Growing up in a trucking family, I’ve seen first-hand the difficulties of maintaining and nurturing a relationship while your loved one is over the road, but it can be done if both parties are committed to the relationship and work to make it a success.
Before the days of cell phones, we would have to be home at 8:00 each night for my dad’s nightly call to my mom– calls he often made from a restaurant booth at a truck stop.
Today, couples have more resources to stay in touch. With the advent of cell phones, Skype and other forms of video chatting, staying connected has never been easier or more personal.
Although we’re not professional relationship therapists, we’ve compiled some of the best advice we feel fits the bill for our audience. The relationship tips are:
1. Set Rules:
Who wants to give their significant other rules, right? Well, according to Dr. Gregory Guldner, setting rules may help avoid resentment and unspoken expectations. For example, if you don’t want your significant other going to bars without you, tell them, don’t wait until they go and you’re angry and resentful.
2. Communicate Daily:
Come up with a set time each day to spend 30 min to an hour, uninterrupted, talking. If you can, video chat. Making time each day to communicate with one another will let the other party know you are invested in the relationship and that they are a priority. Also, send random texts telling them that you love and appreciate them.
3. Be Honest:
Communicate your insecurities, don’t bottle them up. Distance can often amplify insecurities and worries. Often times, sharing your insecurities will help lay them to rest. Also, share your frustrations using “I” statements. For example, “I feel like I’m not a priority when you don’t make the time for our nightly calls.” Saying, “You don’t treat me like a priority” often puts the other party on the defensive. Keeping the conversation on your feelings will help maintain a neutral ground.
4. Make Time To Meet Up:
If your significant other has been on the road for a long period of time, make plans to meet him or her on a layover. I often remember my mom driving to Oklahoma to meet my dad for a weekend. This time together can add excitement to a relationship and feel like a stolen moment or mini getaway.
5. Stay Loyal:
Once the trust in a relationship has been broken it may take many years to repair. Do not put yourself in the situation where temptation might arise.
6. Only Give “Nagging Time” 10 minutes.
If there is something bothering you, only give it 10 minutes of a 60 minute conversation, don’t nag and dwell. If your significant other did something you didn’t like, tell them, let them say their piece and let it go. Don’t let the aggravation carry over onto your next conversation. No one ever got their point across by beating a dead horse. (Obviously, this is aimed at the smaller issues, larger issues would require more time and attention).
7. Make The Most Of The Time You Have Together:
When you do have time with your significant other, don’t go out with your friends and leave him or her behind. Even if you have children, try to spend a few hours alone, even if it means putting the kids to bed an hour earlier so you can watch a movie together.
8. Play Games…Together
This may seem like a silly one but it is one that can be fun. Play 20 questions via text– you may think you already know everything there is to know about a person, but you may learn a few new things and what you learn may surprise you. You come up with the questions– they can be silly or serious. What was your favorite meal your mom made when you were a kid? What smell reminds you of home when you’re away, etc?
9. Don’t Be Resentful Of The Other’s Absence:
Remember: this is the life you’ve chosen, and there are times when you both feel alone. Don’t take that resentment out on the other party, you’re in this boat together.
10. Make The Effort:
No one ever said relationships were easy. They take work. Make the relationship a priority.
As I’ve said, I’m no relationship expert, we’ve simply taken some tips from other experts and applied them to a trucking lifestyle. If you feel your relationship is in trouble, don’t hesitate to contact a counselor.