Dropsofhope says:

      I just want to say hang in there! Make the best of your visits and phone calls, sending books, magazines and letters. It helps the time go by. I know this may seem much easier than said, but this too shall pass.

  47. I can relate to this story…I am living it now. My boyfriend of 18-1/2 yrs committed a felony in 2002 and was sentenced to 26yrs in prison. His first parole was Oct 2012 and got a 3yr setback. So next parole is 2015. In a way I have been waiting for him all these years, but I still have been lliving my life as I see fit. It’s my life. I’m doing what I need to do. I’m only human. But my boyfriend is “the one” and I love him with all my heart and soul and will be with him when he gets out. That’s the bottom line…

  48. jami mendoza says:

    My newly wed husband is like 2 or 3 weeks away from being sent to prison on a14-18yr sentence we actual just got married dec 8 while he was in jail and have only been together for a year on dec 29 2014, he has prepared me as much as he possibly can for this journey him and i r about to embark on honestly I’m a little scared but i love him to death and he is such an amazing man,the first 5 days after his sentence on feb 11 2014 i was in such a bad stage of depression i want sure if i would Get out of it by my wonderful husband he continuously called me taller to me and reassured me that could do this that i could do this and i can’t lie his number scares me but as he says the judge and D.A.r just trying ti break us by separating us but all it is is time my husband says our love for each other had only got stronger and there is just a bigger space between us that’s all.all i know is that if he were any body else there is no way in hell i could do this. Now im the one that keeps him going and happy we came up with this list of bets and promises we have made to each other That we are going do when he gets out are up to 42 so far it’s thing like being spontaneous. Or betting he can beat me in bowling it is what is working for us so far.i want to thank you for sharing your story it helps give me more hope and more reassurance that my husband and i truly are going to make it thru this successfully and more happy than ever we are a strong couple and have only gotten stronger being apart.i will for sure post again later in further into his sentence and our journey together.

  49. jen rivera says:

    this story horrified me, the fact that you weren’t able to have children by the time he was released. my first love was sent to prison when i was 16 years old. for the next 6 years and currently, we stay in love through letters. i only visited him 2 times at first but i couldn’t do it anymore. through letters, he stays up to date with all of the changes in my life and i with his on a personal, mental level. i have been in 4 serious relationships but he has always been the one. more so now than ever, i want to marry this man and start a life with him. he took half of me with him when he was sent away 6 years and i to this day am still waiting to be whole again. i would NOT recommend anyone to try this unless your prepared to be angry, sad and everything else just about everyday.

  50. Anonymous says:

    I broke up with my girlfriend last 2 months due to many misunderstandings i was fighting so hard to get her back. none of her friends would give me any information about her. The only thing I could do was to go find help from anywhere, so i looked for a way to get her back then a friend recommended me to contact robinsonbuckler@yahoo. com that he will help me and as my friend said, Mr robinson helped me to bring back my girlfriend just in 3 days, I now have her back and this is the biggest joy of my life

  51. Dana Martin says:

    I would happily surrogate for you, if you and your husband are still wanting to have a child!

  52. My partner got locked up for six weeks got out broke his bail got locked up for thirteen months I had his baby during that time got out six months later got locked up again this time for two years with a max of 4 1/2 years I just had his second child he said been in there a year now i am used to it now. It’s the way the relationship has been for the majority of the time we have been together I know he loves me but that’s only because he needs me. He needs my money and company and he needs to see his kids. I’m under no illusions I just care about him. Next year he’ll likely get out but I can see him going back in. I am tired of it. He is a broken record. I have been there for him every single day I go twice a week to see him I email him every ten to twenty mins. It’s just too much. But I have this hope that he will get out and somehow it will be ok and all this wasn’t for nothing. If he goes back I’m ex communicating him for good. Fucking men.

  53. hi. my partner and i have been extremely close. my partner had already done a 10 year sentence. been in and out of jail pretty much since he was a kid. we were engaged ready to marry. and the worst night of life has happened. craig is on trial for apparently shooting someone in the head. hes looking anywhere 10 15 years pleading guilty but self defence but if he pleads notnguilty and found guilty he will get 25 +. im so heart broken for him. we are wanting to get married asap. ive stuck by him why the whole australia hate him. i just wanna know you n ya partner sound alot like me n craig and pretty much i take my hat of to you. but im about to embark in the same journey. i know its not easy. but i cant let him go through this on hes own. thats my bubble and the most beautiful person you have ever met
    biggest heart and just a gentleman. hes my world. Nd i cant picture life without him. i love him so much.

  54. Thank you for sharing your heart from an honest perspective. My husband is home after serving a two year prison term in another state. Our children were 13, 11 and 9 at the time of his arrest. It turned our world upside down as you might imagine. It was the most challenging time of our lives. He’s been home for two years and we are still putting the pieces back together but I don’t regret my decision to stand and fight for our marriage and for my family. Our children were able to witness a mother who persevered, worked hard, overcame judgement and fought hard to keep our family together despite the odds. They also the learned the consequences of poor decisions, how to forgive and how to love again. I honestly believe all of us are better people based on the what we experienced through the trauma of incarceration. Blessings to you and your future. You can do this!

  55. Sammybear says:

    I was engaged to I was engaged to my fiance for about 2 years now when he got out in 2016 I found him cheating on me once I forgave him and Let It Go because we have been together for 6 years now on and off and we have a little boy but we also had a little girl she has passed away but my fiance went back to prison violation and lately he gets mad at me for not answering for 3 or 4 days but then when he I do answer he always asks me to put money on either his dad’s phone or Walmart money to his suppose it sister that I have never heard of before and then he tells me that I can’t come up on the weekends because that’s the time that his family does and I mean I don’t know I guess I’m just getting really suspicious if he is cheating on me again from prison this time do you think maybe I need to confront him I just don’t know if I can take the Heartbreak because our daughters anniversary of her death is coming up in May 8th I really need help what should I do do I leave him behind or do I stick by his side please message me back sincerely Sammy bear

  56. Thank you for sharing your story. I am at a difficult point and clueless on where to turn for answers. My daughter’s father was incarcerated when I was 8 months pregnant with her. It took 3 years to go to trial. He sat in jail the whole time. We bought for sure at trial he would be set free since his friend actually committed the crimes. We were wrong and he was sentenced to 58 years after all convictions were added up. Almost four more years later (so he’s been gone almost 7) and I have stood by him this whole time. Not wanting to give up hope. But all appeals have been exhausted and there is no parole in our state. Over the last several months, maybe longer, I have been slowly detaching emotionally. I just turned 33 and I feel like I don’t want to wait anymore. But the thought of hurting him like that absolutely sickens and paralyzes me. I feel so stuck and lost. I feel as though I’ve been in prison for 7 years. There is another man that has been in and out of the picture for years who wants to marry me and be a father figure to our daughter. I entertained the idea years ago when I was feeling extra lonely and i have gone back and forth between talking to him and cutting off contact for years. We recently reconnected and he still is adamant that his feelings haven’t changed. He is a great guy. I don’t know what to do. I know I’m shortchanging myself and denying my daughter a chance to have a strong and good male influence in her life. Part of me wants to let go and free myself to be happy. But I can’t bring myself to talk to my inmate about it. Because I know it will crush him. I’m posting this here randomly with hopes I will get some insight from someone who has been there. Who knows if that will help me make up my mind but I am so sick and tired of being sick and tired over this. ?

  57. My husband is a security guard, and I feel like I’m losing my world right about now. It was 230 am and he was on site about to leave to come home from work and four drunk guys came walking by and started spitting on are vehicle so my husband jumps out they car and asked them to stop and a argument started. Well after that they got aggressive with him mind you their is four of them so he fired his gun into the ground so long story short he got one of the worst prosecutor out their and she wants to give him 5years

  58. I met my husband through my best friend in 2014, while he was serving his life sentence for aggravated robbery. Nobody was physically hurt or killed, the woman who’s van he stole claimed he had a knife, he did not. We corresponded for years, and eventually fell in love, and about a month ago we married. He is an incredible human being, and there are not words to describe the love I have for him! He’s funny, intelligent, sensitive, ….he’s not the same person that went into jail 20+ years ago, that he is now. He has not done drugs in over 20 years, which got him where he is, which is still in prison, In Texas, for possibly another 13 years unless things change. I have not shared with many people that we are married, knowing the judgment, knowing the arguments I will hear, I’ve avoided the confrontation which is upsetting to him and makes him feel like he’s not good enough. This is not how I want him to feel. I found your story in search of advise and suggestions as to how to navigate this. He’s one that takes confrontation head on, and I’m one that avoids the fight if I see there is no great resolution. My 21 yr old son knows I’m married to him, my parents have both passed, I’m 56 years old, I haven’t said anything to my siblings and I’m sure I will get judgments which will put a wedge between us, because there is nothing they can say to make me want to leave my husband. At this point I don’t even think that telling them would make him feel any different. I don’t know how to fix this.

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