Author Topic: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"  (Read 14820 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

shhh its me

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 6464
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #15 on: October 25, 2011, 10:51:29 AM »
   I'm going to be the other voice of dissent .....stop talking about it so much, there is a difference between honest and being  frankly confrontational.  Telling everyone you met something many reasonable people can be very judgemental about is confrontational. ...." hi nice to met you .  I should tell you at 18 I shoplifted , I was arrested an on probation for 2 years. I like to be upfront and honest about it" should not come up(expect with SO and potential employers) I understand that 6 years recently in prison is harder to converse around then probation.

Lynn2000

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4152
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #16 on: October 25, 2011, 10:57:12 AM »
I think in the first place, it would be best for this topic to not come up in casual conversation. If you and your friends are college students or recently graduated I imagine a frequent topic of conversation is, "What's your major? Where did you go to college?" And if someone says they didn't go to college, they're expected to say what they did instead, like, "I started working at XYZ right after high school," "I joined the Army," "I did some traveling with a non-profit organization," etc.. At least, this has been my experience.

It's great that your BF wants to be honest about where he was during the typical college years, but as you have seen this goes over like a lead balloon in a casual conversation and abruptly derails it. I would consider coming up with something vague to say instead, possibly leading into another topic such as his plans for the future. For example, if he could say, "I didn't have the chance to go to college right out of high school, which I regret. However, I'm now attending Community College part-time working on my ABC degree." (Obviously he should only say this if it were true.)

If it's a less casual conversation, like with a good friend of yours, I think emphasizing the positive and the future is still the way to go, even if you add more details about the past. "He had XYZ issues [if BF is okay with you sharing this] when he was younger, and he did some stupid things because of it. But he's really grown up so much since then, and done these specific things to help him overcome his issues. Now he's attending Community College part-time to get his degree while working at the ABC business."

Personally, I feel like this is the sort of issue where, if you mention it at all, you need to discuss it further; in other words, beandip doesn't work well, because abruptly changing the subject makes people think you're hiding something or that something is really wrong. (I think beandip would be appropriate if you were, say, talking to Person A and Person B brought up the felon issue, which Person A didn't know about and which you didn't plan to talk about with them.) So don't bring it up at all to those who don't know and don't need to know; and with closer people, be prepared to admit the wrongdoing but emphasize the steps that were taken to improve the situation, and the positive plans for the future. That's my advice at least, I hope it's helpful to you. :)
~Lynn2000

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #17 on: October 25, 2011, 11:01:53 AM »
I'm not going to touch the idea of whether  you should or should not be dating this guy - I think PP brought up some legitimate thinking points for you.

But onto your issue, I think with family and close friends you should sit down a talk about it.  Don't just give a one-off answer or bean dip.  Avoiding the conversation with the people who are close to you will make you appear naive and uninformed and as though you aren't taking his past seriously.  They have legitimate concerns - grand theft auto is a big deal, and his past will haunt him forever.

If it were me I would begin with a discussion about what punishment means and when it ends.  Your BF broke the law, and paid for his crime in the way our society has deemed appropriate - jail time and record.  When does his sentence end?  Why are your friends and family not satisfied with the sentence he served?  When you were a kid and you got in trouble and were grounded, was the grounding over when it was over, or were you expected to continue to be punished indefinitely?  Why should this be different?  And if it should be different are these people (your friends and family) out there voting to increase prison terms?  Or do they think a crime can be paid for in time and then, forgiven, if not forgotten?

I would go into this conversation calmly, and well informed with information, both general (standard sentencing, etc) and specific to your BF (did he use his time in prison to get an education or learn a trade?  Does he now do outreach to troubled youths to keep them from the same path?)  Listen to their concerns and questions and answer honestly and calmly. 

You don't have to come around to their thinking, nor they to yours, but part of having productive relationships with friends & family is listening to their concerns and trying your best to understand even if you don't agree.

I think if you truly address their issues and allow them the opportunity to ask questions and get answers without you bean dipping, they will be a lot more receptive to the idea of you dating a former felon.  They may never love the idea, but they might understand your side a bit better.

HeebyJeebyLeebee

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 5019
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #18 on: October 25, 2011, 11:24:05 AM »
My ExH has a very serious conviction on his record.  He told me of it when we were getting serious, and I went into that relationship with completely open eyes.  To his credit, he turned himself in and was a model inmate.  He was on probation when we were dating, and his probation officer praised him highly.  I had become close with his family and friends, and they all encouraged our relationship and he has a great support network.  I was honest with my parents about the situation, and the 4 of us (me, ExH, Mom and Dad) all decided to put ExH's past firmly in the past and not share that information with my family.

However, this is something that continues to affect ExH in many ways.  It will always be hard for him to get a job, certain career opportunities are gone, and he can even be denied a house or apartment lease because of his past.  He will always struggle. 

Though his past is not the official reason we divorced, I believe it was a contributing factor for him.  He always felt guilty that he would never be able to provide the life he thought I wanted. 

My ExH is a good man, and we are still good friends. 

My 2nd (current) DH's cousin was married to a man who had a grand theft auto conviction.  He used the conviction as an excuse to fail.  He blamed all the bad things in his life on his conviction.  He couldn't get a job because of the conviction.  He couldn't get a loan because of the conviction.  He couldn't be a good husband because of the conviction.  He couldn't be a good father because of the conviction.  He gave up on life because of the conviction.  Eventually, DH's cousin left him.  She was tired of the excuses.  Tired of always shouldering his burden.  Tired of being the strong one.  Tired of having all the responsibility for their family on her.  She's now in a good relationship with a very nice man.  Her kids like her new BF, and so does the family. 

OP, my advice is to take a long had look at your BF and look at the sort of man he is.  How does he handle responsibility?  How does he handle consequences?  If you decide that he's the kind of man you want to be with, then be with him.  But don't share is past with everyone - that only opens you up to questions and concerns.  It's better to just avoid that conversation in the first place if it's one you don't want to have.
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 12:35:00 PM by HeebyJeebyLeebee »
I am grateful for the friends I have made on EHell and everything I have learned, but it is time I move on.

O'Dell

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 4372
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2011, 11:50:54 AM »
   I'm going to be the other voice of dissent .....stop talking about it so much, there is a difference between honest and being  frankly confrontational.  Telling everyone you met something many reasonable people can be very judgemental about is confrontational. ...." hi nice to met you .  I should tell you at 18 I shoplifted , I was arrested an on probation for 2 years. I like to be upfront and honest about it" should not come up(expect with SO and potential employers) I understand that 6 years recently in prison is harder to converse around then probation.

Ditto.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
Walt Whitman

britannialamode

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2011, 01:21:13 PM »
I am going to be the voice of dissent here.  Your boyfriend spent the first 6 years of his adult life in prison. That most likely could not be because he "borrowed" a car or something like that; for an 18-year-old to receive that kind of sentence, he must have been convicted of something serious.  Plus, the experience of being in prison for 6 years would in and of itself (even if I thought the inmate were innocent) make me reticent about a romantic relationship.  I'm glad he has cleaned up his act, but I understand why your family thinks you deserve better.

There is a reason why parents constantly caution their children about making bad choices early in life:  those choices can stay with you forever.  Yes, we all do stupid things when we are young and testing our new independence.  Most of us, however, don't end up in prison.  You have to really screw up for that to happen.  This guy will never be able to obtain a college scholarship, any kind of government job, or any job with a company that doesn't hire felons. 

I am sorry to be so negative - I know you like him and want to give him a chance, but please, for your sake, make sure he is worth the effort.  It sounds like you have everything going for you and I would hate to see you squander your potential for a user.

I never said that he simply "borrowed a car". It's obvious from the length of time he spent in prison that he had multiple offenses; he had been stealing cars for a living. Never once did I say that he was somehow wrongly imprisoned.

I'm not the type of person that would be in a relationship with someone who wasn't worth my time. It speaks volumes about a person that they are so quick to deem a felon "unworthy" of a "normal" girl.

britannialamode

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2011, 01:23:14 PM »
When I filed for divorce, I found out he had been in prison for an entirely different reason than he had told me.  A reason that if I had known the truth, he wouldn't had gotten within a hundred miles of me.

Please be very careful.  Because of the above, I am also very skeptcal that your friend spent that long in prison for car theft.  There had to be other circumstances involved.  Criminals are aslo know to be very chrismatic.

I requested to see his arrest record and the court documents, which he immediately provided for my review. Multiple accounts of vehicle theft and burglary, never any violence, drugs, or other law violations.

DavidH

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1593
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2011, 01:28:23 PM »
I think the best option is not to bring it up.  If someone asks straight out, there is no reason not to be honest, but try to avoid the topic otherwise.  For example, where did you go to college can be answered with I didn't right after HS, but I'm doing XYZ now.  Or, did you start working right after school, can be answered with I had a rough time for a while and now I'm doing XYZ.
If they ask what you did, saying you fell in with the wrong crowd but are back on track now is certainly true without providing needless details.  If they press, for more, you can always discuss it. 

I would encourage you to carefully weigh the pros and cons of the relationship.

For ways to handle your family, one thing I would suggest is that you think calmly about why this is the right relationship and how you can explain that to them clearly.  Getting flustered suggests to them that you haven't thought it through and will just encourage them to question you more.  Justifying that he's worthy because you wouldn't be with someone who wasn't is probably going to make them worry more since it doesn't suggest that you've thought it through at all.

Questions you might consider include, what is he doing now that suggest he has reformed and is worthy of your time?  How has he settled his inner problems that brought him to the place to steal cars for a living?

I can see how it concerns people to find out that he wasn't in prison for a single poorly thought out incident, e.g. going joyriding, but rather for an ongoing pattern of behavior. 


britannialamode

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2011, 01:32:24 PM »
You might be surprised at what could get someone a 6 year sentence.

/end tangent

My response: Yes, in the state of Texas (which is where he grew up), 3 separate arrests with counts of car theft will put you in the slammer.

OP, you are choosing to explore a path right now. And I think it's wonderful that you can see that some people do stupid things well beyond the normal stupid things most people do in their late teens/twenties. On the other hand, it pays to watch out for yourself and not start down this path with out a bit of research.

I encourage you to ask him for a copy of his record, and then I encourage you to double check it (run a background check, not just a google check). Think about what it will mean for both of you. For him, it will be harder to find work, or even impossible in this economy. Will you be willing to support him? How will you feel about that, how will he? Are there other consequences?

My response: I definitely looked over his arrest records before considering dating him; he actually brought it up before he even asked me out, because we started our relationship as just friends. If he wasn't a deeply spiritual, honest, and respectable person, I wouldn't have considered him because of the complications his past brings. But he's definitely worth the effort. He has been out of prison for two years now and is already a late-shift manager, having secured three promotions since he first got the job, so he supports himself. We don't live together, either.

How was he effected by time in prison? It can be a rough place, it can be an eye-opener, and it can be a place to turn one's life around all at the same time. If he had a rough time, are there long term issues with that?

My response: His time in prison helped him get his head on straight and to learn how to respect people. From what I understand, he was a foolhardy boy when he went into prison and he learned the hard way that respect is an incredibly important thing to give. So far, I haven't seen sign of him having long term issues, but he does still see a therapist to manage things.

Are you comfortable with his openness about it? There is a very strong stigma associated with jail time, especially for "blue collar" crimes. How will you handle your family? What will you tell your kids? How will you handle it when your daughter's best friend is no longer allowed to come over because the other parents don't trust your husband?

My response: I'm comfortable with it, and I find it admirable, even though it does sometimes make things difficult on me, like when I go to a family function and they ask me if I'm "still" with that guy... they never gave him a chance to start out with, which is saddening. For the most part I try to just not bring it up in conversation, but sometimes I am attacked with it, and that's when I offer some bean dip. (lol)

As for the idea of a daughter, I haven't thought about that yet. I'm still in college, and don't plan to have children before I'm 30 years old, so it hasn't crossed my mind yet. I'll definitely have to consider that factor before considering marriage.



Thank you for the food for thought :)

britannialamode

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2011, 01:33:36 PM »
Does the US have a pardon system?  I know Canada does, although I have no idea what kinds of things are permitted to be pardoned.

I've read studies that indicate that full impulse control doesn't completely develop until as late as 25.  Young and stupid is the truth.

I don't think he should be pardoned, and he doesn't either. He really does believe that he deserved the punishment for his crimes, and while applying for a pardon would make things either, we both believe that it would be dishonest, since he was guilty of everything he was sentenced for.

britannialamode

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #25 on: October 25, 2011, 01:36:23 PM »
I understand that 6 years recently in prison is harder to converse around then probation.

Yeah, that's what brings it up. When people meet him, they almost immediately ask about college education, etc. I told him I thought that working around such questions would be for the best, but he really doesn't like the idea of hiding who he is. I try to do it as much as possible (working around the questions), but whenever he meets someone, he's upfront about it when the conversation leads to it. It's not like he says, "Oh hi, I'm _____ and I'm a convicted felon."

britannialamode

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #26 on: October 25, 2011, 01:37:39 PM »
I think in the first place, it would be best for this topic to not come up in casual conversation. If you and your friends are college students or recently graduated I imagine a frequent topic of conversation is, "What's your major? Where did you go to college?" And if someone says they didn't go to college, they're expected to say what they did instead, like, "I started working at XYZ right after high school," "I joined the Army," "I did some traveling with a non-profit organization," etc.. At least, this has been my experience.

It's great that your BF wants to be honest about where he was during the typical college years, but as you have seen this goes over like a lead balloon in a casual conversation and abruptly derails it. I would consider coming up with something vague to say instead, possibly leading into another topic such as his plans for the future. For example, if he could say, "I didn't have the chance to go to college right out of high school, which I regret. However, I'm now attending Community College part-time working on my ABC degree." (Obviously he should only say this if it were true.)

If it's a less casual conversation, like with a good friend of yours, I think emphasizing the positive and the future is still the way to go, even if you add more details about the past. "He had XYZ issues [if BF is okay with you sharing this] when he was younger, and he did some stupid things because of it. But he's really grown up so much since then, and done these specific things to help him overcome his issues. Now he's attending Community College part-time to get his degree while working at the ABC business."

Personally, I feel like this is the sort of issue where, if you mention it at all, you need to discuss it further; in other words, beandip doesn't work well, because abruptly changing the subject makes people think you're hiding something or that something is really wrong. (I think beandip would be appropriate if you were, say, talking to Person A and Person B brought up the felon issue, which Person A didn't know about and which you didn't plan to talk about with them.) So don't bring it up at all to those who don't know and don't need to know; and with closer people, be prepared to admit the wrongdoing but emphasize the steps that were taken to improve the situation, and the positive plans for the future. That's my advice at least, I hope it's helpful to you. :)

This is all very helpful, thank you :)

britannialamode

  • Jr. Member
  • *
  • Posts: 11
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #27 on: October 25, 2011, 01:38:25 PM »
I'm not going to touch the idea of whether  you should or should not be dating this guy - I think PP brought up some legitimate thinking points for you.

But onto your issue, I think with family and close friends you should sit down a talk about it.  Don't just give a one-off answer or bean dip.  Avoiding the conversation with the people who are close to you will make you appear naive and uninformed and as though you aren't taking his past seriously.  They have legitimate concerns - grand theft auto is a big deal, and his past will haunt him forever.

If it were me I would begin with a discussion about what punishment means and when it ends.  Your BF broke the law, and paid for his crime in the way our society has deemed appropriate - jail time and record.  When does his sentence end?  Why are your friends and family not satisfied with the sentence he served?  When you were a kid and you got in trouble and were grounded, was the grounding over when it was over, or were you expected to continue to be punished indefinitely?  Why should this be different?  And if it should be different are these people (your friends and family) out there voting to increase prison terms?  Or do they think a crime can be paid for in time and then, forgiven, if not forgotten?

I would go into this conversation calmly, and well informed with information, both general (standard sentencing, etc) and specific to your BF (did he use his time in prison to get an education or learn a trade?  Does he now do outreach to troubled youths to keep them from the same path?)  Listen to their concerns and questions and answer honestly and calmly. 

You don't have to come around to their thinking, nor they to yours, but part of having productive relationships with friends & family is listening to their concerns and trying your best to understand even if you don't agree.

I think if you truly address their issues and allow them the opportunity to ask questions and get answers without you bean dipping, they will be a lot more receptive to the idea of you dating a former felon.  They may never love the idea, but they might understand your side a bit better.

Thank you, this is very useful too! :)

LadyL

  • Hero Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 2727
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #28 on: October 25, 2011, 01:39:16 PM »
It speaks volumes about a person that they are so quick to deem a felon "unworthy" of a "normal" girl.

I think if this is the tack you are taking with people whose feedback includes anything besides glowing sunshine about your relationship, you are going to continue to encounter resistance. You're essentially saying "he's worth my time because I said so." On the list of relationship red flags I would have to put felon right up there with a recovering addict, in that no it doesn't make you a bad person, but it does mean "proceed with extreme caution" when considering the person as a relationship partner. I would expect that person to be vetted with more scrutiny than someone with no such "baggage" and if a friend or relative didn't seem like they'd done so, you bet your behind I'd question their choice - purely out of love for them, not because I have some morally superior attitude about people dating felons, addicts, etc.

WillyNilly

  • Super Hero!
  • ****
  • Posts: 7490
  • Mmmmm, food
    • The World as I Taste It
Re: "Your boyfriend is a felon? Why are you with him?"
« Reply #29 on: October 25, 2011, 01:55:59 PM »
When I filed for divorce, I found out he had been in prison for an entirely different reason than he had told me.  A reason that if I had known the truth, he wouldn't had gotten within a hundred miles of me.

Please be very careful.  Because of the above, I am also very skeptcal that your friend spent that long in prison for car theft.  There had to be other circumstances involved.  Criminals are aslo know to be very chrismatic.

I requested to see his arrest record and the court documents, which he immediately provided for my review. Multiple accounts of vehicle theft and burglary, never any violence, drugs, or other law violations.

I think you need to be prepared as well, as hard and perhaps hurtful as it may be, that even if your friends and family do come around to accepting and even liking him, many will have trust issues with him being in their homes, and if you should ever marry him, legally attached to family money.

They might be ok with seeing you two on neutral or your turf, but be uncomfortable with him in their homes.  Anyone who has ever been burglarized (home or vehicle) can surely attest to the deep sense of violation that felt as a result.  Even more then loosing the stuff, its the sense of having one's space violated and disrespected, and the huge hassle they then have to go through.  Its not like you just call and have a quick chat with a super friendly cops, its a long annoying frustrating process with overworked and often none to cheerful cops, paperwork, insurance hoops to jump through, delays, misinformation, etc. (One thing many people misunderstand about car theft is, often if the car is recovered, there is no insurance - even if the car has been damaged, is abandoned far away, etc - nothing.  The car was found - the owners have to arrange to get to it even if its 100 miles away, they are responsible for repairs, etc.  Sometimes a car is found significantly later - and the owner has to then repay the insurance company, etc.  In many car theft situations the worst thing that can happen is if the car is found.)

No matter how much of a turn around your BF might have made, just knowing he probably put someone through all that, many people might not ever truly trust him.  If you marry him, your parents might insist on a pre-nump and separate bank accounts or else not ever help you financially or be as generous as they might have otherwise been.  People might be uncomfortable having him over for parties where he could wander off unnoticed into another room.

I'm not bringing this up to discourage you.  In fact I personally do believe once a sentence is paid, its paid and the person's debt to society has been fulfilled.  But these are simply points for you to bear in mind, so when you are dealing with negativity towards him, you can understand better.  Because the better you understand their stances, the better you are to deal with them politely and effectively. 

In fact as a marketing student, this whole situation is great personal project - how can you "market" your relationship as a positive thing?  Its excellent practice for future products you might have to up-sell despite having a few not so great qualities to them. ;D
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 02:00:10 PM by WillyNilly »