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Dangerous Lee Asks..., Featured Writers, Sex, Dating and Relationships

Why Do Women Fall For Felons?


With a dangerous history and a background that can make finding a job and stable housing difficult, having a relationship with a convicted felon could be a bad move. It may come as a surprise, however, that some women are attracted to felons, and there are many websites and programs that allow women to develop pen-pal, online, and in person relationships with men who are behind bars. So why would an otherwise ordinary woman fall for a felon? Here are some reasons.


Whether it’s because of previous failed relationships, unpleasant childhood memories, or a timid personality, many women who date felons are insecure. By dating a man who is either behind bars or limited by his past, the woman has all the power in the relationship. She controls when she visits and for how long while he is in prison, and there is nothing he can do if she decides not to come. She sets the terms of the relationship. As she is probably the only woman he regularly has contact with while his is in prison, it is easy for the relationship to develop into one where the man is dependent upon the woman and she is the sole object of his attention. For someone who is insecure, this attention and dependency can feel like unconditional love. Once the man is released from prison, he still has a criminal background, and possibly, limits on where he can live and travel. This places the woman in a position of power, as she has no such restrictions and is limited only by her connection to him. If the felon is a violent offender or tends to control and abuse his partners, the woman’s position of control can easily be reversed and backfire, resulting in domestic violence.

A Chance to Save and Repair

Perpetuated by movies, the idea that a good woman can save a bad boy from his wicked ways and help him turn his life around is a romantic one. The strong man who lives outside society’s rules is the persona of masculinity that many women find very attractive. But it’s important to remember that people only change when they have a real, intrinsic desire to live their lives differently, and even then, many people revert to their previous habits. While some women may want a man they can fix and develop into the perfect partner, and while some felons may truly regret their actions and never commit another crime, forming a relationship with a felon is a dangerous gamble. This element of danger and adventure associated with the relationship can be thrilling and is yet another reason why some women fall for felons. In addition, a man heroically accepting punishment for a crime he either did not commit or committed with good reason is a romantic stereotype often seen in film and literature that may attract women to men in prison or with criminal histories.

Physical Attraction

Felons who have spent time in prison tend to be muscular, as they may have nothing to do while incarcerated but work out to pass the time. They may have sculpted their physique as a way to intimidate other inmates and deter them from attempting to start fights or other trouble behind bars. They may have tattoos, either out of pure personal preference or with meanings unique to the prison system. This bad boy look is hyper-masculine and very attractive to many women. It’s important to remember that there are lots of men out there with muscles and tattoos who aren’t felons– in fact, the majority of men who look this way probably don’t have any criminal history. It’s likely that most women who are attracted to felons have other reasons besides physical appearance, but the look is definitely a factor.

No Competition

Finally, women, especially insecure women, may perceive felons as a safer bet for their affections than other men just because they aren’t as attractive or available to other women. While in prison, the felon is dependent on the attention of women who reach out to prisoners through letters, e-mail, and personal visits. On the outside, the felon has a lot of big strikes against him, like obstacles to getting a well-paying job. Insecure women may feel that these men are unlikely to cheat or leave them because it will be harder for them to find a new partner. These assumptions often don’t hold true in reality.

Often, women’s attraction to felons boils down to an attraction to masculine bad boys coupled with insecurity in relationships. If a woman is considering a relationship with a felon, she needs to ask herself why she is pursuing this man– is she attracted to him as a person, or is she attracted to his persona and his perceived availability? Just because a man has a felony does not mean he can’t have a meaningful relationship, but choosing him for the wrong reasons can be heartbreaking and dangerous.

Jessica Ruane is a content developer for Instant Checkmate, an online background check service.

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About Leigh Langston

I am the artist behind the Dangerous Lee Network. I create social media marketing campaigns for artists and creative entrepreneurs. In 2013, The Dangerous Lee Network ranked in the top 11,000 websites in the U.S. according to Alexa. That same year the network received 3 million views. Content from the network has been featured on The TODAY Show with Kathie Lee & Hoda, has been nominated for four Black Weblog Awards and selected as a Top Fashion Blog to follow in 2013 and 2014. I am also the author of the Amazon best selling safe sex erotica anthology, "Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down" and an eBook on the affects of colorism, The Half Series: When Black People Look White.


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