Love in the Fast Lane: Relationship Tips For When You’re On the Road
Living on the road, for many people, evokes a sense of freedom, openness, and excitement – and trucking definitely offers all of those things. But for those in relationships, or with a family, being away from home for several days at a time can also be quite challenging. Luckily, there are helpful coping techniques for nurturing your long distance relationship, whether you’re the one at home or on the road. Here are our top tips:
- Dedicate time to stay in touch
Set aside some time each day to catch up and talk. Many of our drivers keep in touch by texting at rest stops throughout the day, and then set aside some time on their lunch break, and some time at the end of the day, for a longer conversation with their partner and children. Some people prefer to talk at the same time everyday to develop some consistency. Having this dedicated time makes everyone feel valued and also gives you something to look forward to.
- Keep notes
Keeping a notebook on hand is a great idea; it allows you to jot down things when you remember them – ask when Amy’s recital begins, check to see if the contractor showed up this time, did the screen door ever get fixed, etc. – so that you won’t forget them when your scheduled phone time comes around. Once you’ve written it down, your memory doesn’t have to hold on to it, which makes it easier for you to focus on what you’re doing. You also won’t risk frustration later for forgetting to mention something important.
- Build relationships with people in similar positions
Get to know others who share your lifestyle – whether it’s other truckers, or the spouses of those who work on the road. Forming relationships with people who know what you’re going through will build a support network you can rely on when you face challenges, have questions, or need advice.
- Be open and flexible…
Understand that schedule and load changes can cause unexpected delays, and that there’s much unpredictability in the life of a truck driver. These issues are stressful for both parties – the one on the road, and the one at home. Be compassionate and patient; if you’re upset, it’s very likely that your partner is too, and the last thing that will help is to enter the blame cycle.
- …but also be realistic about your needs
If your partner’s extended absence is becoming too challenging, be honest and upfront about your feelings. Relationships are built on trust and honesty, and that means being clear when something isn’t working for you. Maybe there’s opportunity to have a conversation with your supervisor about revising your schedule or changing your regular route. Maybe just airing your feelings will help lift the heaviness around it. Change won’t happen unless you speak up about how you feel.
- Be fair to yourself
Having a partner on the road is an emotional roller coaster, and it will take time to adjust. Don’t be too hard on yourself when things get tough; you’ll have good days and bad days, and it’s important to be patient with yourself when you struggle, and to give yourself credit when you handle things well. Your support network of friends and family are hugely helpful here.
Relationships are hard work, that’s for sure. But if you do your best, when you’re back together with the ones you love, the distance travelled and time apart easily disappear in the rear-view.