Any ideas on how to keep a relationship strong and healthy when you can’t be physically together for a long period of time? My boyfriends in jail and I’m having a hard time with it.
I suppose there would be some factors to consider, including how intertwined your lives are. Finances, children, a house, a career, every factor you add creates a new dimension that would make the separation more difficult to manage. If you’re dating and haven’t built up anything substantial together besides a relationship that really means a lot to you, I’m skirting around the idea of comparing this to a long-distance relationship. It’s essentially what it is, but I don’t want to step on any toes. I’ve never been to jail, neither has my partner, and I don’t know anyone who has been. (Feel free to chime in here!) I’m sure the jail aspect probably adds some additional stress, concern, and grief.
Since the main question here is about physically being with one another, lets look at that. How do other couples in long-distance relationships work to keep the relationship healthy and strong? First I would consider how you’re going to keep in touch. Can you call, visit, write? Do as much as you can to keep one another included in each others lives – this is particularly important. Depending on how long your partner is in jail, it may become necessarily for you to find someone to rely on for emotional support and comfort while he is away. Friends are going to be important – it’s not just about the two of you, it’s about you as an individual as well. Having a healthy and strong relationship depends on each partner being healthy and strong on their own. While he will have to work on that in jail, you’ll have to work on that at home. I would imagine it would be tempting to worry about him all of the time – don’t forget to worry about yourself.
Do as much as you can together in the ways that you can. Keep focusing on yourself, your life, and keep busy. Keep things lighthearted and try not to focus too much on what you can’t change. You’ll be together again, and it’s important to remember that and keep your chin up and look forward to a time when you’ll be able to pick up where you left things off. Don’t necessarily think of it as your relationship being put on pause, but rather your relationship on a set of different tracks for a while. The momentum will change, how you interact will change, and your priorities might change with that.
Lastly: Be trusting of one another, and avoid jealousy. This one might go more for your partner, who will likely find it difficult to be cooped up in a new and limiting world. Particularly if you are unable to see each other regularly or if you do end up needing to lean on other peoples shoulders a bit while he’s gone. Continue to be transparent in your relationship, focus on good/clear communication, and focus on thinking positively about each other and your relationship.
Long story short: Keep your head up, keep talking, stay in touch, and focus on yourself.