Dating an Ex Convict

There are many reasons why a person may get in trouble with the law. However after someone has duly served his/her period of incarceration, there is no reason why he/she should not get back to regular life with a job and a partner. If you have met someone who has spent some time behind the bars, here is what you need to keep in mind.

Have a talk

You meet a man or woman who is good-looking, seems interesting and even has an air of mystery about him/her. Just when you are beginning to imagine possibilities, the bomb is dropped on you – your partner is a former convict. It is only natural that you are assailed by a thousand questions during this time – what was he/she convicted for, does he/she own up to the crime and finally how to know if he/she is truly reformed. The best thing you can do at this situation is to have a frank talk with your date. Ask him/her the crime he/she was imprisoned for. If your partner was incarcerated for something major as murder, sex offence, domestic violence or a serious felony, then you may need to think twice about dating this person and if you can feel comfortable around him/her. On the other hand if your partner was imprisoned for something that doesn't involve violence, then maybe you can give him/her a chance at love. However keep in mind that the seriousness of a crime differs from one person to another; depending upon your cultural and spiritual values, you may find something horrifying that others may decide to treat with greater leniency. If your partner has indulged in fraud or white collar crime, be aware that you're dating someone who can't be trusted easily.

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See if he/she has reformed

Every person makes some mistake in his/her life. And when that person has served the legal consequences of his/her mistake and is willing to move on, there is no reason why he/she should be denied a chance at love. But before you feel this way for your date, ensure that he/she is sincere about leading a reformed life. You can deduce this by the king of company he/she is keeping and his/her seriousness in getting a job. If your partner has enrolled for a college program or has already found work, it means that they are sincere about joining mainstream society. If your partner keeps away from behaviors and people who can draw him/her back into a life of crime, it means that they are doing their best to move on. If you sincerely think that your partner is serious about leading a regular life, then there is no reason why you should not keep seeing him/her.

Be prepared for adverse reactions

You may not have any problem dating an ex-convict if you know for sure that he/she is now reformed, but your family and friends may not be so welcoming to the new person in your life. Prison time carries an enormous stigma, sometimes not without some justification. There are repeat offenders who despite having served time in jail go back to a life of crime after release. This group of hardened criminals gives others a bad reputation which is why mainstream society is often wary of trusting people who have spent time behind bars. Thus your parents may be horrified at learning that their child is dating an ex-convict and your friends and co-workers may treat your partner with suspicion. In such situations there is little you can do but be patient. You should recognize that your parents' distress at your dating an ex-convict is legitimate. Winning them over will take some amount of time. Your partner will have to prove him/herself to them and this means that all of you should do things together as often as possible. If your boy/girlfriend is genuinely repentant and can talk with your parents without being defensive, they may slowly be able to judge him/her for what he/she is today, not what he/she did in the past. And yet despite your and your partner’s best efforts, things may not work out so smoothly. What you both can do the most is to live your life with dignity and responsibility and hope your family comes around.

Requires you to ‘give’ a lot

Dating someone who has been recently released from prison is unlike dating an established member of society. Your partner may have no house, no job and no car upon being released from prison. He/she may be living in a half-way house and still looking for work. Some states bar a convict from owning a driver’s license for a certain period of time, which means that they cannot drive even if they owned a car. If you are interested in dating such a person, you need to be honest and ask yourself if  you are ready to give so much to a relationship. You may have to buy your partner some clothes and things or lend him/her some money to get started. You may even have to drive him/her around the town or city. After a time all this could get stressful and leave you wondering how long you need to keep giving to the relationship. And it may not be beyond some people to take advantage of your pity and good-heartedness and thus use you to get back on their feet. You need to consider all these points very carefully before you begin dating this person seriously.

Scale down your expectations

If your partner already has a job and is living on his/her own, still you need to be careful before settling down into a committed relationship with his/her. Do not expect your date to lavish you with expensive gifts and take you out on extravagant dates. He/she may still not be earning much despite working hard. Also avoid taking your date to places and activities where he/she may be tempted to indulge in illegal behavior. For instance if your partner was jailed for DUI, then avoid venues where alcohol is free-flowing or if your partner was arrested for illegal gambling then stay away from casinos. In the end though your partner will have to take responsibility for his/her life. And once you are sure that he/she is serious about leading a stable and blameless life, you can surely keep dating him/her.