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Saturday, February 27, 2016

How Truckers Keep Long-Distance Relationships Healthy

someecards.com
Article thanks to The RoadPro Family of Brands and Jim Sweeney. Links provided:
Does absence really make the heart grow fonder or are relationships between over-the-road truckers and their partners doomed to fail?
While we couldn’t find specific research into the health and longevity of trucker relationships, industry forums are full of talk about the hardships of having one member of a team be gone for weeks at a time.
There’s no doubt a trucking relationship faces special challenges: the driver is on the road, lonely, away from home and missing family events. The stay-at-home partner is also lonely and, if they share a household, saddled with all the household chores and dealing with any unexpected crises.
The stress can take a toll on marriages and relationships alike.   
Kimberly Erskine, a marketer in New Jersey, recently ended her year-long relationship with a driver. “I broke up with my trucker because I was never much of a priority and I couldn’t trust him,” she said.
Based on her experience, she offered the following tip for truckers in relationships:
“Let (your partners) know that, even though you can’t be there, they are still your priority. When you do have free time, you should want to use it to spend time calling your (partner), talking with them and letting them know that you’re thinking of them,” she said.
New York psychoanalyst Dr. Claudia Luiz said mutual resentment is often the problem.
“The hard part isn’t when the trucker is away. People can deal with missing each other. The hard part is when the trucker comes home,” she said.
The stay-at-home partner can resent a returning trucker’s disruption of household routines while the trucker can resent the partner’s demands on precious downtime, Luiz said. That can make the short time a couple does spend together hard on both of them. Couples need to recognize and address these resentments, she said.
“You have to find your comfort zone with the separation – and the together time,” Luiz said.
Our RoadPro Pro Driver Council drivers have CDLs, not Ph.D.s, but they offered their own relationship advice.
Henry Albert, owner of Albert Transport in Statesville, N.C., brings his wife, Karen, on the road with him five to 10 times a year for a week at a time. The rest of the year she handles business operations from home.
“There’s nothing like seeing each other in person,” he said, adding that when he is home the couple make certain to spend time together.
Illinois owner-operator Thomas Miller, who drives for Prime, said regular communication is the key.
“My wife and I speak several times a day. We try to keep our lines of communication the same as it would be if I was home daily,” he said. “We use basically all forms of communication. Phone calls, text messages, email, FaceTime, Facebook — you name it, we use it.”
Joanne Fatta, who hauls produce in Pennsylvania, and Maggie Riessen, who owns Missfit Trucking, a livestock hauler in Galva, Ia., said having a partner who’s a trucker helps.
“My husband hauls livestock, too,” Stone said. “We don't always get to run together, but it's always nice to call and talk with him a couple times a day. I don't like to talk all day long. It gives a chance for him to miss me and something new to talk about other than work.”
Even being a local trucker can be hard on relationships, Fatta said.           
“My experience as a woman trucker, over the past 15-plus years, is most men do not like their partner waking up earlier than they do and having to be in bed very early and working more hours than they do,” she said.
“Appreciation and respect for the difficult, stressful job w do is what our partner can do to help keep relationships strong,” she added.
Albert, who’s been a driver since 1983, said cell phones and social media mean there is no excuse for drivers not communicating regularly with partners.
“It couldn’t be easier,” he said. “And it matters – a lot.”
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