Lee really looked like many of those immature boys Kristen dated before me. Oddly, Kristen said Lee’s look reminded her of an ex boyfriend of hers, one who really took advantage of Kristen. She seemed adamant and kept reassuring me that Lee was wonderful and that Lee has had a hard life, so don’t take it personal. She explained that Lee didn’t trust men because of some childhood traumas. I could empathize with her for that. Ninety percent of the people I’m serving time with suffered some form of childhood trauma. I was really under the impression I had some influence in this, but as they say, happy wife, happy life. And I bit my tongue for the most part.

I didn’t think Kristen should stop looking, though. Lee was, from what Kristen told me, only the second woman she had been with (she slept with another just a week prior to Lee) and was pretty far from what we had agreed on. I voted no on Lee, kindly of course. At first Kristen agreed with me, but then persisted. I didn’t know if this was part of the discovery process to explore her evolving same sex attractions. I wanted to be supportive, but I felt her need for warmth in her life starting to catch fire in other areas of our lives.

It was the weekend after Valentine’s Day and Kristen said she was going to physically meet Lee. Up until now, as far as I was told, they only talked online and on the phone. Lee was living on someone’s couch about 150 miles away. I had gotten Kristen flowers for Valentine’s Day, like any other, but this year I didn’t get a card in return. It was super unusual, but Kristen was all consumed with Lee. Ok, I figured. I get the excitement. No big deal about the card.

Then Kristen emailed me that weekend to call her the following week. We talked everyday until now. Something surged with pain, fear and anger inside of me, so I called anyway. “Could you call next week? I really need to focus on Lee this weekend and she doesn’t really want me talking to you.” Not the exact words, but it was the exact message. And Lee was pissed. Let the controlling begin (and its only the first week of her in our lives).

Kristen, for six and a half years now, had been every bit a stable, supportive person and our communication had been flawless until now. I was only able to talk to her in 20 minute increments due to prison phones, sometimes several times a day, and it was always scheduled so as to not interfere with her hectic life and was always welcomed. Until now. Now this person who has so little going for her, didn’t respect what Kristen and I have had for years. Now Kristen had to be guarded in what she said to me because Lee had to be in the room when we talked. Super healthy, right? No, super sad. I planned my day around the two words when Kristen would answer her phone, “Hey, Babe!” She couldn’t answer like that anymore. God, I missed that small detail of our lives together.

Lee wasn’t OK with my place in Kristen’s life and it was upsetting to me. Kristen was my fiance, my family and my future just a week ago. In just a week, I started to amount to little in Kristen’s life. What the hell was happening??? She kept pleading with me to give Lee a chance and, stupid me, I agreed to trust my partner of six and a half years. Kristen had to be happy at all costs while living up to Lee’s expectation of a subservient lesbian. Burn, mother effer, burn…

Rory Andes