Are you worried that your tank line job is going to be hard on your relationships? Well, any trucker will tell you that it is not an easy road (pun intended). Many truck drivers struggle with balancing work and their personal lives, but there are also many truckers who have thriving marriages and family lives; It just takes a bit of creativity and effort.
Below, we discuss some tips on how to maintain a happy relationship as a truck driver.
REMEMBER YOU ARE NOT THE ONLY ONE GOING THROUGH THIS
Anywhere you find truckers or their spouses discussing their relationships online, you hear the same problems. Truck drivers are lonely and feel like they are missing out on important parts of their lives, and trucker spouses feel stuck with all of the hard work of maintaining life at home all by themselves. No matter what you are dealing with in your relationship, keep in mind that you are not alone.
There is no one answer to how to have a happy relationship, but you can find a lot of advice and tips online at sites like Roadmaster.com and Smart-trucking.com. These are also great sites to visit if you need to talk to other people dealing with the same things you are.
A lot of truckers find it useful to connect through online forums about the things they are going through. You might also consider contacting a therapist who understands the nuances of trucker life, like Buck Black, to help you with your relationships. Just remember, it is not impossible to have a happy relationship and make great money driving a truck; you just have to work a little harder at it sometimes.
SPEND AS MUCH TIME TOGETHER AS POSSIBLE
Many long-haul truckers have precious little time to be with the people they love. Also, when they are home, it is difficult to shed the role of a trucker and become what they need to be for the people around them. Truck drivers dwell on the stresses experienced on the road, and some truckers spend time off fixing their rigs, balancing the books, and doing anything other than focus on their relationships.
Smart Trucking emphasizes the importance of planning alone time, like a date night, and maximizing the time you have together: “Setting aside time to spend with your partner shows them that you choose to be with them […] set aside special time to be with them without distractions.”
It’s all about quality over quantity and making those moments you have together meaningful.
Roadmaster suggests that you focus on being positive and try changing your perspective about certain things. For example, if you can’t be there for Valentine’s Day, “make plans to celebrate it the next time you’re home […] stop looking at it like some ‘big day’ and put a positive spin on it instead.” Think about it like you are “celebrating your relationship on your own special day for just the two of you.”
COMMUNICATION IS KEY
It is essential to try and keep in touch every day. Smart-trucking.com strongly encourages drivers to text, call, or facetime with their family or significant other at least once per day. Just let them know you are thinking about them.
Some drivers come home after a long haul with so much stress built up from their time on the road. When you back from something like that, the first thing you want to do is vent your frustrations. It is good to talk about the things that are bothering you, but make sure you don’t take it out on your partner and avoid blaming each other.
Communication in a relationship is more than just keeping in touch. You also need to be aware of how you are talking and listening to each other. For a relationship to be successful, you have to be honest and mindful of the other person and how they feel.
Keep in mind that your partner has been working hard as well. Make sure you listen to and validate each other’s concerns and find compromises whenever you can.
You’re thinking, “Yeah, right.” It may seem impossible to avoid an argument when you and your significant other have so much pent up frustration, and it may be. The thing to remember is that arguments are natural, and they are going to happen in any relationship.
Smart Trucking suggests that when you feel frustrated, “reassure [your partner] it is not their fault and that you don’t feel any different about them because you’re upset.” They also suggest that you find an outlet to engage in so you can get your stress out.
Smart Trucking also mentions that it is crucial that you try and direct arguments into constructive conversations. Be open and honest with your spouse and remember that both partners are suffering from “loneliness and feeling unappreciated because neither spouse is there to experience or support their partner during tough days […] when the distance is felt the most.” Understanding each other is the first step to compromise, and you will need to find compromises as often as you can.
Be honest about how you feel, but don’t blame each other. Listen and pay attention to how you both feel. Keep communication open and be prepared to be wrong sometimes.
TRUST EACH OTHER
Everyone in a serious relationship knows that trust is essential to maintaining happiness. If you can’t trust your partner, then you aren’t going to be able to get through tough times together. For some people, building and keeping trust can be difficult, but this may be especially true for truckers.
You spend so much time apart when you are on the road, and this can trigger underlying trust issues that may already exist in the relationship. If you communicate your feelings often, you can avoid a lot of problems with trust, but it is also necessary to set boundaries and allow the other person to have some privacy.
Show each other that you trust one another and honestly address your concerns through discussion. Always reassure your partner about how important they are to you.
To keep a happy relationship as a truck driver, you have to get creative. Roadmaster.com suggests that you help out at home as much as you can when you are off the road and when you are on a long haul. With new technology, it is easy to call in help for when things get stressful at home. For example, if your spouse calls about a broken toilet, you can talk them through how to do the repairs. If you aren’t able to do this, then you can call in a plumber from afar.
Apps like FaceTime allow you to participate in discussions with children who need to be disciplined. However, we all know that as great as technology has become, there are still dead zones where we cannot reach the ones we love, making it all the more essential that you get that time in as much as you can.
Try hiding little gifts or heartfelt notes to be found later. This way, you remind each other how much you care, and a gesture like this helps you feel close even when you are not together in the same space.
DRIVE FOR J&M AND HAVE A HAPPIER FAMILY
In the end, it all comes down to how much effort you are willing to put into a relationship. If your trucking job starts putting too much stress on your relationship, some trucking companies have local driving opportunities where you can spend time at home almost every night.
The great thing about driving for J&M Tank Lines is that you get so much more time at home. Even long-haul drivers at J&M get to spend more time at home than at just about any other company out there. We want our truck drivers to have a happy home life. With our company, when you leave the cab of your truck, you get to leave the worries of the road behind you. We take care of maintenance and all of the business side of trucking so you can focus on being there for the people you love.
LEARN MORE ABOUT HOW TO BECOME A TRUCK DRIVER WITH THE J&M TANK LINES FAMILY
J&M Tank Lines has been a leader in transportation for 70 years in the Southeast with terminals in Alabama, Georgia, Indiana, Maryland, South Carolina, and Texas. We provide high-caliber truck driving solutions locally and nationally and partner with SmartWay, American Trucking Association (ATA) and many more! Contact us or call us at 205-798-9988 to learn more today.