This week I am going to talk about something a little more personal in my life. I am married to a man that works on the road. It can be really hard at times and I have worked through a lot of stress and anxiety of being alone while he’s on the road working that I wanted to make a blog post about it because I noticed not very many exist. I remember trying to google for blog posts on this topic in hopes to find someone that understands what it is like and has tips on how to get through it.
Kurt and I have been together for 7 years and married for 4. Road life is all I know for us minus the 3 years we actually worked together and I went on the road with him. I learned very quickly road life was not for me but I wanted to be with my husband. I knew what I was signing up for when I married Kurt. Was it easy? NOPE! Has it gotten easier? Unfortunately not, but I work through it. I know some couples are conditioned to it and used to it but I am not. And hopefully this winter that changes for us and he’s home more instead of gone most of the time. Cross your fingers!!
We met on a construction site for a wind farm. And we both thought it was just going to be a summer fling and I was going to go back to my life and he was going to continue on the road. Oh but isn’t falling in love a funny thing! After that project, which we spent 3 months together, till he was moved to another project in NY. Before he came home to NY for the project we met on, Kurt was in Pennsylvania, Texas and Alaska. He’s from upstate NY and I am Western NY. The project we met on is one that brought him home essentially for a short period of time. After 3 months together it went to every weekend for about a year and month. In that time frame we got engaged and he left for Minnesota. This is where life apart started.
Boy was that rough the first few months. I had taken our dog Brooke from his parents and she became mine and I was still living with my parents. This made it hard at first when he would come home because he was basically coming home to me and my parents…..which was not great because my parents were strict and wouldn’t even let us stay in the same room even though we were engaged. I only had 3 1/2 days with him. Thats all his rotations were and its the same amount of time to this very day unless he takes PTO. Shortly after this we got our first apartment which made things a little better when he came home for his rotations. But it was also my very first time living on my own. Lots of anxiety, and lots of stress of the unknown. Lots of balancing time with family because everyone would want to see him when he came home. Lots of missing out on important dates or events. It was just what was part of road life.
After Minnesota he was in Upstate NY near Plattsburgh. After we got married I moved up their with him and then a year later I started working for the same company and went on the road with him. Luckily my first project was close to home and then we moved to Texas and then Washington. I am not going to go into the nitty gritty or arguments and how at one point I did want to give up. I just want to better prepare you for what you are going to go through as a couple and yourself being alone. Currently Kurt is on the road in South Dakota and like I said hopefully this winter things will change. Cross your fingers for that!
Here are my tips!
1.) Get a dog or cat or a pet – if you like dogs or want a pet this is a great companion to have while your husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend whoever, is on the road. You spend a lot of time taking care of them which makes you forget sometimes how you are alone and your significant other is gone. Taking Brooke for walks or places to hike and swim were and are helpful. So is sitting on the couch with her with a glass of wine :).
2.) Get cameras for your home – I am not sure if you can do this with an apartment but you can absolutely do this with your house. I did not have anything at an apartment but I wasn’t as worried as I am now being alone in a house. We have a full surveillance system and it makes me feel so much better. Ring is the company we went with. Research and look into it. It gives you peace of mind to know things are caught on camera and or it make scare someone off if they are thinking about doing something.
3.) If you get cameras get signage!! – make it known! I know some people may not agree but I wanted it known like “hey I have cameras so don’t mess with me.”Just a few weeks ago I had some random guy in the middle of my driveway and I think he saw my sign in the flower bed and I think thats why he left or he realized oh shit I am practically at her front door. I am not sure what agenda this guy had but I did not like it. I have 2 signs on my mail box and one in my flower bed in the front yard so it is known, do not even try it will get caught on camera! Call me crazy but I have had a few things make me feel like I needed this and with being by yourself, I think it is helpful.
Here are the signs I bought on amazon. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07KQ4VBHR/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_search_asin_title?ie=UTF8&psc=1
4.) If you just bought your first house or moved into a house please change your locks!!!
5.) Personal Protection – I can easily get some really negative comments about this but I do not care. It is your right if you want to, to get a pistol permit. Look into your state regulations/guidelines for owning one. I have my NYS pistol permit, have a had it for a few years now. And PLEASE, please, please if you want to do this, take the courses and practice, practice, practice. In order to safely use a pistol you need to know how to use it confidently! Do not get your permit and hope to god you know how to use it when you actually need it. Practice! If you do not believe in guns and the 2A right then maybe consider pepper spray, or a baseball bat. Or if you are ok with out personal protection, that is ok too. But do not judge someone else who feels they want this as an extra layer of protection.
6.) Keep the romance alive! – guys if you are reading this and you are the one on the road and your wife is alone at home holding down the fort with your dog or if you have kids please work on making her feel special and appreciated for all she does back home. Flowers, cards, gift cards and words of affirmation go a long way. Girls if you are reading this and your man is on the road, it is just as hard for them to be gone and away. Thank your husband often for putting in the work out there on the road to make a decent paycheck. Make sure you aren’t complaining too much about him being gone. Its ok to communicate how hard things are in a healthy way. FaceTime dates are great. Read the same book at the same time. Watch the same show at the same time. This won’t work or will be way harder on you both if you go without trying to keep some sort of romance alive. Gotta keep the spark some how. It doesn’t just stay forever without doing anything.
7.) If you get really bad anxiety with your husband being gone maybe consider seeing a counselor. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that. I know with my husband being gone it sparks some new anxiety that I don’t necessarily worry about when he is home. Counseling has been a huge game changer for me.
8.) Keep yourself busy – find hobbies, treat yourself to a facial or massage. Make sure you are taking card of yourself.
9.) Lean on friends and family – they make the time in-between rotations fly by.
10.) If you can’t sleep at night like me, get a tv in your bedroom – Our house is super quiet at night and it freaks me out and then any little noise the house makes Brooke bark. A tv playing at night took care of that real quick! I also sleep with an eye mask to block the light.
11.) You got this! If you truly love your significant other you will put in the work and time and they will reciprocate. Take it one day at a time. Some days are easier than others. Some days you are going to want to give up but as long as the work is done it can work for the 2 of you.
I know some people may have it a little harder than me, like your husband has always been gone and there is no end in sight of him coming home full time. I hope my small experience of this lifestyle can help someone else. This isn’t really talked about. There really is not much support out in the online world for this. I wish there was! Its not the same as someone who is deployed but it would be nice to have a road life wife group on FB just to have fellow people who are in it too to talk to and lean on. Who knows! Maybe I will start one! 🙂
Thanks for reading this! I hope it helped you if you are in this situation 🙂 Best of luck to you and your significant other!