It’s said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. If that’s true, then long-distance truck drivers should have the strongest relationships of all.
But, as any number of truckers can testify, the road can be hard on romance. Weeks apart, missed birthdays and anniversaries, loneliness and doubt, they all take a toll. But a trucking job does not have to mean the end of a relationship. We went to experts for advice on how to build and maintain a strong, trucking-style romance – and how to make Valentine’s Day special.
Dr. Fran Walfish, a Beverly Hills family and relationship psychotherapist, said every successful relationship is built on trust, which can be reinforced even if both partners aren’t together.
“The bricks and mortar of developing trust can begin long-distance through Skype conversations. Be sure to not only talk, but include reading body language, facial cues and all of those additional messages that tell us how the other person truly feels,” she said. “Talking is the glue that holds people and relationships together.”
Lisa Bahar, a marriage and relationship therapist, also advised drivers and their partners use technology (Skype, cell phones, Facebook etc.) to keep the relationship strong.
“Communication is key, being in the moment, and letting the person know you are thinking of them. Quality time with times to talk, flirty text messages, flattery, memories of what made you fall in love, gifts that are appropriate and surprises that may be spontaneous are good. Be considerate and deliberate,” she said.
What couples do while together can see them through the times they are separated, said Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin, a licensed clinical professional counselor. “When you return, make sure to spend quality time and pay extra attention to your spouse. When you do all of the above, you'll be able to keep your relationship strong, even if you travel a lot,” he said.
We asked members of the RoadPro Pro Driver Council how they celebrated Valentine’s Day and here’s what they told us:
“Typically, Valentine’s Day is not really a significantly important holiday. I work and it is just another day. A special occasion will just have to wait until work is done or be delayed until the weekend. The customer wants their product and our life is temporarily put on hold. That’s life on the road.” -- Joanne Fatta, Pennsylvania
“Holidays out on the road -- I usually call or send cards in advance. My husband drives, so usually we meet up for supper. Valentine’s Day is usually great because there are flowers everywhere and pretty red candy boxes. Sometimes, you just have to punt.” – Maggie Stone, Iowa
“I have done the same thing every year for almost 20 years. I send a single white rose to my wife in her classroom. She is a school teacher. It has become so expected that her students wait for it as well. I used to just call, but with technology we now FaceTime. Something we do regularly anyway.” – Thomas Miller, Illinois
Sierra Sugar solves the problem of Valentine’s Day by riding with partner Allen Wilcher.
“Valentine's Day on the road usually is me waking up to fresh coffee, roses and/or other treats from Allen. I usually cook a nice dinner for us in the truck, and afterwards we spend time cuddled together watching movies. It hasn't worked out where we've been somewhere to go out and do something special, so we make the most of our time together in the truck on that day, and, really, every day. But when we do come across neat places along the road, no matter what day of the year, we do get out and explore together.” – Sierra Sugar and Allen Wilcher, Florida
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