Friday, January 23, 2009

Prison Break: The Dating Edition

So I don't talk too much about my dating life. I'll usually blog or talk with friends about crushes, but rarely do I talk about the outcome of those crushes... or how situations may have ended. Today, I kinda feel like it because it's more of a public service (safety) announcement... in a way.

About four years ago I dated someone who had (and his family had) a long-term and ongoing relationship with the criminal justice system. I learned this just shortly into the situation, but (stupidly) decided to give it a chance (because hey, that's what good guys are supposed to do... not!), and brought him into my personal and professional world (because I was trying to show him how doing the right thing is so much simpler than the complex world of criminality).

Let's just say losing a few dollars and several broken hearted nights waiting/wondering was ALL I gained. Oh, and I learned how to write a resume and job applications for someone who has NO skills or desire to have skills (other than, well...) I learned how to juggle my life and schedule with managing his (no-car-owning) life. I learned how to keep secrets from friends about everything I did for him.

Until he "went to Pennsylvania" a couple years ago, which to me was a natural and God-given breakup. For those of you who grew up naive to a life of streets and criminality (like me), "going to Pennsylvania" is slang for going to the pen... to jail/prison. Yeah, I know... you learn a lot from living and making mistakes. He goes. I grow. I ignore collect calls. I write and work. I thank God for sending him away.

Then last weekend, while out with some friends I get a tap on my shoulder. It was Prison Break. He was out. And had a big smile. Had a new "boyfriend". Did the whole "did you miss me while I was in Pennsylvania?" "what have you been doing?" "do you have someone?" routine... very nicely, calmly, respectful... of course we were in public in a very crowded place. Of course I'm currently single, but I whispered to my buddy standing next to me "Prison Break" and suddenly we were locked arm in arm as if we were together. That was silly, but necessary.

Leave no door open to a criminal or an ex who is a criminal. I don't think they change.

Eventually, he and his "boyfriend" who I think was another con artist (because of all the questions he was asking me about my life) move on to their night of fun. But Prison Break doesn't hesitate to ask me for money, if we can hang out, if my living and professional settings are still the same before moving on. I answer no, no, no and no to all his questions, no explaination, just no. In the past I would have had a justification for no, which he'd be able to con-artist into a yes.

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this blog, I normally don't talk about these kinds of issues. I'm a private person. But... last Friday when I saw Prison Break, I instantly thought of Jennifer Hudson and her family situation.

And since that time, I've proceeded to let those in my personal and professional close circle know that Prison Break is out and back in town... more informational than being scared. But still, your mind can't help but think about how unpredictable the criminal mind can be.

Sharing with you... because I imagine you or a friend may be in situations that seem impossible to break, change, get out of, whatever, and to share the struggle to change and break those bad habits. I also don't want to end up a statistic on the receiving end of Prison Break's decisions, so this also is a public service and safety announcement for me too.

Believe me... life has gone on from Prison Break, and I'm a much more confident and assertive person when it comes to the choices I make regarding dating. Of course you want to pinch yourself and say things like "how could I be so...?"

But it is. It was. It won't ever be again. And hopefully it won't be for you either.
fs

1 comment:

JOHNNY DIAZ said...

Good cautionary tale Fred but it's also a bit spooky. Be vigilant of PB when you go out. Sounds like a future character in a book? :-P