Dating a felon comes with a great deal of challenges. Though the assumption here is that the felon has served his time for whatever crime he was convicted of and is no longer a threat to society, the problem comes with the stigma attached to being with a convict. Your partner will never be able to escape the title of felon and for some couples this can prove too much.
There will be a lot of stress placed on your relationship because of that label. You will be judged and your partner will be judged. It’s not something that can be hidden. Whether it’s a job application or being pulled over for a speeding ticket, the felony will follow your partner everywhere. It can prevent him from getting a job or renting an apartment, and that can really damage a relationship.
However, if your partner has done the time in prison, there’s no reason he/she can’t get a fresh start in the dating world. It just takes a special someone to have the patience to deal with the stigma attached to dating a felon.
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Things to Know About Dating a Felon
It’s a safe assumption that if you’re dating a felon, he has already been convicted of a crime, he has served time in prison and he was released.
Legally, upon serving time for a felony a felon loses the right to vote, receive benefits and live in certain kinds of public housing. You have to declare your status on job applications and though there are actually benefits paid to employers to hire convicts, many businesses elect to skip over felon candidates.
Thanks to public record searches, it’s possible to look up what someone was convicted of on the internet so there’s no hiding from a felony on a job application or housing application. If it was a violent crime, don’t expect any sympathy from employers or landlords.
The challenge is that there are far more negatives to dating a felon than there are positive aspects. But the positives are enough to make a relationship worthwhile.
Pros of Dating a Felon
Normal People, Bad Situations
Felons aren’t [always] bad people. Sometimes they’re in the wrong place at the wrong time or they’re good people who make bad decisions. Just because they have a felony doesn’t mean they’re bad people, so they deserve love and respect just like everyone else.
If you met your sweetheart before the felony conviction, your relationship will be very different than it would be if you meet your partner after prison. Felons deserve happiness if they have served their time and put their crimes behind them, and knowing that you’re able to look past their convictions will show that you’re someone who can see them for who they are.
It’s not easy to date a felon, but when you are able to look past the charges you might find that you have found someone who is grateful for a second chance.
Cons of Dating a Felon
No matter what the crime was and whether or not he was innocent or guilty, anyone charged with a felony will have a stigma associated with him, and by extension, that stigma carries over to you. You become “the woman dating a felon.”
It’s a rough spot to be in because you didn’t do anything wrong and yet the stigma is attached to you. It’s not an easy thing to ignore because it will always be on people’s minds. The people around you will wonder if your partner has changed since being in jail. It’s a hard cross to bear.
Can’t Find Work
Felons often have trouble finding work after getting out of prison. The problem comes with job applications that ask whether the applicant has been charged with a felony. While employers aren’t supposed to discriminate against people who have served time behind bars, discrimination nevertheless happens. This often leads to trouble finding work.
Dating someone who can’t get a job because of a felony conviction puts a financial strain on the relationship. It’s not fair but it happens every day, and it’s not easy to be with someone who can’t find work and doesn’t have money to support himself.
Felons can’t live in public housing. Not being able to get a job can also make it darn near impossible to secure a place to live. Between those two things, it’s hard for felons to find places to live, and that is yet another matter that will put a great deal of stress on your relationship.
It’s also going to put a lot of strain on you since you’ll very likely be the one to provide housing if you’re living together. (If you’re not living together, you might feel undue pressure to allow your felon partner to stay with you if she can’t find a place to live)
Being with someone who can’t rent an apartment can make for a serious challenge as it means that your apartment could become the primary residence whether you like it or not.
In addition to having trouble finding work and being unable to rent public housing, felons can’t vote and they can’t receive SSI benefits, food stamps or other benefits.
While your circumstances might be such that this doesn’t matter, it can impact a relationship down the line should these things become necessary.
Everyone deserves a second chance and after a convicted felon serves his time there’s no reason that he can’t start over again. However, if you’re looking for a steady relationship then you need to be aware that there are lots of things that felons cannot do. Even though you didn’t commit the crime, your ability to find housing or receive benefits could be jeopardized because felons are heavily restricted from those things.
Dating a felon isn’t a bad thing, but there are some very real issues you need to be aware of going into the relationship. If you can deal with the pitfalls, then your relationship should be fine. Just be aware that there will always be a stigma attached to dating a felon and that’s something that you need to be able to deal with.
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