When someone you love ends up in jail it can have a huge impact on your life. You have to put up with his absence every day and deal with your grief. You also need to learn how to visit him in prison. Although it is not an easy task, you have the opportunity to create a new life for yourself while your loved one is no longer there.
Part 1 of 3: Getting started
Step 1. Live in the moment
If you try to think about those years that you will go without your loved one in your life, you will probably be overwhelmed. Instead, deal with the situation at all times and enjoy the wonders of each day.
If you find it difficult to live in the moment, you have the option of trying the mindfulness technique. For example, when you are in the shower, try to monitor what you are doing. Don't let your mind wander over what will happen later in the day. Instead, get carried away by the way the soap penetrates your skin, the way water relaxes your muscles, and the smell of soap in the air. Focus on what you are feeling, not what is on your mind
Step 2. Prepare for what to expect
This advice may seem contradictory in the previous step. However, you can stay in the moment knowing that what awaits you in the future could be difficult. For example, you might start to lose some friends because your loved one is in jail. People will not be forgiving the way you would like them to.
Granted, this will hurt you, but if you lose friends, be aware that you will probably also meet other friends who are going through the same situation as you. In addition, you are aware that those around you will see you through good and bad times
Step 3. Develop a plan and budget
If your partner was helping with the household expenses, you now need to make a new plan. You should consider looking for a second job or even more. Take a look at your budget and see what necessities you need to survive.
- Include the additional costs of supporting your partner who is in prison. Prison can be expensive for those who are not there. From phone calls to buying items in the canteen, your loved one will need money while in jail. However, these expenses can quickly increase, as even crediting an account comes with fees. For these reasons, budget for how much you think you can spend on the person per month and stick to it. If you think this is not enough, see if there is someone in the family who can help you.
- It will not help you with household expenses and for that you may end up with more housework. Don't be afraid to enlist the help of family members when the time is right.
Step 4. Take care of yourself
It is a process of grief. You are losing someone important in your life and it is important that you mourn that person. However, remember that you have to take care of yourself. Try to get a regular sleep schedule and eat a healthy diet to keep up.
Step 5. Decide how many times you can visit him
Most prisons have a visitation limit. Also, the place where your spouse is kept may not be as close as you would like. Still, you have the option of choosing how many times you can visit it so you (and your loved one) can know what to expect.
You will also be able to let him know when you will be able to send him a message or an email
Step 6. Make a plan for how you will let people know about the situation
It might be difficult to decide how to tell people this. Your best bet is to tell them the truth, as some people will find out through newspapers or police reports. However, if that bothers you, you can say that you have split up or that he has chosen to leave. All you have to do is be consistent in your words.
Also know who you want to talk to. You may just want to keep this with family or you may want to tell some close friends about it. It is best if you decide in advance who you want to keep informed
Step 7. Think about what to say to your children
It is essential that you tell your children the truth while your partner is in prison, if that is the situation you are in. If you don't tell them this and they find out the truth, they may think you have betrayed their trust. Be direct and try to answer any questions they may have. Also give them an overview of what you will say to others outside the family. For example, you could say he's gone or he's in jail, it depends on what you decide to say.
Also, if you want your children to go visit the person who is in prison, be sure to go there alone first. So you will be able to tell them what will happen once they get there and allay some of their fears
Part 2 of 3: visit him
Step 1. Find out about the rules in advance
If possible, contact the prison to find out what to expect. For example, you may be subjected to searches. Also, some prisons only allow video conferencing and in this case you cannot actually hug the person. Most detention centers avoid physical contact by limiting you to only brief hugs. Knowing what to expect can relax you a bit.
You won't be able to give anything (like pastries) to the person, so you'd better not bring any of these with you
Step 2. Make use of relaxation techniques
Visiting someone in prison is very stressful. If you are feeling anxious, make an effort to practice some relaxation techniques. For example, you can put a relaxing scent in a handkerchief that you keep. You may not be allowed, but you can immediately use it before or after by putting it to your nose and then inhaling it. However, remember that the scent will be linked to this experience, so try not to use something that you smell all the time.
You can also try breathing techniques. If you feel like you are anxious, take a few minutes to breathe. Close your eyes and count to four while breathing. Count on inhaling and focus on your breathing until you calm down
Step 3. Don't be surprised if the person becomes violent
Everyone is afraid of being in jail, and your partner may be afraid of losing you. In addition, she will have to create a new life for herself in a tense situation. Make an effort to understand it, but don't allow the person to step on you, especially when you are going through a difficult time.
Step 4. Get support afterwards
It will be difficult for you to see your loved one in prison, and everything you experience while visiting them will not be fun. However, immediately find someone who can be by your side. Go out for a coffee and chat to calm down.
Part 3 of 3: Finding Support
Step 1. Join a group
Most communities have support groups that help those whose partners are in prison. The courts can help you find one. You also have the option of contacting psychology firms in your area to see if they can refer you to such groups.
Step 2. Try to see a psychologist
If you don't want group treatment, try taking part in one-on-one sessions with your therapist. If you do not have insurance or the insurance does not cover the costs of therapy sessions, visit a clinic with variable criteria. What you have to pay will be determined by what you do.
Step 3. Put the guilt aside
You may feel guilty that your loved one is in prison when you are not. Remember that you didn't make the same choice as he did to end up in jail, and all you have to do now is support this person.
- The first step in getting past the guilt is realizing that you haven't done anything wrong. It is not your fault that the person ends up in jail and you do not have the capacity to change the actions of others.
- Also, if you feel like you haven't done anything to help the person in prison, then take responsibility for that action. You can only do this by apologizing to the person.
- Once you've apologized, make an effort to move on. Get rid of that guilt thought and stop thinking about it. You have the opportunity to change the past. The only thing you can do is move forward for a better future.
Step 4. Create a new standard
For a while, you will feel like you are out of touch with reality. You may get lost a bit, as your loved one has suddenly disappeared from your daily life. However, if you can just overcome this, you will adjust to living without it, and life will no longer seem strange to you.
- Part of setting a new standard includes staying on course for normal seasons. However, have the courage to celebrate birthdays and go on leave without your loved one. You don't have to sacrifice yourself just because the person you care about is no longer there.
- Try to establish new traditions with your family so that you have something to look forward to. On the other hand, you might indulge in a new hobby that will take up some of your time.