She Likes a Jailbird
Q: I met someone online and we connected really well and shared amazing energy. We talked about committing to each other but there is one problem. He is incarcerated. After we talked about commitment, I didn't hear from him for three weeks, then all of a sudden he wrote me again. But the trust was gone and now he writes me on and off, three weeks pass by and he writes again. He tells me his life is not easy right now and that he is not disappearing and going to a disco. I feel hurt and don't like him disappearing at all. His court case is coming up very soon, and he might be released and then he wants to come visit me. But his behavior is horrible. I don't want to be with someone who wants me and then disappears for weeks. What should I do? I wrote him it's best to be friends now and am so sad that something so good turned into this nothingness. The strange thing is that when he does write to me, it's as if nothing has changed for him. I don't understand this behavior. -- Amy, 36
Dr. Susan: It would be best for you to wait and see if, when you meet in person, that amazing energy is still there. It could be that you imagined "being with" a man in jail would mean you would have all of him. Whereas the truth turned out to be that you only "had" him once in a while, when he felt like writing. The writing wasn't such a big deal for him, apparently. I bet he was most looking forward to being with you in person so that there could be physical intimacy. You expected too much from an online relationship with an incarcerated person. Of course, if you think his behavior is horrible now, it might be even worse when he gets free. Please try not to be too trusting — or too demanding - until you know this person much better.
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Advice for Her
Advice for Him
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D.
Susan K. Perry, Ph.D., is a social psychologist, relationship expert, and bestselling and award-winning author. Her books include Loving in Flow: How the Happiest Couples Get and Stay That Way, and Kylie's Heel, a novel for adults.
Pamela G. Chollet, Ph.D.
Dr. Pamela Chollet has a Ph.D. in clinical psychology and Master degrees in educational psychology and fine arts. Her passion has been helping people face and get through those times when they feel trapped and unable to move forward.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D.
Anna Charbonneau, Ph.D., is a clinical psychologist, stress management expert, and author. If you're feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, or struggling to make changes in your life, Anna can help.