I’m involved in a long distance relationship. My boyfriend lives in Texas and I live in NJ. Because of the distance, my daughter doesn’t get to physically see how affectionate we are towards each other on a daily basis. But I try to teach her there is more to loving a person than just showering him/her with hugs and kisses. One of the most important things in a relationship I’m trying to instill in her is communication. My boyfriend and I call each other every night before bed. When my daughter overhears our conversations, she hears us talking about day-to-day activities, our feelings, our families—she also hears us talking about how much we care for each other. Every now and then she plays an integral role in our romance. When she talks to my boyfriend on the phone, they’ll discuss school and talk about things they think are silly. Sometimes the two of them will contrive a plan to come up with something that will gross me out (usually they joke about eating bugs which is sure to get an “eck” from me.) In this way she is learning that humor is another key factor in a relationship.
My daughter is also learning the value of considering other people’s wants and needs and not just her own. We create “care packages” for my boyfriend including handmade cards and pictures as well as store bought gifts. When deciding on a gift for my boyfriend, I’ll talk out loud so my daughter can hear that I’m thinking of his likes and dislikes. An example of this is when we bought a stuffed monkey for my boyfriend as a Christmas gift. He and I always joke about monkeys when we’re being silly, and in discussing this with my daughter we decided to find an outlandish looking stuffed monkey for him that he could hug when he’s not with us.
In a nutshell, my daughter is seeing it’s the simple things that hold a relationship together.