I am a member of a San Francisco church that participates in a Bay Area prison ministry. I’m writing to ask you if I should contact my prison pen pal after two years of lost contact? We did at one time talk of marriage, but he is a free man now and although we never got to meet, I still really miss him.
I found his home address on the Internet. Please tell me if I should contact him now or not. Even though he may have a girlfriend, I would still really like us to be friends with each other. I am really scared that he might not want to know me.
Wondering What Could Have Been
Men (and women) locked up in prison for years and years are horribly lonely, scared, missing their friends and family, and anxious for any outside contact they can get. Having a mental romance and fantasies of a happy romantic life, marriage, family, someone to love, etc. keeps prisoners going. It gives them HOPE, which is a great motivator for people and helps them more easily accept and deal with their immediate negative circumstances.
The problem is that when one develops such a relationship with a convict that was unknown prior to incarceration, its easy to fill in the blanks of what you don’t know about them with your imagination. Such relationships are full of drama, longing, frustration and a desire for more, which is the plot line for 90% of the best-selling romance novels on the market today! Women (and men) on the outside that have serious problems with true emotional and physical intimacy are drawn to relationships such as these which have built-in barriers and boundaries.
You are lonely and continue to live a fantasy that will never come true. This guy doesn’t need those dreams and fantasies anymore to keep him going until he is released, because now he is out in the real world and has returned to his life.
Seeking his personal address when he did not provide such information to you voluntarily is akin to stalking. The State of California has the strongest stalking laws in the country. In the 1980s stalking victims (usually female) were told by police that there was nothing they could do until a crime was actually committed — which meant “until he actually hurts or kills you.” But that all changed in I think it was 1994. Now a stalker without a restraining order or prior convictions can charged with a felony and get up to three years in the State pen; with a restraining order its four years in prison, and with a prior we are looking at up to five years behind bars.
Don’t press your luck here. Please do not contact this man in such a manner because you don’t know what type of problem you might be creating for him and for yourself! You don’t know what his living situation is, what he is doing now that he is out, or what kind of person he REALLY is. All you know about this man is what he told you in his letters, which may or may not be true. All you feel about him are things you fantasized him to be based on a few words on a piece of paper.
Get out of the house, off the computer, and into Get out of the house, off the computer, and into the real world to meet men. Ex-convicts, unless they have learned their lesson, are out of prison and off parole, and have their life seriously back on track, are not good bets for partners, husbands or even platonic friends.