Through Glass Walls; A qualitative study of how to maintain
relationships with an incarcerated partner
Sitting in the waiting room of Valley Street Jail, I remember looking around at the various people who have to come to see a loved family member. They range from mothers and grandparents, to girlfriends and kids. I’m here, every Tuesday, to visit Mike, my boyfriend of five years. There is a large metal detector in front of a brown door leading to the visiting room. The waiting room is a scary place, one I never thought I would be sitting in. How would my relationship survive for the next several years? The amount of mixed emotions that constantly overflowed my head was extremely overwhelming. Embarrassment, that I found myself involved in a situation like this. I felt ignorance, because I did not know what to expect on each visit, and sadness for Mike who didn’t know when he would be released to hold me and his son again. Finally, the anger that I had towards the informant who told on him and how quickly the life we had was taken away. I could not talk to my parents about this experience because they didn’t understand and were infuriated that I was now dating a ‘jail bird.’ I wondered what it is like for other people who were going through situations similar to mine. I longed to speak with them. I struggled for months to hold positive conversations with my boyfriend through a glass wall when most of them ended with our continuous trust issue. I felt like this new relationship we struggled with was consuming my life, money, time and so much energy. How would I make it through the next three years? There isn’t a script to follow and wasn’t something I was taught growing up.
A Chapter Remains Unforgotten
I am twenty three years old and currently have an ex boyfriend who was recently released from the Berlin State Prison after almost three years. He was dropped off at a half-way house down the street from my apartment. We dated...