LOS ANGELES (CBS) —  A long commute may not only be harming your health it might also be affecting your love life.

Absence makes the heart grow fonder? Not if you’re always stuck on the 405 Freeway it doesn’t.

Lisa Newman and her three kids are waiting for her husband and the children’s father, Kermit Newman, to get home to Tarzana. They’re all prepping dinner. And there is no telling when he will walk through the front door.

Says Lisa, “It can be anywhere from an hour…to an hour and a half.”

It’s his usual commute to and from work.

And sitting in all that traffic is no fun. Who in Los Angeles cannot relate to sitting in endless traffic? But every night?

“I just wanna get home and see my wife, see my family,” says Kermit.

Lisa concedes that “Kermit has the worst part of it.”

Psychiatrist Dr. Charles Sophy says all that time spent in the car — or on the train … commuting  — can lead to emotional issues down the road.

“Commutes tends to really wear on you, in ways you don’t even realize,” he says. Among the problems — heart disease, headaches, diabetes, digestive issues.

Sophy adds, “You can get insomnia, irritability, a lot of anxiety. Those things can predominately focus in your brain. And there is no room for anything else. And guess what? You’re missing your life.”

And Dr. Sophy suggests all that stress can leave to even more complications. In relationships.

It could also lead to divorce. A Swedish study found couples are 40% more likely to divorce if one partner commutes for longer than 45 minutes a day.

As for the Newmans, Kermit won’t allow the commute to come between him and the Mrs. or his health.

“I won’t let it kill me,” he says, matter-of-fact.

Experts recommend chilling in the car or while you’re commuting. Listen to calming music of books on tape, and if you’re talking (on a hands free remote, of course) to each other, be sure to keep the conversation upbeat and positive.

The Newmans have dealt with this long commute for most of their 17 years of marriage. They’re a success story when it comes to not being another statistic.

Says Kermit, once the couple is home together, they are all about the togetherness. “We have date nights. We spend a lot of time together,” he says.

Lisa Newman concurs: “We definitely have a lot of fun, we have a lot of fun as a family.”

Dr. Sophy says that is crucial for a good family dynamic. When you leave the car, leave the commute in the car.

And Dr. Sophy also says every once in a while, meet your partner half way. Not only does it change the routine, it keeps stresses to a minimum.

Comments (3)
  1. rankin1 says:

    you can age rapidly sitting in traffic, thats a fact.

  2. Robert S. says:

    No doubt, Rankin is correct. When I lived in Poway, my Father would spend countless hours in his car trying to make it to the house after a 10 hour day, for 5 days a week. This is no way to live, and he used to “drown” in alcohol on his way home. He was “stressed” past the breaking point doing this long commute month after month, year after year. This all happening back in the 60’s, when gas was cheap, along with a long line of worn out cars, gone by the wayside long ago. We wonder why we have health problems batteling for the “Buck” all across our great country, but its no surprize to a lot of people in the health industry. I don’t see how people can do it today, cause of the politicians, and the way they have had a hand in destroying our country. We got a “Hell of a mess”, and if we survive it, it will take “generations to overcome it!

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