By Reagan Payne
For those who live on the road, it can be easy to look for love in all the wrong places. Dating sites, set-ups, and long-distance relationships are only what you make of them in this transient industry.
The road can be a lonely place, but everyone should take a look inward before searching for a mate. Making sure you are mentally and emotionally healthy enough to begin a new, long-distance relationship is key. This is something useful for those already in a relationship, as well.
“You don’t have much to lose if you have consistent, clear communication about what’s going on and how you’re both feeling,” said Dr. Niloo Dardashti, a psychologist and relationship expert out of New York City, the Director of Adult & Couples Services at Manhattan Psychology Group.
In an interview with The Cut, a culture blog sector of New York Magazine, she stresses the importance of both parties being all-in on making this work.
“It really depends on the relationship,” she said. “Does (it seem like the) other person is trying? If there is stagnation, I would say after a couple months, you should really rethink it.
“But if both people are trying to make it work and they are dealing with a few hiccups along the way, then it’s up to them to assess and reassess consistently how things are going.”
Being in a healthy and supportive relationship can cause a big boost in your level of happiness, according to the International Journal of Psychiatry in Clinical Practice.
A study from the University of Chicago suggests that people who are married or in a committed relationship have lower levels of cortisol, the stress hormone.
“These results suggest that single and unpaired individuals are more responsive to psychological stress than married individuals, a finding consistent with a growing body of evidence showing that marriage and social support can buffer against stress,” researchers wrote.
Looking for love
Dating sites had a bad rap for a while; stranger danger on the internet was a popular phenomenon. Now almost 60% of Americans agree that online dating is a good way to meet someone, according to Pew Research Center.
This might ring especially true for truck drivers. In some cases, you can spend days figuring out if a potential partner is single or even interested in you. Online solutions bypass this stage in seconds with a left or right swipe.
General dating sites are great simply for the efficiency. Drivers can list their occupation in their profile and potential matches will know that vital information up front. Taking it a step further, there are dozens of online dating platforms specifically for truckers.
Simply enough, Trucker Dating is one of the most popular online options. Sign-up is free and easy but not extremely personal. It is a small-scale social media platform, as well.
Meet a Trucker is another online dating platform. It is not as popular as Trucker Dating, yielding a smaller user base. This site is part of the Online Connections network, which means that by signing up for this site, your profile can be viewed on multiple different affiliated sites to help you find matches quicker.
Finally, Match is a popular option for truckers looking for love. It is not designed specifically for those in this profession, but the user base of over 30 million is sure to find a match for anyone. Unlike the others, this site does require a paid membership. Any paid membership makes for a more secure environment, deterring scammers and catfishes.
Keep what you found
The lucky ones will find what they are looking for while already on the road. The luckier ones might already have an established relationship when they begin their driving career. Even then, maintaining a relationship with an asphalt cowboy can prove to be difficult.
Modern technology allows for these relationships to prosper like never before. Phone calls on the road have been an option since the 1980s, but video chat is a newer revelation that can make those lonely rest stops feel a little more like home.
Frank Smith, a company driver for P&S Transportation, talks with his wife every day from the road. Previously in his career, she was able to ride along with him. She can no longer occupy his passenger seat in the cab due to health restrictions.
“We’ll do phone calls in the daytime and video chat at nighttime because we can’t really do video chat while I’m driving,” he said. “I mean, she’s kind of like just staring at me while I’m sitting here looking out the window. She would say, ‘Well, I’m not having no fun because you’re not looking at me.’ But we’ll talk all day long.”
Like many drivers, he has to plan daily calls around their different sleep schedules and the potential time differences that might be involved with a long haul. Being mindful and considerate of one another’s life away from each other is especially important in long-distance relationships.
“I don’t like calling her in the middle of the night and waking her up,” said Smith. “When I wake up, I used to call and say ‘Well, I’m missing you, just want to hear your voice.’ She’ll get on there and it’ll be all groggy.”
Spending time with family on the road is important to drivers and their partners, too. “Sometimes I’ll join in on a three-way conference call between Stacy and her sisters, Tammy and Carla. That’s the only way I get family time,” said Smith.
Problems that arise are simply normal relationship problems amplified by distance and schedule differences. Mistrust and lack of communication are common problems that can be present no matter the distance. Establishing a healthy foundation and watching out for red flags makes all the difference.
There are a few carriers that allow ride-along passengers. If your parter is able to be on route, it is important to choose a company that will allow that privilege.
CFI allows up to one passenger at a time. “We have a passenger pass procedure, so we get information on the passenger,” says CFI President Herb Schmidt. “Who’s the passenger? How long do they intend to have them riding? Just so we know who’s on the truck. We give them a form to carry with them in case they are questioned.”
Crete Carrier has a very reasonable policy. At no cost, a driver may bring any adult (19 years or older) or spouse along for the journey. Along with said adult or spouse, a driver may also bring a child relative that is 4 years old or younger. In lieu of these, a driver may also bring a relative between the ages of 5 and 18. Unlike children under the age of 4, this adolescent relative does not require non-driving supervision.
National Carriers has vague online standards for its rider program. It does have a spouse and child rider program, but only list that some conditions may apply.
Roehl Transportation has one of the most liberal policies in the industry. It only says children must be at least 10 years of age to ride along. The company will also charge a minimal fee for rider insurance. Drivers are eligible for this passenger program after 30 days of employment.
Time apart is an important aspect in any relationship. Having this option, though, for an unusually lonely profession could be the saving grace for a relationship needing a bit of extra time.
Reagan Payne is a staff writer for Wright Media. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org