Whether your boyfriend was arrested for unpaid parking tickets or assault, you need to decide if you should visit him in jail or walk away.
Here’s what Alice says:
“I found out my boyfriend was arrested about 10 minutes for not paying traffic fines – several, I guess. He was already on probation, which I didn’t know about, from a DUI three years prior to us meeting. So I know he was charged with violation of probation. I have not talked to him since he has been in jail – he’s still in there. I have talked to the jail and the caseworker. I don’t know if I should go visit or if I should just do the best to move on. They told me he is probably going to be there for quite a while. I would love to hear any suggestions or words of encouragement. I have never been in this situation and obviously it is not a good one.” – from my article on surviving a breakup.
If you know you’re staying with your boyfriend, read Family Arrested: How to Survive the Incarceration of a Loved One. It’ll help you understand what he’s going through in jail and in the legal system, and support you as you love a man who is incarcerated.
Your Boyfriend is Serving Time – Do You Visit Him in Jail?
If you stay with your boyfriend after he’s arrested, expect to deal with flak from your friends , family, and even your coworkers. I’m not saying you should break up with your boyfriend because he has a criminal record…but it’s not something easily overlooked by people who love you. And for good reason!
Men with records are more likely to get arrested again (recidivism), and may not be the most reliable, trustworthy, responsible, or stable boyfriends. Getting arrested isn’t sexy – it’s a sign of impulsiveness, disregard for others and others’ property, lack of control, immorality, and even anger and aggression.
Often, men who repeatedly break the law are under the influence. If your boyfriend struggles with addiction, read What to Do When Your Husband is an Alcoholic or Drug Addict.
Assess how honest your boyfriend is
The most important thing in your relationship is honesty. If a man lies to you once, he’ll keep doing it – especially if he’s been caught lying before! Alice’s boyfriend may not have lied to her, but he didn’t share his past criminal record with her. That’s a type of deception that isn’t easy to ignore! It’s bad enough when your boyfriend gets arrested…but knowing that he was keeping such important secrets from you is worse.
When you’re deciding if you should visit your boyfriend in jail or move on, ask yourself these questions:
- What was the crime?
- How long will my boyfriend be in jail?
- Do I want to marry a guy with a criminal record?
- Do I want my children to be influenced by this man?
- Is this my boyfriend’s first arrest? If not, what were the other arrests for?
- What are the chances he’ll keep committing crimes and getting arrested?
- What do his lawyers and caseworkers say about him – do they think I should stick with my boyfriend or move on?
Breaking up with your boyfriend because he got arrested may feel “mean” – after all, you and he love each other! But, loving someone doesn’t mean you have to get dragged into the dark, negative, unhappy life that committing crimes and being in jail brings.
You have to take care of yourself, which almost always means making difficult decisions. If this isn’t the first time your boyfriend got arrested, read 10 Signs of a Bad Relationship – It’s Time to Pack Your Bags When…
Untangle your financial affairs – even if you stay together
Alice and her boyfriend started a contracting business together, and he was the foreman – so his arrest affects her income and career. They had discussed moving in together and even looked at houses.
I think she should consult a lawyer about dissolving her business partnership with her boyfriend. She needs to separate herself from her boyfriend – even if she decides she wants to stay with him. Then, she needs to decide if she should hire another foreman, or walk away from the business she started with her boyfriend.
If you’re in the same boat – your boyfriend has been arrested and you’re tied to him financially – you need to break those ties. Get some financial distance and independence, even if you know you want to marry him! You need to be able to stand on your own two feet, even if you’re married.
Get closure if you decide to move on
There’s nothing wrong with not wanting to live with a boyfriend in jail, on probation, or with a record. But, I think it’s really important to say good-bye, in person if you can. After all, you spent several months or even years with your boyfriend – you can’t just never see him again!
Unless, of course, your safety is at risk or he committed a crime that is so despicable, you can’t stand to see him. If you can’t or don’t want to see your boyfriend in jail, read What is Closure in a Relationship? Healing Without Saying Goodbye.
If your boyfriend asks for bail money, I don’t think you should give it to him. But if you do, read Are You Lending Your Boyfriend Money? How to Protect Yourself.
If you know in your heart it's time to move on, read How to Let Go of Someone You Love.
What do you think – if your boyfriend was arrested, would you visit him in jail or move on with your life?