Love Inside and Outside of Prison

For the past six months I have been in a long distance relationship with the man of my dreams. I only get to see him every three to four weeks. Either I fly to his city, or he flies to mine. Sometimes we drive and meet one another at a halfway point. It’s an 11-hour drive one way.

I’m reluctant to tell people how we met at times because we fell in love before we saw one another face to face. I am hesitant because I think people will be skeptical about how it’s possible that I am in love with this wonderful man who lives so far away that I barely get to see.

When we are together, time seems to stand still. When we are not together we talk on the phone frequently… when I’m between clients at work, driving, or falling asleep at night, I find myself babbling about seemingly insignificant matters. Oftentimes we have deep, thought provoking discussions about spirituality, our future goals, incarceration, reentry and family.

He is so perfect for me. He makes me so happy. I have no regrets, no reservations and no doubts. In fact, I have never been so sure about anyone in my life. When we decided to get married, I was ready to sign on the dotted line right away. Eventually he decided that it’s best if we wait until he relocates to my hometown next year after Graduate School. Deep down inside I feel like, “Why Wait?” but I understand he wants to be able to be with his future wife on a daily basis before he makes that leap.

This must be a bit like what it is to fall in love with someone who is incarcerated. Under those circumstances, you have limited phone calls, infrequent visits and a lack of physical intimacy. I can’t imagine not being able to talk to my man whenever the mood hits me. I can’t imagine not being able to call him when I’m having a sleepless night. I know the sound of his voice will cure my insomnia.

People who stand by their loved ones in prison.If I were incarcerated when I fell in love with this awesome man how could I be secure in the bond we share? How would we satisfy our natural desires to be intimate with one another? Would letters resolve our urges to be together physically?

When I get the opportunity to be with my fiancé I spend every night cuddled in his arms. I strive to make the most of the time we have together when we visit one another. I couldn’t imagine trying to spend quality time with him in a visiting room with Correctional Officers imposing on our personal space. I couldn’t imagine having someone tell me I can’t kiss him, or touch him as I often as I want. Now, that’s punishment. And, for the law-abiding individual who has fallen in love with someone who is incarcerated, his or her only crime was falling in love with the right person at the wrong time.

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About Lashonia Etheridge-Bey

Lashonia Etheridge-Bey is a Public Speaker who can candidly and articulately speak to the consequences of youth violence, the effects of incarceration and the challenges of reentry into society. Read Lashonia's Full BIO Here 


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