Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

Should I date the jailbird?

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Viewing 12 posts - 37 through 48 (of 57 total)
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  • #841870 Reply

    I wouldn’t even want to date someone who was rude to a server or a cashier. I can’t imagine wanting to be with someone who committed a violent crime.

    #841873 Reply
    #841891 Reply

    Oh wow! Thanks so much for all the thoughtful and detailed replies!! I really do appreciate you all taking the time, and love seeing the different viewpoints you all have. I chose the wrong week to post here, have been swamped with other things and not had energy to spare on this, so I feel I have to reply to too many things at once again. Will do my best to gather my thoughts coherently. I also want to apologise for my language. As my background with English has mostly been through academia, I get really.. Lofty? Pretentious? in my descriptions. Either that or way too colloquial, it’s one or the other, apparently. I swear I’m not as obnoxious as my word choices make me seem.

    When I say casual relationship, that is an overstatement. We were sleeping together. And he is (due to his background, amongst other things) not the kind of person I’d ever see myself getting feelings for, and I am as mentioned the queen of emotional distance, so I really did not expect to get attached at all. If I thought that was a risk, I’d have removed myself from the messy situation. That’s also why him waiting to tell me he was going to jail was not an issue for me – we did not have the kind of relationship where sharing anything personal was expected. Others might have balked either way, not me. Maybe that makes me naive or foolish in others’ eyes.

    It probably has a lot to do with my background, and how I view the world. I try to make a conscious effort to judge people on who I see in front of me. As opposed to their past, their education, their jobs, or whatever. I trust my gut and my experiences with them. I have yet to experience that this has led me astray (ugh, that sounds so POMPOUS!). But I acknowledge that this is a situation where my gut cannot be trusted to make a good decision, so I am looking for outside help.
    I also view the world in a more sociological framework than a psychological one. Which means I know the impacts of the kind of culture my friend grew up in on choices and opportunities. He is beginning to become aware of them too.
    ^^This part is not to excuse myself or him, it’s just a realisation I had when reading your replies, as a lot of your views differ so hugely from my own on the topic of prison and criminal behaviour and rehabilitation. I’m really just being obnoxiously sociological about this whole thing and should probably delete this paragraph. I’m just finding it hard not to go on a rant about prison systems and recidivism rates, but that is not why we’re here.

    I am not looking to fix him. Only he can complete this change he’s started. I’m just in the unfortunate position of having more feelings than I was expecting to at this juncture and struggling to make sense of them. He’s well on his way to making the changes he needs to and I got impatient after a weekend together in “the bubble”. And, now that I am aware that I can’t trust myself to be rational here, I will take a further step back than I was planning, try to shake the fog out of my brain and re-evaluate at a later stage.

    #841895 Reply

    I think you are being naive. Sure, people can change. Sure, you should normally judge people by how they treat you, but you should also judge them by how they treat others, including being rude to servers, cab drivers or things from the past. He committed a violent crime. One which you won’t describe here, so I imagine that (plus the sentence) means it was particularly violent. You should judge him for that. Not to mention he kept the information from you. And if this is the kind of information you don’t want too to know when choosing sex partners, I think you are being reckless with yourself. I try to see the good in everyone, but I’ve been through enough things to be skeptical and cynical. And even still, I’ve been taken advantage of or outright become a victim myself.

    Please make an appointment with a therapist.

    #841897 Reply

    I’m not sure it’s a good idea to be looking at this from the wider sociological perspective. Again, I think all you need to be looking at is what’s best for YOU, as well as what actions this guy takes and whether or not he actually *is* the guy you need as a partner. Looking at this through a wider societal lens gives you an excuse to keep your rose colored glasses on when thinking about this guy.

    ETA: it’s interesting too that you didn’t develop feelings for him during all those months you had a casual relationship yet were spending all your free time together. This only happened when he was behind bars. Do you think maybe there’s something about him being inaccessible that makes you want him? Or maybe the intensity of these small bursts of contact? I wonder how it’s going to be when he’s out.

    #841899 Reply

    I agree with kate and anon. Past action is the single best predictor of future behavior. Someone who has become violent once has a much higher chance of becoming violent again. Simply not considering someone’s past because you’re trying to judge them on who they present themselves to be is…not great when you’re talking about a violent felon in maximum security prison. I also agree there is a reason you dont want to say what his crime was, and it’s because you know it should be a dealbreaker. This is a very clear move on situation. If in 5 years he’s doing well, has successfully navigated post release, and has truly made the changes he is working towards, go for it. But i strongly caution against getting romantically involved at this point.

    It’s great to understand privilege and the very real challenges presented by socioeconomic factors, race, etc. It’s really, really important. Being an ally is imperative. You also need to look, on a much more micro level, about what are good decisions FOR YOU.

    #841914 Reply

    “I try to make a conscious effort to judge people on who I see in front of me. As opposed to their past, their education, their jobs, or whatever.”

    What?!!? It’s 100% okay to “judge” a person by whether or not they have committed a violent crime, and his culture is no excuse. By that rubric, you’d sleep with any dangerous person, as long as they’re charming (many are) and not committing violence right in front of you.

    You’re getting played. He didn’t move to your area to “go to school.” He already knew at that point that he was going to prison soon.

    If you want to justify your masochism under some kind of social awareness sainthood, go right ahead. Just stop asking everyone here to agree with you. Literally NO ONE does, which should tell you something.

    PS — You still won’t say what the crime was, which should also tell you something.

    #841916 Reply

    Honestly, what was the crime?

    #841918 Reply

    You seem very intelligent – and because of that you are using your intellectual background as a way to observe this situation in a way that allows you to justify and rationalize what is actually pretty risky choices on your part.

    I don’t disagree with your sociological views on how people’s class and early experiences are determinant of their life’s trajectory – and that systemic “isms” mean that some communities have less opportunity for social mobility and that can result in higher instances of antisocial and criminal behavior. I believe that at a macro level, but it gets tricky to apply it to individuals. Furthermore just because we can accept systematic inequalities have a profound impact on people’s behaviors and choices – just recognizing that doesn’t poof – make him lose those tendencies.

    As much as I can see you want to analyze this and find intellectual justifications that will validate your romantic feelings towards him, this is pretty simple.

    This guy has recently been very violent. He has been dishonest with you. His life is extremely unstable right now.

    This isn’t a good idea.

    If you had met someone who ten years ago had committed a violent crime, served time, but since then had been living an honest life I’d say go for it. Clearly this man has proved he is a changed man.

    But your friend has proved nothing. You are being incredibly reckless here in taking this chance.

    #841919 Reply

    You have a history of being unable to decide whether you should be with someone. That should make you take a step back from this relationship because this is a high risk relationship and you aren’t good at pulling back when a relationship isn’t working for you.

    Something to look for. When he expresses regret about what he did is his regret more focused on the harm he has done to himself and his own future or is his regret focused on how he harmed other people? There is a huge difference between the two. If his focus is mostly about himself I think you should run. If he could figure out how to commit a crime where he wouldn’t have a negative consequence he would be far more likely to do it. If his focus is on the victims of his crime and he has huge remorse, like he agonizes over the harm he did to them, then he is much less likely to do something similar. This is about empathy. If he needs to be prompted to speak about his victims and how they were affected you should end the relationship. If his concern if over himself you could easily be his victim at some point in the future.

    #841920 Reply

    My money is assault or even rape. I hope I am wrong… But I suspect otherwise… I mean why not simply tell us what he did?

    #841922 Reply

    I’m assuming assault while committing another crime. Something related to drugs or to theft or extortion.

    He did get only 8 months which seems very low for most violent crimes. That makes it hard to figure out what he may have done.

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