Committing to a relationship with an inmate can be stressful, and at times, you may feel lost as to how to achieve the level of intimacy you would have if it weren’t for the incarceration. However, you do not need to give up on that relationship or condemn yourself to a lifetime of emotional separation.
The good news is that creating intimacy is certainly possible despite the separation. Real intimacy is about far more than just physical contact; it is the relationship you develop that allows you to be free to be completely honest and be yourself with that person. Your most intimate relationship ever may be completely platonic, which may be the case if you met your partner after incarceration.
The first thing you can do to create and maintain intimacy is through regular communication. This communication may include visiting on family days or writing letters. While visiting and ongoing contact may vary based on the type of facility they are in, all facilities allow letter correspondence.
You can write letters as often as you want, and in most cases, you can include photos, drawings, news clippings, or other letter tokens to strengthen that connection. For many, receiving letters is a significant sign of love and intimacy. The idea that someone took the time and effort to write a letter shows how much that person cares.
Another step you can take to maintain intimacy is by staying current on news regarding your lover’s charges, their sentence, and any other pertinent information to their length of stay in jail or prison. Researching inmates online is far easier than most people realize, and it can provide up-to-date information on individual inmates.
If your lover is going through an appeals process, has filed a lawsuit, or is unclear of additional charges against them, you can look up all of that information up for them. You can help your lover learn more about criminal associates that may have been arrested for the same incident. Knowledge is a potent tool for people facing or dealing with criminal charges. Helping to provide that information will make you a critical part of their lives. The increased knowledge you gain about your lover and his or her crimes will also increase the intimacy between you by removing the barriers of lies or misinformation.
Including photos in with letters, as mentioned, can be a powerful form of intimacy. Another option, if it is allowed based on the facility they are in, is bringing digital photos with you when you go to visit your lover. You will not be able to hand them things, but you can bring something that can store or send the photos digitally.
For example, ibi by Sandisk is a simple and effective way to store mass digital photos, and then you can use the ibi to share pictures with others. If your lover has access to email, you can send images directly to their email. You can also bring it with you when you visit and display the stored photos on your phone, tablet, or other mobile devices.
The last thing you can do, that will be dependent on the facility’s policy, is to request a conjugal visit with your lover. A conjugal visit is a special visit that would allow you to be completely alone with your lover for a set period. You can also get married while your lover is still incarcerated, which may increase your chances of getting a conjugal visit. However, the rules governing these types of arrangements vary from one facility to the next and one state to the next.